We caught up with Elisabeth Sau, a Senior Graphic Designer with a knack for simplicity and a love of all-things Scandi, at Mortimer House — an Art Deco coworking space situated in the heart of Fitzrovia.
“Mother Nature is the most talented designer.”
So how did you get into your first job as a designer?
Well I always wanted to do something creative, so when I was doing my degree in design I would help out friends who needed help with logos and branding. My first real role though came about when I went knocking on the doors of different design agencies in Leeds until one replied.
Does your eye for design infiltrate other parts of your life?
Of course! I talk about design a lot — assessing and admiring different colour combinations all the time. Friends now ask me for advice on colour and composition because I get really passionate about it. On the flip side, I think talking about it so much annoys them a bit.
Do you remember the first piece of design you ever created?
I don’t remember the exact thing but I’ll tell you something I am excited about when I think back. I remember as a teenager taking part in a project called "A Gift to the Future" where we designed objects and put them into a locker to open up in 50 years. That was about 15 years ago, so there’s still a few years to go but one day it will be opened and I can’t wait to see what’s in there.
How would you describe your style as a designer?
I like to think that it’s quite elegant, clean and simple. I think a lot of my style comes from the first branding agency I worked at here in London: Sectorlight. I sat between two senior designers and they were helping me to create my designs and influenced me in a really beautiful way.
The result is that for me in design there always has to be a good amount of whitespace — I get really annoyed about things being illegible when it all becomes too cramped otherwise! Good design is functional!
But this also comes from how I work: clean and simple. If I get a brief, it always goes a long way to have the brand guidelines to hand and an example of work that has come before or a piece of inspiration. When I have all these components, I get a clarity which can then translate into the work.
Do you have a favourite designer?
I’m not sure if I have an actual favourite person in mind, but to me Mother Nature is the most talented designer and something which will always be an inspiration to me. It’s incredible to see all the intricacies and beauty — the colour combinations and compositions throughout it and it is all just so awe-inspiring when I try to comprehend it.
What projects and briefs excite you the most?
Projects that help a lot of people in some way in the world. If I can contribute to something bigger with my design skills, I’ll always want to do that. For example I love to help coaches and holistic practitioners brand themselves better to help their businesses — because a lot of them don’t have the budgets to hire big agencies but people need to know about their valuable offerings. Having said that I do also love to work with already established businesses and rebrand projects.
You’re a therapist yourself right?
Yes! On the side, I’m a holistic therapist with a crystal chamber made up of 200,000 crystals. I got into the holistic/crystal/shamanic healing world when I stumbled upon a shaman in Brick Lane who became my first teacher and opened up a whole new world of possibilities of how to live and heal in symbiosis with nature and impact people’s lives in a positive way.
People get stressed easily these days, myself included. And I find the practice of mindfulness and other healing techniques I have learnt on my journey really helpful when I’m freelancing so I can focus better and stay inspired. Coming back into the centre helps us to be more productive.
Healing has helped me find my purpose which is to create beauty and harmony in the world. It has shown me that I have so much to share with the world: that we can all work together and lift one another up. Beautiful people doing positive things in their lives and it inspires me to do more.