Do-What-You-Love Stories: Sam Osborne

I can't remember how I first stumbled upon Sam Osborne's beautiful work online, but I do remember being hooked to the bright vibrant colors, striking patterns, and fun details almost instantly. Her work just makes me happy inside, and she inspires me to be more productive as a designer with her #365patterns project (She creates a new pattern every single day! How awesome is that!?)

Today Sam gives us a little peek inside her life and business, and shares her Do-What-You-Love Story...


Tell us who you are, where you are from, and what it is that you do.

I'm Sam Osborne from Thame near Oxford in the UK and I am a brightly-coloured graphic designer, surface pattern designer and illustrator

What made you decide to pursue this career path?

I grew up in a creative family so it was always going to be part of my life. I studied art at school and took a graphic design degree so I started my career working as a commercial graphic designer. I worked for design and branding agencies for 8 years but I missed the more arty side so in 2011 I quit my job and started my own business where I try to combine everything I love about the world of art and design.


What is the best part about running your own business? What is the most difficult part?

The best bit is being captain of your own ship, making all the decisions and learning so much. The job satisfaction is off the charts. The worst bit is that you have to do be involved in absolutely everything to do with your business even the bits you hate or aren't good at!


What is your most popular product/service? Why do you think people like it?

At the moment my wall planners are flying off the shelves, I have a few in my range including an academic planner and a perpetual one that you can use any year. I think people like them because most wall planners are the dullest things imaginable and mine are covered in colourful patterns!


What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue their creative dreams as a career?

  • Do it, don't expect it to be easy but you'll have a blast. 
  • Be prepared to learn, and continue to learn, about all kinds of things including scary things you thought you couldn't do. 
  • Build a network around you (either real or virtual, preferably both) for support and cheerleading! 
  • Work, do lots and lots and lots of it, even when you have no one to work for keep creating and getting better.

What are you currently working on?

I've got quite a lot of client design and branding work on at the moment which I love but I'm also working on some designs for some new licensing deals, a new collection for my own label and continuing to do work on personal projects for #365Patterns and an alphabet illustration series.


Where would you like to see your business in 10 years?

Goodness, what I big scary question! I hope that the range of projects I am involved in is still wide and varied. I'd love for my designs to be on products sold in shops all over the world, either as part of my label or as licensed designs (or both!?). I'd like to have a few people working for/with me in a bright light studio near home and perhaps be teaching/lecturing as well. Ten years is a long time, I look back at the two years I've been running my business and I'd never have predicted where I am now!


Walk us through a typical day of running your business. 

I'm not sure I have a typical day, there are so many different things that I get involved with that each day is quite different - I could be out at an agency freelancing, working on collaborations, off doing research or visiting clients. There are some days though that are mainly studio based and to be honest they are my favourite so let's take a look at one of those!

AM: My studio is at home so thankfully I don't have to get up too early - I'm not great at early! In the summer I'm normally awake by about 7.30 and heading for the kitchen for a coffee, I'll check in with email, social media and shop orders while drinking my coffee and having breakfast then I head to my desk and make a list for the day! At the start of each week I fill my big notice board with priorities for the week and then pull tasks off that each day. I try to group all the little tasks together and do them first thing, client amends, replying to email, sending things to print and any small design jobs then I get stuck into the main creative project for the day.


Lunch: I'm quite bad at remembering to stop and eat, it's so easy to get stuck into a project and the day just whistles past without you knowing. Luckily my boyfriend also works from home running his own marketing company so he usually lets me know when it's time for food!

PM: After the break for lunch I'll have another little session replying to emails and get on top of any little jobs that have come in during the morning, then it's either back to the project I was working on earlier or I pick up a new project to focus on. I tend to be a bit less focused in the afternoon so I'll often do some research or social media-ing (that's a word right?) if I can't crack the creative stuff! If I am really stuck I'll go out for a walk or a run to clear my head and vent some frustration out on the pavement

Twice a week I'll pack up all my online orders and take them to the Post Office and I try to make some time each week to stay on top of finance and accounts but I'll admit this often slides in favour of doing design work! 


I stop by about 6 and although I try not to do design work in the evenings I usually spend time after dinner writing blog posts, reading other blogs and scheduling work into my week or just spending some quality time with my sketchbook

It's a pretty full day but I love what I do and I love the flexibility to arrange my day the best way for me, for instance in the summer when (if) we have nice weather I try to take a few afternoons off each week to enjoy the sunshine and then either start earlier or do more work in the evenings. Or I'll take a day off in the week to see friends but work on the weekend instead if I need to. Not sure I could go back to the standard 9-5 now!

If you could switch jobs with someone for a day, what occupation would you try?

In crazy Sam land I'd be a racing driver! I've always been a bit of a petrol head and the idea of getting paid to drive fast cars is deeply appealing!


What is your favorite movie?

It's too close to call between Gone With The Wind and Princess Bride! Either one I could happily watch every day till the end of time!

All images above are by Sam Osborne. Sam can be found all over the interwebs. Check out more of her colorful work using the links below:

Website and Blog          Shop          Twitter          Facebook

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