Ever visited a store and wanted to buy absolutely everything in it? This is how I felt when I visited Light Rust Studio. Perhaps it's my love for hand lettering and typography, but there is a beauty in handcrafted and illustrated works that has always caught my attention. This week we are delighted to speak to Brittany Armington from Light Rust Studio as she talks a little bit about the ins and outs of starting a business and what has influenced her brand.
1. Tell us a little bit about what you do and what you love the most about being a designer?
Light Rust Studio is a small company that offers hand illustrated and lettered designs on paper and cloth. My main goal with the studio is to produce an alternative line of products that involve the human touch as opposed to strictly digital design. I think it’s unfortunate that the human touch started to fade from everyday products as technology and mass production bloomed, but you can see the Etsy community and craft markets thriving again. People want that sentimental touch in the things that they buy.
I love being a designer, but I consider myself more of an artist. I have a degree in Graphic Design, but my true passion which fueled my desire to start the studio is marrying design and art. While it’s easy to think of them as the same thing, I think of them separately. The art is what I do with my pen and paper and the design is what I do when producing the cards and brand materials for the company. I like both aspects, but I love drawing and illustration as they allow me to express myself and bring a whimsical, organic style to my products.
2. What inspires you and your work?
The studio’s inspiration has really been derived from my upbringing. I grew up in an 18th century farmhouse in rural Massachusetts that my parents spent years restoring. They collected a lot of antiques to retain the original charm of the house, so my siblings and I grew up around a lot of authentic vintage items. We spent a lot of time outside camping, hiking, swimming and kayaking, and I worked at a summer camp for a few years on a lake in middle of the woods in New Hampshire.
I grew up around a lot of inspirational people as well. My parents and siblings are all hard workers in their respective fields. My grandfather was a wonderful artist as well. When I was little he would make us hand illustrated cards for holidays and birthdays. All of the grandchildren would also get unique custom books that he would write and illustrate. I can only hope that my art has the same love and meaning in it as his had.
These things all combine to create an inspirational foundation on which I build every day as I focus on my present surroundings, pulling from travel experiences and nature-oriented visuals to bring these things to life on paper.
3. What does a typical day look like?
I work in-house as a freelance designer during the morning, so my day is split between that and the studio. I get home midday and really immerse myself in Light Rust. We like to ship orders out a day or two after they’re received, so the first thing I do is fulfill those orders. After getting back from the local post office, I usually run through my shop’s stats for the day, check Light Rust’s social media accounts, and then get to the drawing board. I brainstorm new products everyday. It’s my favorite part of the workday. I love being able to just unwind and create, and there’s never a shortage of things that I want to add or new ideas that I want to pursue.
4. When I'm not designing I am…
When I’m not designing, I’m spending time with friends and family. Family is really important to me — both my own and my fiancé’s. We travel often from Boston, either to my parents’ house in central Massachusetts or to his parents’ house in southern Maine. Though we do love living in Boston, we like to get out of the city and breathe some fresh air, especially in the summer. We enjoy hiking, kayaking and swimming — we just love to be outdoors.
I also really enjoy baking. I wasn’t into it growing up, but my mom and grandmother were both incredible bakers. They make such good comfort treats. Once I was out of school and establishing my life, I discovered that I enjoyed it as well. It means all the more that I’m using recipes passed down from both of them.
5. Describe your creative space
I keep things simple and work in my small apartment in Boston’s North End. My living space and working space overlap during the day, with things kind of exploding all over the place. While it can be a bit hectic, I pack it all away at the end of the day and do it all over again the next day. It’s a crazy cycle, but it’s a great space to work in while the company is still new and I’m still getting my footing. The apartment has that old Boston charm with great city views which never hurts. Eventually I would love an open space with a lot of sunlight that I can really spread out in. It’s a goal I am constantly working at.
6. What advice would you give to a budding designer hoping to start their own business?
Stop hoping and start doing! I think that people tend to let their fears overtake their wants. Starting your own business is always going to be scary, but that’s part of the fun of the process and that fear will only drive you to want to succeed. You are taking a risk to make your life more interesting and fulfilled, and you have to be okay with that. There’s no such thing as failing if you give it your all. If your business flops and you put everything you had into it, then you will learn from your mistakes and start fresh with something else.
7. Right now I am most excited about…
Right now I’m most excited about continuing to grow and flourish as a studio. I’m working on a lot of new ideas and products that will hopefully roll out throughout the summer. We’ve been wanting to produce more tea towels and potentially introduce tote bags into the mix. There is so much to do and so much to be thankful for. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by our success so far. It’s been an incredible journey, especially in the Etsy community where I have truly made amazing friends and have been able to collaborate on some great projects.
Photography by Light Rust Studio