© Jeff Carlson at Creative Pro Week 22’

We had the good fortune of connecting with Kieron Lewis and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kieron, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
Honesty and transparency are key values for how I operate and move forward with any client. I’m based in the UK, London and the majority of my clients are based in the US. This means that most forms of communication tend to be by video call.

Meeting in person, perhaps over a coffee, is a much more ‘human’ way of connecting and having an understanding of what the client needs/wants. However, the importance of having honesty and transparency from the initial meeting, even more so that its via a screen, is necessary. These values allow the overall design process and even the working relationship to be more streamlined and avoids any confusion.

I’ve been freelancing for just over two years now and throughout my experience with working with different clients, it is essential that we have a good working relationship. This allows both parties to feel more comfortable with each other, it encourages both myself and the client to continue working together and more importantly a stronger form of trust is established. This allows parts of the design process e.g feedback/amends stages, to be more productive.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Since graduating from university over ten years ago, I’ve certainly experienced the good and bad within my career. Whether it was being made redundant or struggling with difficult bosses.

Within full-time employment, I genuinely struggled after the ‘two year mark’. Not because of the people, but simply because of the work I was creating. I didn’t have any connection to it and I really did feel like a machine simply churning out work with no feeling towards it. Sadly, hierarchy and complexes within our industry is something most of us have experienced. Speaking with numerous friends who work within the creative industry, especially when you’re at a junior level, it is a very common feeling to have. That feeling of not feeling valued or appreciated by your seniors.

What kept my creativity afloat was working on self-directed/side projects and collaborating with other creatives to produce work which resonated and aligned with my values.

Now as a freelancer, the majority of my work is editorial design which is what I love to do! More importantly, I tend to work with numerous publishers on hardback publications which tend to be focused on celebrating or highlighting important topics within black community. This is exactly how I wanted to be positioned within the creative industry, simply because of personal experiences faced.

Growing up in south London, Brixton (predominantly black community) and then moving outside of London to Winchester (predominantly white community) for my university degree, created numerous challenges growing up. Feeling different or self-conscious is something many black creatives have to experience, whether in the creative industry or in a different living environment. However, over the years I’ve grown in confidence in being comfortable in my skin and I have a better understanding of people with different cultures or backgrounds.

All the experiences gained through navigating the creative industry as a black designer, has compelled me to share with the younger generation. I am an active guest speaker for numerous schools and universities within London. My talks tend to be based on the importance of collaboration, understanding your community, race and design. Hopefully this allows students or graduates to have a more realistic view on how the creative industry is for black creatives and the importance of being comfortable in your own body, which allows you to feel self-empowered and produce your best work!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Firstly we need to start the day with a good coffee, pastry and fresh OJ! That’s a must!

Once we’re feeling energized, we would definitely visit The Design museum in Kensington, London. The Design Museum exhibits product, industrial, graphic, fashion, and architectural design. It’s the kind of place where you could spend most of the morning exploring and discovering great design. I apologize in advance for the gift shop at the end. There are so many cool gifts to purchase that you could (most likely will) end up buying a few things.

For lunch, we could take a trip to Brick Lane, East London. This is the perfect spot to experience various types of cuisine. If the weather is good (it’s London, so hit and miss at times), we could have a nice walk through the different side streets in Brick Lane and visit a few art/design shops. There are always events happening in the area, sometimes free to the public, so we can have a mini adventure here!

To end the day, we could watch football at a nice local bar. I’m an Arsenal fan! Soccer or Football, it doesn’t matter, as long as you can appreciate the quality of a good team playing, we can be besties!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would say my wife, Iria Suárez.

Before handing in my notice to my full-time job, so that I can make the transition to freelance, we had numerous discussions about the pros and cons of making such an important career/life decision.

In this particular period, we just bought our first home and were arranging our wedding too – massive life goals, right?! Iria gave me the mental strength required and more importantly believed that I would be able to sustain all our financial commitments, as well as being proactive within my freelance career. Thank you, mi amore.


Website: www.kieronlewis.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kieronanthonyl

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/kieronlewis

Twitter: www.twitter.com/KieronAnthonyL

Youtube: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9PFvwJkk4Ak24U9fIPfMffUGORBl6vQJ

Image Credits
5_Adobe_Live_Hosting_KIERONLEWIS: Credit to Adobe, Adobe Live 6_Body_James_Davies_Kieron_Lewis_Book_Launch: Credit to James Davies

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.