02. Steph Martin from Stuff Studio

June 2024

Why doing things differently will set you apart.

Advice for making your mark in the design industry.

Creative all-rounder Steph talks nudes, levelling-up and making creativity habitual.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

"Audacity is actually more important, arguably, than talent."
- Steph

01. Tell us about disrupting the narrative with your reclaimed nudes project

My friend. one day she was telling me a story about a nude that she'd sent to this guy and they'd been seeing each other for a little while and he just, like, completely ghosted her, which is wild, like you would be mortified.

She was mortified.

So she showed me it. And I was like - you look insane, like this guy's out of his mind to have ghosted you!

So I ended up painting her, and the whole point of it was to turn something that was, like, negative to her into something beautiful and positive.

And then I ended up putting it on Instagram and I had a whole bunch of other women reached out saying a similar thing had happened to them or they'd have their nude put online or just really negative experiences.

So then they would send their nude, and then I basically would flip it and turn it into art.

02. Why is innovating so important in the design industry?

I think there's a time and a place for traditional boundaries.

Not everything needs to fit in. Just because, say, all ice cream bands look all the same, doesn't mean that your product then has to look exactly the same as that.

You wanna stand out on the shelf. You wanna look different. You wanna be innovative.

03. What brands are disrupting the narrative?

I think Skims is a really good example of disrupting the narrative.

They took a product that was hidden underneath clothing, and she made it cool like she made it cool to wear underwear like on the outside.

And then another brand I think that's really disruptive at the moment is Jacquemus.

Some of the things that they're doing on socials are very different to what we see in a lot of brands doing, and they're really leaning into A.I and working in that tech space.

04. You're a jack of many trades. Would you recommend this to someone cracking into the design industry?

I wouldn't recommend it as something to necessarily crack into the industry, but I think once you're in the industry, it's something really beneficial to have.

For example, if you don't have any design work, you can pick up illustration work. If you don't have any illustration work, you can pick up, say, animation.

In terms of being able be a bit of a jack of all trades, you can learn so much online now that there's no reason not to be able to offer that to clients.

"you can learn so much online now that there's no reason not to be able to offer [OTHER DESIGN SKILLS] to clients."
- Steph

05. Personal attributes that make you successful in the industry?

I think a thick skin is really important.

You need to be able to take on feedback and not get disheartened by it.

Also, feedback's a gold mine, so, like that's gonna help you level up.

06. What you'd tell yourself on your first day as a freelance designer?

Maybe show up a little bit more, so sort of shout about myself a bit more, promote myself more.

I was in survival mode, so I was just trying to get to the next client.

But I think by promoting yourself on your instagram, telling people what your story is, people get more involved and they want to work with you.

07. How do you find your creativity?

We're all born creative, it gets taught out of you. So you kind of have to train it a little bit, like you have to make it habitual.

I don't wake up every day wanting to paint or make something.

So I started doing a course called the Artist's Way, which is a book. It's been around for ages. You have to do your morning pages, so you have to write three pages every morning, and it's kind of like a stream of consciousness or subconscious, I guess.

I hydrate, take all of my various things that I need to take.

So the first three things are all self care based, so I've filled my cup up and then I'm ready to get creative.

"We're all born creative, it gets taught out of you.
So you have to train it a little bit, you have to make it habitual."
- Steph

08. Advice for people entering the design indusrty?

Audacity is actually more important, arguably than talent.

So just getting yourself out there, networking, meeting as many people as you possibly can, because you'll learn the skills, the skill will come, but it's kind of like who you know, and not necessarily what you know when you begin, I think.

Interview with Steph Martin from Stuff Studio

Follow Steph @stuffcreativestudio and watch her brilliant TikToks here.

Our favourite OF STEPH'S PIECES