The Design Atlas community is on Discord!

Join Now!

The Design Atlas community is on Discord!

Join Now!

The Design Atlas community is on Discord!

Join Now!

Episode #

9

Edvinas Reika: Designer and Instagram Influencer

Edvinas Reika

July 1, 2021

Episode Show Notes

July 1, 2021

In this episode we meet Edvinas Reika, a freelance graphic designer most notable for his design work on his instagram account @edreika. Originally from Lithuania, Ed was always interested in studying and living abroad. He graduated at the University of Greenwich in London in 2020 receiving his bachelor's degree in graphic design shortly after the pandemic began. 

As the world of social media continues to evolve during the pandemic, some designers are seeing the effects it has on building a community through their design style and improving their craft based on feedback they receive. 

Featured in this episode

Jens Bringsjord

Co-Host

Megan Luedke

Co-Host

Episode Transcript

Megan Luedke

You're listening to Design Atlas Season two.



Jens Bringsjord

And the world of social media continues to evolve. Some designers are seeing the effects it has on building a community through their design style and improving their craft based on feedback they received.



Megan Luedke

Today, we'll meet up with Edwina, a freelance graphic designer most notable for his design work on his Instagram account. Originally from Lithuania and was always interested in studying and living abroad.



Jens Bringsjord

He graduated at the University of Greenwich in London in 2020, receiving his bachelor's degree in graphic design shortly after the pandemic began.



Jens Bringsjord

So, without further ado, let's head over to Bulgaria, where he's currently based, and meet up with a Venus visitor.



Edvinas Reika

I can just kind of claim that the Internet is my country, and I can, if I can reach literally anyone in a matter of seconds. I don't see why me, or anyone should actually work strictly locally.



Edvinas Reika

Hi, I'm at Villa Rica and I'm a freelance visual designer. I started my career in the middle of this pandemic, and I have no, no other way of working at all. I run the account at Federico on Instagram, which is often mispronounced as a drink or something hilariously, that. But on there I post my visual exercises every single day.



Edvinas Reika

I work freelance full time, and the range of work I do and different clients I get to talk to is very exciting. And the one thing that I feel ties it all together is my design style. I always look forward to the strength training. It sounds quite funny, but when you have something really heavy on your back, all you think about is how to not get crushed by that weight.



Edvinas Reika

So, it really helps us from all of the creative thinking that I would be doing almost nonstop otherwise.



Jens Bringsjord

And was never the super artistic kid in his class. And while he did have a love for video games, he really enjoyed the digital medium that allowed him to grow and excel as a graphic designer.



Edvinas Reika

When I started playing a lot of video games and then my parents got me my first computer when I was like, then I would say in my head feels like this whole process and the story of how I started doing art and design. It seemed so clear and linear to me actually, when I got my first computer, I just kind of started playing around with it and I was always the most attracted to all of the visual aspects of it.



Edvinas Reika

I remember an old window XP or whatever it was. You could change your color from like an ugly blue to an ugly olive. And I was going back and forth between those and then constantly changing my wallpaper to the point where my friends would come over and they would be like, wow, I need a new wallpaper again. And they're like, what is this?



Edvinas Reika

Let's just use the normal one. Like just put on Pokemon on here or something. Then I'm like, no, this is abstract shapes. You do not understand. I kind of started finding individual artists that were making these wallpapers that I was using, and I stumbled upon design and Art's kind of website, like a forum, like a discussion board that was called something like Imagination or something like that.



Edvinas Reika

And that was in my native language. So, everything and everyone in there was Lithuanian, and I just kind of started out making these small format photo manipulations, like mostly by the things and inspired by like the stuff that I was doing at the time. So, playing games and they were very surreal and sci fi. And then slowly I started kind of dabbling into like typography and adding text to them.



Edvinas Reika

And this discussion board actually had some sort of a point or levelling system in there. So, it was a little bit competitive, and I think that might have played a pretty huge role as to why I actually stuck to doing that years, like when the icons improved and improved. And then I got that self-validation from those other artists ranking me a higher rank on the discussion board, which now in retrospect, that sounds very, very silly because like how can you actually objectively give someone a rank?



Edvinas Reika

But yeah, but then kind of soon enough it's snowballed to kind of more traditional design work. And that's how I got here. Like I started doing web design and stuff like that, and then I kind of now I feel like in the past years I drifted back into that more experimental space and I'm really happy about that.



Megan Luedke

And experimental he was for, and he knew he didn't want to stay in Lithuania and study design there. So, he started looking abroad at other schools that offered bachelor's degrees in graphic design.



Edvinas Reika

But I found like I could not really relate to my friends who were really like panicky about what they should do because I knew from like maybe 14, 15 that I was just going to like to do graphic design specifically. It didn't feel like a compromise or anything to do graphic design because I know a lot of stories of people being like, Oh, I really like fine arts and I really like drawing and painting, but now I need to find a way to sort of make more money because my entire family and everyone's telling me that I can't live off of art, so now I'm going to be doing graphic design.



Edvinas Reika

But for me, it’s kind of wasn't like that. I was like, I want to do graphic design specifically, so I'm going to do graphic design. It was kind of like not about the university or even a specific program that I wanted to go to. It was more so going to a place that it would allow me to get as much of that experience of like a broad culture and tons of different people.



Edvinas Reika

And then I just got in university in London in 2017 and it was a three-year program. I applied to a few schools, 3 to 5, I would say, others I don't even remember the names of. But I was kind of thinking between going to Denmark and going to London. The reason I didn't end up going to Denmark was because my I was going to go there initially with my childhood friend.



Edvinas Reika

We were going to study multimedia design together, but then he graduated high school a year before me, and he got in and then actually the way he described what they were doing in that study program didn't really align with me. So, I just quickly changed my mind and I reapplied elsewhere and yeah, and I got an offer from University of Greenwich.



Edvinas Reika

I looked into it. I really liked it. I just went there. Greenwich, I think is mostly known for its like international, not variety, but it just has so many people from different countries coming in so completely by accident. I also had two or three other Lithuanians in my program, which is kind of a nice balance between feeling like you're a little bit at home, but also getting that London experience.



Edvinas Reika

And I had considered other cities and other universities and perhaps even life their study programs more. But I felt that being in London really outweighs that for.



Megan Luedke

Ed graduated at the beginning of 2020, shortly after the pandemic had begun. Consequently, he hasn't experienced the pre-pandemic design industry. And while this is a bit unfortunate, he was able to cope with this fact and start building his presence online and reaching out to the global community.



Edvinas Reika

So, I was thinking of Instagram as a platform and I really liked Instagram as a platform just in general, the idea of sharing your work with people. And I did make multiple attempts of trying to kind of post content. It all kind of failed. And I had more than one attempt like that where I don't know, I'm very receptive to things that I see.



Edvinas Reika

So, if I see someone doing something, I want to kind of try it out. So, I was doing these things were, oh, I'm now doing this challenge of making icons or these logos every day. But just out of curiosity, and it wasn't something that I really had the passion for doing. So that's why I would nevertheless, last year where I started this design challenge that is called 36 days of Type and yeah, I actually managed to stick that one through and I think honestly it prepared me for what I'm doing right now.



Edvinas Reika

This kind of still more self-initiated journey right now of just putting myself on my work out there. You know, the more you do it, the more you realize in retrospect that it's just a lot of hard work and more importantly, it's consistency.



Jens Bringsjord

And AD was consistent for over two years now. He's been posting on Instagram, which has slowly helped him create his following of over 37,000 followers at the time of this reporting.



Edvinas Reika

I don't think that there was one point in time that everything just took off because of one design that I made, and it blew up or something like that. You feel really sharp when you do it every day. You don't kind of forget how to do it, and then your mind just becomes one with the software and you think of something in your head and you're able to do it because you keep practicing every day.



Edvinas Reika

So, I think that just gave me maybe a bit of that confidence that I didn't have. The other times I tried to stick to some challenge, now I knew that I could do it.



Jens Bringsjord

Creating a schedule that worked for ADD at the beginning was not easy, but through a lot of hard work and staying determined and was able to create content on a consistent basis.



Edvinas Reika

It was definitely more of a challenge in the beginning than it is now because once you keep doing that, every day, your process actually becomes a lot more efficient as well. Your kind of just think of something in your head and you know they are going to be able to visualize it and that that makes it just a lot easier when it becomes more about thinking of an idea or something that you want to communicate rather than like, I see this nice visual, how do I replicate it?



Edvinas Reika

Because I don't feel like that's ever a genuine approach. And I think if you do that, then you're bound to kind of stop at some point. There is a lot of value in making yourself sit down every day and do it, because I could easily bump out, perhaps like spend the whole day or two days and pump out a week's work.



Edvinas Reika

But I don't feel like that would be as valuable as practicing every single day.



Megan Luedke

And finds his inspiration in a variety of areas of his life. From digital experiences, he's had to simply living life and reading and listening to the environment around him. He's able to deduce a lot of information and combine it with his perception into the digital media.



Edvinas Reika

I've been inspired by a lot of things that are outside of my immediate discipline and sometimes completely outside of design. Lately, I've been looking at a lot of colors from vintage fashion, and sometimes I just spend hours in the past month on hours on end, just sifting through these old archives and saving photos and color picking from these old images.



Edvinas Reika

Because I feel like looking at forms that are made by someone who did not have an intention to, in the end produce a graphic design outcome is a lot better because as designers look at organic things can serve you a lot better if you just start your process inside and you're so software or Illustrator or Photoshop or something can be quite limited in terms of these little accidents that might make your work a lot better and might perhaps even help you communicate the message better that you wanted to communicate and you thought it was so good already, but then something happens that you didn't expect and you're like, Wow, this is actually this is what



Edvinas Reika

I meant. Not that other thing. The range that you can find on like different organic things, just fabrics and stuff like that. And when you place them in front of natural light or a lamp or something like that, the color range, for example, is much bigger than just relying on other art and design for reference. So, I no longer like limiting myself to that.



Jens Bringsjord

For AD, a work life balance is important. However, it isn't always as easy to relax and turn off the creative mind as one thing.



Edvinas Reika

I am always thinking about something creative, but that does not mean that I am always actively doing something. So, I guess I'm on this like idle mode of thinking of ideas. I wouldn't say that I work too much or that I work too little or anything like that. I have a pretty good balance. My problem is, I guess, with not being able to relax after I'm finished with work.



Edvinas Reika

That's especially because I never like, really unplug myself from my social media and I keep talking to my audience all the time. And so, I'm extremely receptive to everything that is thrown at me. And sometimes I have this fear of missing out. You know, if I don't put this idea down my note’s app or my notion, I'm going to I'm going to lose it.



Edvinas Reika

And then what's going to happen, you know, I try to schedule as much as possible to kind of come back to that feeling and that fear of missing out. And I try to hope that, you know, if I have a schedule good enough and if I am able to stick to it, it's just going to lead me where I'm supposed to be.



Edvinas Reika

I do try to schedule as much as possible, and while my days are not perfectly defined, I feel like I'm getting pretty close to that. Actually.



Jens Bringsjord

Here is how AD usually starts this day.



Edvinas Reika

I usually wake up around eight and I make a cup of coffee. I just start responding to emails and all messages, all my socials, and I don't think actually that there is a single DM or request on Instagram that I was asked, and I did not answer. It's really nice to kind of start your day doing this because you get all of this positive feedback and these questions and you're like, maybe there are things that I am helping people do.



Edvinas Reika

And you know, people enjoy learning from me. So, it's just a nice way to kick start your day on this very positive note where you kind of prepare yourself, get yourself into that mindset that like what I am about to do next is also perhaps going to create this positive like loop of feedback. But yeah, once I'm done with that, I just start working on the design that I'm going to post on my account that day, and it usually takes me a few hours.



Edvinas Reika

Almost never matters if I have a lot of work that day with client work or something like that. This is also client work, but I am the client. So, meaning that unless there is something very, very unexpected that came up, I will always spend this time sharpening my visual skills and just making that one design outcome. And yeah, when, when I'm done with that one and it's all scheduled for posting, I start working on some client projects until around lunch and then, if possible, I try to go to the gym or I work out at home.



Edvinas Reika

But recently I have intentionally not been doing that alone because one day I just woke up with this weird upper back pain on the left side, and I find that exercise aggravates it and it's hilarious really. It's like a true classic. Designers, computers, and back pain. That's my that's my daily schedule after that, you know, maybe later in the day in the afternoon, I might do another round of work, but I still try to get all of the work that requires more focus and concentration done very early in the day, because that's definitely when I'm at my sharpest and I just feel motivated when it's bright outside and it just makes me feel better.



Megan Luedke

Graduating right after the pandemic began was certainly not the most enjoyable moment for many of its classmates when entering the job market. For Ed, though, he thought about it in a different way.



Edvinas Reika

I felt that a lot of people around me were kind of disappointed with this idea of having to be like stuck in their home. And now they can have all of these opportunities that the teachers and the university organize for you to like network with potential employers and stuff like that. But I actually was just like secretly excited about this.



Edvinas Reika

I was like, I can stay at home, and I can do my own little thing that I wanted to do. And it felt like, you know, some of that pressure was taken off me where, you know, you graduate. Now you have to like to get a job immediately and start your career. I was like, I have these a few months at least of time where it's like everything's almost frozen and I'm stuck in my bubble designing.



Edvinas Reika

And so why not try that, you know, and start putting my work out there? It kind of makes you almost redefine the things you actually want out of life and out of your career. And I think that explains the reason why most of my clients during the pandemic have actually been a lot of just other creatives and just regular folks who are kind of working on their new passion projects, regardless of the whole situation.



Edvinas Reika

I am just trying to embrace this pandemic. I think a lot of people have been forced off course into working full time remotely, and a lot of businesses have actually found that they prefer it this way right now and they might actually continue like that even once the pandemic is over. And I think it's exactly the same situation for me.



Edvinas Reika

Do it. I was like proven to me, even though I was going to try and attempt to do this regardless of the pandemic or not, but like the situation which forced me into doing it has actually proven me that it is very much possible, and I can sustain it. And honestly, like I said, regardless of the situation, I would not want to work in an office for Ed.



Megan Luedke

He treats his social media content creation as an exercise for his brain, constantly sharpening his design skills.



Edvinas Reika

It's probably not a good idea to start treating it completely like a job or like a brand or something like that, because then it can start to feel quite impersonal. And I don't think that people like that and I had that face two months ago where I had everything like I need my whole I'm really, really consistent. Like this is who I am, and these are, and this is the color palette that I work with, bottom line.



Edvinas Reika

And I found that, you know, almost accidentally would stay away from that. I would get a lot more engagement. So, I was like, why am I even doing this? Why am I trying to make a one-person brand when I can just be a person that does this work? And when people see that there is someone behind the word that they like, it's a lot easier for them to relate to it.



Edvinas Reika

And so, since I've done that, I get a lot more questions about like, what have you done? How have you done this? As opposed to like cool work, man.



Jens Bringsjord

Collaboration is cool and working with clients as a freelancer for Ed, it's really helped him connect with the clients he works with, produce great work and exceed their expectations.



Edvinas Reika

It becomes this like collaborative process where the client is really excited and almost even like grateful that you are working with them in turn, you know, they provide always very timely feedback and they're very concise and constructive. Also, another thing that I noticed since I started, like presenting myself more as a person is that people actually approach me the way you started the whole client relationship.



Edvinas Reika

It does not feel cold. It feels a little bit like you knew each other already. They had this layer of trust, I guess already that that's a really nice way. I would say just injecting some of that personality is a really good way of sifting through clients who just by accident happens to find your work and now they want something completely unrelated to it just because they know, or they see that you call yourself a graphic designer.



Edvinas Reika

Whereas, you know, if you if you really kind of an entire self with your work, people come to you and they're like, I saw this thing that you made, and I really like this particular thing and I want kind of something like that for my brand. And it's like, wow, thank you. I'm really grateful that you like this.



Edvinas Reika

And it's going to be a breeze because we're both really excited.



Jens Bringsjord

And has a clear vision in his mind on the type of work he puts out on the Internet to really bring in the clients he would like to work with.



Edvinas Reika

Right now. When you're putting your work out there, you have to be really mindful of what you're putting out there, not only because of cultural differences, but also because of the type of work and the type of clients that you would like to attract. And so now that I feel that at least recently my work has been quite vulnerable and quite raw, these are actually the type of clients that I attract.



Edvinas Reika

And not coincidentally, these same people also happen to be quite concise in the way they describe things. And like I said, when you start that client relationship, it is quite friendly.



Megan Luedke

Being mindful of how much work you're doing during the pandemic is really important. Right now, we're living in a time where our work and home lives are blurred. We might work and eat lunch at the computer, or we might work late into the night forgetting the hours in the day.



Edvinas Reika

So, if you really want to stay sane in the pandemic, I think it's important to learn how to draw that line. And that is not to say that you should work less or something like that, but you should be able to do perhaps more focused work. And then intentionally, if you're a person who loves to schedule, perhaps something that might work for you is intentionally scheduling fixation time when you're just trying to relax.



Edvinas Reika

You have all of these things inside your head like you should be doing more work and suddenly these things like, oh, you should just work more. It's not about how much you work, it's about how efficient you are. Suddenly those things don't mean anything to you anymore either, because you're like, If I will, if I'm so efficient, then I can do even more on top of that, which is not a good way to look at.



Megan Luedke

It, and is also really connecting with his audience through expressive emotions of his work by using quotes and captions that explain either his own perspective or how he's feeling, or simply to support the message he's trying to convey through his design.



Edvinas Reika

My work is kind of so vulnerable now, and I'm trying to touch on these emotions and try to communicate them visually. And I feel like right now, especially, I'm trying to cater to an audience that also feels that way. And rather than having this mindset that a lot of artists have, that your art is the message, and you should not explain it, I actually try to take the time, perhaps attach it to some quote that I really like and create some visuals for that.



Jens Bringsjord

And dedication and commitment both to his Instagram account and to his design practice, really has helped him propel him to succeed, even during a pandemic that's causing the design industry to adjust and change shape constantly.



Megan Luedke

Adaptability is key in this industry, and it has certainly focused his skills on being nimble in these trying times. We as designers should continue to strive to improve our skills.



Jens Bringsjord

But it's important to not purely think about just the end goal, but instead focus on the journey that takes us there.



Edvinas Reika

This is Design Atlas.



Jens Bringsjord

We hope you join us next Thursday as we travel to Scotland to meet up with internationally acclaimed photographers Saskia Coulson and Colin Tannin as they take us on their journey to Antarctica. Want us to remind you of when the next episode comes out. Simply subscribe to our email updates by visiting design atlas pod dot com.



Megan Luedke

To find out more about Administrator Griffin's Instagram and website links in the show notes, we definitely recommend you check them out.



Jens Bringsjord

Also, don't forget to join us for our next episode by subscribing to the show and leaving a positive review. We really appreciate it.



Megan Luedke

To learn more about Design Atlas and to sign up for updates, visit our website at Design Atlas podcast. If you want to get in touch with us or have a topic idea for our next episode, feel free to send us an email at Hello Design Atlas podcast or DM us on Instagram at Designer Inspired. Thanks for listening. I'm Megan Luedke.



Jens Bringsjord

And I’m Jens Bringsjord.



Have a show topic in mind?

We’re always on the look for new and exciting ideas.

What will you bring to the show?

Have a show topic in mind?

We’re always on the look for new and exciting ideas. What will you bring to the show?

Have a show topic in mind?

We’re always on the look for new and exciting ideas.

What will you bring to the show?

Sign up for our newsletter.

Join the Design Atlas newsletter for additional design resources and to stay in the loop. Don't miss out. If you don’t subscribe, you’ll never know.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Join the Design Atlas newsletter for additional design resources and to stay in the loop. Don't miss out. If you don’t subscribe, you’ll never know.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Join the Design Atlas newsletter for additional design resources and to stay in the loop. Don't miss out. If you don’t subscribe, you’ll never know.

©2021-2024 Design Atlas Podcast. All Rights Reserved.

Created with love in Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, CA.

©2021-2024 Design Atlas Podcast. All Rights Reserved.

Created with love in Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, CA.

©2021-2024 Design Atlas Podcast. All Rights Reserved.

Created with love in Barcelona, Spain and Los Angeles, CA.