To say that I have a “thing” for Rebecca Pollock is a bit of an understatement.
I first encountered Rebecca’s design work via an online friend. I was instantly drawn to her playful yet sophisticated aesthetic. So, when I began to think about searching for a web designer for the very 1st iteration of The Girl Who Knows, I knew that Rebecca was my gal.
We have now worked together on three websites and countless small design projects. I rave about her to EVERYONE (yes I realize this could become annoying). I quite literally think the world of her as a person, a friend and as a brilliantly gifted designer. She has an impeccable eye, attention to detail and is oh-so-pleasant to do “business” with (and equally as pleasant to break bread with – which is always a consideration in my book).
Rebecca was on my short list of voices that I knew would be a welcome addition to The Girl Who Knows. I’m so happy that she said yes!
Check out this fun GET TO KNOW Q+A with the beautiful + talented Rebecca Pollock – we talk all things design + business + wood-fired pizza’s (yum!).
To kick this party off, tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you originally from? Where do you live now? What do you do in the world? What do you love? (yep, that’s a lot of questions)
I grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon, but I call Brooklyn home. I started out wanting to be a fine artist, but I struggled to convert this into paying work, so I went back to school to study design. I discovered that I was a better designer than an artist, so I went full steam ahead into learning the basics of typography and layout, until I finally became comfortable with my new identity. I’m now proud to say that I’m a graphic designer.
I mention my early aspirations because I think it characterizes the kind of designer I’ve become. I’m driven by desire to absorb the world with wide-open eyes and then express universal ideas in a unique way. I don’t just want to create pretty things. I want to touch people’s hearts.
Why did you decide to go solo and start your own freelance design studio?
My first job out of design school was at a big ad agency. By this point, I was several steps removed from being a fine artist, so I embraced the commercial side of design. But shilling giant corporate products in quick-and-dirty ad campaigns felt too far removed from what I really wanted. I got sucked into the stability of the job as well as the energy of being around other creative people all day, so I stayed at the job for over five years.
While I was there, I started doing small design projects for friends and then friends of friends until I had a steady flow of freelance clients. I knew it was time to quit my day job when I developed chronic eye twitching due to lack of sleep and an overdose of screen time. Now I’m 100% devoted to designing things for small businesses and creative people. Most of my clients are independent spirits like me, so I relate to their goals and authentic sensibilities. In the same way that I needed to let go of fine art in order to become a decent designer, I needed to let go of my day job in order to become the designer I actually want to be.
I love that! Letting go can be so hard, but always necessary for our evolution and to live our purpose. Speaking of purpose – I’m curious what do you feel is important about the work you do in the world, as a designer?
I’m a very visual person, so the way things fit together to produce either harmony or tension is a constant fascination. Design is about understanding how visual elements can be used to create different effects. Sometimes the goal is to create beauty, peace or clarity. Other times, the intent is to disrupt, educate or confound. Well-executed design draws attention to important things and has the potential to change perspectives.
How do you stay motivated and inspired in your work and life?
I try to attend lectures and talks around the city as much as possible. I especially love seeing other designers talk about their work. I always come away with new ideas and clarity on what I could be doing better. There’s nothing like comparing yourself to supremely impressive people to nudge you out of your comfort zone.
I also love seeing movies by myself. Matinees are the best. It’s such a treat to shut out the rest of the world and let myself get truly absorbed in a great story. And for feeling fully alive and like a kid again: riding my bike at night. Summer nights are king, but any night will do.
Mmm, summer bike rides. I can close my eyes and feel it. So good! That’s a great segue into the senses (which we’re all about at TGWK). What’s your predominant or most favorite sense? And how do you use your senses to help you live a more rich + fulfilling life?
Damn, I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. They’re all so important. Seeing is the obvious choice for my job, but strangely, I still think I could still be happy without sight as long as I had other means to be creative.
Touch is very important to me. I pamper my sensitive skin with high-quality fabrics like well-made clothes, good sheets and thick towels. There’s a seafood restaurant in my neighborhood that I like, except for the fact that they have these scratchy, polyester napkins. It’s a small detail, but using these napkins disrupts what would otherwise be a great experience.
Being highly tuned into my senses makes me aware of all kinds of details like this. I know that every little thing matters, and this helps me to create better experiences―both for myself and for others. I apply this sensitivity to my design work, to the way I cook and share meals and the way I cultivate a comfortable atmosphere at home.
You touched on this above, but why do you think the senses so important?
The senses connect us to pleasure. They communicate beauty in a visceral, non-intellectual way. They make us feel alive and connected.
What are some of your favorite ways to indulge your senses?
Cooking with farm fresh ingredients, driving with the windows down, riding my bike, getting into bed with clean sheets, listening to music while drinking wine and laying in the grass on a sunny day.
What are some of your favorite things (that light up your senses)?
I love going out to great restaurants. One of my favorites is Franny’s in Brooklyn. They do wood-fired pizza, simple pasta and seasonal small plates. It’s located on a crappy stretch of Flatbush Avenue next to a Weight Watchers center and a kidney dialysis center. When you walk in the door, the smell of the wood oven transports me to another world. I forget about the teeming city and relax into the sensual pleasures of a humble, but delicious meal.
I’m making a mental note for when I’m in NYC next time. Sounds delish! On another note . . . we’re big birthday fans around here, what is your dream way to spend your birthday?
Rent a cabin for the weekend with close friends. Make lavish breakfasts, lay around, swim, gab, have dinner outdoors, drink wine and gaze at the stars.
And one final question: what do you know, for sure?
Pleasure is healthy.
Thank you so much for sharing more about you + your life Rebecca! You’ve got a fan for life right here. So blessed to have you be a part of The Girl Who Knows (in so many ways)!
Head over to Rebecca’s Contributor page to get in touch with her on her website + to say hi to her around the ‘web. I definitely recommend checking out her amazing portfolio on her site – if you’re looking for a web designer, look no further.
Hope you enjoyed today’s GET TO KNOW feature. I’ll be back with another exciting Q+A next week (along with a fun giveaway)!