Meg Lewis, an award-winning designer, comedian and performance artist loves clowns and mimes. As the owner of the design studio, Meg Lewis Fun House, Lewis has built her personal brand around joy and whimsy. She believes that staying true to herself and honoring her passions—even if other people think they’re silly—has been the key to her success.
Lewis is also on a mission to help all workers feel empowered to bring their authentic selves to work. We sat down with Lewis to discuss becoming an artist, finding one’s voice and vision, building authentic relationships with clients, and nurturing creativity with Slack as her digital HQ.
The following is a condensed transcript; answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Becoming an artist and finding design inspiration
Tell us about your journey to becoming a designer. What brought you to this career path?
I grew up with parents who allowed me to try as many hobbies and activities as I wanted with the goal of finding the thing that was the most fun for me. I took the same approach to my career.
Once I found design, I never looked back. Design allows me to have the most fun and play every day. But I wouldn’t have been able to find my way into design without first learning what I didn’t want.
How do you explain your design style and how does your personality come through into what you create?
My design style is a complete visual translation of my personality. I try to make sure my design style matches perfectly with the Meg you meet in real life and I think I do a darn good job of it!
Where do you find motivation for your designs when you are struggling with productivity and inspiration?
I have a brain that is just as impressionable as the next human’s, so I try my darndest to not look at other designers’ work to get inspiration. If I do, I find myself making work that looks like someone else’s and not my own.
When I’m looking for inspiration, I remember to look inward. What are the things that have always brought me inspiration throughout my life? Mimes! Okay, let’s look at pictures of mimes. I do this exercise as many times with various points of inspiration over and over until I get re-centered with who I am and what makes me unique.
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Building strong client relationships by staying true to yourself
You focus a lot on finding and staying true to your personal style as it pertains to your day-to-day communication with your team members and clients. Can you share the importance of bringing your personal style into day-to-day activities?
We’re taught early in our lives that we need to transform into a serious, professional, academic version of ourselves in order to excel in the workplace. The first few years of my professional life were spent pretending to be a dry, serious version of myself to be taken “seriously” as a designer.
And, of course, that led to work that was very dry, serious, and academic, such as medical brochures and websites for pharmaceutical companies. I was miserable because my personality and interests aren’t dry and serious at all.
Once I started injecting my true personality into my email writing and copywriting on my website, everything changed for the better. I started getting more clients that were aligned with my interests—clients who wanted to be around me for who I truly am, not a curated, serious version of myself.
You’ve created fonts, gifs and sticker packs that can be used in various communication tools. What do you hope these creative add-ons achieve in people’s day-to-day communications?
I’m here on this planet to make the world a happier place. Whether it’s small interactions at the coffee shop, giving talks on stage, or through my design work, I love being able to make someone feel better than they did before they interacted with me or my work.
My fonts, gifs, and sticker packs are no different. They’re designed to make people feel good, and I just love that they make me feel good too.
Recently, I designed a set of Slack-branded digital stickers and I’m so excited about them! Now you can add Slack gifs to your Instagram stories.
How has expressing yourself through your creativity positively affected your mental health?
Prioritizing having fun every day has made such an impact on my overall fulfillment and happiness level. And being able to channel my unique personality into the work I create means I’m not only able to show up to work as myself every day, but I’m able to have fun doing it too. The more I’m myself through my work, the more opportunities I get. It’s the ultimate confidence boost!
Boosting creativity with Slack as the digital HQ
When it comes to using Slack, which features do you use to foster work-life balance?
I’ve built a lifestyle and career as a freelancer that allows me to work whenever the inspiration strikes. I’m often working early in the morning or late at night, but I like to respect traditional work hours with 9am-5pm weekdays because I know not everyone is wired the way I am.
That’s where the schedule messages feature comes in. If I have a creative idea at 11:07pm, I can send my genius idea in Slack and schedule the message to send at 10:00am the following weekday.
How do you create a positive work environment when interacting with your team virtually?
Everyone deserves to have a work environment that allows them to be themselves. Slack’s channel-based messaging promotes conversation, as opposed to constant work requests. In Slack, my coworkers and I can have fun chats throughout the day that help get to know each other as individuals, but it’s also a place to hand off designs, files and keep work nicely organized.
How can remote and hybrid workers share their personality at work?
We’re often scared to show who we really are because we’re afraid of being different and being judged as a result. But once you’re able to break through that fear and begin showing your true self at work, you’ll inspire others to do the same, creating a more fulfilling work environment.
Reacjis and GIFs absolutely help, so does dressing and writing in a way that represents your unique self. It’s so important that we show up as ourselves, not only for our own self-esteem and happiness, but because we can help others to feel safe to do the same.