Although Calgary-based graphic designer Shauna Luedtke formally began her education and career in 2007, she started creating long before that. “When I think back, I have always been a creative person. In elementary school, I spent more time making cover pages on my assignments than the assignments themselves. In junior high, I would cut out type and graphics from magazines and collage them on my walls with scotch tape. By high school, I was completely in love with photography and painting, and knew I wanted to go to art school.”
She studied visual communications at the Alberta College of Art & Design (ACAD) and got a job at a local advertising agency right after graduation. While Shauna was still in school, she started a side business — called Slip-offs — customizing canvas shoes like Vans, Converse, and TOMS. “I eventually started getting enough orders and, with help from my developer brother, created my own website so people could order online.” Slip-offs took off, and Shauna was featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and in the book Vans: Off the Wall.
”I love the process of taking
something complicated and
unusable, and making it beautiful
and easy to understand.”
Influences and inspiration
After several years working in the industry, Shauna realized her passion lies with “color, bold vector designs, typography, and pattern design. As long as I get to play with these things on a daily basis, I‘m a happy girl.”
She‘s also influenced by 1950s and 1960s design. She says, “The furniture, stamps, matchbooks, book covers, patterns, advertisements, TV shows — I always feel like I was born in the wrong decade. I try to go to antique markets as often as I can to find pieces to add to my growing 1960s Scandinavian Cathrineholm dish collection.”
Given her influences, the list of makers who inspire her is unsurprising, and includes Burton Kramer, Kaj Franck, Ray and Charles Eames, Saul Bass, Charley Harper, and Rudolph De Harak.
Solving problems and looking ahead
Like most designers, Shauna considers herself a problem solver: “I love the process of taking something complicated and unusable, and making it beautiful and easy to understand. I also get a rush of joy and fulfillment when I‘m creating. It just feels right.”
So what‘s next? “I don‘t know what lies ahead, but I‘m excited about the opportunity to do something new. I want to collaborate with other makers and create things that are useful and that people will love.”