Meet Designer James Frewin

Meet Designer James Frewin

This week on #TheBite, we're chatting to Freelance Designer James Frewin. James talks to us about the importance of doing what you love and finding fulfilling work, as well as his addiction to hair cuts!

Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you came to be doing that?
I'm a freelance designer specialising in UI/UX design for apps and websites. I mainly work with Startups and Investment Funds in London and the US, and I'm currently in the process of launching my own design agency – OCTOBER®.
I first started messing around with photoshop in year 8 from YouTube tutorials designing artwork for people's YouTube channels, then started experimenting with redesigning websites like Facebook and ended up finding a course at university that was pretty close to Web Design/App Design. A tonne of YouTube tutorials, twitter threads and cold emailing later and I'm lucky enough to do it as a job, fully freelance! 😅
What drives you to do what you do?
I've always been into art, design and the aesthetics of things. And I guess I really love seeing what can be created within the constraints that exist to create a better product or a nicer experience for a customer, whether it's a mobile app or a car, or the software on the screen in the car that you interact with. They're all interesting problems to me and all come with their own unique constraints.

Following this past year of COVID19 and the global upheaval we’ve all experienced in different ways, we at BOBBIE’S feel that as a result we’re really feeling the need for more ‘balance’ in life; balance in the choices we make, balance for a healthy mindset, finding balance in the things we enjoy and balancing what we all do with the way we put back into society and support others.

How has your perspective on life or work perhaps altered given your experiences of this past year?
That's a great question. Yeah absolutely, I think it's definitely changed. For one I'm more sure than ever that it's important for people to really think about what they love doing and if the work they're doing is actually fulfilling for them. I'm so so lucky to have the freedom to do what I love and I think the pandemic has made people think about what they want to do every day.

Where you do see the need or the advantages of balance in your own work/life perspectives?
Whenever I take time off for a week or even just a couple of days I always come back feeling re-energised and ready to design but I never really plan time off, it's always very last minute. I'm definitely making more of a conscious effort to take time off with friends and family now!

When it comes to balancing treats and moderation -
What’s your biggest #treatyoself indulgence?
I HAVE to get my hair cut super regularly. Like every 8-9 days regularly. If it's been longer than that you straight up just wont see me out and about. A fresh trim feels sooo good and thats probably the main one I have. I guess the other one is refusing to take any calls/meetings before like 11am so I can have a chilled morning and breakfast. Wow this makes me sound like such a jackass 🤣

Your self-care non-negotiables?
I know that I really hate working in an office 9-5, 5 days a week, it's one of the reasons I decided to go freelance was so I could work on my own schedule and do better work. So I really try to stop myself from agreeing to projects where I'm based in a clients office every day. I did it for a while when I started freelancing and although I loved being around great people every day it just didn't make me super happy so I try not to negotiate on that any more. I hope that counts as a self-care non-negotiable.

During a busy period, how do you stay balanced?
It's pretty hard actually. I have some amazing friends who are always more than happy to tell me when I'm working too late or too hard which happens fairly frequently. I went through a patch of stopping work at 6pm and not working weekends but admittedly I'm not very good at keeping that balance, especially when things are super busy.

What do you do to relax? (activities, sports, indulgences, tv, cuisine, etc…)
I love watching football with friends and now that we're allowed back in stadiums I'm sooo happy. Thats definitely high on my list. And going out with friends to take photos! There's so many photogenic places around London so that's definitely been a good opportunity to switch off from work.

Your no.1 tip for a healthy mindset?
YOLO! 🤣 You only live once so don't spend time doing things you don't want to do!
Your ideal brownie combination?
What a question. Maybe something like Banana, Glacé Cherries and Chopped  Pecans could be cool, or I don't know if this is possible, but what about some kind of Lemon Drizzle Cake Brownie? That would be crazy. 
Maybe we could go the complete opposite way and do one with like chopped bacon bits. So many possibilities! All I'm saying is get me in the kitchen, I have ideas! They just might not be good ones...
Now for your recommendations, tell us about your favourite…

Restaurant or Dish you're loving?
Have you been to Eataly? I've been a few times now to try it out and they had a Galia Melon & Prosciutto starter. I love both of those things so I don't know why I've never been exposed to the combination but I'm obsessed. I used one of those 10-minute grocery delivery apps to deliver some melons and prosciutto to my flat this week and I've been having it every day for breakfast with these small cheeses from Lidl. It's like a small square Red Leicester and a Cheddar that they do and they're honestly so good. I must sound insane but honestly I feel like I've entered a new Post-Melon/Prosciutto/Cheese era of my life.

Series on Netflix?
Okay it's not on Netflix but I recently watched Clarkson's Farm on Amazon Prime and loved it. I pretty much enjoy anything that Jeremy Clarkson does and seeing him buy, build and run a farm through all the good and bad parts was so interesting. They just announced a Season 2 as well so I'm hyped.

Podcast you’re listening to?
I've never really been a big podcast listener so it's pretty rare for me to actually regularly listen to one. With that in mind I always go back to comedian Bill Burr's Monday Morning Podcast which is just Bill sitting alone ranting and raging about life. I don't know how he manages to be so entertaining just by himself but everything even down to the Q&As and the advertisements he does are all great. Definitely recommend. Next on my list is the Peter Crouch Podcast too as I've heard good things.

Most recent guilty pleasure?
Ugh probably Love Island to be honest. Even though this season has been pretty boring it's nice to watch something where I can just not think about anything for an hour. I also got introduced to Too Hot to Handle on Netflix which is in a similar vein and equally terrible and entertaining. 

Finally, Where can we find you online?
I'm most active on Instagram (@jamesfrewin) or on Twitter (@jamesfrewin1) – or you can find more info as well as see my work on my website at - thanks James!
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