Design Boutique is a graphic and web design business that was set up by me, Thomasina Smith, a freelance graphic and digital designer, in 2009.

I live in Crystal Palace, South London and work from my sunny home studio next to Crystal Palace Park. I often team up with copywriters, photographers and web developers for design projects. My dog, Marley, keeps me company the rest of the time.

I grew up near St. Ives, Cornwall, my parents have been self-employed my whole life so it just seems ‘normal’ to run a business. I have always been interested in the marketing and design side of business in particular. Dad is a physicist, he manufactures products that he has developed and sells to science labs, universities and individuals worldwide. Mum is a classic childrenswear designer, with a strong focus on special occasions (think exquisite silk bridesmaid dresses and pageboy outfits, Liberty print shirts and party dresses). All handmade in the UK, she sells her designs all over the world too.

I worked part-time at the Tate St. Ives while doing my A-Levels in Graphic Design, Textile Design and Business Studies at Truro College, after which I went on to spend a year doing a Foundation in Art and Design at Falmouth College of Art, before studying for my degree in Graphic Design with Illustration at Bath Spa University. I graduated in July 2006 with a 2:1.

My first job in the design industry was as a graphic designer for a marketing agency in Surrey. While I was there I designed logos, brochures, posters, large in-store displays for Sainsbury’s and created animations. I also taught myself to code so that I could build websites for their clients.

I have since worked as a freelance digital designer for digital agencies, advertising agencies, and directly for lots of lovely clients. Clients I’ve worked for range from small businesses such as interior and childrenswear designers through to some of the big ones. My portfolio includes work for L’Oréal, Ted Baker London, Dell, Unilever, Ugg and Rebel Kitchen to name a few. This experience has given me a fascinating insight into different types of business, how they function, their marketing strategies and resources.

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