The question isn’t Where can you find Charli Marie? but rather Where can’t you find Charli Marie? The London-based designer/developer works in-house at ConvertKit, but is active on YouTube, Dribbble, Twitter, and Instagram. Marie even hosts a podcast all about design with Femke van Schoonhoven. To top it all off she’s lecturing at HOW Design Live this May, where she’ll be rooting for in-house design and designers. Despite her packed schedule, Marie made time to chat with me about design, working in-house, and being the best at what you do.
Marie’s lecture, A Day In The Life Of An In-House Designer, will show attendees her own design process and how she overcomes challenges as an in-house marketing designer. The secret? Make yourself invaluable. It happens when you take what you have—or don’t have—and prove your mettle time and time again.
“Don’t give up,” she told me, and most of all, be accountable for everything that happens, including your attitude. As an in-house designer, since you’re not working with different clients from project to project like you would at an agency or studio, it can be easy—and incorrect—to feel trapped. The same client, the same media, the same people. Imagine Bill Murray’s character Phil in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, the same events play out over and over and over and over… you get the picture.
That kind of a rut happens when you let it happen, especially if, as Marie says, you’re easily imposed on. The solution? Don’t be meek. Break out of the box whenever and wherever you can. If you’re given a project that requires you to produce one thing, even if it’s a routine project, rethink your approach.
“Hear what they want, take it apart and come back with something great,” says Marie. When given the choice of doing what you’re asked to do or solving the problem, solve the problem. Marie faced a similar situation at ConvertKit when she had to design a Cyber Monday campaign. “The team asked me if we could just reuse the template from last year, but because the previous year’s offer had been quite different it wouldn’t have done this year’s offer, a bundle of products, justice by cramming it into the old template. So instead I created a mini-brand around our bundle offer and a brand new landing page to promote it.”
Not only is Marie an in-house designer at ConvertKit, but from my perspective, she’s also an educator. Marie’s YouTube channel, aptly named CharliMarieTV, has over 120,000 subscribers as of this writing, and includes a wealth of videos that teach viewers about tools, portfolios, freelancing, and of course, in-house design. Work from home? There’s a video covering that too. The videos are fun, educational, and inspirational. Femke van Schoonhoven, who partners with Marie to produce the Design Life podcast, calls Marie “one of the most motivated and ambitious people I know.”
When you look at just how much Marie makes, van Schoonhoven, who’s known Marie for years, believes it happens because of hard work and focus. “She optimizes her day for maximum efficiency and productivity while respecting time for rest and leisure. Alongside waking up early to work on side projects before her day job, Charli not only sets goals but has a system for managing tasks and breaking to-do items down into small steps. That way even if it’s a small task, she’s always moving towards her dream.”
From my own conversation with Marie, I could tell that being busy—on big or small tasks—is exactly how she likes it. Moreover, she’s always looking for ways to improve, and sets achievable goals to do so. If becoming a better in-house designer is your goal, be sure to attend Marie’s lecture A Day In The Life Of An In-House Designer to get to the root of the matter. Register for HOW Design Live now and start counting down the days until you can get to hear from Marie in person.