ACID member Rachael Taylor is a surface pattern designer, multiple business owner, and best selling author. Rachael co-runs Make it in Design, which offers a platform to enrich and develop other creatives through their inspiring and informative online lessons, courses, and webinars. She not only succeeds as a successful woman in design, but strives to teach others how to build their own ability and accomplishments. Her bestselling debut book ‘Power Up Your Creativity’ topped the charts and is now sold globally and in bookshops.
On top of her creative and business achievements, Rachael is also a mother, and stands as a testament to the true strength and ability of women in design and business. Women often have to be the main caregivers at home whilst reaching outstanding results in their careers. This element of the multi-faceted roles women must fill, needs to be celebrated.
1. What is your role in the design industry? i.e., business or job role?
Co-Founder of global online design school Make it in Design and award-winning Creative Director, Bestselling Author, Mentor and Print and Pattern Designer.
2. Can you name any three women who inspire you, and why? Past or present
My mum has to be number one. Not only is she my biggest supporter but she could also shake the world with her resiliency, bravery, and strength. Her approach to living life to the fullest is a beautiful example to many. No matter what absurd idea I have, or when I’m running a million miles an hour on a project or have even fell in a big slump from exhaustion, she is the person who has my back. She never doubts me for a single second, encourages me but never pushes me, and has always given me freedom to just figure out who I am. I’m forever grateful for her style of parenting and being my inspiration and my rock.
My creativity as a child led me to pursue an artistic path in high school, and along with a truly inspirational teacher, Ali—aka Miss McWatt, who saw the potential in me—my creativity saw me through some extreme episodes of bullying at crucial times in my education. I even had to change schools. Her faith in me and tireless support helped nurture my talent and bring my confidence and grades back up, and I left high school feeling recharged and ready to show the world what I was made of. Looking back, I do try to carry the lessons and encouragement she showed me into my own business ethics and teachings for Make It In Design, an online design school that I cofounded. My education platform is really all about showing people that they can create—that they can be successful, regardless of what they’ve been through. Yes, that means you too!
I would also say that Emily Coxhead is a huge source of inspiration. Her positivity is just so infectious and I love how she is always spreading happy and good news. I adore her branding and authenticity and how she wants to make the world a happier place. My son also loves her book ‘Find Your Happy’ and it was such a joy to read it with him.
3. Tell us one thing which people may not know about you? Personally or design associated.
I was part of every step of the process of my new book Power Up Your Creativity! From the writing to the layout design to the marketing. It was a very special and unique experience and it’s not often authors get to say they actually designed their book too! I feel so proud of the end result and grateful to my publisher Quarto for the opportunity.
4. Do you feel there are challenges for women in the design industry? Do you have any personal stories to share?
Yes absolutely. From my own personal perspective as a mum and multiple business owner, I’ve found that whenever I accept a job or a project, I’ve been cautious sharing that I have to plan around childcare. I’ve found myself worrying sometimes that I could be judged for being less capable or not being as committed. I would then feel ashamed of myself and frustrated for acting differently when in fact it’s a strength, that as a working mum I can multitask so spectacularly, and not a weakness. This is something I now try to celebrate and be honest about as an example to other working creative women and companies. We can sometime wear the busy badge of honour when in fact it’s a privilege and something to be grateful for to have such full lives.
I also know there is still a huge gender pay gap, even in the creative industries and it’s important for the companies or brands that work with us to recognise this and act on it.
5. There tends to be a large rise of women in design, which is brilliant, but less women seem to hold higher positions in larger businesses. What do you think the design industry could do to redress this imbalance?
I would love to see more female CEO’s paving the way. It’s all about getting the example out there and in front of women. To see more women and female founded companies, instead of being shy about their success, really embracing their achievements, and sharing with their audiences that these things are possible. It’s not about being the competition but being the example that these things can happen, and they can show you there is a path to success. Having more authentic and honest female voices can show that success can be for everyone.