A Visit With | Allie Lehman


This is my first week freelancing full-time and I thought I’d kick it off with a new series that has been on the back burner for awhile. I never went to school for graphic design but fell in love with it so hard that I spent many late nights teaching myself and can now say this is my job. That’s pretty awesome, right? No person has the same path and it’s so great to learn about others and where they began. I’ve always had an interest in other creatives and how they got started in their field so I wanted to start a new column asking a line of questions about their struggles, their path and any advice they can offer. My hope is that with this column it can inspire you to do what you love and find what makes you happy.

I’m so happy to have Allie as our first creative this week. She’s been a great friend and inspiration during my journey as a designer and I’m so grateful that we have such a passionate lady in our community. She wears many hats; she’s a designer, blogger, photographer, business owner and a year ago started The Wonder Jam with her husband. Busy is an understatement. Learn more about her below:

Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Allie and I live in Columbus, Ohio with my husband (who also happens to be my business partner) and our dog Desh. I love Ohio because I get to experience all four seasons and I’m pretty close to the east coast. I’m a graphic designer, photographer, author and own two businesses full-time!

Describe your path to becoming a designer:
I took private painting classes for many years as a child. I actually grew up selling realistic oil and watercolor paintings as a kid for $300-$400 each. Little did I know that that was just the beginning of my “creative life” and entrepreneurship. After high school, I chose to study graphic design because it seemed more profitable. I honestly didn’t fall in love with designing until after I graduated but I’m so glad I did!

What’s a typical workday like for you?
I tend to wake up between 7-9am depending on what my schedule looks like that day. Lately I’ve been starting full day photoshoots around 8am and so those are the days where I’m up and ready to conquer a day in the studio or off site. On my IDEAL days, I wake up and have time to myself in the morning, allow myself large chunks of time to create things and end my work day around 6pm! I keep email checking to a minimum (9am, 2pm and 5pm) which makes life wonderful.

You’re a business owner, a designer, a photographer, a blogger + co-wrote an e-book. How do you stay sane?
I’m not sure that I AM sane. Sort of kidding. It’s been a really huge obstacle to attain sanity and balance. I think it helps that I work with a lot of my friends (we hire each other, collaborate) and my husband. I can walk to our studio, our cost of living is low and I get to do anything that I want to do. There are times it’s crazy, I don’t sleep and break down crying but at the end of the day they were my decisions.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Working with really, really amazing business owners, contractors and clients. We’re finally at a sweet spot where we can be really pick with who we work with and it’s an amazing group of people.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge of being a designer?
Creating something that someone else will love. It’s pretty amazing that I can talk to a client for hours, pull out things that I think will resonate with them and then create something that they can own. That’s hard! And scary (if you ask me).

What’s your favorite design ritual? Something you do during your process that’s the most fun or exciting?
I listen to Beyonce really loud and distract myself with something other than design. My best work comes out after visualizing it and allowing that part of my brain to rest.

Any advice you would give to someone wanting to be a designer?
Design things that you’d enjoy looking at, always have a reason for what you create + watch YouTube tutorials on how to use tools, tablets, software and gear.

Who is inspiring you at the moment?
I just co-authored and published a book with my friend and peer, Claire Deane. She’s graceful, talented and real.

Find Allie here:

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  • Stoked about this series. Can’t get enough about learning from other creatives and inspiring people in general. Thanks for taking the time to seek them out and share them on here!

  • First off, congratulations again on taking the leap! Second, I absolutely LOVE this new series of yours and I can’t wait to learn more! And third, Allie is awesome! I’ve been reading her blog for awhile now and have even skyped with her and my friend Melissa when I still in Philly. She’s such an inspiration for other entrepreneurs and creatives trying to carve their own path to success.

    Cheers to being your own boss!

  • I love her day structure and am so admiring the idea of checking e-mail three times a day. It sounds like Allie has a great feel of what works for her professionally and creatively, and what doesn’t, and that’s certainly admirable. Love this column idea and am looking forward to more!