Keely Spedding completed a Bachelor of Design
Keely is a graphics and textiles designer and creative director of The Keely Collective. She has had a love for fashion, art, and creativity since childhood and finds inspiration through travel.
Keely has been lucky enough to travel extensively and experience the unique expressions of other cultures in fashion and design, and the influence this has on the design industry. Finding inspiration in everything that is new or different, she visits a myriad of places and loves a creative challenge.
Keely’s love of fashion inspired her to complete extensive studies in Fashion Design, gaining a Certificate II (Metropolitan South), Diploma of Graphic Design (Southbank Institute of Technology), Certificate IV in Photoimaging (RMIT) and a Bachelor of Design Majoring in Textiles and Graphics at UNSW Art & Design. She spent many years working as a graphic designer before returning to her biggest passions, fashion, and textiles design. Through her creative work, she is committed to helping clients to transform their dream designs and concepts into reality.
Keely’s patterns are intricately illustrated with various mediums, such as hand drawings, watercolour painting, photography, and digital manipulations. Her travels and travel photography inspire her unique colour combinations, both drawn from nature, visiting vintage markets, bookstores, old movies, fashion runways, magazines and exploring all of nature’s intricacies. In her work she aims to push creative boundaries, with specific attention to precision and execution.
At UNSW Art & Design we encourage our students to explore the breadth of career opportunities available to them. The Design Your Future
series showcases the journeys of our unique and inspiring design alumni.
Tell us a bit about your career in design? Were there any pivotal moments on the path to where you are now?
I studied a Bachelor of Design Majoring in Graphic Media and Textiles, I guess my career started throughout studying, I did about 3 internships throughout my studies in Design, one of which was with the UNSW Blitz Magazine as a graphic designer. I wanted to make sure I had enough experience as I could get before graduating to make sure I had a competitive edge once I left university. I then went on to get a job as a graphic designer and marketing assistant in Sydney which offered a new challenge in marketing, promoting products and services, organising events, designing promotional material, product and services photography and video editing. I also worked in a graphic design studio in Brisbane which gave me the opportunity to work with many high-profile property development companies as well as a wide variety of clients.
While I worked in the industry as a graphic designer for several years, I always loved the fashion industry and creating art. So, throughout my career as a graphic artist I was also at home creating textiles prints. I wanted to merge the two skill sets and create my own business where “The Keely Collective” offers its clients design packages in both graphic design and branding for starting up a new label, as well a textiles design packages for custom exclusive prints, and an online print shop that offers non-exclusive print options at a lower cost.
Now I am in the process of starting my own fashion label and am excited about seeing where this new journey in my career takes me.
Most rewarding aspect of a career in design?
Waking up each day and loving my job, being creatively challenged and problem-solving when being presented a new client project and once you have completed your project being proud of what I have accomplished.
Most interesting design challenge / project you’ve worked on?
The most challenging project I have worked on was starting my own business and working on my new clothing label. It teaches you how to really goal set and to meet your weekly/monthly/yearly goals, use your time management skills and dedicate time to market research, sourcing manufacturers with sustainable material, quoting, pricing, contracts, marketing, photography as well as all your usual skills in designing and creating and dealing with clients and customer relations.
What about your UNSW experience has helped you in your career?
I loved that UNSW had a focus on sustainability and conceptual thinking, it challenged the way I thought about problems that need to be solved and has helped me with my design process today, as well as the documentation side of the journaling process that I still use to save all my design ideas and to come back to at a later point if I want to expand on those design ideas.
I also had lots of other opportunity given to me by my course, like extra-curricular projects and I got to teach some school student basic photoshop skills at the event A Day at UNSW that really help in providing more experience to my resume.
One skill you learnt at UNSW Art & Design that has been in-valuable?
Journaling – how to problem solved all my ideas and to track the process of my designs & ideas to come back to if needed and to expand on further. This is something that I use in my career as a designer today, and when you have a million ideas stuck in your head it can get overwhelming so it’s a good way to get everything onto paper and to deep dive into when needed.
Time management skills and goal setting is something I learnt throughout my university experience that has been in-valuable, as well as learning about sustainability and ethical practices and getting inspired by the people that are making big changes in the industry they were some of my favourite lectures.
Designing Your Future – one piece of advice for aspiring designers?
Do what you love and are passionate about, because it will show through in your work if you are making things you love. To not be afraid to start your own business even if you don’t feel like you have the skills required yet, it’s something you learn on the job, sometimes you just have to throw yourself into the deep end otherwise you will never be ready.