We love supporting local artists here at Buck Wild Country so when Country Code was dreamt of we knew Katie & Jacob from Howdy Stranger Studio would be able to make this vision come to life. We were inspired by vintage college tees but wanted to put an Australian twist to the designs. A few messages, backwards and forwards both feeling super inspired Country Code was born.

We caught up with Katie & Jacob to talk about how Howdy Stranger Studio came about and the process behind their designs..

What inspired you to pursue a career in the art of graphic design?
We both have always loved visual art and graphic design.  Neither of us ended up working in graphic design as our 'career' but always had a lot of creative projects on the side.
We had very separate 'side hustles' in graphic design but always leaned on each other heavily when working on our individual brands.  One day we realised we should create a brand together as we always ended up working together anyway!

What is your favourite part of being a designer?
Getting to bring awesome ideas to life! It's so cool when someone brings you an awesome idea and you get to make it come alive.  We were sooo excited when Lacey came to us with the idea for these tee shirt designs and we had the best time working on them.

How do you stay up-to-date with current trends and incorporate them into your designs?
We find a lot of inspiration on instagram and pinterest, following other designers and brands that we like.  We also seem to find a lot of inspiration in everyday things like cool old fonts on random signs.  We are lucky that we get to design things that we like and want for ourselves!

Can you walk us through your design process, from concept to final product?
We often sit on an idea for a few days and let it grow before sitting down and sketching out the initial drawing.  I (Katie) am usually the ideas person and come up with a few concepts and Jacob hand draws it.  We then work on it together in Photoshop and Illustrator to take it from sketch to design!

How do you collaborate with clients to ensure their vision is reflected in the final design?
We like to get a pretty thorough idea of what our client wants before we get started.  If we are unclear we get them to send us reference pictures so we can get a picture of what they're after.

How do you ensure your designs are unique and stand out?
We always design for ourselves! We make sure every design we do is one that we are proud of and would wear or use ourselves. We love vintage, 70s, bohemian, western and palm springs vibes and bring them into every design we do.

What are some of your favourite design tools or programs to use?
We use photoshop and illustrator for all our designs.  And nothing beats good old pen and paper!

How would you describe your niche?
Retro western maximalist design!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
We have a little baby boy named Woody!

What is your wildest story?
We bought a 1988 Toyota Landscruiser (that we named Ketchup) and drove it from Townsville to Melbourne (almost).  The transmission was cooked by Prosepine but we somehow made it all the way to Mudgee NSW, albeit with lots of breakdowns (including smoke coming from the steering wheel) along the way! By Mudgee Ketchup couldn't even go over a speed bump. Ketchup rode the rest of the way to Melbourne on the back of a truck.  A year later we drove it back to Townsville with no break downs!

You can follow Katie & Jacobs journey @howdystrangerstudio

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