Creative Women & ProjectsInterviews

Design Milk’s Jaime Derringer On Design, Art And Curating Awesomeness

By September 6, 2016 No Comments

Jaime Derringer is the founder and editor of Design Milk which she launched in 2006. Since then, Design Milk has received over 153 million pageviews and has millions of readers worldwide. We’ve known Design Milk for a while now and been awed by the quality of curation on the platform. So, on one interesting day, we had the opportunity to chat virtually with this creative woman whom we have admired for years!

In addition to being the founder of Design Milk, she is also an explorer of shapes and colours, using layering as a guide. She is a believer in embracing happy accidents and approaching each piece as an experiment. Her inspiration includes the study of the Japanese language, the 80s and 90s, electronic music, celebrations/parties, fireworks, space exploration and sci-fi, undersea creatures, topography, cartography, plated food, and architecture.

So, meet Jaime Derringer of Design Milk.

Jaime Derringer of Design Milk

For Creative Girls: We are absolutely in awe of you! What experiences and encounters have shaped your career in Art, Design and the Creative world?
Jaime Derringer: Oh gosh! So many. Where do I start?
As a young girl, my grandmother often took me to the art store instead of the toy store. I was always creative and driven, however, never really saw a future making art. I think there are a few things that have encouraged me to create. The internet has really helped me in the sense that it showed me all of the possible options for a creative life. I see people making things all day… Also, through Design Milk, I’ve built relationships and friendships with creative people who both support and encourage me. The internet also allows me to reach and share with many more people. When I had a baby, I started to feel a need to create more, to express myself. That’s when I really started making art.

How did Design Milk start? What challenges did you face in those early days of building Design Milk?
Design Milk started as a side project when I was bored. I was looking for sofas for my house and stumbled upon modern furnishings and blogs and ended up deciding to create my own blog in which I could bookmark all the cool things I was finding online.

Design Milk has always brought me challenges from Day 1, which is probably why I’m never bored anymore. I basically had to teach myself HTML, CSS, programming commands, web design and development, graphic design, all kinds of things I’d never done before. Nowadays, it keeps me on my toes because the internet is moving so fast: people are digesting and consuming information in a different way and it constantly changes. Therefore, I feel like I’m always learning.

Jaime Derringer Art

What’s the mission of Design Milk? How do you select the best news in design and what are the criteria for choosing great work?
Oh! it’s not easy – we have to turn away a lot of the submissions we receive. We still publish 6x a day, which is a lot, but it’s only about 5-10{7516946f8b0c1a6ede41439c3ae11d430d01c6cb1788b8e4cf8ff90b3f78e65d} of what we receive and see on a daily basis. All of the content still goes through me, so I’m still the final say as to whether something gets published. I look for things I haven’t seen before, from methods to materials to forms. I’m always surprised that I find new things

In your 10 years of running Design Milk, what are the things that have remained constant in the design world? And what are the things that have changed and shape-shifted often?
Trends, as you know, shift and cycle. Change feels like the only constant thing! However, one concept has remained the same—at least in the 10 years I’ve been doing this—is that function is king. If your product isn’t functional, then it’s art. Another thing that I find is a constant is that something can always be improved, made better, changed to adapt tour current lifestyle. Look at the phone, books, shopping, vehicles… These things have changed form, have added functionality…but are still in essence, doing the same thing. They’ll continue to change. Any maybe one day they’ll go away altogether, change into something completely different… Who knows!

Design Milk

What’s your definition of creativity?
Creativity is being able to come up with ideas and/or solutions on your own. I know that sounds super boring, but a lot of time there are criteria or restrictions, especially in design. However, art is different. I think creativity in art has more freedom.

What are your favourite websites apart from Design Milk?
I don’t visit too many websites anymore, especially in the design world. Most of the time when I’m online, I’m working. However, I do stop to check Facebook and Pinterest… and Instagram (but I use the app). Design Milk

We like to understand how routines help or do not help creative people. In your opinion, are routines crucial for productivity/creativity? Do you have a daily routine?
Routines are only for those who work well with routine. Everyone is different. I like routine—it keeps me productive. I get up every day, take my daughter to school, exercise, and work at my desk. When I’m out of my routine, it’s harder for me to focus. I feel comfort in the repetition, the knowing… However, in my non-work life, I appreciate spontaneity… especially when I’m making art.

We also love AdornMilk, being big fans of eccentric Jewellery. What led you to create AdornMilk?
Well, my love for eccentric jewellery started a few years ago and just grew and grew to the point where I amassed a nice little collection. People were always asking me where I got my jewellery and I would always forget, so I decided to create a place to send people who inquired. Our mission at Design Milk is to expose good design to as many people as possible, and Adorn Milk also follows that same mission, but you can buy it too.Adorn Milk

Adorn Milk

Okay, this question may be a tad odd. A lot of Creatives we know have pondered and assumed that you probably don’t feature a lot of designs from Africa. Do you think this assumption is true, or is it a case of Africans not sending in their work often?
We don’t get a lot of submissions from Africa, but I don’t know if that’s because they’re not creating a lot of modern design or if it’s because they’re not sending it. I think it’s a matter of exposure. I wish I knew more about African design… there must be people making modern design, furniture, products and/or building modern homes in Africa… we’d love to hear from them!

What advice do you have for beginners in the creative world?
My best advice to you is to make a lot of work, even if it’s not “good” in your opinion. Being prolific will lead you to finding out who you are as an artist or a designer. Also, don’t ever think you can’t do something.

To see and experience more of Jaime’s amazingness, follow her on Instagram, her website and on Twitter.

Portrait images by Noa Azoulay | and other images are from Design Milk.

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