Lora Osmond, Senior Creative
In my ongoing mission to talk with every member of psLondon about what makes them tick, I managed to nab half an hour of time with our Senior Designer, Lora. In a team full of creatives, Lora still stands out for her inventiveness and curiosity. She’s incredibly creative and is able to spark ideas in others too.
As always, I started off by asking Lora what she does at psLondon and why she does it.
LO: I am a senior creative at psLondon, and I’ve been with ps for four years now. I joined because I liked the dynamic of the team and what psLondon do, in that they don’t just do one thing. That variety suits me because I really like working on different projects, different brands, projects that might last two days or two years. That’s exciting.
I’m more of a conceptual thinker and like to think I bring a lot to meetings. I don’t mind saying the wrong thing, because I quite like what that brings out in people. It’s about creating discussion and debate, and I don’t think everybody should have the same opinion. Often, disagreements stimulate new thought processes and new directions.
Lora’s equally bold in the way she approaches her life outside of work. I only recently learned that she’s psLondon’s resident outdoor adventurer, and that she’s been on some pretty epic trips. I wanted to know more.
LO: I love that title—“outdoor adventurer”. It might be a bit of an overstatement, but I’m certainly an outdoorsy, country-loving person. I come from Somerset, and have always been horse riding and things like that. But in the last few years, I’ve gone on more ambitious trips. I’ve learnt how to snowboard and explored the Galapagos Islands and Sumatra. Those were incredible experiences.
“I love exploring nature, and putting myself outside of my comfort zone.”
There are things I want to see, and both those places struck me as interesting places to go. I’m especially drawn to places that are less touristy, where I can find my own way. Our lives are very planned out, so when you go on holiday it’s an opportunity to break away from that. You don’t know what you’re going to see or what’s coming next—you might do a bit of map pointing, but there’s still that element of surprise.
Lora’s love of nature is intertwined with conservation, which is something she seems to care deeply about.
LO: I think anyone who enjoys holidays, especially those where you are close to nature, should think about conservation. I took four weeks off to visit Vietnam and Cambodia with my partner, which was an amazing experience. We saw orangutans, incredible fish, all sorts of things, but you also see the other side of that—the rainforests being chopped down. That was eye-opening for me. I try to be conscious of my carbon footprint and want to find ways to help nature during my travels too. Perhaps that’s a little naive… but there are plenty of decisions you can make about the way you interact with the environment. There are wonderful places to connect with nature closer to home: we’ve got the city farms in London, and I love going back to Somerset. Equally, I know parents who have decided to only take their kids to places they can get to by boat. People are making decisions based on that, thinking about what they want their children to be exposed to.
Given Lora’s enthusiasm for travel, exploration, and the outdoors, I was interested to hear how that feeds into the brilliant design work she does as psLondon. I asked her just that.
LO: That’s a good question! I suppose the most important thing is exposure—observing and interacting with the world around me. I spend a lot of time snorkelling, and one of the things that we talk about most in design is colours. People often refer to “natural colours”, and you look at the world and think, “Well what actually is a ‘natural colour’?” No one would ever say that electric blue is a natural colour, but if you look at these tropical fish in the sea then you’ll see that it actually is.
“My approach to colours, patterns, and typography all draws from the things I experience on my travels.”
These things don’t just come from searching the web or books; it’s about real, tangible things. I love going to museums too. It keeps me nosy, or inquisitive I suppose. I’m constantly asking questions like, “Why is that happening?” “What was the history behind that?” It’s about finding out more about the world around you.
I was impressed by the way that Lora finds colour and excitement in the world around her. I asked whether she had any tips for people who want to become more outdoorsy and adventurous.
LO: Well, I think the past year has proved how much getting outdoors benefits people. But for me, it’s not just about getting out and seeing nature; it’s about finding an activity as well. If you haven’t tried cycling before, why not give it a go? Or try out photography. It doesn’t have to be oriented around nature: you could just as easily go and take pictures of your favourite graffiti or buildings.
I saw a story the other day about a girl in Hackney, who goes around with a piece of chalk and finds the plants that are growing in cracks or walls. She draws a big circle around them and then draws a line to the pavement and writes the name of the plant. It encourages people to understand the nature around them. She actually got permission from Hackney Council.
I always assumed that everyone liked going outdoors. But I’ve learned that, actually, it’s not everyone’s bag. To those people I’d say, “Why not bring the outside into your home?” I’ve seen a lot of really interesting brands that allow you to grow yourself a little potted plant or succulent. That can transform a space.
My final question was by far the most important! Lora is going to be a mum soon—perhaps her greatest adventure yet… I asked her about it, and whether her love of nature would feed into her approach as a parent.
LO: I definitely want a muddy child. Everyone says, “You should keep your kid prim and proper”. But I want my kid in the mud, playing with dogs and whatever. Of course, I’ll encourage my child to be creative too; I’ll make sure we’re always experimenting with colours, paints, and all that stuff.
I love the perspective of children: they want to explore, try new things, and play with things that you don’t expect them to. You know, you might give them a toy, but they want to play with a shell instead. I remember seeing a kid in the Seychelles coming out of the sea with a sea urchin that he’d just caught. I loved the fact that he’d gone into the sea, out of his comfort zone, and got it himself, no hesitation or concern. There was something amazing about that.