Designer Interview: Eleanor Smith

Eleanor Smith aka Miss Ellie May is one talented Kiwi. Graphic designer by day and busy creative after hours producing her range of designer goods plus underground magazine Extra Curricular. Today we speak to her about life as a multi-disciplined designer/illustrator/packaging designer/magazine publisher…

In what order did all this happen? Have you always been designing/illustrating under the Miss Ellie May brand?

Well, the ‘Miss Ellie May brand’ began when I wanted to sell a few things I’d screen printed at Craftwerk, back when that was happening, and I needed a name. Misselliemay has always been my email address and a lack of imagination and indecision led to me using it as my ‘brand’ – I’ve always meant to change it but have never gotten around to it. I guess I started that about three years ago and I’ve always wanted to make a magazine, so I finally set myself a deadline for Christmas last year. I don’t really know what I’m doing but it’s fun learning as I go.

How do you manage a demanding day job plus run two of your own brands? Do you have secret helpers?

I don’t really manage that well. I need to slow things down. I need to go to physio! Leading up to an issue deadline I am a bit of a stress bomb and after each issue I have put so much energy into it that I have to do nothing for a while – just send off packages of magazines. But yes, I do have a few secret helpers for the magazine – lovely friends who help with proofreading and bouncing ideas off, and of course the talented writers and photographers who contribute. I do a lot myself but as time goes on I hope to involve more people and spread the load.


Do you have any more ventures planned or is this it for now?

This is enough at the moment! I think the next idea is always forming in my head while I’m doing something else, but I need to focus on what I’m doing now.

If you had to choose one (graphic design, magazine publishing, designing tees & totes), which one would it be, and why?

I’ve always had trouble with indecisiveness, so I don’t really know… it’s hard to choose just one. I am really enjoying doing the magazine at the moment. I love that I have complete control over it, and I especially love having an excuse to be nosey about other creative people I admire – ask them about their work, go to their house and photograph their work spaces…


What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt doing all this? Made any big mistakes?

Ah, yeah, I make mistakes all the time. Hopefully not too many people notice. Most valuable lesson: proofread a million times, and get someone else to proof as well.

And our favourite question, what’s your favourite product on

I love the Nice Work ‘You’re Lovely’ pillowcases and also Papercup’s ‘pocket protector’ tee.

Hey thanks for your time Ellie, we’re envious of your design filled lifestyle and illustration skills and hope to see more of your work up in here soon…..

Leave a Reply