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Creative Industry Report: Wayfarer Design Studio

Started in 2016, Wayfarer Design Studio was founded by Abbey McGrew 1 month after she graduated college and still travelling the world. Wayfarer Design Studio then became her portable design studio where she communicated with her clients mainly remotely.

The meaning behind the name came from the need to travel with her athlete husband who was always travelling for his job and that Abbey believes that every business owner is a wayfarer at heart.

Wayfarer: A traveler by foot, a person who goes on a journey; a nomad, a roamer or a wonderer.

Wayfarer Design Studio is a brand + web design studio that partners with thoughtfully ambitious brands.

Design Philosophy:

“Where the heart leads, results will follow”, is not just Abbey’s life mantra but the design philosophy she has set for Wayfarer no matter which project or client she is working on, with a goal that every design decision is to be heart-led.

Core values that has followed Wayfarer for 4 years is Intentionality, Connection & Empowerment. 

This four core values can be seen through the way Abbey uses her influence on Instagram. Apart from using Wayfarer as a platform for her to gain clients and showcase her portfolio, Abbey uses her platform to empower fellow designers and embrace and address the dilemmas of designers all around the world.

These are just some examples of content she put out on her platform apart from her works. Abbey, having started from the bottom herself, realises that many challenges and dilemmas she faces in her journey as a designer are shared by many other designers around the world. Through her social media platform, she discusses these, otherwise, seen as touching or sensitive topics with her fellow designers.

Documentation of explorations and process

What first caught my eye about her work is Abbey’s crazy amount of explorations she puts up on Instagram. Little things like where she got her inspiration from and how many explorations she did to arrive at the final one, shows how open and fearless she is about getting criticisms and judgement, especially from a social media platform where these are pertinent. Apart from that, she teaches the importance of embracing the process of explorations and even encourage designers to always include their process when pitching ideas to their clients. Her take is that not the outcome, but also the process that is valuable. Hence she is big on getting her clients involved in her design thought processes.

What Abbey taught me is that as a designer, beyond making things look visually appealing, many forget about the power of connection well-created, heart-led design can bring to the table.

“Stop making pretty stuff and start making things with heart, soul and life.”