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  • Writer's pictureElle

Madeline Johnston - Litl Studio

Maddy is a pure gem. I've loved being close friends with her during such a significant time of change because f**k, she's the example for all people who are feeling unsure about their career, to be patient and trust themselves. Now she is her own boss using all her talents as a graphic designer. Her designs, like herself are thoughtful, quirky and beautiful. Keep your eyes peeled as this is just the first litl studio x ohti collaboration. Hopefully something tangible will be coming later this year. Enjoy.

Find her here:


I have watched you go through hurdles of finding yourself in the past couple of years. In hindsight everything was obviously meant to happen for a reason. How do you feel looking / thinking back on those times?

Lots of hurdles, lotsssss of mind changing! And still as of late - the other day I was thinking “Maybe I should study psychology”. I believe as a person you are always changing, learning and growing but amidst that there’s so much pressure when in your 20’s to make something of yourself which is only a societal concept which I am guilty of believing sometimes. Recently I’ve been trying to focus on the present moment, accepting failure, believing in myself, learning new things and always questioning my thoughts and actions.

So, at the moment I am happy with where I am but that doesn’t mean it’s always sunshine and rainbows - one day I’ll be dancing around the house then I just don’t

want to get out of bed, it’s a lot of mental work dealing with stress, money, confidence, time and people - it’s freaking scary but somehow I’ve just been able to keep going. When I feel like everything is turning to shit I just look back to where I was a year ago and if it’s a step further to where I want to be that put’s everything into perspective and I know I’m on the right track.

I hope I don’t sound negative, haha! I’m very vulnerable and wear my heart on my sleeve and appreciate when people are honest about their struggles because it helps us all feel a little less lonely. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my journey so far is that hurdles will always happen but that doesn’t mean you quit, the beauty of it all is dealing with and accepting them.


What is lil-studio / rebranding.

What do you offer and how are you loving your new career destiny?

Firstly, I had thoughts of changing my name from litl studio but now it’s sticking so I have been going through a change of look, feel and a new website soon! It’s harder branding yourself than it is other business’/brands - I have to remember it’s a work in progress and nothing has to be perfect at the start.

Litl Studio is my small graphic design business. My concept of Litl is to look on the positive side of life and notice the smaller things like the smell of a new book, a fresh bunch of flowers on your coffee table or how the different ways light can shine through your window of a morning.

As a studio I help business/brands uncover their vision and make it visual. This could be anything from a fresh logo and branding to print (books, cards etc.), website design and copywriting. Which all really falls under the branding umbrella.

Most people think its just a simple logo they need - which is a good start but to build a trustworthy and long lasting brand that is recognisable and sticks business/brands, I believe need a graphic designer to help them take a deep dive into their brand vision. Which is where I come in with research, strategy and design - it all links. It’s hard to explain the inner workings of what goes into a logo and branding - there is hours of work behind good design from the beginning stage of research into history, context and concept. Then to the designing stage of drafting, sketching, trial and error, creating a range of different concepts and then refining into the final design.

I really love this new career destiny but with everything comes good and bad. Right now I’m loving working from home/for myself because it allows me the freedom to do nice things, have slow mornings and easily maintain a healthy and calm life. Although I do think that I could be missing out on something bigger.

I’ve always wanted to step out of my comfort zone and extend my self growth and experience. At the moment I am craving collaboration in a studio environment but I am very picky of where that would be, I don’t want to settle working for a company with shitty values and/or shitty design, I would want to know that they would be doing good for society and the planet. I guess that would put me in a hard position to get a job but hopefully that’s where law of attraction comes into play, haha!

So yes, I love what I am doing but at the moment I’m in a transformative stage but taking it slow to adjust and weigh up what I really want.


You must be constantly creatively drained? what do you do to re-energise yourself / zone out?

Yes I am but only if I’m not looking after

myself, it’s amazing how your creative juices can flow when you are healthy and balanced. The main key (I believe) is to give yourself time to do what you love or do nothing at all, see people you love and get out into the real world, smile to a stranger or have a real life conversation with someone. It’s so easy to get into your head these days and I think that’s where my anxiety stems from.

I’ve only just over come a massive burn-out and by that I mean I was struggling to get out of bed, felt fuzzy and just hated everything I was creating. But that’s all behind the scenes stuff that I think needs to be talked more about. But from that you realise what boundaries you need to set for yourself, allow more time for projects and make schedule - which that is where I fail because routine and schedule’s make me feel restricted because I like freedom and spontaneity.

If I ever feel like I need to re-energise/zone out I have 3 main go to’s


1: I just walk around my house and re-arrange stuff.

2: I water my plants, dust them, move them around.

3: I put on whatever music I’m liking at the time and dance around the house - Yes it’s a bit cringe but my goal is to try and let go of my ego and flow. It’s actually very empowering and comes hand in hand with the creative process. You need to create space to allow your imagination to run wild and loose any tension/stress.


What is the importance of having a space? I've watched you change spaces and what do you think is essential for you?

VERY IMPORTANT! I need to be in a space that is fresh and inspires me. Like my mind my space will slowly become a bit cluttered so every now and then I

de-clutter and re-arrange everything for a new look/new chapter. I can’t have things the same for to long, I start to feel stale and un-motivated. My ultimate space is no clutter, everything must have an assigned spot (haha!), a cute lamp, incense and lots of greenery.

I dream about (eventually) building a little home studio down in our backyard, it would be like a greenhouse with a big open desk, a great coffee machine, plant and flowers, a big bookshelf and a door opening out onto a little patio. + lets be honest, a toilet because my bladder is horrible.

What sets your soul on fire?

Hardest question but keeping it short and simple -

Being in the ocean is always going to be my happy place, it seriously cures anything!!! I also just love having a red wine with pasta by myself or with anyone I

love - pure contentment!


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