Designer Checkout: Tierney Milne

Vancouver-born designer-muralist Tierney Milne injects her work with bright colors, wonder and childlike positivity.
Designer Checkout: Tierney Milne - Autotype

WHO: Tierney Milne

WHAT: Artist, Designer, Muralist

WHERE: Vancouver, Canada

WHY: Inject a sense of child-like wonder and create joy for viewers.

BIO: Vancouver-based designer, artist and muralist, Tierney Milne, focuses on interrupting people’s day with positivity. Her background in Psychology and a keen interest in how simple shapes and colors affect our wellbeing combines intentional compositions, bold palettes and vibrant patterns to bring her work to life. Whether using murals, tactile installations, stop motion videos or light-hearted lettering, her main goal is to inject a sense of child-like wonder and create joy for viewers. In our following interview, learn why she loves playing and experimenting to bring technical and tactile ideas to life on wildly different scales.


Why a career in design?

Sometimes I wonder about that! It’s definitely not an easy route a lot of the time, especially as a freelancer, but I couldn’t keep myself away from it. I started in the Sciences and Psychology, but after a while I realized I was more interested in applying intentional art and design to impact our psychology and create space for play in peoples’ lives. From a young age I have always loved playing with unusual materials and designing the spaces and experiences around me, but it took a while for me to see the value in that for myself and others.  I believe there are so many opportunities out there for creative work, and I love investing in myself by pursuing it and trying to get better at my craft. 


What does good design mean to you?

It depends on the context, but I think some of the most beautiful designs are the most minimal and the most functional (especially with things like ‘No Name’ branding).  I think good design serves the purpose and is thoughtful of the desired (and actual) audience and doesn’t get in the way of the goal. I have a soft-spot for designers who are passionate about designing better and more beautiful systems for public consumption because I feel like good design has the ability to really help people understand complex ideas better. 

Who are your influences?

I am really inspired by Jessica Walsh and how boldly creative she is in both her personal and professional projects, and how she creates ways for those two streams to both be relevant and exciting. I’m influenced by the fine-artists that I share a studio with in Vancouver– we are all in such different fields but we learn, push, and influence one another every day. At large, being on social media and feeling the collective energy of digital friends who are hustling can be very motivating. I’m very influenced by my fellow artists, especially @OlaVolo for her mural vision and @Efdot for how well he pulls his interests together with his network.

How do you want to affect the world of design?

The work I do is outside of the traditional design world, but I really enjoy leaving footprints of color, fun and joy for the world outside of designers. I was always very inspired by public art as a kid, despite it mostly being historical murals in the area I grew up in. It seemed special to me that people would think to invest in artwork that serves a broad audience on a more permanent basis, and I feel thankful constantly that I am able to add my own bit of colour to the streets, walls, brands, etc. I want to leave the world feeling a bit more connected to their inner child, and to allow their imagination to wander as they work through the abstract pieces.

What would you do with design to help change the world?

I think art is powerful and can add a lot to a person’s environment to help fuel happiness. I am committed to traveling to places where I can contribute my mural skills and add some joy. In 2020, I’ll be traveling to Port-au-Prince to paint a mural on the theme of Climate Change, which I’m hoping will be positive but also impactful.

What advice do you give to future Creatives?

I want to inspire young creatives to play more and get outside of their comfort zones when they experiment with personal work. Especially in a digital age, it can be very therapeutic to get messy and use your hands on something tedious and not allow yourself to take the fastest route all of the time. Sometimes happy accidents and unexpected styles and solutions will emerge if you give yourself the permission to play properly at the outset. 

I’d also say that you don’t need to feel pressured to pick a lane right away and pigeonhole yourself to make yourself more palatable. Yes, that works, especially if that one lane is what you're most passionate about, but I believe it can also be a strength to nurture your millions of creative interests and side hustles (if you’re so inclined).


Follow Tierney on Instagram: @tierneymilne 

For more of her work visit:

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