Martis Lupus wows with her whimsical style

Martis Lupus has been a longtime member of 99designs, building out her portfolio and gaining real client experience during her time at art school. Now a recent graduate, her distinct style is turning heads and she’s working full time on our platform crafting playful book covers, packaging designs and branding for companies around the world.

We chatted with Martis about her education, where she draws her inspiration from and what she has planned next.

self-portrait

Name: Martis Lupus
99designs Handle: Martis Lupus
Location: Planet Earth
Specialty: Packaging, identity & book covers

Where are you from and where do you live now?

I reside in the Local Galactic Group > Milky Way Galaxy > Planet Earth. I currently inhabit an attic.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I have always admired nature and animals. That’s why we share our home with two cats and two dogs and a whole bunch of plants. My latest preoccupation is constructing a miniature indoor ziggurat (hanging garden habitat) for ZA, the lilliputian panther.

packaging design by martis lupus
Packaging for KONA and Why Bar

How did you get started in graphic design?

It began as doodling and drawing on stuff that automatically evolved into illustration sessions. After some time spent scribbling around, I realized that it had boosted my visual perception. Attentively I carried on, training my visual cortex and improving on how to make my work functional, with a broader purpose.

I found graphic design to be a universal approach to communicating thoughts through symbols. I guess this particular form of communication has always been more appealing to me.

brand identity by martis lupus
Brand identity for Joyce Foods

Can you tell us a little about your design education?

I have attended art school for six years, but I found individual practice to be the most suitable for me. I can honestly say that most of my knowledge in design was obtained through individual and private study and not at school. School was sort of a guideline for me.

I didn’t really like that environment, mainly because it didn’t address individual skills and styles as much as I wished. The best thing about it was that I had access to books and other learning material in the library and workshops.

Was there anything your teachers stressed that has influenced you?

I guess I learned to sort of respect deadlines and better organize my schedule. But the most important thing that my teachers insisted on was to be original, regardless of outside influences. That stuck with me and I am working towards that constantly.

book cover design by martis lupus
Book covers for Gutmate, Trespassers and The All-Purpose Lentil Cookbook

You tackle a lot of different categories. Which one is your favorite to work on?

It’s a tie between identity design and packaging. I would rather make up the entire story from beginning to end than pick up in the middle of an already set scene. And out of all games, I find storytelling to be the most fun.

But I also like boxes. I have been collecting all sorts of boxes from around the world since I was a child. I always find a use for them. Sometimes these two merge into one project and I get the chance to do them both at the same time. That’s a happy day!

packaging and label design by martis lupus
Brand identity for CRMBS and packaging for Alaskan

You have a very noticeable design style. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Everything that lives, breathes and all that makes up this world. It is hard to pinpoint what inspires me. The list could be endless. Outer space has always been a good friend of mine. I’ve always enjoyed going through old stuff, so the public domain ended up being in my digital old stuff box.

My physics teacher told us once that nothing is invented, but rather that everything is re-invented. So I thought why not use the old and shine new light on it. There are so many awesome things in the public domain that are just waiting for someone to dust off.

beer label design by martis lupus
Labels for Fabryka Piwa

You’ve been a member of 99designs since 2010. What are some important things you’ve learned over the years?

In three words: spunk, doggedness and zeal.

And naturally, countless interactions with people around the globe. For me that’s a constant learning process – adapting to each client’s mindset is something I’ve learned to cope with.

Has 99designs opened up any specific opportunities for you over the years?

Working on 99designs made it easy for me to interact with clients worldwide, a thing that wouldn’t have been possible without an online platform. Having contact with different cultures has always been a plus in my book.

It also provided a good environment to develop my communication and design skills.

packaging design by martis lupus
Packaging for Tea of the People and Toothly Grins

What advice would you give to designers that are new to 99designs?

Be ethical, keep your head up and examine how to actively improve yourself. Probably the biggest thing about being a full time freelancer is the fact that you make your own rules. It’s essential to treat that freedom with responsibility for it to function positively.

Set up a workspace, sort of like a personal studio, organized with various unrelated activities and crafts that awaken inspiration. Sooner or later, these are bound to expand your design skills. Take personal notes; they may become useful later on. And one thing I learned from music is the importance of pausing…

book cover design by martis lupus
Book cover for “The Sucking Manifesto

Do you have any big plans for the future?

The plan is always the same. Keep learning and developing my skills as a designer. Also, aspiring to distribute custom-made Creature-Ziggurats sometime in the future (all species included).

Anything else you’d like to add?

Mouse-deer.

See more of Martis Lupus’ work here.

The author

Kelsey Bryant
Kelsey Bryant

Kelsey is 99designs' Designer Marketing Manager. Born and raised in a small town in Connecticut, she moved to San Francisco in 2009 with a degree in Strategic Communications from Elon University. When she’s not working with the designer community, you can find her exploring the city, taking weekend road trips, and soaking up that California sunshine.

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