Frith and her son, Igor

Frith Kerr is the founder of the award-winning design consultancy Studio Frith. Described by the New York Times as the “go to graphic designer for creative clients”, she has worked with clients including the Victoria & Albert Museum, Serpentine Gallery, Erdem, and most recently, Frieze Art Fairs. She is also mum to her four-year-old son Igor, and 18-year-old stepdaughter, Scarlett. She talks 6am wake-up calls, building dens, and the importance of having a supportive husband…

How did you get to where you are today?
Crazy hard work.

How do you manage work life vs home life?
I make sure that when I’m at work, its all about work. And when I’m with my son its all about play. In between that I have a great nanny, a super studio, and a busy but supportive husband.

How do you find working full-time?
I really enjoy what I do and at times it can be all consuming, but equally because it is my company I can then take time when it suits me to be with Igor. That was very much my attitude to maternity leave – I didn’t take any ‘leave’ as such, I took time as I needed it. I took him into work with me – I was lucky he was a good baby!

Also suddenly you have all these hours to yourself at night awake, so there is much more time to think about things and dream up different ideas. For instance I’m writing this at the break of dawn whilst he watches Curious George. The minuses would be less time with my friends, for now, as I juggle work and family.

Recent work by Studio Frith for Frieze Art Fair

What does your average day look like?
6am sharp, I’m awoken by a small person wanting to discuss the various qualities of a slinky, 6 -7am drink coffee, answer emails, do online shopping, build towers, 7- 8am dress, breakfast, 8.30am school run, 9.30am – 6pm work, maybe lunch with a client, 6.30pm play, bed time stories, 8pm dinner/private view, 10-11pm read emails, read book, sleep.

How do you spend the time you have with your son?
I love doing the school run in the mornings. I pick up his friend Sam and we walk 20 minutes to school where they both discuss the ins and outs of diggers or poo, and between that invent cars that run on grass or songs about Fela Kuti. We play making camps and dens a lot, I watch him play tennis in the rain. But generally there is lots of playing, we built a speedboat out of pillows this morning and went to the Galapagos Islands but unfortunately the engine kept breaking.

How do you instil creativity in your son?
I think children are naturally creative so it’s more about trying to protect it than instilling it. We try to protect the principles of having an open mind, there are no baddies and there are no goodies. Sometimes its hard though when Batman has so many crimes to solve.

Frith's son Igor, and step-daughter Scarlett

Did you grow up in a creative family?
Yes, my dad was a designer and my mum was a fashion illustrator and stylist, then later a  gallerist. My sister grew up to be an architect.

What kind of mum are you?
You’ll have to ask my son that. Hopefully a kind and fair one.

What has been the biggest surprise about motherhood for you?
I was warned by one of my clients that having kids is 10 times more hard work than you’d expect, but it’s also 10 times more fun than you could imagine. It’s true.

What life lessons do you hope to pass on to your son?
My grandfather’s words always ring clear: “If you’re not sure what to do, do the right thing”. And my mother’s: “Walk on the wild side”.

Apart from having your son, what has been your greatest achievement?
My funny six-foot tall stepdaughter, my husband, my studio full of clever people… I take credit for them all!

For more about Frith and her award-winning work check out studiofrith.com

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