Graphic designer Anna Potter addresses female empowerment, internet culture and our obsession with social media through witty Instagram posts and zines. Her iGIRL project – described as “the burn book of Instagram” – captures the millennial’s quest for the perfect feed with a series of statements inspired by real-life comments on the platform.
“I wanted to create something that would make girls laugh, but wasn’t just nonsense,” says Potter. “The idea was to highlight how reliant we’ve become online. It’s all about how many followers you have and having the perfect ‘feed’ but when we take a step back, its stupid. Yet we all do it, including me. I wanted us to laugh at ourselves because the joke’s on us.”
Potter studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins. She is based in Bournemouth and has been working under the name Top Girl Studio since graduating in 2015. Explaining her decision to go freelance, she says: “After finishing uni, I realised I didn’t want to end up producing work that I wasn’t in love with or vaguely interested in.” She set up an Instagram feed and began sharing self-initiated projects – a strategy which led to commissions from Nike and Missguided.
Potter now has 59,000 followers on the platform and posts a mix of commissions and personal work. After sharing iGIRL online, she was asked to create content for fashion retailer Missguided’s Instagram feed, which has over 1 million followers. She created The Babe Bible – a set of 10 ‘commandments’ for fans of the brand to live by.
Commandments include “Remember the badass babe that you are and ignore the basic bitches” and “Push yourself higher than your heels”. The project proved popular on Instagram, with posts receiving several thousand likes and shares.
“I think in 2017, brands are basically worshipped – and we ourselves are becoming products of our own identity. It’s almost like a religion. There was no serious tone to this project, but that’s where the idea of a babe bible came from – our need to worship/idolise something, in this case, Missguided,” she explains.
“Missguided as a brand is so on point and for them it’s all about empowering women – just not in a serious manner. They want their message to be fun not forced, which is what iGIRL was all about,” she adds.
Potter recently collaborated with Nike and fashion blogger Girl on Kicks to create a series of images promoting Air Max Day. She also created a limited edition poster celebrating International Women’s Day for Riposte magazine. Potter was one of six female artists asked to create a poster – along with Lakwena Maciver, Tracey Ma, Paula Scher, Lynnie Zulu and Sonya Dyakova – and proceeds were donated to humanitarian organisation Women for Women.
She would love to work on a clothing range and lists luxury brands Vetements and Gucci (who recently made headlines with a set of Instagram memes promoting its new watches) among her dream clients. “I think everything they do is gold and so current,” she adds.
Potter’s Instagram feed is carefully curated. She sees the platform as an opportunity to promote not just her work but herself and her interests, with photos of her favourite brands alongside recent work and images of things, people and places that have inspired her. “I’m a designer, but I also look at myself as a brand. I don’t want people to just buy into the product or idea I create, I want people to buy into me,” she says.
She hopes her account – and the success she has had with it so far – will inspire others to forge their own route into the industry. “I really do believe that social media gives us a unique opportunity where there are no rules to abide by. You don’t have to ‘do that’ or ‘do this’ because it’s normal or what everyone else does. Do what you love, show the world what you’re good at and make money doing something you’re passionate about. Take Instagram seriously. Follow everyone and start the conversation,” she says.
New Talent is part of Inspire, a year-long partnership between Creative Review, Facebook and Instagram showcasing outstanding creative work and emerging talent on both platforms. More advice and inspiration for creatives using Facebook and Instagram is available at facebook.com/ads/creativehub. You can see more of Anna Potter’s work at topgirlstudio.com or follow her on Instagram at @topgirl.studio