The Parallel Projects #3: David Mourato and Linda Dieschbourg
products of earnest creativity, humble exploration and genuine relationship
"Kinlake is not just a business to us. It truly represents our union and our lifestyle in search for daily creativity & fulfillment."
Linda Dieschbourg and David Mourato are the creative duo behind Kinlake, a partnership that is expanding what it means to be a "creative" by prioritizing relationship with collaboration and clientele, and leading a lifestyle of humble exploration. Kinlake specializes in creative services, ranging from brand creation, graphic and web design, and have a serious knack for illustration, photography, hand lettering and video.
Based in Luxembourg, Linda and David work creatively with start ups and companies that are making an impact and have a strong personal message. However, their practice is anything but confined. These two are curious at heart and passionate about experimentation and discovery; aka, they are super talented and limiting their creativity would be a misfortune.
Kinlake is also a killer lifestyle blog; a platform where Linda and David share how they get out and live a creative life via gorgeous documentation and thoughtful written accounts. Here they share their travels, projects, music and kitchen endeavors, as well as hard-hitting, meaty advice for creatives everywhere. They are a team of genuine innovation and heartfelt empowerment.
We were flattered and blessed when they contacted us around a month ago after spotting out Instagram, and we couldn't be more thankful! We could not help but immediately adore their hearts and perspective on living creatively, and they have inspired us massively - even though being miles away and having just a digital relationship. Needless to say, we had to interview them!
We hope you enjoy their liveliness, humor and wisdom. And be sure to look out for more upcoming collaboration with Kinlake!! (It's not over yet!)
Apse: What are your backgrounds as creatives, whether institutional or not? When did you first realize your identity as a creative?
D: I felt that my life only started making sense once I entered an art school in Luxembourg, in 2001. It was an important lesson for me to learn that you could get a degree based on your creativity and not your ability on remembering dates and numbers. Because I really sucked at that! I started playing music when I was 7 years old and I always thought that legos are quite kickass. Cool triggers for creativity. I remember having a hard time to stop playing with these toys as an adolescent. My brother is the classic geek IT guy which I grew up with and taught me so much about computers that I fell in love with it too. My creativity grew with it, that’s why I’m quite geeky about Graphic Design today. My real kick though is to learn most of the things on my own. I hate limits.
L: When I was a little kid, I would usually hide under the kitchen table to doodle and sketch. I grew up in a creative family: my dad is an architect and my mother paints. I was always curious about creativity in all its forms, and tried many different things, but it seems I was always stuck with drawing things. I wasn’t sure how I could make a career out of that at first, so I studied graphic design and this really shaped my sense of aesthetic a lot. When I graduated, I started freelancing in design and illustration, as the two activities were very connected. One thing led to another and it all happened very organically.
A: How did you both meet?
L: …We actually met on Facebook! It was so random. David had a lot going on with his music (he’s a musician during his free time) and so he was adding a lot of people as his friends, to promote his stuff. I was one of these people, and somehow he seemed familiar to me, so I sent him a message. That’s when a long conversation started :)
D: It’s been going on for 8 years so far. When we met, I was 25 and full of shit, Linda on the other side was quite mature for a 17 year old girl. I always say that we met in this “average of both ages”, haha!
A: What is your mission with Kinlake and how did it form?
L + D: Our mission formed progressively, by analyzing what we did, and paying attention to what we liked, what we didn’t, and what really motivated us. We believe it’s hard to figure out what you want and what is important to you if you haven’t given it a try!
With time, we grew together creatively and spiritually. After pursuing different types of projects professionally, we realized that what we mostly like to do is to guide & inspire people, particularly small businesses and makers. This aspect of being “small” and being able to work closely with other small businesses was key, and is actually what the “Kin” part of our name subconsciously refers to!
Another really important thing we realized is that we did not want to be referred to as “graphic designers” just because we have a background in graphic design. We both consider ourselves as creatives in the broad sense as we always like to learn and experiment creatively and of course that is hard to categorize with labels. We also wanted Kinlake to feel human, like ourselves. Kinlake is not just a business to us, it truly represents our union and our lifestyle in search for daily creativity & fulfilment …Which is why we also like to blog and share it openly with the world :)
A: What unrealized or subdued passions of yours have seemed to surface because of Kinlake?
L: Since we work together, I noticed that my style has evolved a lot (in design and in illustration) - I pay more and more attention to details. David is quite a perfectionist and he influenced me in that way. I became passionate about achieving a perfect balance in what I create, eliminating what’s non-essential. But most importantly, I realized that as a team, we have more confidence to pursue the parts of our job that are meaningful to us. I love the feeling that comes from helping and guiding people we work with! Consulting & guiding has definitely become a new passion. Having our own blog has also made me realize that I love being able to inspire others, to help them, and to connect with other like-minded creatives or small business owners :)
D: With Kinlake, I had the opportunity to develop my skills in video & photography on concrete projects, but most of all, combining video and music. We fell in love with this dreamy style in videography and composing music that fits to this style was something completely new for me, but I love it. I’ve always had a hard time working with people when the projects was involved with a band or a team. At school, I hated group projects, I even had a huge fight with my best friend because of a video project back then. I always regretted it, but we’re cool now, just for the record, lol. As Kinlake, it’s way easier. Linda is my partner in life as well, so our approach to things is pretty strong as a team and I love how I’m finally good with team working.
A: What are your individual strengths and how do they compliment Kinlake?
L: I’m definitely a “people” person! I love to listen to people and to guide them, whether it’s our clients, our collaborators or our followers. It’s strange because I don’t consider myself to be extroverted, but if it’s through Kinlake, it comes very naturally to me. I am also good at organizing our projects and putting structure in our day-to-day schedule. I like to make sure everything stays on track and due to that, I like to take care of boring things like our accounting from time to time. Apart from that, I’m usually the one bringing the “handmade” element in our work, since I’m drawn to illustration, hand lettering, and generally creating things from scratch.
D: Since I’m this geek person for all the “software based technological” stuff, I guess I’m this superhero style precise worker. When time’s short, I can work very fast, and I also love last minute things. I’m naturally pretty relaxed about everything, but if I, for example, start to panic, that’s when we’re in deep shit. I have a hard time getting organized with to do lists but I love to have a structured workflow, like a German.
A: What are some challenges you have found that can present themselves as a result of working in a partnership?
L + D: Since we both were individual freelancing designers at first, the “ego” thing was a bit of an issue at first. In the past, we each had our own clients, our own skills, our own styles and we felt “entitled” because of that. We had to learn to let go of that and accept what it meant to be working together. We had to take it as a true collaboration, as a fusion of our two personalities. It was tough but it evolved progressively and it’s the best thing that ever happened to us.
Another thing that can be hard to deal with is being synchronized and well organized together. Thankfully, we always find new ways to do that as efficiently as possible and without feeling like we are bossing each other around & accepting each other’s limits.
"Everything feels like it’s constantly growing & evolving. Sometimes we come up with crazy ideas together and instead of being intimidated about them, being a duo allows us to brainstorm and see exactly how we can proceed to getting these ideas done and turning them into reality."
A: What are some benefits?
L + D: Working as a team allowed us to grow together and individually. It’s crazy how we spend so much time talking about everything, reviewing everything and always looking to improve what we do. Working together with someone who you can trust and be honest with can really allow you to do that continuously and never really stagnate.
We also apply it to our private life and it feels great! Everything feels like it’s constantly growing & evolving. Sometimes we come up with crazy ideas together and instead of being intimidated about them, being a duo allows us to brainstorm and see exactly how we can proceed to getting these ideas done and turning them into reality. This is much harder to do when you’re working alone and don’t have anyone to motivate you or anyone who’s into the same stuff as you are.
It’s also really cool to have somebody to talk to during tough times when you feel demotivated and exhausted. Sometimes all it takes to make it better is to have that other person there. Besides, that other person is probably going through the same thing. In that case, what we do is call it a day, share a pint of beer, then we bitch and whine together… It feels good to be able to share that! We share everything, from the good and exciting times to the bad and unfair times. We are each other’s rock.
A: You guys mention how it took quite some time for you to get to the point of living a consistent, daily creative life. What did the process of getting to that point look like for you?
L + D: It’s not always easy and it’s actually an ongoing process. For us, bringing creativity into our lives has been about knowing where to gather inspiration, finding what triggers our curiosity and it sometimes involves getting out of our comfort zone, maybe even our usual workspace.
Traveling and being able to work remotely, for example, has been a huge source of inspiration and motivation for us to be creative. But even when we are not traveling, it’s simply about making life exciting and finding balance. We love meeting different people with their own perceptions of life, and we love going for a long walks in the nature, just observing what’s around us, or brainstorming… The best ideas happen when your mind can you can step back and let your mind breathe & absorb things.
What we love about how we defined our job is that we are not trying to put our creative abilities in a box, or to use “labels”. There’s always variety in what we do and we allow different “phases” to happen. Sometimes we pursue photography, sometimes design, sometimes we are in a state of “learning” rather than “doing”… There’s never too much of one thing and we’re always juggling around our creative interests.
A: How do people, in and out of your immediate community, inspire you?
L + D: We are, and have always been very inspired by people. We like to be able to connect with folks who are like-minded and share similar values in life. It doesn’t really matter if they have the same interests as we do, as long as they are just as dedicated to live a life that is honest & true to their beliefs. Creatively curious and in search of humble happiness. We love to follow people like that, and interact with them! And we are happy and humbled when we can inspire them too and when they follow us back, it feels so rewarding!
Professionally speaking, we particularly love to work with small business owners and solopreneurs as they inspire us with their passion, their ambition and motivation to make their dreams happen, whether they are big or small. We love those people who are courageous & stubborn enough to follow their intuition and create their own adventure, like starting a business that brings purpose to them. We can identify ourselves really well with what they are going through.
The cool part about working together with them is that we actually inspire each other and that feels amazing. It creates sparks and brings us very close together. Then later on, when we share those finished projects on our portfolio, we never feel like we are just sharing our work, but also the story and relationship that formed around it. There’s always a cool story to share after working with people like that, and it’s never boring!
A: Kinlake seems to be a graceful intersection between design and human services, in that you are using your creative services and gifts to build relationships and support ideas that are making a difference. Can you share with us some projects or clients where this has become especially apparent?
L + D: Ah, we have plenty! Like we said, working with people who are making their own adventure is never boring. Sometimes we are amazed at the progress our clients make, and we feel so happy to see their businesses succeed!
One of those projects that will always stay remain close to our hearts is a project that we had with a lovely coffeeshop in Luxembourg which is called “Ready”. Back when we were first contacted by the owners, Yuki & Connie, we didn’t know them at all but we fell in love with their idea and what we really liked is that they trusted us fully since the beginning. This allowed for a really creative project to happen, as well as a beautiful relationship. They literally became our best friends! It’s so mind-blowing when we realize we can actually invite each other over for brunch, get drunk and laugh, and then the next day have a more serious, business-like meeting where we brainstorm together and progress on the project.
“Ready” is this really humble, cozy, yet hip coffee shop that is hard not to adore, because they put all their love to it and they pay attention to the details. They love and respect our work, and allow us to think outside the box. We have worked on their whole branding, from logo design to packaging to website, but they also allow us to give advice for their interior design, their social media, and we always come up with fun ideas together. They almost make us feel like we’re part of their business! Soon, we will even launch a line of products together. It’s just so exciting!
A: What does Kinlake look like in 5 years?
L + D: As you can imagine, it’s hard to predict, haha!
A goal of ours is to be able to work more internationally (it’s been in our minds since we travel so often and are able to work remotely)! We are looking forward to meeting people from different backgrounds and connect with people from various places! We already have a few clients and collaborators spread over Europe, for example, and it feels so fun and limitless!
Our dream clients and projects would be concepts that have an ethical and/or sustainable approach to them, as we are truly passionate about ideas that make a difference.
We also noticed that we like to help & inspire people in general and that we like to share different things we’ve learned. It also helps to connect with people and create a sense of community, which is fun! So what we like to do is to create resources and share stuff. Right now, we try to post plenty of useful articles on our blog, and in the future we will be hosting workshops were we can share our personal tips about blogging, branding, hand lettering and many more things. We are also thinking of offering that online, via Skillshare for example. This could be very fun for us to work on :)
A: What is an extremely impactful piece of advice you have received about relationships and/or collaboration?
L + D: We never really got any advice about it, it’s just something that we learned by doing, by trying and by allowing those relationships to happen. Thankfully, everything happened quite naturally. Being humble is key and we are quite fond of always questioning our way of doing things.
We always try to stay true to ourselves and only get involved with people/projects that we truly believe in. Even so, it’s important to remember that not every relationship or partnership will work, and even if you want to, you will not be able to always “click” with everyone. But every single relationship makes you grow and you can be thankful for that. We have learned a lot through relationships, and many of those things are in fact about ourselves!
A: What would you say to someone who feel they are unable to live a daily life of creativity, but wants to?
L + D: It’s so simple but often mystified. It’s interesting and we actually wrote plenty of articles about it on our blog!
We believe that creativity is not something that you own or you don’t, it’s rather something that you have to allow into your life. And the cool thing about it is that you don’t necessarily have to give anything up in order to cultivate creativity daily.
It’s about being curious and about doing and trying out those things that make you curious, finding the things that make you happy and doing them as often as possible, even in small doses. Creativity is a big word and it can sound intimidating, but being creative is not always about coming up with crazy ideas and creating things that are mind-blowing, or being artistic. It can simply be about easy rituals; taking your camera with you wherever you go, and taking a few interesting pictures from time to time, just for fun. Or looking for a new DIY tutorial, something to learn & experiment with every weekend. We can all allow creativity into our lives, and we should! It makes everybody a happier version of themselves :)
Want to see more?! Check out their website and blog at: Kinlake.com