Freshly Laundered 005 / Josh LaFayette


We recently caught up with Boston-based designer and illustrator Josh LaFayette in order to get the skinny on his background, the transition to going freelance, and how a positive outlook in all aspects of your life is essential. Click through for the entire interview and a roundup of some of his work.

CB: We love your work, but (shamefully) don’t know much about how you got started. Can you give us a little Josh LaFayette history?

JL: Thanks! I started college pursuing a degree in Biomedical Science. Two years in I realized that “Graphic Design” was a thing and I’d been doing it for fun since I was a kid. I changed my major and graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design from Auburn University in Alabama. I worked as a designer at a handful of places and had a lot of fun doing so. In 2011, I realized that I was hand-rendering all of my solutions, so I left the ad agency I was working at to be a full-time independent illustrator. My wife and I moved to Boston in early 2012, and I’ve been freelancing ever since!


CB: What’s been the most challenging part of freelancing for you in the last two years?

JL: Man, it’s been a crazy time! (Almost three years—1,019 days to be exact :)) When I left the agency where I was working, I didn’t have any clients, and I was making the transition from “designer” to “illustrator,” so my online portfolio/presence was kind of hard to understand to people who didn’t know me. I didn’t get any work for close to six months. So, short answer, “getting work/finding clients.” Doing daily drawings is what really started to bring work in.


CB: We recently listened to the episode of What’s Your Story? that you were on. We really loved the part where you talked about being positive and nice and how it is often a conscious choice on your part, both IRL and online. Do you think your choice to project positivity in all aspects of your life has brought you more work? Or more of the type of work you like to do?

JL: Thanks! I’m glad you liked the interview—Meighan is great. Being nice has helped open doors to projects for sure. Most people don’t like to work with jerks. Being positive has brought in the type of work that I’d like to do. My style is playful and humor is a big part of my personal work—a lot of the work that I’m contacted for calls for that, so I reckon people are noticing! Also, I think positivity is a key ingredient to living a happy and fulfilled life. I’m only here (you know, like, on this planet) for a short time, so there’s no use in being a grump about stuff. Some situations aren’t going to work out and some (most) things are going to be difficult, but I can choose to smile all the while.


CB: We think you’re on the right track! Your fun and positive outlook has also gained you quite a few tumblr followers. Was there a single post or series of posts that gained attention and kept people coming back, or has it been a more organic journey?

JL: There was a series of posts/events that created a sort of perfect storm that really launched my “tumblr-career” into full blast. I started using Tumblr in early 2009 at the behest of my friend and former classmate, Greg Leuch, and by 2012 I had amassed a whopping 100 followers. Near the end of 2012, Tumblr offered to include me on their Illustrators Spotlight (which I eagerly accepted!) and around the same time, a (very bad) drawing of mine was on the Tumblr Radar for the first time. Then I started getting on the Radar about once every month. So in about a year’s time, I went from 100 followers to 100,000 followers like magic. But I’d like to give a message to those reading: lots-of-internet-followers does not equal $$$$!


CB: That’s very true! While followers may not be paying your bills, it’s still nice to know that people out there appreciate what you’re doing. We hear you’re in grad school for your MFA, how’s that going and what else is on your horizon?

JL: Yes, that’s definitely true!

You heard right! I am in the Hartford Art School Low Residency MFA in Illustration program and just finished my first contact period at the end of July. It’s a wonderful program run by amazing illustrators, and I’m very excited to be a part of it.

As far as the horizon—my bff, Lou (who I happened to be married to), is 37 weeks pregnant, so there’s gonna be a lil dude in our lives real soon!

CB: Congrats on your upcoming initiation to #dadlife! Good luck with grad school and thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us.


Josh has a brand new shirt on CB today. Check out all of his design’s here or follow him on twitter/tumblr.

Editors note: Josh and Lou have since welcomed little Henri into their lives. Congrats you two!