I met Brittany Fabello through Instagram and was immediately drawn to her unique, rustic style of artwork. Brittany currently lives in London, England and owns a design studio called Sea of Atlas! Her family vacationed on York Beach every summer, for as long as she can remember, and she has close ties to the seacoast. The story Brittany shares of following her dreams is inspiring, and I thought she would be a perfect fit for this edition of “Seacoasters in the Wild”!
What is “Sea of Atlas”?
Sea of Atlas is a design studio that specializes in branding, hand lettering, illustration, and invitations.
What do you love most about your job?
I love working with people at turning points in their lives. Most of the projects that come my way are for branding and invitations; and they involve visuals to tell a story. For example, a company uses its logo and visuals to connect with its audience, while couples come to create stationery that gives their guests a glimpse into their big day. I feel so honored that people choose me to be a part of their journey.
You started your own business shortly after graduating college. What prompted you and are you happy with that decision?
Well, when I graduated, I did what I was “supposed to do” and applied to a bunch of in-office design jobs. I had some interviews, and the number one piece of feedback offered when I was told I didn’t get the job was that I was "too creative for the role". I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to get just any job, and that was okay, because it meant that I had a specific calling in life. I started freelancing and was able to find my way as a designer through these projects. I eventually felt like it was time to really embrace my creative side and I began the studio in 2013.
I’m very happy doing what I’m doing! I wake up every day excited to dive into my work. There are certainly days when owning my own business and trying to navigate things on my own is tough, but it’s made me a stronger person. I have learned so much, taking this path, and continue to surprise myself with how far I can go.
You went to school in Portland, Maine and then lived in Boston. What did you study in school and what did you love about each city?
I started at the University of Southern Maine studying studio art, but changed my concentration a few times because I wasn’t quite sure where I fit in as an artist. Most of my two years there were focused on ceramics, until I decided to make a more significant change. I was struggling with art being so structured—like being forced to create—so I knew I needed to step back from the artist path. My true calling was to be a creative, so I knew I couldn’t completely abandon that just yet. After some thought, I transferred to Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts to study Graphic Design. I graduated in 2012 and moved to Boston shortly after, which is where I first began my studio.
I lived in Gorham while at USM, and would frequently make my way to Portland, which is a city I’ve always loved. My family and I would go there every so often growing up, and I would get really excited. There was just always something about it that made me feel good and that was one of the main reasons I initially chose to go to school in Maine. I love small cities—ones that don’t overwhelm you so much with the hustle and bustle, but still have so much going on. The art and culture in Portland is what has me aching to eventually settle down there some day.
Boston was my first go at city life. I grew up in a small town in central Massachusetts so it seemed like a bigger step to move there than it probably should have; haha. Living in a city taught me things I wouldn’t have been able to learn if I had continued to stay away from them. Cities toughen you up, and I found myself gaining confidence the more I learned living in the city of Boston. I miss the size and location of Boston a lot. My husband and I lived in the North End, and one of our favorite things to do was to go for walks along the harbor. Both Portland and Boston are near big bodies of water, and they both embody New England charm. There’s just nothing like it!
Now you live in London!!! Tell us More!!!
Moving to London was definitely a restart for my business. Rather than trying to force something that was made for the US market, I re-launched my studio with a new name and purpose. When I first started out in the US, I was mainly selling paper goods, like greetings cards on Etsy. Here, in London, it has made more sense to dive into custom work that isn’t location dependent. It’s been interesting, learning about a new market and putting myself out there, more as someone who’s international. I enjoy working with people all over the world and not needing to be tied down to a particular location. The majority of my clients still come from the US though, which is partially intentional as I always want the US to be my home market.
We’ve been in London now for a year! I can’t believe I’m saying that. The first year was truly a wild ride of getting settled in and taking advantage of the ease of travel across Europe. It’s been an adjustment, but one that I know I will look back on and feel really proud of. We’re not sure how long we will be here, but we do know that we will eventually want to be back close to our families when the time is right for us to settle down. We’re just enjoying life right now and letting our hearts guide us!
The seacoast seems to hold a special place in your heart and you plan to settle in this area when you return stateside. What do you love most about it? What are you most excited to do and see when you come back?
There is so much I love about the seacoast! I have a hard time verbalizing what I love most about it because it’s something that just feels so familiar and right. I love the variety of lifestyles and landscapes—cities, mountains, ocean. It’s all right there and beautiful. I miss being able to hop in the car and drive up to the White Mountains or cruise along the coast with the windows down on our way to get some ice cream. There’s just something active and alive in New England!
I’m excited to be somewhere that has all those things again. Living in such a big city like London gives us lots to do and is right for this time of our lives, but New England will always have our hearts. That’s why we can say with certainty that we will move back! Our families are there and we really miss ice cream! We have yet to find any here that is as good! I truly can’t wait to spend summers by the ocean and in the mountains again.
Brittany and her husband travel a lot around Europe, so if you're planning a trip any time soon, be sure to check out her travel guides and Instagram feed @seaofatlas!
Thank you for sharing your positive attitude, your appreciation for the Seacoast and your beautifully unique artwork with us, Brittany! Don’t forget to “Mind the Gap”!
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