The Creative Life Series is a blog segment that features individuals who live creatively. Take a look at how these individuals live their life to the fullest – their passion projects, aspirations and their smart ways to stay creative.

Our special guest is Mia Canoy, a software engineer, visual designer, and traveler.

Can you tell us 3 things about you?

I’m a full-time software engineer, aspiring visual designer, and an aspiring social entrepreneur.

I love traveling, meeting different people and volunteering for different charities that involve helping kids.

I’m also inclined to listen to Korean music, watching K-dramas, English series, and sports (volleyball, snowboarding, and football).

What are you up to? What keeps you busy right now?

Aside from my full-time job, I’ve been connecting myself to charity organizations in Siargao. I’m currently organizing a mini-advocacy where people can donate their unused books. These books will be donated to a school in my hometown, San Fernando, and in Siargao Island. I am also planning to launch my own tee brand designed by myself inspired by Siargao Island (I’m planning to move there someday).

Since when did you become a visual designer?

I started becoming one when I was in college then continued when I started working for TechTalks.ph, a non-profit organization for tech events.

What inspired you to become a visual designer?

Since I started volunteering for the startup community here in Cebu until I started working, I have met a lot of inspiring creative individuals from different fields. And that inspired me to not give up on what I love the most, which is designing.

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without?

Photoshop! I’ve used it since I was in high school but I think I’ll improve if I try to explore more design tools.

Can you tell us about more about your advocacies — the free logos for MSMEs in Siargao and Donate-a-Book for Siargao community?

For the free logos for MSMEs in Siargao, I have been on hiatus in designing for one year. So it’s more of like a personal motivation for me to not stop designing even when I’m busy with my full-time job.

For Donate-a-Book, I know someone (Regil) who did this for kids in Bantayan. I got inspired and thought that I might as well try. So Siargao, being close to my heart, and since we have a lot of used/unused books, I decided to do one.

Who are your biggest influencers as a visual designer?

Different kinds of artists but mostly, local designers in Cebu. #SupportLocal

From being an IT student, to an aspiring designer, web developer and soon to be social entrepreneur, what are the challenges and lessons learned you’ve encountered during the transition?

Not all people will support you. You will receive criticisms. There’s always a risk. It takes courage to start one. But you’ll never know the outcome if you don’t try.

What advice can you give to those visual designers who are just starting out?

I still consider myself as a designer who’s also starting out. But yup, just continue to do what you love the most, and you will always be happy. Step out of your comfort zones. Be curious. Never stop learning.

What’s the most profound lesson you’ve learned from traveling?

There are plenty of amazing people as you travel, so go out there. You will never be the same when you get back, but you’ll be better. Also, when you’re traveling alone and you happen to look someone in the eyes, be it local or foreigner, smile. A smile changes everything. 🙂