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10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram

by Quelcy Kogel

Recently, I had to sort through several Rubbermaid containers filled with tokens from my childhood. One of the keepers was a small photo album filled with film photos (!) of purses and pillows I had sewn and sold — a portfolio, if you will. Fast forward to the post-college years, when I wanted to showcase my work via the Internet, but creating a website required intimidating black screens and a second language. So I waited.

Today, the gates are wide open to young creatives. With so many portfolio platforms and Instagram, the next generation not only has a platform for showcasing their talent, but they have a world of inspiration at their fingertips. They’re connecting with each other across oceans and creating safe, artistic spaces.

Fittingly, I am writing this roundup on the eve of my birthday, a time to reflect on age, where I’ve been and where I’m headed. Some of these inspirational young ‘grammers take me back to my Alma Mater, some take me back to my early computer classes, some take me straight to Google… because for the life of me, I have no idea who they are referencing or what their slang means.

Though I may not be getting any younger (and certainly not any cooler), I can at least keep one finger on the pulse and try to soak up some of their youthful creativity one like at a time. —Quelcy 

10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
1/10
Lily Fulop is the cure for your bold pattern and color cravings. A student of Communication Design & Gender Studies at Carnegie Mellon University, she fills her feed with her pattern experiments and text studies. If you like her warm patterns, you can even wear some of them via her shop.
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
2/10
"No kid should ever feel bad about how they look.” That’s the motto of Egypt “Ify” Ufele. After being bullied for her weight (a result of taking steroids for the severe asthma that nearly took her life), Ify found comfort in sewing outfits for her dolls. Fast forward, and Ify was the only child to present at New York Fashion Week. She’s also an International Anti-Bullying Activist and a Jr. UN Ambassador of Peace. Not bad for a TEN YEAR OLD, right?
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
3/10
Megan Schaller is a young woman who wears many fashionable hats. She is a computer science student, zine contributor, tech person, digital artist, a co-founder of Modern Girls and the artist who is bringing back Microsoft Paint via portraits of people and issues that inspire her.
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
4/10
Instagram has made it possible for young creatives across the globe to connect and share their cultures, which is important now more than ever. Through Instagram we can start to see more similarities than differences. Areeba Siddique is a young Pakistani woman who voraciously fills sketchbooks, and she blogs about art, feminism and cultural traditions at “Not Your Type.” She also happens to be a twin. Up next… her twin!
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
5/10
Noor Unnahar believes Instagram is the best social platform ever, and she fills it with art and words that make her seem far older than her 19 years. She’s a self-described “hustling teenager.” On her blog, “Noor’s Place,” she creates a space for young writers/readers to discuss high art as well as the latest Kardashian trends.
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
6/10
I’m still trying to un-drop my jaw, so I barely have words to describe this 15-year-old’s photography talent. Each shot, like this portrait, is filled with depth and atmosphere. Additionally, Lennon Walter is a transgender teen who promotes love and acceptance. Just carve out some time and dive in deep! Lennon, let me know when you want to work together. I’m yours! ;)
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
7/10
Alé Salamán, known as Namalas online, was born in Puerto Rico, lives in Florida and gives hope that the next generation of females is already putting up a strong fight for their place in this world. At 17, her expressive drawings often speak to politics and current events, as well as a celebration of the people in her life.
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
8/10
When I was 17, most of my friends and I had very menial jobs. The idea of freelancing hadn’t even crossed our minds. The fact that a high schooler can publish a portfolio and earn income for her creative work is inspiring. Meet Chloe Hsu, an impressive illustrator and animator who has one foot in high school and one foot in the freelance world.
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
9/10
Abigail Goh studied Illustration/Communication Arts at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Today she is building her whimsical portfolio with clients that include the New York Times and Huffington Post. This process shot shows how her final graphic designs often stem from imaginative, tactile worlds.
10 Young Designers and Creatives to Follow on Instagram via Design*Sponge
10/10
For those days when you just want to escape everything, the work of Vanya Liang provides that outlet. From pastoral to fairytale-like scenes, this collection will feed your imagination.

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