How I Became a Designer: Part 2

Following on from my blog post on the beginnings of my journey into graphic design, I am giving an insight into what came next.

I’d left university and had been working for the college as a designer and was recommended to a local designer, Helen Mackenzie, who took me on part time. I loved working with Helen and to this day she’s still very much my mentor and friend. We worked in Border Offset printers in Carlisle and I loved helping with the more practical side of printing, such as finishing and binding booklets.

From here, a full time job came up with Hydrant, a Carlisle based web design company. I was based from home and whilst I really enjoyed my time there, I suffered quite a bit from anxiety, and being stuck at home all the time working really left me feeling worse. So when a position came up at The Cumberland Pencil Company, I felt like it would be a great opportunity to work in a large company and learn more.

I was initially in charge of general marketing, basic design jobs and liaising with photographers and design agencies who created most of the creative output. After a time, I asked if I could be involved in the design of packaging and they agreed – pretty soon I was working on most of the creative projects myself and we also took the photography in house. I absolutely loved it and felt like I was really making a difference to the company and learning so much.

As well as the design side of things, I was really interested in digital marketing. I’ve always been interested in communications and social media was in its relative infancy so I was put through a Chartered Institute of Marketing postgraduate diploma in digital marketing. It was a very intense course and it meant I was working full time and studying in the evening. I passed with merit and went on to help the marketing department win two business awards for our use of social media.

It was a couple of years later that myself and my husband decided to start a family. I happily went off on maternity leave planning to come back and flexibly work around my family but having suffered from postnatal anxiety, I decided to start my own business. Looking back it was a bit of a leap but I felt like it was the right choice.

I hadn’t ever run a business so it was a little worrying where I was going to get my first clients! Thankfully, after putting a shout out on social media that I was open for business, I started to gain some new clients and some regular work freelancing for Glow Creative in Durham. I started attending networking groups and through word of mouth, and my skills in digital marketing, my business started to get off the ground. And the rest is history!

I absolutely love what I do now; helping other business owners is my favourite thing. My clients gain so much confidence from having the perfect logo and visuals for their brand. I help my clients to learn exactly who their target market is and I help give them the tools to reach them.

So, as for the future, who knows what will happen but I have some exciting plans in place to grow my business and to help more people with their branding.