I sat thinking to myself this morning about all the new work I’m busy designing and it made me realise that maybe people don’t know enough about me… That maybe I should tell you all a little more about myself so you know what sort of person I am, and in turn, what kind of designer I am too. It’s no surprise that you must be wondering “Just who is Hollie Ellis?”
Well, where to begin! Ever since I was at school I had an interest in creative things, but more so in Art & Design. Graphics became an option at AS Level and at my school a GCSE in it wasn’t required so long as you’d done Art & Design, so I thought, ‘why not?’.
After starting my Graphics lessons, I instantly fell in love… I was able to create things and think about the layout and look of things, the meaning behind them. I remember one of the projects I worked on had a Sweets theme… so I decided to make edible gift bags – the handles of the gift bags being strawberry laces! I felt inspired!
I went on to do a degree in Graphic Design and 2 years into my Honours, I decided to freelance over the summer. Just as I was about to go back to college for my final year I was offered a full time position at the company I was freelancing for. I had to stop and think… did I want a job straight away, even though I really wanted to finish off my degree. I spoke to an advisor at college and agreed I could do both. A year doing both full time was challenging, but I got the degree I worked so hard for in the end.
I learnt a lot from my degree, but it doesn’t prepare you for the ‘working environment’ that you then find yourself in. I began to learn a lot more in my new job, especially about print. I was plunged into the deep end. I was there for 6 years before I was made redundant and in that time, I undertook various roles including Graphic Designer, Print Manager and also Project Manager for the web side of the company. I got to work with web developers and develop my own web design skills, working closely with them, observing the way they worked. I learnt to design websites to include the functionality the developers wanted to code into the website. Working all roles at the same time, I also learnt how to divide and conquer my work load.
Since I designed a lot for the print company, I realised I became a specialist in that area of design, creating and developing a brand, then doing business stationery designs, leaflet designs, POS, signage designs… even shop front and full vehicle graphic designs. I gained a wealth of knowledge about print too.
In the whole 6 years I was there, I grew as a person, I became more confident in myself and it moulded me into a more business like person. I had worked with a wide range of clients, from sole traders and SME’s to a large organisation in London – Action Against Hunger. When I found out I was being made redundant, I decided to take a gamble and go freelance, full time. Scary, yet exciting times were ahead.
Seven months ago, I was offered a full time job at a food packaging company and I accepted the offer as I knew it would help me gain experience in another area of design – packaging design. I learnt a lot about Food Information Regulations and what is legally required on food packaging as well as the layout of information and also how to fully prepare design files for print presses. I got to work closely with large blue chip clients and also with an amazing CAD team developing the look/shape of a piece of food packaging, then designing the graphics to fit to it.
After seven months of doing that, it was time for me to move on and freelance full time again. I am LOVING every second of it.
So, why am I a graphic designer?
Well, I love being creative and when a client gives me free reign on a design I instantly fall in love… those are the best projects, because you get to think without any boundaries being there. It’s amazing – ideas spur off from other ideas and then you create the ‘pièce de résistance’. It makes me happy, but even more so when I get positive feedback from my clients. That, to me is job satisfaction. If a client is happy with what I’ve designed for them, then I’m happy.
I like going into places and finding a leaflet I’ve designed for a client sitting there… because to me, my design has a place in this world. It’s sitting there and people are seeing it and it also benefits my clients at the same time. It’s making people more aware of them.
I love playing around with ‘space’ in a design and seeing what I can do to maximise the message being portrayed in the space available.
I also love helping people, especially my clients. I like to ensure the design work I do for them, generates them more brand awareness. They can come to me with an idea of what they’d like, we discuss it, develop it and then I’m able to go away and design it and sometimes implement it for them too. Seeing the results they get back from something I’ve designed – priceless.
Now, I could go on for forever, but I won’t.
So, that’s the designer in me, but what about me as a person…
Here’s some fact’s about me:
I’m originally from Morpeth, a small market town north of Newcastle upon Tyne. When I was 19 I moved to Newcastle for college and my job. I love going back home to Morpeth though… I’m a country girl at heart and always will be.
I hate tea and coffee – pass me a hot chocolate any time!
I hate milk on cornflakes and would happily eat them dry. Strange I know.
I’m always smiling and I’m alway upbeat and positive. I think being negative all the time will have a negative impact on you… So I like to do the opposite: be positive, positive things will happen.
I’m grateful for every little thing in my life and I’m thankful every day for it all too.
I’m really into baking, especially baking and decorating cupcakes. It’s another outlet for me to be creative.
I’m into my health and fitness a lot too… after all, this body of mine has to get me through the next 60+ years, so why shouldn’t it be at it’s peak level of health and fitness?
I have an amazing partner. He’s a brave man putting up with me and my spontaneous ways, but I think designers are known to be a little ‘out there’, a little ‘cool’ and little ‘hip’! We make a great team and we have a cocker spaniel, Lionel who regularly takes up photos in my Instagram account. He’s an absolute cutie.
That’s enough about me, but if you would like to know more, you know where I am, so please get in touch.