Making it in today’s increasingly competitive world is tough. So, each and every month, we’ll be talking to our very own creative customers, asking them the questions you want to know the answers to. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve already found your feet in the industry, get to know some of your fellow creatives with our Customer Spotlight series. First up, we’re chatting to Liz Harry, of Liz Harry Design.
Liz, hi! Let’s kick this off with a bit about you and what you do…
I’m a designer-illustrator with a love of hand drawn type and colourful, or what I like to call ‘colour-fun’ designs. I’m based up North in the musical city of Liverpool!
I’ve had a career spanning 15 years working primarily for the music industry, the first six running my own design company the following nine working as a freelancer. I can honestly say I love what I do and have a keen and unthwarted passion to create imagery.
I deal mainly in campaign direction, and work with my partner Gavin wood, Telewood, to transfer those identities into motion graphics and animation. I don’t shun from challenges, deadlines, and budgets. I work transparently, in the words of the late great David Bowie…
“If she says she can do it, then she can do it, she don’t make false claims”
I’ve been working in the creative industries for many years, but my greeting cards and pin designs are a recent side hustle that gives me a chance to express myself freely without working to brief. I’ve always loved the idea of owning a shop since I was young and surrounding myself with beautiful things! When I started creating my greeting cards I decided to setup an Etsy shop, which has been developing since. Pins and jewellery were a natural progression for me, I’ve always dabbled with jewellery making but never taken it any further until a friend introduced me to a company making enamel pins – The resurgence in enamel pin designs over the last five years hadn’t gone unnoticed by me and I decided to make one!
How do you find being a creative in today’s industry?
So much of my work is music related – and even when I was in uni a lot of my images where always about song lyrics or influenced by a particular band or song, but I also love films, specifically musicals – I know they’re very outdated, but looking beyond that they’re so warm, hopeful and full of glorious technicolour! Movie musicals inspire my pin designs – it’s my own love letter to a genre of film that is really under celebrated because most people will roll their eyes when someone starts singing in a film! But films are very rarely created in such scale anymore, and it’s the creative side of them that appeals to me the most!
You don’t just design pins and Greeting Cards though, do you? You work heavily in the music business, and you’ve got some top names on your portfolio like The Coral, The Zutons, Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Queen, Kiss, Status Quo and I Blame Coco, to name just a few! Tell us a bit about that and how you found yourself designing for these huge names…
I designed for a lot of clubs in Liverpool, once I’d got a reputation as a designer who delivered. One of these clubs was frequented by Alan Wills – who was looking for someone to design a vinyl record for a DJ he managed. I ended up designing it and branding his company Deltasonic – basing his logo on a Thai milk bottle logo that I loved!
Eventually as my company grew in numbers TV advertising and Video projects followed. I decided we needed to expand our client base and approached other record labels, mainly through personal referral, but I also networked by going to gigs, meeting with managers and label managers.
Bands like the Artic Monkeys and The Zutons really helped me boost my career too – I was given free creative reign on all the albums I collaborated on for these bands – so it was great at the time to showcase my skills as a photoshoot producer, art director and designer – and it was amazing to have been at the visual helm of the journey for these two very successful bands.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Offline I used to go to car boots and charity shops a lot as I do find a lot of inspiration in nostalgia and what’s come before. I also love visiting London’s galleries, shops and events – though its lovely to see more regional cities developing their creative communities – Hebden Bridge, Leeds, Brighton and Margate’s Dreamland is on my list this year as places I’d like to visit for close-to-home inspiration. I’ve amassed a fab collection of pins on Pinterest that I always use to create mood boards for a new project – but recently Instagram’s become my main go to – just because creatives upload work daily to it – and it gives you behind-the-scenes glimpses into how people work too – which is always fascinating.
What does the future hold for you and your business? Where do you see your business going over the next year?
In the immediate future there’s lots of new designs ahead – I’ve been working on a GREASE inspired range of pin & jewellery designs – there’s also going to be a lotta new cards added in the upcoming months so I’m getting all my lettering pens at the ready! Looking further into the future I’d love the idea of taking my products to a trade show – as I’ve not yet focused on the wholesale yet but it’s something I’m very keen to develop over the next 1/2 years.
Do you have any advice for creatives looking to get set up in your industry?
I’m gonna expand on a piece of advice my dad gave me which was ‘Do what you love’ and ‘work hard at it’… I’d add ‘and be nice to people’ – this is the best advice I can give. At a push I’d add ‘Get good at coping brilliantly with very little sleep’ but that’s more of a mum thing…
[Remember], Don’t make money the thing that drives your creativity… make sure your art comes from things you love – I love getting inspiration from music, so that was a good fit for me – areas you’ll succeed most in are ones you have a natural affinity with, so use that to your advantage!
One of the main reasons clients said they came back to me was because I’m nice to work with – which is always lovely to hear, but it’s also vital that you get on with the people you work with/for.
Finally, what do you print with Printed.com?
Mainly my greeting cards – I’m really looking forward to getting some foiled designs made very soon! I’m not always working as far in advance as I should so printed.com is amazing for quick turnaround – I can upload a design to the site and have them on my doorstep within a 48hour period – which is just fab for me!
Thanks for chatting with us Liz! We cannot wait to see what the future holds for you and your business – we’ll be here to support you every setp of the way!
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