Winner: Karen Cowell and the September Challenge

To coincide with the launch of our new 2013 calendar range, set a calendar design challenge for designers and members of our Design Central Gallery. With a prize of 5000 rewards points to be won plus a feature on our blog, the quality of the work we received was some of the best we have seen in a competition so far.

Calendar Submissions

All submissions were send to our guest judge from stock image provider, Bigstock and Karen Cowell was announced as the winner of this year’s September Challenge.

 Karen's Calendar were so impressed with her work that we thought we’d show her off  and understand a bit more about her style,  inspirations and present you with a few more examples of her work.

1.Describe your style and influences

At present I have a small but loyal client base and because of varying disciplines, I like to think that my style is different for every piece of work I do.

2.Where did the idea for your calendar design come from?

The image I used is from a trip to San Sebastien in the Basque region between France nd Spain. The city is full of old and new architecture placed side by side and I loved how the geometric shapes and patterns of the newer buildings worked with organic shapes such as the mountains and bay.

3.How did you get started as a designer?

Getting started as a designer was a bit long winded. In 1988, I did a YTS course after leaving school, I was placed at Belfast City Hospital in the Medical Illustration department and it was there that I really got to learn a lot of traditional techniques. Then I worked in printing for a year or so before working in the Repro department of a school in Nottingham,. This is where I really took off, but because I had print experience, it was easier to see things as a finished product and also know if there were going to be any limitations.

4.How do you normally promote yourself and your work?

Trying to promote myself has been a real challenge. I have a Behance Portfolio as well as making contacts of LinkedIn, I hand out business cards and word of mouth recommendations always help. I always talk about what I do to friends as well and they can be a big help in promoting me. I Pin my work on Pinterest and use the other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter too.

5.What type of clients have you worked with?

So far the main bulk of my work has been for DJs but the last job I did was for a sweet shop that just opened in Belfast.

6.What has been your favourite client or campaign?

My favourite client was a reflexologist from Cardiff who came to me with a very small bitmap file which was, sadly, useless and I think what she’d been expecting  was far shorter than I could achieve for her. She had faith though and the finished business stationery I created for her really took her breath away and she is very happy with the result.

7.If you could work for any company, who would it be?

Having worked for someone else all my life and now stepped out on my own, I like to think I’ve got a good balance with home/work. But if I had to choose, then maybe a company that was a good mix of a fun working day, days full of challenges and had staff that were passionate about all aspects of design and print.

8.What software couldn’t you live without?

Photoshop and illustrator equally!

 Karen's designs

Karen has over 20 years if professional experience as a graphic designer and her stong use of bright colours will really jazz up your next poster, leaflets for your next event or even your next website. Her portfolio is available for you to view on her prosite and you can even contact her there for requests of your own and you can follow her on twitter too at @fforchwen



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