Interview: Middleweight Graphic & Editorial Designer

Bianca-Hawker-interview-tile

Name: Bianca Hawker
Age: 23

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Current Job title: Middleweight Graphic / Editorial Freelance Designer
Creative Sector: Magazine/Newspaper Publishing and marketing

Regular Clients / Companies (Freelance): 
• Open Media Group Portugal (magazine/ newspaper publishing)
• Fine & Country Algarve real estate (designing a range of media).

University Attended: Nottingham Trent University (graduated 2018)
Course Studied: Graphic Design BA

Did you secure any internships during your studies or after graduating?

Before I went to University in England I studied and lived in Portugal, where I found myself an internship with Open Media doing small adverts for their online and print publications, which helped me to gain lots of experience in responding to briefs and how to deal with clients.

In 2015 I joined Nottingham Trent University where I felt that I was not gaining enough knowledge of the design sector, therefore I took it on my own to find the experience and knowledge I needed to succeed with my career goals and ambitions. In order to do this, I searched for hours on end for companies that looked good for me.

My first internship was during my first year at university and it was with a company called Wig Wag (In Nottingham). This was a small agency and although I only did two weeks with them and not that much work, I was still able to build my confidence and get a little bit more of an insight of the working life.

During my third year I got in contact with Dalton Maag London (an independent font foundry). All I did was google them, send them my portfolio and a little cover letter on why I wanted to participate in their type training courses (typography was my biggest interest at university). I successfully got the position and then proceeded to carry on with my university work from London whilst training full time with Dalton Maag for two months. This worked perfectly as I was able to implement my work from Dalton Maag to my university work.

What advice would you give to students who are currently seeking internships or are perhaps nervous about doing them?

GO FOR IT! You have absolutely nothing to lose. The more experience the better and trust me, even if they are just a few days or one week long they are worth it.

If you are nervous, just take a deep breath and think to yourself I can do this. Because the longer you wait the more you will regret it. All companies will understand that you are a beginner and they don’t expect you to be perfect (they aren’t perfect themselves).

The way to look at it is that if you gain experience now, you can stand out against the crowd when you apply to jobs in the future and the quicker you get the experience, the quicker you will find your dream job!

How did you obtain your first job?

My first job was obtained through indeed.com, although I also emailed lots of different companies with my CV and portfolio. I would say that 1 in every 15 emails got a response, so don’t be offended if you don’t get a response.

What have you learned since you started working?

The biggest learning curve for me, was that you don’t have to work in one job for a year or two to get good experience. I hated my first job and although I stuck it out for 6 months, I gained the experience I needed and took the choice to leave.

I then joined another company shortly after, 6 months down the line I discovered that this was not the right job for me either and this caused we a lot of stress because I always thought to myself “I have to get a year’s experience in one company otherwise other companies won’t trust me to not leave” and although maybe some companies won’t like the look of this on your CV, it is not something that should stop you. Any good company should know that a range of experience in different areas of design can offer you just as much or even more than a junior designer who has experience of only one role, it really depends on what the company is looking for.

For me it worked out as I learnt a lot about the print industry in my first job, then a lot about digital design and digital marketing in my second, which has benefited the company I now work with. Although my main focus is editorial design, I can prepare magazines and other designs such as billboards for print, plus I can help the teams with their online marketing and newsletters.

What do you wish you had known while studying?

I personally overworked myself and didn’t give myself much of a brake and it ended up with extremely bad anxiety and ruined relationships. It was not worth it. So please remember to enjoy life! (but don’t go to crazy) just keep a health balance of working hours and free time.

For me I never focused on grades, but I know some of you need to hear this. Majority of design companies don’t care what grade you get. They want to see work experience and good work ethic, in fact, I don’t think any of my jobs even asked me what I got! They just liked my portfolio and thought that I would fit in!

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Work smart not hard, 8/9 hours of good working is much better than working round the clock and having 13+ bad hours and not resting.

For more information and to see some of Bianca’s work, visit:

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