1. Hey MC tell us a bit about yourself: who you are and where you're from.
I’m Marie-Claire Hill, a freelance brand and digital designer living in Vancouver, Canada.
2. Awesome. What do you do?
I work on brand and digital design for my own clients and different agencies here in Vancouver and recently the US. I started as a traditional designer but my interests have led me to mostly UI and now more and more UX. Eventually I’m going to branch into strategy in order to inform the end product better. Branding or a good sense of how to apply a brand go hand in hand with a digital presence so my experience in that is helping my digital focused work.
3. You were originally from London and made the move to Vancouver. What was the move like and do you think the design scene is different in both of these cities?
Well it’s a bit of a roundabout story. I left London when I was 16 with my family and we moved to Calgary, which is in the next province over from Vancouver. I moved back to London when I was 21 and started my design education there at Kingston Uni but ultimately ended up in Vancouver a couple of years later. Both moves were a big deal in the sense that the two places are vastly different, and I’ll always be a Londoner at heart. London is a fast-moving cultural hub, where Vancouver is a slower-paced nature hub. So it was a big change! There are benefits to both places but Vancouver has become my home. The design scene in Vancouver is smaller, younger and more home-grown in terms of influence. In London the scene is much bigger and more mature with its roots in traditional design but with the life, culture, multiculturalism, movement and the broad world-view of a hub city keeping it current. Design is valued as a big part of business, culture and government there. During my career in Vancouver I’ve seen it move a little more in that direction rather than being seen as just a service. Looking forward to seeing that grow.
4. You are also a freelance brand and digital designer. What was your journey like to becoming a freelancer?
I worked at agencies and small studios for 11 years. I value the experience I gained and worked with a couple of people I considered mentors during our time together. But I ultimately couldn’t find the right fit for my career goals and wanted to work for myself. I didn’t have the confidence to make it happen for most of that time, and I also needed the day to day experience to build my skills. After I had my daughter I decided it’s now or never. I thought if I go back to a studio I’ll never get out. In an awesome twist of fate, my best mentor got in touch with me close to the end of my leave to work together and the rest is history! It took off fast so luckily I didn’t have the need to look for a day job. My client list grew through friends who worked at agencies and different companies and from there I started getting other referrals. In my experience, owning the fact that you work for yourself and not referring to yourself as someone who’s trying to work for themselves goes a long way in making people feel confident in you. I’ve found it can be the difference between a casual conversation and a new client. It’s a subtle thing but I feel it has helped a lot.
5. What’s next for you? What do you hope to achieve or do in the next few years?
In the next few years I’m going to be working more with direct clients as well as agencies. I’m going to focus on adding strategy to my skillset, which I think is the key to being involved in a project from the beginning rather than the person who makes it look good at the end. I hope to be more involved in the design community at large as this industry is built on communication and collaboration. I’ve kind of poked my head round the door in your and Dann Petty’s Slack channels – big thanks to you and him for making that available to us and being so personally involved. So valuable! I don’t see myself aiming to build a big company. I want to stay independent and work towards some awesome collaborations in future.
6. Finally you are part of the Process Alumni. What led you to join the Process Masterclass?
I’m on Dribbble and discovered your work on there. It always stood out to me as very in line with my goals for my own work so I took a lot of interest in your posts. When you started talking about launching a course I couldn’t wait! Jumped on it as soon as I could as it offered insight into many areas that I was hoping to learn more about. The drawback of working on your own is that you do lose that interaction which adds to your learning curve. So it seemed like just what I was looking for.
7. And how has the Process Masterclass helped you?
It has offered insight into many areas that you can only know about with a certain experience. It’s been valuable to gain a detailed overview of the different parts of a project structure. Strategic, technical and creative. Process is the making of a product so it’s been great to see how it fits together, and fill in pieces I’ve been missing or need to do some further learning on. The personal style of the videos make them easy to watch, like you’re sitting with a teacher rather than just being presented to. Overall I’m really glad I did it and have the material to refer back to when needed.
Thanks so much for your time MC
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