Written by Annie McCulloch, Portfolio Recruitment
Now and Then is a series where we catch up with designers who’ve been recently placed, via Portfolio Recruitment. We get their thoughts and feedback about their new roles and their work. Our latest Now and Then is with Hannah Morris, a Designer at Insight Creative.
Hannah, thanks for being involved in Now and Then! You arrived home to NZ after a couple of years living and working in the UK. How easy was the transition for you back into work in Auckland?
Super easy, things just fell back into place. I got back into freelancing straight away and did that for a few months while on the hunt to find the perfect permanent role. I actually wasn’t expecting to find a job so fast but I was super stoked about it and well, here we are one year on!
What major differences do you feel there are working as a designer in the UK compared to NZ?
In London I worked inhouse as the Brand Designer for a global digital money transfer company, Azimo, from my experience there the main difference for me was scale.
The amount of people we could reach is obviously nothing compared to the New Zealand market, and with scale that included considering many different cultures, countries and languages.
I realised very quickly that I didn’t actually know anything about the customers I was designing for. With no Creative Director or Design Lead above me I organised to meet with people from different countries, from Nigeria to Poland, to get insights on what they wanted from our brand and why they used us in the first place. I really enjoyed this part of the process, hearing their stories and learning about different customer behaviours, this new knowledge enabled me to make culturally considered and empathetic design designs.
I lived in North London and would regularly eat at a restaurant down the road and every time I went there the menu had changed. When I asked the manager “why?” he replied “we can’t figure out what everyone here likes”. I think that sums up my experience in London, lots of experimenting, exploration and learnings.
You’ve been at Insight Creative for almost a year now, what do you really enjoy about your role in the team there?
I’m really enjoying being surrounded by such talented and passionate people every day. Before this job I had never had a Creative director or Design Lead to guide my process, stretch my ideas or challenge me. I knew when I got back to New Zealand I had to find a role that had a Creative Director that would in some way be a mentor.
Each designer in our team brings their own style and perspective to the table and we work together to stretch ideas and push ourselves out of our comfort zone. As a team we’re working on growing our creativity and innovation and it’s really exciting to be a part of that. We’re doing some really great things right now.
When you were a junior designer, was there one piece of advice you were given that helped you when starting out in your career?
When I was starting out someone told me to “just say yes” and get involved in anything you can get your hands on, even if it scares you. That way you get exposure and can dip your hands into many different pies, you may even surprise yourself and find an interest in a path you had ruled out thinking it wasn’t for you. You’re sure to quickly figure out what you like and what you don’t like, either way you’ll take away learnings that will help you progress in your career.
What keeps you inspired as a designer?
Other designers. I’m inspired by seeing people pushing the boundaries, making me feel something, using their talents to fix an issue or offer a solution and making a positive change on something they feel strongly about.