Name: Vicky Hardman
Job Title: Designer at SB Studio
Social handle: @sbstudio
What’s the story of ‘you’?
I grew up on a small farm on the Wirral and went to Norwich University of the Arts, graduating in 2012. Then spent a couple of winters snowboarding in the French Alps working seasons, and a summer backpacking before coming back to the Wirral. To finish off my slightly strange selection of hobbies, I also take a ballet class on Monday evenings.
What does your day-to-day look like at SB?
It is genuinely true that no two days are the same. From briefings and research to presenting work to clients, the whole team is normally involved in every project at some point.
What inspires your creative juices?
Inspiration has different forms, it can be spotted randomly on a walk or heard in a passing comment. Catching a glimpse of something that sparks a thought process. I love that something seemingly unrelated can be part of problem solving. At the moment I feel particularly inspired when learning a new skill. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to do something I hadn’t done before.
Career pathways - wonderfully unpredictable. Did you always want to be what you’re doing now or was there something before this?
Yes, from the age of about 11, but also that I didn’t want to go straight into the industry after University. I knew it would be difficult getting back into the swing of things, but it was totally worth it.
How did you manage to get your foot in the door?
A couple of years ago I tried a self promotion idea of sending hand made paper flowers to studios with a typewriter written letter. I got an internship in house at a charity and continued to attend networking events. Introducing myself face to face, eventually, to most of the people I had sent the flowers to.
One of which was Benji, when he gave a talk at one of the Creative Kitchen evenings. In January I made the decision to leave the in house role and join the Catalyst programme. Benji held a session a few weeks in, afterwards I went and re-introduced myself. I literally just said that I had left my previous job so was looking for internships and were SB considering taking on an intern. I went in for an interview a couple of weeks later.
What were some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned along the way to getting here?
It can be who you know not what, stand out from everyone else, probably all the same lessons as everyone else. But that for me was big in itself, realising that everyone genuinely has bumps along the way and are still figuring things out. Don’t be afraid of change, easier said than done, but if you don’t enjoy what you do then change direction. The bumps and struggles make it even more rewarding.
What’s been the biggest surprise to you about the industry that you’re in?
How much I felt part of the team from day 1 of the internship. Some of this might be the smaller team at SB but it’s great. Being fully involved in projects and having input to different parts of the process. Learning more about print finishes and stock, then being able to recommend options to clients has been a highlight.
What golden nuggets of advice do you have for people entering the industry?
Be honest, if you don’t know how to do something ask. If you need an opinion or some inspiration just ask. Don’t be afraid of what people will think. Enjoy what you do.