Laura Heeks – PgCert Design For Visual Communication

Laura Heeks is a freelance designer and illustrator based in Liverpool. She graduated from PgCert Design for Visual Communication at LCC in 2008

Where are you from in the world?

I am London born and Wales bred. 

Why did you choose to study the PgCert Design for Visual Communication at LCC?

I decided back in 2008 that my career in marketing wasn't for me and I wanted to explore my creative side and re-train as a designer. Having already completed a BA degree in English Literature, I didn’t want to go back to the start and do another three year course.

The PgCert was ideal because it intensely packed in a massive amount of critical design theory and hands-on practice, allowing me to learn and develop quickly and acquire the skills for a new career. It also gave me the confidence to throw myself into the world of internships when the course ended and after stints at Pentagram, GQ Magazine, The Guardian and Brighten the Corners I was ready to get my first job.

Where are you working at the moment?

I live in Liverpool and split my time between independent freelance and a part-time job creating design work for the city’s Liverpool John Moores University. In my freelance capacity I work with clients from small start-up companies who require a logo, through to larger companies who need help developing their brands and producing promotional materials. I love the diversity and flexibility of working with clients directly as no two projects are ever the same.

What are some of the past projects you've worked on or clients you've worked with that you're most proud of?

Back when I was an design assistant at Brighten the Corners with Billy Kiosoglou, I had the privilege of working on the exhibition materials for Anish Kapoor’s two big shows in Delhi and Mumbai. It was wonderful helping to design parts of the brochure, working on the huge information posters that hung in the architectural models gallery, and spending time in Anish Kapoor’s amazing London studio carefully scanning his sketchbooks. That was a stand-out moment. Since then, having worked on projects for some big household names, as well as lots of much smaller clients, I have created many pieces of work of which I am very proud.

Name three things you couldn't be creative without:

My tools (my Mac, pens, pencils, camera, scanner and so on). My environment/surroundings. My brain!

If you could collaborate creatively with anybody in the world who would it be?

Josef Müller-Brockmann, if only he was still alive.

What are your fondest memories of LCC?

The whole class sitting in a circle, discussing our work and ideas, with Tony in the middle. Class trips to the pub. Hunkering down in the library with huge piles of design tomes to get stuck into for research. The heaven and hell of preparing my work for final hand-in.

What drives you to succeed?

The alternative? And the words ‘Why not?’ But more seriously, I am passionate about design and I genuinely enjoy my job, so when I get happy feedback from my clients or finish a project that I am particularly pleased with, that is impetus enough to keep on striving for success.

Have you kept in touch from anyone from your course?

I have two very wonderful friends that I made at LCC who I hope I will be in touch with for the rest of my life! I have lost touch with most other people, but have many vivid memories of the various characters on the course. I'm still in touch with our tutor Tony as well.

What three words would you use to best describe LCC?

Creative. Down-to-earth. Fun.

Tell us about your future plans and ambitions:

I want to carry on working for nice clients on projects that are diverse, creative and interesting. I'd like to set up my own studio one day or carry on working for myself. It would be rewarding to get involved in some kind of mentoring or teaching of design to give something back. I feel like I’m very lucky to be in the position I am in professionally, but also that it’s difficult to get to a position of relative success in design so it would be nice to be able to help talented young designers navigate this path too.

Where in London do you go when you need a little inspiration?

You can’t beat the V&A for a pure visual feast. Plus wandering the multi-cultural area between Petticoat Lane and Brick Lane with its community feel and multitude of ever-changing street art.

What piece of advice would you give to new students?

Be fearless and try as many different techniques, crafts and processes as you can. Make use of the amazing facilities and expertise in the workshops at LCC. You can learn so much. Try not to be too scared of making mistakes, it’s not always fun, but it’s the best way to improve and develop creatively.