Humans of Berkeley – Hannah

Written by Hannah Bailey

26 September 2023


“Make it simple, but significant,” advises the charismatic Don Draper in an episode of the iconic TV series Mad Men. He is of course referring to the art of design, and how the simplest ideas can have the most profound impact.

From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this creative world. I grew up in a household full of creativity, perpetually fascinated by my Mum’s striking talent as an artist, watching in awe as she transformed simple lines and strokes into a delicate fusion of colour and emotion. I perhaps took this inspiration a little too far at four years old when I excitedly (and admittedly a little mischievously) created my own work of art on the pristine white walls of our house. Safe to say my parents were not as impressed with the red crayon masterpiece as I was.

As I moved on from crayons and walls, I became acutely aware of my dad’s talent in the business world. Sitting patiently in his office after school I would see the respect his colleagues showed him and the admiration he received for his hard work. This taught me that nothing is ever just given to you in life, you have to work for it.

As the new millennium drew in, his work took us to a quaint little town in Germany called Idstein. My sister and I were sent to an international school in Wiesbaden where we were immersed in a glorious cacophony of cultures. I was fascinated by the rich colours of my friends’ traditional clothes and the eruption of flavours in their homemade delicacies. At the mere age of five, I was able to say hello in seven different languages. I found myself deeply inspired by the world I had landed in and carried this with me on my journey to university where I studied graphic design.

At the University of Lincoln, I was lucky enough to be taught by some of the greatest creative minds I had ever worked with. I was exposed to a whole new world of design and was overwhelmed with inspiration. From Wolfgang Weingart’s chaotic revolution of the New Swiss style in the 70s to Shepard Fairey’s iconic prints for Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008…safe to say I was excited for the future that lay ahead of me. The way a simple selection of colours, typefaces and images could influence a consumer’s mind and leave a lasting impression was simply fascinating. As designers we have the power to arouse emotions, forge political symbols and tell a lifetime of stories all with a simple choice of colour and typography. One of the first lessons our tutors taught us was that anyone can make something look pretty these days, but only we can tell the stories hiding below the surface. Design is not just colouring in the lines, as my flatmates would often tease me.

Fuelled by this desire for storytelling, I stumbled upon an opening for a junior graphic designer role at the PR agency Berkeley Communications. I was immediately captivated by their talent as storytellers and how they use this to stand out in a competitive market. Having already honed my design skills at a smaller agency over the two years following university, I felt confident that I would be a good fit for the Berkeley team. I immediately submitted my CV and portfolio and was delighted to be offered a permanent role a few weeks later.

I jumped straight in at the deep end and was quickly promoted to a middleweight designer – something I thought was years ahead of me. In the two years I’ve been here, I’ve not only progressed my skills, but have also gained some incredible experiences along the way. Earlier this year I was given the opportunity to visit our team in Munich for a few days and, although I was slightly panicked at how rusty my German was (having not been back there for 10 years), I made some incredible memories. Enriched by the German team’s vivacious company culture, I touched down at Heathrow feeling a sense of pride in where I had landed in my career. Although tech PR is a new world for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring every aspect of the industry and have been lucky enough to be involved in some incredibly exciting design projects.

The journey, however, is far from over and I am excited to see what else Berkeley has in store for me…

About Hannah

Who is your favourite storyteller The iconic designer Matt Willey, who uses his designs to tell the hidden stories of the world

What would you sing at a karaoke night? I can’t sing to save my life so let’s go with the rap in Super Bass by Nicki Minaj

What is your most used app on your phone? Domino’s