Designing Jillian Harris

Graphic Designer and CAT instructor Carrie Mayhew talks to interFACE about her new job working with ‘Love It Or List It’s Jillian Harris.

What originally attracted you to Graphic Design, and where did you study?
Since a young age Art and creating has always been a part of my life. My parents always had me enrolled in Art classes, or workshops, I was always painting or doing collage in my spare time. I actually originally went to school to become a Paramedic, but after the first year I just felt the pull to Art School. I built up my portfolio and applied to the Alberta College of Art and Design (now Arts U) in 2007. After getting accepted, I took a few Design Basics classes in my first year and that was when my eyes opened up to the world of Graphic Design and I knew at that moment this is what I wanted to do. After an intense 4 years, I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor in Graphic Design (B.Des.) with a minor in Advertising.

Tell us a little bit about your work history in Graphic Design.
I have worked in the industry for just over 10 years. My first job I started as an Art Director at a mid size Advertising Agency in Edmonton. After working there I moved to a small design studio of just three people where we focused on branding and layout design. I was asked to help design a new local magazine in Edmonton which I then worked with until I moved here to Kelowna. At that time I worked for a small agency in the design department and then moved to working at Twirling Umbrellas after I had my daughter Quinn. My most recent job change is now working with Jillian Harris.

I have always loved that I can take an idea in someone’s head and create it in a visual form.”

Carrie Mayhew

Your new job with Jillian Harris is really exciting – what is your job title and how did the position come about?
I am the Graphic Designer & Brand Manager on Team Jilly. I focus on creating all of the graphics that are needed on Social Media and blogs. I also create original artwork for Jilly Digital, helping design and maintain the UX and layout of all of the websites under the Jillian Harris umbrella. I work on design of the Jilly Box itself and also work with partners and vendors to insure that they are using our branding correctly.

What does a typical day look like for you now?
We have a lot of moving parts at work so I have started to schedule out my days fairly regimented in iCal to allow me to not only meet deadlines but to have room to develop and allow for any things that come up that need to get out the door quickly. I have been working remotely the past few months, which was a change for me but we just got into our new office space so I’m looking forward to connecting and working closely again with my fellow team.

Is there anything about working for Jillian that differs from your previous jobs?
My last job was more agency style, this means I worked with a variety of different companies with all different brands everyday. Now as an in-house designer I work with strictly one brand (and a few sub brands of the Jillian Harris umbrella) this allows me to really work and develop this brand while keeping it fresh.

What do you like best about what you do?
I have always loved that I can take an idea in someone’s head and create it in a visual form. I’m always nervous when I share what I have been working on for the first time (even after 10 years) and I think I love that rush of when they say they love it, or the challenge of when they don’t.

What do you find most challenging about what you do?
Two things, one staying current in technology. I find things change so fast and I have to keep up with all the short codes or new brushes so much all the time. And two, finding that creating everyday can also be a challenge so finding ways to keep me feeling inspired and fresh can be taxing.

You have done a lot of work in the wedding industry (your own Magazine, etc) what especially drew you to that area?
When I moved to Kelowna I was looking for a creative outlet, a way to make friends and meet other creative people, so when I saw there was a hole in the Kelowna market for a well done wedding magazine I said why not. Magazines perfectly encompass my love for Art Direction and layout design so it was a win win.

What do you like best about your teaching role at CAT?
I love not only sharing my experiences with students, but actually seeing them then have that moment when it just ‘makes sense’. Seeing them grow and develop over the year is amazing (even though I know that I’m tough and hard on them!). I’m so proud of them at the end and all the struggles and tough love they went through to get a solid portfolio.

Do you have a graphic designer whose work you particularity admire, and why?
I don’t overly follow one designer. I find that all designers have different takes and ways of achieving the end result and I love to learn from everyone and find value in seeing what is new that is going on. That is the inspiring part.

What advice would you have for students wanting to go into this industry?
My advice would be to not take feedback personally; everyone one will have a different view, taste and perspective, it’s not an attack on you as a person. Instead take that feedback and learn from it, grow from it and become a better if not the best designer from it.

Photo of graphic designer Carrie Mayhew
Graphic Designer Carrie Mayhew

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