Behind The Creative

Hi! Hello! Howdy! Welcome to the bit ‘all about me’. I ummed and arrred about including this section (I’m not a natural over-sharer) but the deciding factor for including it came down to this… when working with my clients, either in digital marketing or on photoshoots, an immensely important part of my role is to quickly establish a positive, open and comfortable working relationship to allow for the best outcomes possible. Having the exciting opportunity to design for a company or the privilege to capture a wedding day both I find are most successful when that bond is struck and lines of communication are clear. So, here is a little about me to start us off.

Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Born, and Bred!

I’m a Yorkshireman through and through (yes, down to the tea I drink). I was born in York, the youngest of three siblings, and raised in the local area. Growing up with two sisters was often fraught with its own challenges, usually of which I came out worse off; thankfully, my sisters turned into wonderful people and even made me an uncle. One of my personal challenges growing up was the academic comparison I made between myself and my sisters who were both academically minded and went on to achieve PhDs. I, on the other hand, could not be further from this and am a creatively driven person (the artistic genes had to go somewhere!). Fuelled on Yorkshire tea -other brands are available- and taking inspiration from God’s own land that is the Yorkshire landscape, I have turned my passion into my career.

Creative study… and a wife to be!

Once I realised that my creative interests could become something more for me I decided to (attempt!) to step back into education.
I soon realised that studying something I understood and have a drive for meant I too could be something I had always previously written off- academically successful.

I understood that although academia didn’t mean everything it would open career opportunities for me.

I studied Art and Design at York College before progressing into a Graphic Design degree… I achieved a 2:1 BA Hons in Graphic Design and graduated at York Minster. This allowed me to step straight into the industry and begin my career development as a junior graphic designer. As a Yorkshireman, I am of course humble through and through… but I am pretty proud of that achievement. The greatest thing I brought away from my time studying however is the soon-to-be Mrs Harrison (10 years later and she’s still standing by me- I’ll take that as a win!).

Career progression… and an unexpected diversion.

I learnt my trade working with Gary Scarborough, a graphic designer who hand drew everything in his early career before everything became computerised. I understood the connection to a project this can give and have carried hand drawing through into my work today- often starting initial design ideas by hand. I then went on to work for SoVibrant, a Harrogate based company, where I homed my design work to specialise in signage, large format interior and exterior graphic design. Being the Yorkshireman I am however, I realised I wanted to be closer to home and cut down on the daily commute. I fortunate enough to find myself working at Paragon Creative a stone’s throw from the village where I live. In my role at Paragon Creative I found I came into my own working on designing graphics for renowned clients in the entertainment and leisure industry and producing creative graphics for theme parks and world leading museums. All hunky-dory and plodding along rather nicely… until you throw in a global pandemic. I am thankful that throughout this period my family and I have remained well; my heart goes out to those who have been affected by and lost loved ones to this terrible illness. Along with many colleagues in the creative industries, for me the Covid-19 pandemic brought not only health concerns but the addition of a rather unexpected career diversion in the form of redundancy. Even a Yorkshireman is hard hit by this.

Continued professional development and diversifying.

Being made redundant due to the Covid-19 pandemic led me to continue my professional development on a personalised level and allowed me the scope to diversify the professional services I now offer through my freelance work. I could easily have seen the pandemic as closing a door for me but approached it as an unexpected window to open. I took full control over my work and started full time life as a freelance graphic designer; this also allowed me to add in my creative photography work. My path through the creative industry has allowed me to experience working on an array of innovative and exciting projects over the years which have influenced my photography work. I have long had a personal interest in photography and always enjoyed homing my camera work skills. Having a wider perspective in the industry has been advantageous particularly when shooting imagery for businesses and has enabled me to engage in creative discussion beyond just the photography. This unexpected diversion also afforded me the opportunity to become an CCA approved pilot and hold an A2CofC drone licence which has added an additional element of diversity to the images and film I am able to capture. The unexpected freelancing ride has been hard work but given me full creative control.  Whether personal or commercial though, what I love most about my graphic design and photography work is being revisited by clients and having the privilege to watch as their family grows or business expands.

Looking forwards.

If anything, I feel on a personal level over the past 18 months I have learnt that we can only look forward as none of us can see what unexpected paths may lay ahead. I hope to continue to build on the freelance work I have started and continue to diversify in the quality services I can offer through my graphic design and photography work. My goal is to build up what I have started and make my new path a sustainable and successful one. I have an overdue wedding to attend as the groom and plenty of decent tea bags so I’m set. Here’s to whatever comes next.

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