Portrait of Joanna Hill designer
Photo by Lauren Currie, Snook

A little tale about how I got here


From Art world to Design world

The week that changed everything.
My first creative contribution to the world came in the form of many painfully introspective, 16mm, conceptual short films while at Art School (COFA) in the late 90’s. But it wasn’t until one of my discerning lecturer’s pushed me into a week of work experience at a local web design agency (Massive Interactive) that my creative light bulb really switched on.
That was the week I began to look at the world as a designer.
Colour, form, space, light – these old friends now served a new purpose, in the aid of delivering delightful, informative, interactive experiences.

Design and structure

In an age before job titles like ‘Information Architect’ web designers did all that.
It was 2005, I had moved to Melbourne, finished a diploma in Multimedia (RMIT), worked a year as an Interface Designer at Ericsson and finally landed my dream job at top Australian web shop DT Digital.
It was here that I married my creative eye with a natural empathy for the user and discovered a hidden talent in the realm of User Experience (UX). The era of experimentation had ended as we observed behavioural patterns that turned into good web practices and standards. I became fanatical about web experiences that ‘don’t make me think’ and are equal parts beautiful and usable.

Paris, Advertising and the big boys

By 2008 I was hungry for more challenges, so I packed my stuff and moved to Paris to tackle a new language, a new culture and the world of Advertising. I scored an Art Director job working for OgilvyOne and learn’t to play with the big boys – my accounts included Nestle France, Nestle Global and Mattel Europe.
In Australia I’d worked with various experts on a project, now in Paris I worked with various departments of experts – User Experience, Copy, Accounts, Art Buying, Planners and PR. By my 3rd year I was concept developing, writing briefs, assembling design teams, caring about budgets, sourcing talent, art directing shoots yet my biggest buzz came from building successful relationships with senior level clients.
The city of light shone bright, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a more useful contribution I could be making to people’s everyday lives with my creative skills. So I enrolled at the reputed ‘digital harvard’ – Hyper Island in Stockholm for a year of discovery.

Hyper Island and Service Design

Hyper Island is sold as a digital playground, but what I took away from that year was what I learnt about myself.
Over 9 months I worked as part of 6 different teams on 6 different commercial briefs, each time reconfiguring our own management, communication and work flow structures. It was a pressure cooker – short deadlines, high expectations, total responsibility and unknown team members but what emerged for me was a talent for facilitation, leadership and managing group dynamics.
At Hyper Island I was also fortunate enough to meet the girls from Snook, a Service Design and Social Innovation Consultancy in Glasgow, where I have been working for one year. Snook apply a creative approach to solving real social issues, and I have put my creative and management skills to work on a range of projects and ventures around community, education and employment.
Watch this space for the next chapter!


Things I can do


Design & Customer experience

I design & facilitate workshops and jams, I interview and empathise with service end users, I synthesise simple insights from complex research, I analyse fragmented systems & structures and connect the dots, I blueprint service operations, I paper prototype, journey map, I test and iterate, I put people first.

Process & Management

I lead and manage projects with collaboration and clarity, I enable grass roots ideas to reach top level decision makers, I see the big picture and I can plan the steps to get there, I visualise processes and thinking, I facilitate successful group dynamics and I never stop trying to improve internal processes and communication.

Creative Production

For over a decade I’ve been a hands-on digital designer – for web, mobile even interactive TV. I design interfaces and interactive experiences. I cast and art direct creative collaborators. I work intimately with developers. I create wireframes, sitemaps, digital prototypes as part the User Experience process.