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When experience trumps education

Pukaar speaks with Hive of Design’s Creative Director Sharon Lewin about the agency, gaining clients through word-of- mouth and being successful without having a degree.

Hive of Design is a  graphic design agency that made its roots in Leicester back in 2005 and is now housed in the culture quarter of the Phoenix.

Born and raised in the city, Sharon studied graphic design at college and always knew that she would be led into a design based or creative career.

Photo Credit: Pukaar News
Photo Credit: Pukaar News

She speaks about the beginnings of Hive of Design: “It originally started due to Sytner Group deciding to de-centralise a lot of their functions which included design and marketing for the group from there I got the opportunity to set up a business with a ready-made client base of around 126 car dealerships.

“We took some of the existing team members and moved to a private business originally housed in the LCB depot. We pride ourselves on being someone’s in house team without actually being in-house.”

Hive of Design centre their work primarily around graphic design but their services also include digital design, print and advertising.

Their client base spans across the country, a contact list that has grown organically without the help of advertising or marketing.

Photo Credit: Pukaar News
Photo Credit: Pukaar News

They create premium work for Sytner Audi and work with local based companies such as Fisher and Glenbrook to name a few.

Sharon shares the most unusual project to date with the NHS: “We did something for Chlamydia where we were asked to create cartoon characters for a campaign called Fill the Pot, which was to encourage young people to give samples and be aware of their sexual health and that was a campaign we created from start to finish.

“It turned out to be a really successful for them.”

Hive of Design is made up of a four woman team, Sharon jokes that this wasn’t intentional: “The history of the company really is that we’ve had various males, it was never meant to be an all-female company and it just happened that way over time.

Photo Credit: Pukaar News

“I must admit they would probably find it annoying with four females but we’re looking to grow the team this year.”

With creative companies all over the country it can be a competitive industry to get into Sharon shares some tips on what makes a company like her own a success and why you don’t always need a degree: “You have to be able to see things from the customer’s perspective.

“Making sure that everything you do is correct because nobody wants something to go into a publication or be advertised with a glaring mistake in it and also having a fantastic relationship with your customers, a lot of our customers treat us as friends.

“Education is very important and it’s great but the experiences you get in the working world equal that really.”


By Jessica Challoner-Sterland