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Staff Focus: Maria Kelly

Maria Kelly - Senior DesignerMaria Kelly – Senior Designer

Maria joined the graphic design team as senior designer in 2012. She is a highly qualified graphic designer with an innovative background in packaging and print based design. She has a passion for typography, and specialises in branding, packaging and brochures.

Her role includes project management, creating and implementing design ideas. Maria lives in Tolleshunt Knights, near Tiptree in Essex.

What’s your working background?

I started working at Pocknell & Co, but was then headhunted into Coley Porter Bell in London, where I specialised in packaging. This was a fantastic opportunity for me, and I learnt a lot. City life was great, but I’d always loved the countryside, and so I moved to the Bunzl Paper Group in Ipswich. I got a wealth of experience during my time in Ipswich, and it inspired me to open my own design studio.

I launched my own company in 1994 because I wanted to design locally for companies around me, and make a difference on my doorstep. The work we were doing started to gain momentum, and before I knew it we were working with Boots, Tesco, Disney and M&S. After a very successful period, I’d decided I wanted to focus on a new project and scaled back the business, before closing it in January. When I heard about the role at Mackman – I knew it was the one for me and am delighted to be on such a friendly team.

Describe your role at Mackman?

My role as Senior Designer means that I’m involved in a range of design projects, whether that’s working on a branding identity, creating a brochure, or looking at web layouts, as well as design management. I’m enthusiastic about my creativity, and look forward to bringing this to every project I work on.

What’s it like working at Mackman?

It’s overwhelmingly friendly. The company mirrors my own principals for business, which means it’s been a great fit from the start. Everyone has such a massive skillset, and it’s great seeing everyone learn from one another and develop as they work. It’s a great organic atmosphere, where everyone’s just happy.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?

I love the people, and the whole communication with clients. I get really excited when a designed product comes back, and it delivers on all fronts! I do get an emotional connection to the work I create, so when someone else loves it too – that’s a huge result. I’ve always had an extra special place in my heart for typography. It’s easy to set a scene with an image, but it’s much more challenging to do the same thing with a font.

What are the biggest challenges about what you do?

Probably staying on the edge of creativity, and knowing about the latest trends and techniques. We don’t conform to fashion – but it’s important to know what’s going on in our industry as it’s pretty fast paced.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

I think I’d be an architect. I wound down my company as we’d just started designing and building our own house. It has to be one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. It’s a challenge, but I love the shapes of buildings and the limitless possibility of different things you could create.

What might we catch you up to on the days you’re not at Mackman?

Playing golf! I’ve been playing for 10 years and have got my handicap down to 24. My family has played golf for generations. I started playing with my husband as we wanted a hobby we could enjoy together, and have ended up loving it on my own. It’s a great hobby for health and fitness – it really suits me as I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors.

What’re your future goals?

Professionally, I want to always enjoy design and continue to be creative. Personally, I want to enjoy our new house, see my children flourish, stay happy and to just live my life.