Hannah Sharp is an Interaction Design Student at Belfast School of Art. She’s currently working on a Kickstarter campaign for her final year project called “Make Your Mark”. Hannah will be joining Womenfolk to talk about her new project at the International Women’s Day: Womenfolk Meetup!
Hannah told us about her biggest hurdles as well as offering some advice for young, female designers.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

My name is Hannah Sharp and I am a final year Interaction Design student at Belfast School of Art. I really enjoy reading, collecting notebooks and playing indie video games. I’m currently working on a Kickstarter campaign for my final year project, “Make Your Mark”. “Make Your Mark” is a book that features interviews with women who are currently working in the design industry. As I have been studying, I have found it difficult to find role models in the form of successful female designers and this project aims to change that for the next generation of design students. It has been a great experience for me to talk to like-minded designers about our industry and to build this inspirational resource! I am launching a Kickstarter Campaign to fund the printing of the book on the 8th of March (International Women’s Day!). In the meantime, you can follow the project over on Instagram at @MakeYourMarkBook. You can also find me over at @hannahlizsharp, creating illustrations in my spare time!

What/who influences/motivates you?

Ultimately, I think I am motivated by the potential to build something that will improve people’s lives, whether this is practically or aesthetically. I feel like design has an effect on every part of my life and I seek it out wherever I go! My Twitter, Instagram and Dribbble timelines are also filled with the work of wonderful designers, artists and creatives of all kinds. Right now, I really like Marly Gallardo’s illustrations and how she utilises heavy blue tones to create a unique atmosphere in her work. Recently, I have also found it very exciting to talk to local designers about their journey and what brought them to do the work they currently do. Everyone has a different story to tell and this individuality is something that is really interesting to me.

What has been your biggest hurdle and your proudest moment or accomplishment in your career?

a. biggest hurdle
My biggest hurdle so far has probably been just figuring out what I wanted to study and finding a way to get there. I don’t think I had a good knowledge of the possibilities that were out there for designers, creatives or STEM students, and I only discovered what I wanted to do by going to university open evenings and talking to other people. I always knew I wanted to do something both creative and technical, but I didn’t know exactly what that would be. I bounced from journalism to computer science, then from architecture to illustration. I finally settled on Interaction Design because of its flexibility and freedom to create multi-disciplinary, experience-focused projects. Initially, it was a tough process of trial and error to figure out what I wanted to do, but perseverance and finding a mutual support system within the design industry has definitely helped me to learn more and grow as a designer.
b. proudest moment/achievement
My proudest moment so far was probably securing a graduate job and getting freelance work during the year. It’s always good to feel like your work is getting more noticed as a designer. I’ve also just got back from a year studying in America and I am so proud that I could adapt to a new culture and learn new skills while also making new friends and keeping my grades up!

Could you give some advice for any young, emerging designers?
As a young designer myself, there are a few areas I am currently trying to focus on:
1. Focus on your own journey in design. Your unique experiences will help you design in a way that only you can!
2. Do work that makes you happy.
3. Run your own race and don’t get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to everyone else. Focus on your skills and the work you want to do and the rest will follow. In the meantime, support those around you whenever you can!
4. Finally, learn new skills in your spare time. This is so important- I taught myself everything I know about using illustration software in my spare time and I’ve recently started teaching myself more about 3D design software. Constantly feeding your own creative curiosity will benefit you endlessly!