Designer Kim Hubball (known as kimvc to us) is all about learning and gaining from experience. To Kim, losing a contest isn’t necessarily something bad—it can be viewed as an experience that helps maintain her skills and also a way that one can establish their presence to the public community. We found Kim’s take on this to be admirable; it was great to hear about her positive outlook.

Since joining our design community, Kim has won over 100 contests. She has a strong background in the arts and has been drawn to digital artwork for many years. As a full-time mom to a young son, Kim has found working on our site to be the perfect job opportunity that allows her to do the art she loves while spending quality time with her family.

kimvcName: Kim Hubball
Location: England, United Kingdom
99designs handle: kimvc

What is your background in design? How did you first get started?

I always enjoyed art at school and used to spend a lot of my time drawing as a child (mostly horses back then). When I was about 11 years old I remember my dad getting our first digital scanner and I was totally amazed! It was a very crude hand held gadget that scanned in black and white but, along with MS Paint it opened a whole new world to me, I loved scanning family photographs and turning them into what, I thought at the time, was a masterpiece!

I continued with art after leaving school and whilst studying it for my A Levels, my tutor said to me that he thought I should go into graphics. I was doing a lot of painting at that time but my work always had a rather graphic feel to it and my tutor had noticed. It was the first time graphic design was suggested to me as a career and in 2001 I graduated with a degree in Graphics from Blackpool & the Fylde College of Art and Design.

Where do you get your inspiration from? What motivates you?

Motivation comes from knowing that feeling you get when you create a design that your client loves. Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere, you just have to keep your eyes open. I look at everything from a design point of view and am continually searching for things that may spark a great idea for a design. It can come from nature/architecture/molecular biology/a supermarket, you never know.

What led you to start using Can you describe your experience on the site thus far?

In 2007, I gave up my job as a motion graphics designer in order to have my son. I decided not to go back to work as I wanted to be a full-time mum. After 12 months or so I was desperate to start doing something creative again and I entered a logo design competition for a local radio station.

Logo for Wildfire Websites

I didn’t win but it gave me the ‘bug’ to start designing again and I decided to look online to see if there were any sample briefs I could work on in order to build a new folio. That’s when 99designs first appeared on my screen. It gave me the chance to hone my skills and there was even the chance I might win some cash, sounded good to me!

A couple of years on and I now have a decent number of clients, many of whom come back to me time and time again for design work. I stay at home, work my own hours around looking after my son and to me that’s priceless.

I know some people wonder why I spend so much time designing for free (because when you don’t win, that’s essentially what you are doing) but I see it as free marketing for my skills, a way of getting my work seen by the very people who are looking for design. You can’t really beat that, unless you’d rather design, print and send out hundreds of mailshots in the hope that at least one person doesn’t throw it out for recycling.

Logo for Evolve Human Resources

What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at

  1. As so many others have stated, read the brief!
    Think about what this person or company wants to convey with their logo, the feeling they want to give their customers and their potential customers. And do your research!
  2. Use your experience on 99designs to improve your skills.
    Looking at it as a learning curve, rather than a means to make money gives you a better attitude.
  3. Choose your contests carefully, play to your skills.
    I usually know fairly quickly whether a client is looking for my style of design or not. You need to look for the contests you think you have the best chance of winning, not those with the highest prize.

What do you love most about being a designer?

The fact that I get a lot of enjoyment out of it, and that it doesn’t (always) feel like a chore. Getting glowing recommendations from your clients is pretty cool too.

What is a hobby that you enjoy doing outside of graphic design?

Well the most important thing in my life is my son, so I like to spend time doing things with him. We enjoy going camping as a family and we even took him to his first music festival this summer, which was a great experience.

Tell us about your hometown.

I live in a large town called Oldham which is just outside the city of Manchester in the North of England. I live on the outskirts which is in the foothills of the Pennines, so I have some beautiful countryside to look at, yet Manchester is only 10 miles away, so I feel I have the best of both worlds here, I’m lucky in that respect.

See more work by Kim Hubball here.