Hallmark first joined forces with New Designers because we admired their commitment to discovering new talent and acting as a springboard into the creative industries. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our partnership, we are so proud to have helped launch and nurture the careers of a diverse and talented collection of fantastic designers and ‘creatives’. We plan on continuing this success for many more years to come!

We return each year to run competitions, award placements and give portfolio advice – and even to appoint permanent positions. We are also continuing to build links with colleges and freelance ‘creatives’ across the country, and are always keen to develop more.

Over the years we have discovered some fantastic talent, in fact over 50 of Hallmark’s current employees started out at New Designers and their careers continue to go from strength to strength within the Hallmark Studios.

We sat down with our first  ever winner Yvonne Robson, who is now one our Art Directors to reflect on 20 years of Hallmark and share her thoughts on New Designers is still so important to Hallmark:

What opportunities did you get from New Designers?

 I embraced all the opportunities I received at New Designers and was lucky enough to spend some time working in London, exhibiting at galleries and trade shows here and abroad, creating commissions and freelance work until accepting the job as a designer at Hallmark.

Why do you find working with New Designers so important?

 New Designers is an amazing opportunity to see the newest talent under one roof at the same time. 

What do you look for in graduates and their work?

I look for someone who is excited by design, shows potential or promise in their work and approach to their ideas. Someone who is curious and wants to become the best designer they can be. 

What advice would you give to graduates?

Be open to every opportunity – you never know where it might lead. Be confident in showing your work and talking about your ideas. 

What have been your highlights or products that you have worked on that have been of note?       

I have always enjoyed developing gift presentation (wrapping paper and bags/accessories) and stationery ranges. Creating a co-ordinating range of patterns and applying them to gift wrap, bags and other items such as scrapbooks, photo albums, notecards that sit together is immensely satisfying. My accomplished style is floral painting so this type of product is my ideal. 

What has changed at Hallmark over the past 20 years?

Hallmark has grown exponentially from when I first joined in 1998, when it was a small studio with just a handful of designers and no computers! The type of products we design has evolved from £1 cards to offering an entire gift solution. The challenge as a designer is as exciting now as it was 20 years ago.

How did you feel on day 1 in your role?

 On day one I felt nervous but excited that I was getting paid to draw and paint! 

What is the best thing about working at Hallmark?

 The people. I have made so many lifelong friends here at Hallmark. The teamwork here

and caring community is embedded in the culture. 

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