A young graphic designer from Ambergate has been given an early career boost after helping to land a prestigious industry award.
Lauren Hall, 19, specialises in design for print and branding and last year took on the task of designing the 2017 sales brochure for Alfreton footwear firm Rock Fall.
A few weeks ago, she was stunned to find out the company had won the best manufacturer’s catalogue category at the Director-E Professional Clothing Awards (PCAs) in London.
She said: “I got an email from Rock Fall that came completely out of the blue. I was shocked to have my work recognised by such a big organisation.
“I had no idea it was being judged for an award, let alone might have won it. That email made my week.”
The PCAs have a fiercely competitive reputation in the sector, coveted by the industry’s leading lights.
Judges acknowledged the positive reactions the catalogue had inspired from Rock Fall distributors, wearers and other designers.
Lauren said: “They said they were impressed by the clarity of the design and how technical products had been displayed to make them easy to understand. I’m happy to hear that. I work in many different styles, but the key thing is always clarity, and meeting the client’s brief.
“The whole idea of a catalogue is to increase sales, and from what I hear it has succeeded. Stockists have really responded to it.”
She added: “I worked with Rock Fall over a few months, they wanted something fresh and modern. They’ve been really appreciative and offered me other projects.”
“Since I put the news out on Facebook, I’ve had positive feedback from lots of people on the design, and that could lead to more work too.”
The award is an encouraging sign for her new business, Studio Grace, which Lauren launched after completing an apprenticeship with an established Belper studio.
She said: “I graduated Belper School with an A* in art, and could have gone to college, but I wanted to learn on the job with live briefs, professional clients and colleagues, and actually put my work out into the world.
“Studio Grace is just me at the moment, but I’ve got plans to develop a team of creative workers so we can grow into a multidisciplinary company.”
She added: “It’s been a steep learning curve. With your own company, you are responsible for everything but I’m enjoying the challenge and learning every day.”
Still in the early days of her career, Lauren’s ambition and creativity have marked her out since an early age.
She said: “It was always a hobby, I did small design jobs for friends and family and I built a website to sell jewellery when I was eight - so I’ve always wanted to start my own firm.
“I just love the work, and I feel driven to create and to provide a service to the community. I want to make quality design available to everyone.”
Studio Grace’s client book already includes local businesses such as gift shop J’adore Ma Vie, hair and beauty salon Alla Moda, and
bridal boutique Ivory White.
There are other projects in the pipeline for companies in Wales and Canada.
Lauren said: “I’ve lived here all my life, and I love it. There’s such a close-knit community in Belper, and so much going on. This is where I want to base the studio. The internet makes our reach potenitally limitless.
“I enjoy being able to connect with other businesses here, and the opportunity to learn so much about different industries. I’m really excited for the future.”