Chatting with Catrin Ellis Design

There’s definitely a picture painted of entrepreneurs that life is all stress, stress and then more stress. However chatting with Catrin this couldn’t be be further from the truth, it’s clear that she loves what she does and everything is taken in her stride day by day.

In our interview we covered branding do’s & don’ts, The Spice Girls and we talked about Liverpool Football Club…quite a lot

P: Hey Catrin thanks for taking the time to do this, we never start with the business chat straight away so let’s find out what everyone wants to know, who was the last artist / band you watched live?

C: I went to watch the Spice Girls reunion. It was really good but it cost a lot of money because we got the tickets off one of those dodgy websites.

P: Who’s your favourite Spice Girl?

C: Sporty Spice, obviously!

P: What about favourite Spice Girl song?

C: The one where they’re rapping in the hotel, but I don’t know what it’s called.

P: Obviously a big fan (we looked it up, it’s “Wannabe”!)

P: So before becoming a freelancer what were you doing?

C: I was working an actual proper job as a web designer for Iceland ….not the country, the food! It was my first ever job and I worked there for two and a half years. It was alright, but it was repetitive and I needed a change.

P: Just for anybody who may be reading and isn’t sure on terminology, what exactly is a graphic designer & what do you do?

C: Anything pretty. Logo’s, posters, websites, business cards, flyers. Anything with pictures is basically done by a graphic designer. 

Business cards that Catrin designed for Bind, a digital agency company

P: I didn’t have to go too far into your social media pages when researching for this interview to discover that you’re maybe a little bit football crazy? For you what has the relationship been between football & design?

C: So basically, I like graphic design and I like football, so I thought I might as well mash them together and it worked!

P: Is there a team or club that has the absolute best when it comes to branding & kits?

C: Liverpool, I can’t even appreciate other teams…sorry!

( Warning: Incoming plug for the Wrexham Enterprise Hub)

P: Since becoming completely freelance you’ve been based here at The Wrexham Enterprise Hub, can you tell us why this space is so awesome for you to use?

C: Because I get to have an actual desk that I wouldn’t have otherwise. The great staff! The workshops and the people, everyone here is really nice and they all come to me for design work because I’m the only designer in the building. I’ve told Carl not to let any other designers in!

Catrin celebrating her birthday with the hub’s Data Analyst Victoria

P: So going from working your ‘proper job’ to actually becoming freelance, what did that transition look like & how did it happen?

C: I was doing a lot of stuff just for fun on my Twitter & my Instagram. Then Bleacher Report saw my work and based on that they asked me to start working freelance for them. This was when I was still doing my proper job and then in the evenings I would be doing those freelance jobs. So I was sat there making football memes for money and I thought that this could be my full time job.

P: You’ve worked across a lot of different styles whether it’s Wrexham AFC or Massey Live. Are there really common mistakes that any companies tend to make when it comes to their branding?

C: Trying to be too intricate or using free sites to get their designs off. If you make it cheap then it’s going to look cheap. I like clients to come to me with an idea but not knowing exactly what they want because it frees me up to be creative rather than be a pixel pusher or mac monkey. For me I want them to chill out, allow me to go away, work on their project and show them the end result and have them be surprised by what I’ve made.

C: I also only really take jobs if I find them interesting to work on. If I wanted to do something boring then I would just get a proper job!

Catrin with the hub bear

P: Ok I’m not that sporty but I thought it would be wrong if I didn’t ask you a couple of football related questions.

C: Have you researched football for this?

P: No these are very generic, do you have a player of the year so far?

C: Well the seasons finished

P: I know ( I didn’t know)

C: The player of the year is Van Dijk…he should be player of the year for everyone.

P: How about the best goal of the season?

C: Origi’s goal against Barcelona…did you watch it?

P: Yeah. Yeah I was on the edge of my seat

C: Changing the channel over! Ask Carl about it, he’ll know

P: Big one now, who’s your favourite footballer of all time?

C: Steven Gerrard. I grew up watching him and always wanted to play like Gerrard. He could just score goals from anywhere…literally!

P: I’m sure people always ask freelancers this but what is the best piece of advice you can give to someone wanting to go freelance? 

C: Just do it. What’s the worst thing that can happen? if it doesn’t work out then you can just get a proper job.

P: How do you balance everything now that you’re in charge of the overall business rather than just clocking in & out for somebody else?

C: I don’t work 9-5 anymore, I work 9 until like the afternoon. Then I take a break to do whatever I want and then start work again in the evening. I can’t just sit at a computer all day, my mind just dies. I’m much more creative in the evening

P: Is there any part of being freelance that is a bit rubbish?

C: Emails, having to reply to them all the time! I even answer them when I’m on holiday, I know that I shouldn’t but I can’t help it.

P: Lastly, the future of Catrin Ellis Design. What do you want from the next few years?

C: Just to be better than I am now

I have every faith that Catrin will reach her straight forward goal of being better than she is now and then some! Be sure to get in touch with Catrin if you’re thinking that your branding could do with a refresh or if you just want to chat about Liverpool football club.