Julia Hell

Specialized in Graphic Design.

Julia Hell

About Julia Hell

Julia works as a freelance graphic designer in Berlin since 2013. In her home studio she develops corporate and editorial designs as well as web designs. If required, she works in house for clients too. In the past five years she worked for other design studios, small and medium-sized businesses as well as enterprises. She provides clean yet strong designs with a focus on typography. Besides that she does the art direction and publishing of a non-profit magazine together with friends.

  • Winner of 4 A' Design Awards.
  • Specialized in Graphic Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Web
  • Graphic
  • Print
Eyesbound Portfolio Website

Eyesbound Portfolio Website

Web Design

Alpha Container Corporate Design

Alpha Container Corporate Design

Graphic Design

Mrs T Corporate Design

Mrs T Corporate Design

Graphic Design

Kon Paper Magazine

Kon Paper Magazine

Print Design


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Interview with Julia Hell

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
My interest in arts and design accompanies me since my childhood. I always enjoyed visiting exhibitions and creating things myself. For example I attended drawing and painting classes twice a week starting at age thirteen. I studied graphic design at Lette-Verein in Berlin for three years.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I am a one woman design studio. Currently I am working as a freelancer in different positions. 2-3 days for a larger client inhouse and the rest of the week for my other clients from my home studio. I really enjoy the different ways of working on those projects. Personally I like the experiences in the very different work environments, being around other people at the office twice a week and also having the solitude of my home office. These are two very different ways of working but it really is a mixture of those completely different things that inspire me the most.
What is "design" for you?
Design is something functional, which doesn't mean that thats all about it. It has to be appealing and unique. It's something in between these three corners.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I am really into corporate designs. Creating a Logo for a client goes hand in hand with a typography concept, which leads you to create the business cards and papers and finally a website. It is a beautiful process of creating something, often starting with a simple idea, that grows stronger and becomes someones identity.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
Konstantin Grcic's »Mayday« Lamp currently is my favorite design object. To me it is the perfect mixture of functionality, usability and a clean yet interesting design.
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I worked on a editorial layout for a Berlin based magazine/newspaper at a small design studio in Berlin.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I come from a classical print design background. Paper still is my favorite material to work with. I like the way it feels and behaves. When it comes to digital designs I think of the website as a huge page of white paper I am working on.
When do you feel the most creative?
The moment inspiration hits me. Often it doesn't take long until I have a first idea what I want to do with the brief or task I am working on. Most of the time I change directions and the first idea is not necessarily the one that will be realized. But it is the exact Moment when I find a way to start working on a new project is when I feel the most creative.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
I spend a lot of time focusing on the typography. Finding the right font for a logo, brand or magazine is essential to me. I has to feel good.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Designing satisfies me. Not only the result but also the process of designing. It gives me a balance and on the other hand I feel challenged to make the most out of a project.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
It is a strange mixture of happiness, melancholy and a dash of pride.
What makes a design successful?
I consider a design to be successful when the designer, the client and the clients target group are responding positively to the design.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
I focus on the usage of typography first. Which font was chosen? How did the designer play with it? Does it feel vivid and expressive together with the product or other design elements.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
Design shouldn't be misleading and has to be easy to understand, especially when used in larger contexts like for example public transportation. Design guides, supports and can even be helpful. The visual appeal is secondary to understanding and usability.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
Design becomes more and more important in our society. We are flooded with inspirations and basically everyone who has photoshop can design something. Therefore it is important to distinguish relevance.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition were my graduation exhibition in June 2013 in Berlin and the release of the magazine I am working on in December 2015 in Munich. We are planning another exhibition for the paper this year for the winter edition in December 2016, probably in Munich again.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My inspiration comes from movies, exhibitions, photography. Often the things that inspire me are much more colorful and complicated than my designs are. I always end up unraveling complex inspirations to a clean design.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I like simplicity in design. Easy to use with some spice in the details. I didn't really aim for this style it partially reflects my personality. And that is what I like about it, design should have a character.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live in Berlin, Germany. I feel german design is strongly influenced by the Bauhaus era and the artistic landscape of the 1930ies. It has always been a country known for crafts and manufacturies of which some are still existing.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
A designers portfolio is always a hint towards the orientation of the designer. For instance, if you are looking for a designer with web experience, check out the projects she or he has realized in that area. Invite the designer for an interview and maybe give him/her a little task to find out if it fits.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
First of all I like to collect the key facts, get a briefing and have the possibility to ask some questions about the project. Then I start playing around, start drafting and try out some directions. Usually I narrow the drafts down to three options I work on and those I show to my client for feedback. In round two I focus on the draft we agreed on and elaborate it. Followed by another feedback, I do the final design.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
Our Eames »Hang it All« with black wires and birch wood knobs, our KPM Urbino espresso cups, our Konstantin Grcic Mayday Lamp, Hay »Phi« scissors and our essential La Pavoni coffee maker.
Can you describe a day in your life?
I am an early bird but I need my morning rituals of which on essential is the first cup of coffee.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Well, I made the best experiences with trying new things and not being afraid to realize, that some things aren't meant to be or don't work for me like they do for others.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
I'd say it is the same thing: Working with something other people would consider to be a hobby. It is a wonderful thing to work freely and express yourself through a paid job. On the other hand I feel that it is often hard to make clients and consumers understand, hat even though his work is a lot of fun, it has to be acknowledged as a job and therefore be paid fairly.
What skills are most important for a designer?
An understanding of visual aesthetics in general. I wouldn't only limit that on the field of design a designer works with, it is more like a general understanding of aesthetics. Of course this is an individual matter but in the end you can tell by the work if the designer has his or her aesthetic view.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
Most of the time, the first program that I open is inDesign when I design fro print purposes. I used to do my web layouts in InDesign as well but now I switched to Photoshop because the new features are really nice for designing responsive pages. As a typography inspiration I like the magazine Slanted a lot, they also have a nice Blog I check out quite often. In general I'd consider magazines a good source of inspiration. Online, I collect inspirations via platforms like tumblr or pinterest, using them as tools for my research or just keeping things that caught my attention.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I always try to set up a project plan for myself containing what has to be done and until when by whom. This works good so far but with more than two projects at a time, the best project plan cannot avoid including the weekends or working late. And most of the jobs I did so far were really to good to say no to because it was fun to work on them.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
That depends on the project and of course the client. Sometimes the first idea will be realized and sometimes it takes a while to come to a proper solution. But in the end the proper solution is what it takes.
What was your most important job experience?
In fact working for another freelance designer. When I started working after my graduation, I worked for a freelance Designer. She influenced the way I work on my own today and set an example of how an independent design business could be ran. Thank you Marika, I always appreciate the work we did together!
Who are some of your clients?
My current clients are KPM (Royal Porcelain Manufactury Berlin), Alpha Container Pictures, AVAN Berlin, EYESBOUND Photography and TUI.com
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoy drafting a lot because it is a very playful part. You start developing ideas, trying out fonts, colors and building a visual concept. It is a very creative phase.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
In the not too distant future I am planning to open up a design studio together with my husband and two close friends in Berlin.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I develop my designs myself. But I am always looking for input. i consider my friends and family for input and talk about projects with them. i is very important to see my work through their eyes to uveal it's strenthgs and weaknesses.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
At the Moment I am working in house as Art Director at the Royal Porcelain-Manufactury Berlin. I am covering the position for one year during parental leave of my predecessor. It is quite interesting and diversified since the design team is small and dealing with all print and web matters of the company.
How can people contact you?
Via e-mail. I read them frequently and I reply as soon as possible.

Designer of the Day Interview with Julia Hell

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I am working as a designer for almost five years now, most of the time as a freelancer. I made the decision to become a graphic designer finally with 25 after trying to go into different professional directions before that. I went to Lette-Verein in Berlin, where they grant a very profound education, starting with the craft before they introduce the computer. After that I had a short internship at Design Hotels, followed by my first freelance jobs. I worked for a small Berlin-based Design Studio on various projects. After that I worked freelance for TUI.com on a regular basis for about two years and on my own clients projects aside of that. One of my freelance clients is the KPM Berlin, Royal Porcelain-Manufactory for whom I am working as a full time Art Director at the moment.
How did you become a designer?
As long as I can remember I was driven by the need to create something. As a kid growing up i weekly rearranged my room and redecorated it. My interest in art and design was fostered by my parents but never forced on me. They just gave me options to join them visiting exhibitions or plays. I joined willingly because I liked it even as a child. When I prepared a gift for a friend, I made most of it myself but always aimed for a professional look of it. Like something you can buy at a store but better and more individual. A mother of a close friend once gave me the essential hint, asking me why not become a graphic designer. After graduation from high school I was a bit lost in the flood of possibilities, so I went a different way. A way with many crossings that luckily led me back to the idea to become a designer after trying several thing I didn't wanna be.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
At first I need to get an impression of the subject I am designing for. This is a mere cognitive process. I have to take some time and think about it. Sometimes I take some notes but most of it is in my head. Usually the next step is research followed by sketching ideas. Most of my work starts digital but nothing is more reliable than a prototype. I feel it is good to have build the thing you are working on at least once yourself to get a better understanding of the product.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
I feel joy when designing. I enjoy the journey and that it is often surprising what happened to the first idea at the end of that journey. Usually I try to come up with three different ideas, when I start working on a new project. I scribble the visual possibilities of these three ideas and the most special part is, when I find my favorite in the set of those three drafts. This is the moment when it starts to get exciting: Will my client favor the same? What does it take to make the other two as strong? I challenge myself in order to improve my work.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
My passion for change shaped me most I guess. I still manage to rearrange my home every other month because I get visually bored. Plus I want to improve it. When I am done with one room, I have a new idea for the next one, because it appears to me to be more functional. That helped me understand visual problems and trained me to come up with solutions to them.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
So far I preferred (and learned) not to plan that much ahead. My growth path is also more drawn by happy coincidences than strict plans. I just planned to work on my own, that I did. But the rest is about meeting people, finding opportunities and trying them out. The Master plan for the future is at some point to have my own agency with people working with me. But we will see how things come together.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
As I experienced the design business so far, it is a lot about trial and error. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be able to make decisions on my own. That meant, I had to try working freelance. So I did. It worked. What I am trying to say is, that there are many possibilities. It is important to know what is important for you and how you feel comfortable working as a creative. One of the main positive aspects of this industry is it's flexibility - so you can create a work environment in which you can unfold your potential.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
My suggestion is, not to rely on success. It is nice to be acknowledged and of course we all work to be successful and acquainted. But I am afraid to rely to much on success and commendation in order to stay independent and also be critical towards my own work.
What is your day to day look like?
Regardless of where I am working, from my own studio or in-house at a clients office, I start with a cup of coffee and my e-mails before I leave the house. Currently I am working in-house on a daily basis, I go by public transport or bike. It is a nice phase to prepare for the day, think about the to dos for the day. I try to take a walk once a day, to clear my head or to think things through. I look forward to that little me-time once a day.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
Personally I am following design trends. It is hard to say wether or not to pay much attention to them. But following the happening of the business is important. I am not sure how much it influences me but in general it does for sure. In both directions. If I find something appealing, the impression sticks. It is very likely that I integrate such an impression in my work in my own way. So trend may also help to develop, inspire or spice up a style without changing the basic signature. It is a fluid process every person with a strong visual influence is subjected to.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
When it comes to evaluation of good design, in my case the answer is a bit ambivalent. I am drawn to clear and functional designs. Things that are reduced to the vey essence with a functional purpose. In contrast, if a design is able to provoke a reaction, makes me laugh or cry it did a good job.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
There always comes a point in my design process, where I can't look at my work anymore. This usually indicates, that it is ready and I can't do more at this point. In general I would say, yes, a design can be complete for a certain period of time. At some point you will have to make adjustments or rejuvenate the look of a brand or product to keep it attractive.
What is your biggest design work?
My biggest work so far is the corporate design for Mrs T, a Hamburg based manufactory creating delicacies with tea as an ingredient. The company is growing since we started together in 2016. The design tasks get more complex and it is nice that we step by step improve the brand's look. Besides that I am working on a new issue of a paper I am publishing together wit a close friend. It has a literary topic and we are about to release our fifth issue this spring.
Who is your favourite designer?
In the current landscape of creatives I'd pick Konstantin Grcic and Stefan Marx as both, individuals and artists. I like what they do and how they relate to their work.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
I live in a very inspiring city that is the epitome of change. Berlin is vivid and so variable in itself. Plus it is very intercultural. I love that. Culture has an effect on design and design on culture. Good design may even be used as a communication tool. If a design is considered to be good, the positive feeling about it often crosses borders. So yes, I think it is necessary for advancement of society.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
I love my job, that makes it pretty easy for me to work. I prefer a mixture of teamwork (working in-house with a team a few days a week) and on my own on other projects the rest of the time. Experimenting with different solutions, this has proven to be the most comfortable way to work for me. I am a very solution oriented person which I think is important as a designer. Being able to come up with quick, good solutions for several tasks on- and offline is my everyday business at the moment.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
I already did pro bono work and I am still open to that idea. It is important to see that there is more than a monetary aspect to creative work. Of course everyone needs to earn money but sometimes the work process and the outcome are so different if there is no money involved. It is not necessarily better or worse but different, maybe more free in the creation process.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
Attending A' Design Award is interesting for me because it is very international. The Award makes my work accessible to an international audience by showing the winner designs on different exhibitions and fairs around the globe. The promotion through an award makes sense to me since it gets harder to draw attention to ones portfolio. Participating in design competitions helps being noticed not only by potential clients but also by fellow designers. And the other way around. I became aware of many interesting projects, that I might have missed out. I am happy to be picked as Designer of the Day.

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