How Katherine Hills got ahead

“I base my success so far on sheer bloody-mindedness, lots of communication, being approachable and my winning smile.”

Name: Katherine Hill

Company: inferno

Job title: Head of Design

What made you want to get into marketing?

Finding out that I could do something I love and get paid for it.

How did you get into the industry (including relevant qualifications and professional training)?

I worked as a photographer’s stylist as an undergraduate at The London College of Printing (now LCC). I stayed on there after finishing my degree (Graphic and Media Design), and sneaked my folio under the nose of one of our clients – a small advertising agency.

What was good and bad about your first job?

On blagging my way in I discovered, on my first day, that the creative department (well, 3 people) had resigned and I was the new Designer/ Art Director/ Artworker, with my Mac skills amounting to having typed my dissertation in Quark. There’s nothing like being thrown in at the deep end to make you pick it up quickly.

List your jobs to date:

Designer/ Art Director/ Artworker (!) – Ping Communications.
Designer – Claydon Heeley Jones Mason (now Claydon Heeley).
Head of Design – Elvis Communications.
Head of Design – inferno

What were the best and worst, and why?

Worst – see question 3. It was also good because I learnt so much at Ping.
Best – inferno. It’s refreshing and exciting to have design acknowledged as a craft in itself. Inferno recognises the fact that design can really add value to a campaign. And they’re a lovely bunch to work with.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

 My Grandad.

Who in the industry do you most admire?

Suits with the vision to stand up for the creative work. Only if it’s on brief of course!

What is your biggest achievement to date?


On what do you base your success so far?

Sheer bloody-mindedness, lots of communication, being approachable and my winning smile.

What are your ambitions?

To see more girls in creative/ design departments.

Change one thing about your job:

I would ban all advertising ‘speak’. Shame on you.

Change one thing about your industry:

Stopping the buck, as opposed to passing it (oops, that sounded like advertising speak. Shame on me.)

Change one thing about the world:

I’ve got a deadline to meet, so I doubt I’ll get round to that today.

What is your favourite brand?

What is the next big brand in your view?

The iPhone will make Apple an even bigger brand than it is now. Music, internet, phone – this is only the beginning.

List your “media diet”:

Saturday Guardian and Sunday Times (I’m a girl – I like the magazines), Creative Review, Design Week, Marketing Week, BBC news website and Vanity Fair – the only magazine in existence with articles the length they should be.


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