Billabong

Hayley O'Connor surely has one of the coolest jobs on the Gold Coast - Senior Graphic Designer at Billabong. We had a chat about her typical day-to-day, including a casual trip to Malibu or Mexico now and then (no biggie), plus how to avoid getting stuck in your style.

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?

I was always pretty creative growing up but it wasn’t until after high school when I started a Design Cert IV course where I could try a little bit of different types of design that I realised how much I loved graphic design & illustration. My teachers introduced me to cool design books and blogs and I think it just clicked and that was what I wanted to do. I always thought I wanted to be a fashion designer but didn’t realise how many creative jobs you could do around fashion design without actually having to be the product designer. I then went on to study Graphic Design and drew in my spare time for fun. I would put my artwork up on social media channels and portfolio sites and started to get freelance work come in. The jobs started to get better and bigger and before I knew it I was working professionally as an Illustrator and Graphic Designer.

What does a typical working day include for you right now?

As a graphic designer at Billabong my job can vary a lot. I create graphics in the marketing department for both the mens and womens sides of the brand. A typical day could see me designing artwork for a party or surf event, concepting & creating window designs for our retail stores or putting together photoshoot brief. A not typical day would see me travelling to Malibu or Mexico for a photoshoot which is definitely one of the perks of the job! As an illustrator which I freelance outside of my day job, a typical day would be drawing patterns or t-shirt designs, creating artwork for an up coming show or fashion illustrations for a client. I like the balance of both my roles as they are so different but still creative.

Design work by Billabong The Design Kids interviews Billabong work-2

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others?

I looked up to other fashion illustrators when I first started out. I wanted to reach the level of detail that they had in there work. I liked the femininity in there illustrations but I wanted to have my own twist which was a bit darker and had an edge. The detail and skill came with practice but concepts and style I think developed naturally over time. I still push myself to try new things with my art to keep it moving. I feel like you can get stuck in your style because you think thats what every wants to see and they do but they also want something new and fresh and trying out new concepts and techniques can only help you evolve.

Design work by Billabong The Design Kids interviews Billabong work-4
Design work by Billabong The Design Kids interviews Billabong work-4

I always thought I wanted to be a fashion designer but didn’t realise how many creative jobs you could do around fashion design without actually having to be the product designer.

What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?

When I was 16 and starting to get a lot of career advice from people it never seemed to be too encouraging about being an artist or designer. I felt like everyone would say “It’s too hard to get into that line of work” or that you should “have a back up” but I realised in the years to come that either those people didn’t try hard enough, didn’t know what they were talking about, or didn’t have the talent. It sounds harsh but if you have the drive and talent to make it work - you will.

Design work by Billabong The Design Kids interviews Billabong work-5
Design work by Billabong The Design Kids interviews Billabong work-5

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