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Helen Tong

First published March 10, 2022

Meet Helen on this fine Thursday! She worked in publishing and digital roles for over 5 years before retraining as a Designer. Thanks to a ‘life-changing’ three months at Shillington, she’s now working in branding design for an exciting agency, and has plans to pursue some personal projects in the future, including creating typographic prints and giving back to the design community through mentoring. She’s also our second Design by Women collaborator to be featured (check out Laura’s feature, if you missed it!). We love Helen’s work and loved discovering her journey even more! Read on for the goods…

Helen Tong

Helen, what’s your creative occupation?

I’m a Designer who loves to explore new things! I dabble in a bit of everything, such as illustration, stitching and typography, and I’m inspired by vintage and Japanese design. I also have a thing for bright colours and weird shapes, so I always try to incorporate them into my projects somehow.

Olive oil branding

Where have you been?

I’ve had a bit of a windy path into design! I’ve always been a creative person, and interested in art and design, but never pursued it as a career when I was younger. I worked in publishing after university and shifted into the digital space, working within web content production and website management roles for over 5 years. Towards the end of 2019 though, I was getting increasingly unhappy and unfulfilled with my career so I finally decided to bite the bullet and change careers into design. I quit my job, and at the beginning of 2020 I started the immersive three month course at Shillington. It was honestly life-changing. It felt so natural to be designing and creating everyday, and Shillington was an eye-opener for me in terms of personal development too. After finishing the course, I interned and freelanced at a small branding agency, picking up some other freelance bits on the side, and then ended up working as a designer for a small PR firm.

Battersea power station poster design

I can’t thank enough those who have guided and helped me through my design journey so far (…) I hope one day I can give back to the design community. HELEN ON THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE HELPED HER ON HER JOURNEY

Tokyo artwork

Where are you now?

Currently I’m working in branding design at Siegel + Gale. I started just before Christmas last year, and it’s definitely been a learning curve, but it’s been great being part of a bigger team, and learning and collaborating with others. As our clients are mainly corporate too, it’s a fun challenge trying to create and bring something unexpected and exciting to industries that can seem more rigid and ‘professional’.

Where are you going?

Oo there’s so many directions! I’m hoping to develop within branding and get to a more senior level, but I’d also like to push my illustration and typography a bit more. I fell into a bit of a creative rut towards the end of last year, so I’d love to be able to pick up those personal projects again and start playing around with illustrations, and exploring creating typographic prints. I’d also love to head into mentoring later on, too. I can’t thank enough those who have guided and helped me through my design journey so far, and the impact their support made. I hope one day I can give back to the design community and help those entering the industry.

Food truck branding

Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?

That I feel like I need another weekend — why do they always go by so quickly?! There never seems to be enough time to do all the things I want and have a proper rest! (Here’s me secretly campaigning for the 4-day work week :P)

We’re right there with you, Helen! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Make sure you visit Helen’s website and Instagram for more.


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