Interview – From idea to print: A career in Media and Graphic Design


This is the latest in my series of interviews, here Helen tells us about her career as a media and graphic designer

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about you?

A. My name is Helen Bogun, I live in Berlin Germany, Single parent after a divorce.  Mom of a male teenager and possessed by 2 male cats. Any  person living with cats will know that we are no longer masters of our time or our house!

I am working as a media and graphic designer in the pre press section of my profession, this means I create and design anything that is supposed to be printed.My company is helz-design.

I am a huge fan of social media. Member of some forums, Facebook and I am blogging (helzdesign.wordpress.com).

Q. How did you first get involved in your career and why?

A. I got involved in 1988, was still at university and needed money. So I started working for a translating company. Layouting the translated texts. Later on I switched job and worked for a exposure company. I had to print the files on an exposure, and then got the film developed and send it to the printing shop.

Later on I founded a company together with my former husband. Was nice working together – at least in the beginning. After separation I had to start on my own. But I never regret it. I love it this way. I have a German (helz-design.de) and an English (helz-design.com) website. I think it is great to be able to communicate in German and English with my customers.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about your work?

A. Finding customers – and to structure the day. To distinguish important stuff from less important stuff, and not to forget about the less important stuff. And I am impatient. Sometimes it is quite a challenge waiting for the next input of the customer.

Q. Can you tell us about any interesting people you’ve met through your work?

A. Depends on your definition of interesting. Any customer is interesting, any job they ask me to do has its special challenge. To me it is most interesting to figure out what the customer wants. The meta level of the process. The customer is not really able to tell me but I can feel it in a certain way.

It is also very interesting to see the different kinds of human beings. The school principal who wants a logo and has to fight with the day by day challenges school life gives to him; the conservative publisher who demands a layout for a technical paper; the house wife who needs a flyer for her hobby; the girl on welfare who wants a poster for a pro bono project. That’s the total input of life you can experience.

I haven’t met any celebrities so far, but the ordinary people who are so different, that’s so exciting.

Q. What do you do when you aren’t working?

A. Are we talking hobbies? I love to knit – socks mostly, they are quickly done. I am also a huge fan of sewing, tune in to see my Christmas stockings soonish (will sew some in October) and I love to photograph, when there is spare time I love to walk the city and looking for orange object. I photograph them and tweak them at home. There is a series in my life (on my blog) called: “Orange and the City”

Q. What is your most favourite thing about your work?

A. I can work at home, I am here for my son, I can enjoy my cats and I can work when I want. If I am having brekkie with a friend, I can go for it and I can answer interview questions at 1:30 am in the night, lol

It is a certain way of freedom, of independence.

Q. And the least?

A. Since I am working at home, I have to be careful not to over work. You have to tell yourself: work is done, now relax. If not you will always find something you need to do.

Q. If you hadn’t chosen this career what would you like to do?

A. A journalist

Q. What tips would you give to someone looking to get into your career?

A. This is difficult since graphic designers and media designers are not so necessary anymore, but I would recommend to learn as much as possible, print section, web section, and than start building up a good network. Don’t ask me how, I am still on that route too!

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share about your career choice that you haven’t already mentioned?

A. I love my profession. I love the creative aspects of it and I also love the craft aspects of it. It appears to be a young profession but it is a very old one. You can compare it to the guys in ancient Egypt who scratched the hieroglyphs into the temples, or the stone-age painters. Gimme a wall of a cave and I am happy. It got more and more interesting after Gutenberg invented printing and I love that I can lay my hands on my work after it is done. I can touch the printed flyer, I can hold the book in my hands, I can read it, I can take it with me.

The Fun Questions

Q.What did you have for breakfast?

A. Tea and toast

Q. Who would win a fight between pirates and ninjas?

A. Pirates,  they are orange (at least in berlin, we have a new party in parliament who call themselves pirates)

Q. If you were a tree what tree would you be?

A. Birch tree, they are duo tone

Q. What is the last book you read?

A. Biography of Nefertiti – Philpp Bandenberg “Nofretetete – eine archäologische Biographie” – nefertiti, an archeological biography

Q. Which of my blog posts is your favourite and why?

A. 5 things that I find inspiration from when blogging so far –  there is more for me to read! I like the article because it gave me inspiration about blogging. I got certain ideas – I am still new in this field, and so it was very helpful for me.

Q. What is your favourite song at the moment?

A. Make me Pure by Robbie Williams, but soonish I will be wrapped up in Christmas songs! 😉

Many thanks to Helen for doing the interview please check out the following links to find out more about Helen’s work or catch up with her on twitter – @HelzDesign

English website – http://helz-design.com/

German website – http://helz-design.de/

Helen’s Blog – http://helzdesign.wordpress.com/

Helz-design Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/HelzDesign
Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂

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11 comments on “Interview – From idea to print: A career in Media and Graphic Design

  1. I really enjoyed reading the interview. As a web designer and blogger it was great to see how others in a similar profession enjoy what they do. I also like that there is a video of Robbie. A really multi media approach to sharing a blog post. Great stuff!

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  5. Thanks Sharon for the opportunity.
    You did a good job setting it up.

    I so loved it.

    @Edgar thanks a bunch.
    Interesting for me how a web designer is getting along with the business.
    I am the print girl.

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