Young Gun: Grace Brown at Hulsbosch

Our Young Gun profile takes a look at some of the young talent across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles, people and companies across the buzzing industry.

Grace Brown, Design Director at Hulsbosch

Time at the company?

I started with Hulsbosch in 2019, so just over 2 and a half years.

How long have you been in the industry?

Almost 8 years now. I still remember starting out as a nervous intern who had no idea what she was doing!

How did you get here? Was this always the plan?

When I was in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do once
I left, the daunting decision of what to do for the rest of my life was overwhelming. I knew I loved visual arts and have always been a bit of a doodler growing up, but was no Picasso!. I stumbled upon Billy Blue College of Design and thought being a graphic designer was pretty close to art, and thought I’d give it a crack. Next thing I know I was accepted into one of Australia’s best design colleges in Sydney. It was a steep learning curve considering I had never used a Mac until my first class and I was definitely out of my depth. With blood, sweat and many tears I graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Design 3 years later, and in my last 2 semesters, I found my passion for packaging design. I threw myself into a 4-month internship and landed my first job as a junior. Since then, I’ve never looked back.

Who is your right-hand person/who guides you day to day?

I was, and still am, extremely lucky to work with Mikey Hart. He has been my Creative Director for my whole time in the industry. He was my mentor, he took me under his wing and he has guided me throughout my career, helping me to get where I am today. Over the years we have formed a close friendship that has built a solid foundation for our team and the way we work together to this day. We have an open and honest communication style, being able to ask for advice or support, while always having a laugh to keep us both sane.

What is the best thing about the industry you work in?

I think collaboration is one of the key things. Having the opportunity to work with such a diverse set of people with different strengths and knowledge means I am always learning and growing as a creative. Also, having a team behind you to back you up and support you through thick and thin is so valuable. Teamwork brings people together, allowing us to be our ‘authentic’ best and to achieve our best. ‘Teamwork makes the dream work’ is the mantra my team and I work by every day.

And the biggest challenges?

I think one of the biggest challenges is creativity itself. In a highly competitive industry that is constantly changing and evolving there is a constant pressure to create something that has never been done before. These high-stress situations can lead to creator’s block, burnout and anxiety. Creatives often experience imposter syndrome, feeling like a fake and that your work is not good enough partly because creativity is not a skill you can switch on and off. It is an emotion that we live and breathe every day. Our industry can be tough critics, but also extremely rewarding and these challenges can be managed and conquered with strong leadership through collaboration, teamwork and a healthy work/life balance.

Whose job have you set your sights on in the future?

I do have my sights on becoming a creative director in the future to continue my journey in the creative industry. This would be an amazing milestone to achieve, and I can’t wait for what comes next on this crazy rollercoaster ride.

Where do you turn for inspiration?

My local supermarket is one of my main sources of inspiration. It’s the creative landscape I work in and I find it fascinating to wander the aisles and discover what’s new and innovative in the FMCG space. It keeps me grounded with the latest consumer trends and insights in the grocery category. I am also constantly looking towards the UK market as they have some of the worlds’ ‘best in class’ packaging design that is progressive, innovative and exciting. The calibre of work they produce is incredible and so inspirational.

My favourite piece of packaging is?

It’s hard to pinpoint one specific piece as packaging design is constantly evolving and innovating to meet changing consumer trends, but one that sticks with me is Cadbury and its recent redesign. Over the past 197 years, the brand has managed to reinvent itself time and time again to stay relevant all while staying true to its essence. They have even trademarked their Cadbury purple! Plus, who doesn’t love chocolate?

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I feel like they know everything about me, it’s hard to get me to stop talking most days, but when I was younger, I had a sketchbook that I took with me everywhere. I used to draw the most wonderful and weird monsters and creatures of all shapes and sizes, letting my imagination run wild. I can’t imagine being able to create the things I used to draw now as an adult. It was probably the first sign of me being destined to become a creative. It’s also likely the reason for my obsession with science fiction movies!

In five years’ time, I’ll be?

I’ve experienced and learned so much in the last few years, it’s hard to predict the next 5 years, but I do hope I am a creative leader who inspires others to follow their passion, leading with imagination, empathy and creativity. I want to encourage and support young creatives on their career journeys, giving them the same experiences and opportunities, I was lucky enough to have.