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Heather Pierpoint

Heather Pierpoint on intuitive design

By Heather Pierpoint

Managing Creative Director - Headfudge Design

Intuition is Heather Pierpoint’s superpower, instinctively interpreting the emotive essence of her clients’ stories into insightful designs.

But Heather’s instinctive design approach is not without substance, it is based upon 25 years of experience in the design industry, which began with eight years working for design agencies. A life-changing trip to Australia and New Zealand then prompted Heather to realise her free-spirited nature and she created Headfudge Design in 2007, getting the business off to a flying start by designing for Princess Cruises.

Now, Headfudge has a portfolio of clients ranging from small local businesses through to the NHS, for whom Heather creates a large amount of visionary designs from both the head and the heart.

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You’ve worked with a wide variety of clients since starting Headfudge, have there been some highlights?

One of the standout projects would be MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo and her Mauritian street food restaurant Lakaz Maman in Southampton. It was a dream project: branding, print, signage, packaging, website, the whole lot. It was amazing and Shelina was incredible to get to know and work with. It was a wonderfully creative project, filled with colour, sunshine and good vibes!

I started the business working with cruise lines like Princess Cruises and P&O. I did a lot of design and print work for them over several years, but one of the most significant projects was rebranding the entire suite of Princess Cruises brochures and marketing material – that was incredible.

My biggest client currently is the NHS, predominately University Hospital Southampton. I'm currently designing all the wall graphics and signage for various wards at Southampton Children’s Hospital. This is following Headfudge evolving their old logo and designing a new, fresh, cohesive look & feel for all their branded assets. It's an incredible project because it’s so emotive; children in the wards are going to be surrounded by my artwork, which has all been designed to be immersive and interactive. Playing a small part in improving their experience whilst they’re there is an awesome feeling.

Another real standout project for me is working with the legend that is Aaron Phipps. He’s a Paralympic gold medallist for wheelchair rugby and a professional motivational speaker. He’s just incredible; he scaled Kilimanjaro on his hands and knees. I created all his branding, along with his website and other promotional branded materials. Getting to meet and work with someone that inspirational was very humbling and it was an awesome project to be a part of.

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What’s your approach to design?

My approach is all about tapping into a client or brand’s personality and story; it’s a very emotive and human approach.

I go through a process of really listening and getting to know the client – their personality, their why, their values, and their visions – and based on that, I start coming up with design concepts and ideas.

When I talk to clients I get a vision quite instinctively – my USP is that I can read people’s minds! (my clients certainly feel this is the case!) It’s always nice to hear that I have been able to interpret the vision in people’s heads into visual designs and hit the nail on the head first time.

What tools and technologies are you harnessing in creating designs?

I’ve been in the industry for over 25 years and there has been a huge amount of change in terms of tools – there’s just an insane amount of stuff out there now.

For me, the most significant change was digital. When I started out doing website design, everything was about detail, layers and what I called ‘Apple shadows’, and then it all suddenly went flat with the introduction of mobile, which was a massive shift in how website design was done.

This year for me is about expanding my knowledge on, and exploring new tools and technologies outside of my usual suite of design software. AI is the buzzword that everyone’s talking about. It’s bound to have some benefits from a speed point of view and in helping certain elements of the creative process, but because I am such a human and traditional designer, I don’t think it can ever replace the emotive instinct of interpreting someone’s story or brand.

"When I talk to clients I get a vision quite instinctively – my USP is that I can read people’s minds!"

What are your aspirations for the future?

My goal this year is collaboration. I have been a one-man band for quite a long time now, but I’m at a stage where I’m looking forward to expanding the business by making collaborations with other strong creatives and tapping into wider resources and expertise. It will give me a much stronger offering to the larger clients, than my design services alone, which is really exciting.

What would be a dream project for you?

I’m lucky that I’ve had the opportunity to already do a few dream projects.

I’m a massive nature person; I love the ocean and New Forest; I love travel; I love stand-up paddleboarding and the outdoors, so it would be great to work with a watersports / outdoorsy brand or a travel company specialising in nature retreats. I actually founded my own surfy, outdoor clothing and accessories brand a few years ago as a side-line gig (Headfudge Clothing), so that was a dream in itself; creating the branding, website, gifts, clothing range and all the print and digital marketing to launch that.

I’m currently working with a new women’s wellness clinic opening up in Lyndhurst; mental health is a massive thing for me, so a project that can help catapult anything to do with mental health or wellness is right up my street too.

Dream projects are anything close to my heart, combining things I’m passionate about with my love of branding.

"AI is the buzzword that everyone's talking about. It’s bound to have some benefits, but because I am such a human designer, I don’t think it can ever replace the emotive instinct of interpreting someone's story."

Heather Pierpoint - Managing Creative Director, Headfudge Design

How do you enjoy spending your time when you’re not working?

I’ve got a daughter who is 9 years old, and I’ve also got two dogs – they’re my absolute world. I enjoy long dog walks in the forest and being by the coast as much as possible – out on my board or just being at the beach with them.

I’ve got a VW campervan, which had been a dream of mine for years – so I love camping and going off in the van with my daughter, dogs and the paddleboard. I’m very close to my small family, so lucky to see them regularly. Fitness and wellness wise, I love Zumba, yoga, meditation and a spot of tennis. I also absolutely love live music – especially the small intimate gigs.

As a creative person, what do you draw inspiration from?

I feel most inspired by nature. If I have a rare mental block when I’m working, I just get out with the dogs by the coast or in the forest, and it comes to me.

When I’m chatting to a client about their design project, things are being designed in my head as we speak; the inspiration comes from my own experience, instinctual vision and creative brain. But if I do need to feel inspired, I get out in nature and that always helps me.

Heather Pierpoint portrait