Rebelling against conformity in the creative industry, with Rebecca Harrison
Our next guest is Rebecca Harrison, a brand designer and creative director at global agency Loveblood Creative.
Today, Rebecca is based in The Lakes, where she grew up. It's a small village with close family and a tight-knit community. But quite typically, when someone has enjoyed a quieter life as a child, she wanted to experience a different adventure in a big city. And so she packed her bags in 2004 and moved to London, where she studied Fine Art at Central Saint Martins.
During university, Rebecca admits it was the first time she became aware of her accent and how different she felt compared to others. And deep down, there was this knawing feeling she couldn't shake, which she would later realise was homesickness. In fact, she spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to feel more at home in London, but it wasn't quite cutting it. Her career, meanwhile, had taken a slight detour as creative jobs were hard to come by, and Rebecca instead found a job and "home" working as a funeral director in North London. It was an experience she believes was the most foundational and inspirational of her career.
During that time, she began freelancing on the side, working in graphic design and illustration. On the surface, all was well. But home was calling. She was about to return to the North when she met her now-partner James and moved to Brighton in 2010. That's where they stayed for the next eleven years, and it was where Rebecca cut her teeth at Brandwatch, moving from junior designer to Design Director.
Then the pandemic hit – a time that forced many of us to reassess our lives. And so Rebecca and James decided to move back to the Lakes, where she grew up. And that's where she's now happily based, working remotely as part of the team at Loveblood Creative. It's where I travelled north to meet Rebecca in a thriving art and community centre on the outskirts of Penrith.
In this episode, we talk about leaving home as a working-class woman and moving to London – how it impacts; the positives and downsides. We talk about the journey many of us embark on to find ourselves and what "home" really means. We discuss how we might become lost, forget our identity and try and be something else to "fit in" and get ahead in our careers. But Rebecca rejoices in the recent epiphany that she no longer needs to comply. She explains, "The creative industry, in many ways, told me that I needed to change to succeed. To be in a certain city or live a particular way of life. I realised how ridiculous these predefinitions are and what we are missing out on as an industry due to our own biases."
We discover why she's now choosing to challenge the status quo, shake up what it means to be a successful creative director and why she's instead embracing what's right for her, leaning into her culture and being proud of who she is and what she has to offer.