A Cup Of Tea With…Michelle Hird

This week sees multi-tasking busy bee, Michelle Hird take over our Instagram account as our #thortfulTakeover creator.

Michelle spills all the inspiration behind her successful ‘Hello LGBT’ range and the designers who WE should be following…


You are one busy lady working in web design, editorial and branding to name a few! What made you branch out to illustration? 
I have always loved watching cartoons and playing computer games, like most 80’s children! From my first recollection I have always drawn and have always been the ‘arty kid’ at school! I am very fortunate that I am able to carry out one of my passions as an actual career path.

If you had to pick ONE sector to work in – what would it be?
I am working alongside Nestle at the moment; creating a series of motion graphic projects to help promote a healthy lifestyle whilst pregnant. Although I love illustration, it is extremely satisfying to see my illustrations being brought to life. Maybe animation is my new calling?

Who inspired you to design an LGBT card range?
My friend, Georgina Brombey was my inspiration for this idea. She complained that there wasn’t enough choice out there for her and her girlfriend and was thrilled when I introduced my custom made Valentine’s cards.

The aim of Hello LGBT is to broaden the greeting card market and to target lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders only. To give the LGBT community a charming and appealing choice of stationery for once, instead of the dull, typographic and generic options that are only available at present.

What’s been your hardest brief to work on?
I get a lot of briefs come through, which are most often than not pretty straight forward, but due to the huge sign off process (people throwing in their pennies worth), it can take forever to complete! I have been working on a straight-forward infographic (which would normally take me a couple of days!) for six months, and it’s still a work-in-progress.

Tell us a story behind one of your designs…
For my end of year project at University, I wrote and  illustrated a children’s story book; Binx The Jinx. Ten years later my style has progressed so much so, that I am re-illustrating it in hope to one day get it published – let’s just hope that doesn’t take me another ten years!

How do you switch off from your work?
I never really switch off. I get new ideas coming to me constantly! My only problem is getting the time to start/finish them. Though when I do find some down time, I like to chill with friends and family or explore London’s restaurants with my boyfriend.

Instagram or Snapchat?
I love both, but I would have to opt for Instagram! It is a fantastic, inspirational portal for me and a way to display my work.

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you…
I was nominated for Best Illustration 2015 Award for an editorial piece I did for KFH Magazine. Although I didn’t win, it was still an accomplishment for me to be nominated, but hey…there’s always this year!

Lastly, who should we be following in the design world at the moment?
I follow so many designers and illustrators on all my social accounts and have numerous bookmarks that I have been collecting for years! However, there’s a special few I always return to time and time again:

Steven Scott – I adore his overall retro theme and muted colour palette.
Gabby Zapata – I am obsessed with anything Disney anyway, (naturally) so it’s no surprise I am in love with Gabby’s work.

Gemma Correll – My sister (who is also a designer/illustrator) always buys me a Gemma Correll greeting card whatever the occasion. Her minimal style and palette is instantly recognisable and her sense of humour gets me every time. I am very fond of one of her most recent projects: How It Feels To Live With Anxiety And Depression. Quite different to her usual themes, but very honest, yet light hearted.

Check out Michelle Hird’s cards on thortful here.