Jo Marchbank

Creative Director for Hallmark Cards plc, Jo Marchbank, completed the Foundation in Art & Design at Bradford College in 1991.

Jo Marchbank“I knew I wanted to work in design but I didn’t know what side so the Foundation was perfect as you sampled all the different areas. I loved doing photography and print. I remember Lecturer Chris Broughton illustrated everything in pencil crayon and I rushed out to buy my own crayons. He was quite a big influence on me. I always wanted to work in creative and as time went on I became more interested in graphics.

I met a lot of new people and built up a group of new friends. I remember we had a course weekend trip to London to visit the Design Museum and various galleries as part of our graphics work. We stayed in a dodgy hotel but the trip was fantastic and I still have the photos.

I was still not sure what I wanted to do so I did the HND in Graphic Design at Bolton as it was interdisciplinary and covered photography, textiles and graphics. While I was still a student there I spent my 6 week vacation doing work experience at Unique Images. After my HND I applied for jobs back in Bradford at greetings card companies Unique, Sharpe’s, Field’s and Carlton Cards and was offered jobs by them all. I accepted the position at Sharpe’s and joined them in 1994 as a Studio Assistant, doing paste up, mock ups and a little Mac work.

After I had been there a year Sharpe’s and Andrew Brownsford merged with Hallmark and I moved to Bath with Hallmark. I became Design Manager after 6 months and stayed in Bath for 4 ½ years. I chose to move back to Bradford for personal reasons and I became Creative Manager of a small studio for the company.

Reorganisation then saw the old Sharpe’s building redeveloped and I was made Creative Director. I now oversee our Christmas team, looking after the Hallmark Christmas brand as well as exclusives and the Next account. My team consists of 4 creative managers, 16 designers and 2 design managers and I love it. There is such a variation in the job I am never bored.

I do a lot of recruitment informed by my own experiences as a student. Because I have been a student at Bradford College I know the quality of the work and come to the College to talent spot. This is an important connection that I am keen to develop. I am from Bradford and I want to see the city do well and the College and its students play a big part in that.”

Photograph by Shelagh Ward