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Life & Work with Helynn Hallock

Today we’d like to introduce you to Helynn Hallock. 

Hi Helynn, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I have the pride and honor of saying I am an Orlando Native; I was born in Winter Park and have lived majority of my life in College Park. I grew up with an incredibly loving mother and grandparents; they always encouraged me to follow the things I had a passion in. My Nana spent so much time teaching me how to draw, paint, and creatively express myself – I would not be where I am today without her patience and incredible teaching. 

I started becoming interested in Graphic Design when I was 14, and Myspace was all the rage – I spent a lot of time learning how to code and how to make my page the best-designed page out of all of my friends. It sparked a love in me; I felt like I found a space where I could be myself. So, I started designing T-shirts for my friends and family, and I started working on fan art for some of my favorite celebrities. 

Ryan Sheckler was HOT HOT HOT in 2008 or so; his face was on MTV every day – remember, guys the internet was just really starting to be a thing. I created a logo for him and a look for his myspace, and next thing I know, they’re using it!!! It led to some really cool opportunities that filled my portfolio book. 

Looking back, I laugh at that “Portfolio,” but I am so thankful I had it. 

When it came time for me to find the University I wanted to attend, it was expected that I go to a State school like UCF or USF, etc. Thank you to my parents for signing up for Florida Prepaid. I attended the tours of 4 colleges, and nothing stood out to me like Full Sail University. My mother had told me that she thought it might be the place for me, but we had to check out all of my options. Also, Full Sail was out of budget, and my parents really didn’t want me to start out with student loans. I submitted this “Portfolio” and was awarded the Creative Minds Scholarship, and was able to follow of my dream. Full Sail spoke to me; the campus has a vibration that, to this day, I chase to be a part of; the University would give me the tools Day 1 to start my career. I would focus on so many topics in the digital arts, and I would graduate a few weeks after I turned 20 years old. It was perfect for me. 

Full Sail taught me not only the technical and artist abilities I needed, but they taught me how to network, how to go out and make opportunities. Full Sail saved me, and I’m so thankful for everything and everyone it has brought me. 

After Full Sail, I made a list of the companies I wanted to work for, my girlfriend and I set out to make that list come true. I set out to do Informational interviews at companies that interested me and that would give me the time of day. Gallagher Designs took a risk and created their one and only internship position for me – three months after graduation, I was sitting on the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon, crossing that brand off my list. 

Once the internship ended, a couple months after they had planned, they just really liked me – they couldn’t find the space for a permanent position – so we set off so I could work at Sports Authority. While the brand wasn’t on my list per se, I did have “work for a national chain.” This was crossed off the list in Winter of 2015 when my family called me 2000 miles away from me, at their local Colonial Dr. Sports Authority, looking at my new package. Dreams do come true. 

Not all good things last, and sometimes that’s for the best. 

Sports Authority closed for liquidation, and I was FED UP with the snow for the 9 months I got it in Denver. 

We packed our cars and headed back to Sunny Florida to see where I could land – hoping that Disney would call me. 

They wouldn’t, not yet anyways. 

After some searching, I saw that Dixon Ticonderoga, the Number 2 pencil, was based in Lake Mary and needed a packaging-specific designer. That has always been my passion; just ask my wife who HATES going to the grocery store – for 3 hours. I joined the team and a few months in learned that I would be redesigning the package goods for Bob Ross. It had a lot of rules, and it needed to happen fast, so I buckled in, and at 23 years old, and I rebranded his Art Supplies for GLOBAL distribution. 

Shortly after crossing “Global Packaging project” off my list, I got a call – THE call. 

A recruiter had found me and wanted to know if I wanted to interview for a contract role at Disney. UM, YES? 

It was an extremely rare opportunity that doesn’t happen often at Disney. I was in the right place at the right time. After joining the team, I was informed a permanent role would be opening. 9 months later, I earned my ears as the Retail Creative Graphic Designer for Disney Parks and Resorts. I oversaw just under 400 stores across multiple states; I brought the stores to life. I had the opportunity to design some of the incredible Vault moments around property for the 50th Anniversary and am so thankful for the incredible team I got to work alongside. 

But I was 28 years old and burnt out, I needed a shift, and I missed packaging. 

I networked my way in, and now I am the Associate Package Design Manager for Disney Creative Group. I am so excited to share what I’ve been working on in time, but for now just know that this is just the beginning, and I am so excited for what else life has in store. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest challenged I’ve faced was getting laid off and not having any control or reason. Sometimes it’s easier if you have someone or something to blame, but it was far bigger than that. I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent, let alone move back to Florida. 

I put my networking skills to the test and sent messages to people and brands I liked; I offered my services, and next thing I knew, I had a thriving freelance business. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’d say my style of design is big, bold, clean, minimal with MAX impact. I specialize in logo design, branding, and packaging. 

But Full Sail taught me a lot, and I’ve got an extensive set of skills that have opened a lot of doors. 

I’m proud that you can find my package goods on the store shelves and that people know the legacy brands I’ve gotten a chance to work for. 

Before we go, is there anything else you can share with us?
Believe in yourself, be confident in what you bring to the table, and go chase your dreams. 

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