Uprising: Sophie Hackett’s Creativity By Design

The number one NSW student in AWARD School’s 2022 cohort is also a Digital Designer at Tribal Australia. She spoke to LBB’s Delmar Terblanche about her unorthodox creative journey.

Sophie Hackett began creating young. At age three, her mum (a photographer) gave her a disposable camera, letting her daughter follow in her footsteps. “Most of them were of legs”, she says, or “anything else at my eye level.”

But this childhood hobby refused to stay just that. Having taken “hundreds of very below average photos throughout childhood”, Sophie studied photography and visual arts in high school, leading to photographic studies at university, and, eventually, a career as a digital designer, now at Tribal Australia.

Sophie recently topped the state at Australia’s prestigious AWARD School creative course, ranking as the #1 student in New South Wales. She also received the Top Dog award at the 2020 Miami Ad School Experience Design Bootcamp before that. She is an ambitious designer with a passion for aesthetics old and new, who sees creativity as a way to bridge the gap between her own life and personal exploration, and broader social trends.

“I love the variety of work I get to do,” she says. “I love working on big, household-name clients, and collaborating (while building friendships) with really great people.”

But the path from budding photographer to full-time creative was not a straightforward one. “Getting into the industry was somewhat of an accident,” says Sophie. “I had no idea how I could combine my love for visual arts and the media into a job, but fortunately I stumbled upon a grad programme at CX Lavender in my final months of university. I worked there as an account executive/manager, which helped introduce me to the industry and taught me the invaluable skill of managing clients and creatives. Ultimately, I decided I actually wanted to be one of those creatives, which I’ve been able to do at Tribal and DDB Group.”

A stint at Miami Ad School saw Sophie focus on in-demand digital creative skills like user experience and user interaction design, as well as ideation – while at her time at AWARD School she worked on developing her art direction and copywriting abilities. All of which makes Sophie something of an all-rounder, with an ability to skip between new, evolving creative spaces and more traditional advertising platforms.

“It’s super exciting to see all the amazing new tech being used in the industry, from new ways to advertise digitally, to ground-breaking products and services – and having the opportunity to work on some of this at Tribal,” says Sophie. “I’m also keen to see how advertising shifts in the coming years, as Gen Z moves up through the ranks, both within the industry and as an increasingly important target audience for brands.”

As a “borderline” member of Gen Z, this constant technological change is something Sophie is well-versed in. She jokes that she’s “a bit too obsessed with my phone”, and follows social media creators like Flex Mami, The Daily Aus, The Inspired Unemployed, and Amelia Dimoldenberg.

When considering her work at Tribal, Sophie’s favourite project is one that allowed her to get stuck on every phase of creative development. “I worked on Coles Liquor’s socials for several months at Tribal, where I ideated content, designed storyboards, and then rolled out the motion design across Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, and First Choice Liquor Market. I loved being a part of the process at almost every touchpoint, strengthening my creative skills, and it showed me that I could concept engaging, simple, and beautiful work.”

This hunger for new knowledge and skills has been a driving force that’s propelled Sophie through her education and career. And with such an attitude, no wonder she topped AWARD school.

That drive and logical thinking has served Sophie well, but as she develops as a creative, she’s also navigating how to blend the skills she’s developed from her account exec experience with a designer’s obsession with precision and a creative’s embrace of the unknown. “I’m a stickler for organisation,” Sophie admits. “I love a categorised folder, layers named in working files, and getting spacing perrrrfectly aligned. Coming from a suit background, I know just how good it feels for the creatives you work with to be on top of keeping their work in line, but it’s something I’ve had to learn to let go of when it comes to ideation!”

But, ultimately, it’s a combination of perspectives that gives Sophie an edge. Many more senior creatives and designers take years to truly ‘get’ the business demands and pressures facing clients – but that early career detour has allowed Sophie to build a sturdy foundation for a creative career.

First published via LBB Online