Dear creators: First of all we would like to wish you a Happy New Year for 2015, with many successful projects and great surprises through the year! For the start of this year, we want you to meet our extraordinary creator Holly McAlister a.k.a AnnaNThang on eYeka. We are sure you have seen this name several times as she has won 19 prizes so far. How talented! Let’s see what she said and learn her secret know-how to win in eYeka contests:

Holly

Hello! My name is Holly McAlister. I’m a native Californian and live in the foothills of Napa. Nature, wine and the seasonal colors of this vineyard region drive my creativity. I’ve worked as a visual designer for over 15 years in advertising agencies and marketing departments, designing for major, nationwide clients. My Bachelor’s degree is in Anthropology and Art, where I thrived creating oil and acrylic paintings and learning all I could about ancient cultures.

You have been with eYeka for nearly 3 years now. May I know how did you find out eYeka at that time and why did you decide to participate in the eYeka contest?

I learned about eYeka through word of mouth from a fellow designer. I spotted a design challenge contest that I had immediate ideas for and got straight to work. The rest is history.

Can you share with us your creative process? How do you work usually?

My creative process always starts with research. I like to see what the client company has tried in the past to get a sense for their style. I’m a classic early bird and love starting creative work in the mornings with a solid pot of coffee and some Nordic ambient music. It takes me anywhere from a few hours to a week to complete a project. What matters most to me is nailing the underlying concept to pitch. I typically think about the design approach away from my computer so that when I’m ready to work I can just start playing with graphics, colors and composition.

Did you realize that you won 19 prizes in total in eYeka? Well done for the great works! Do you have any tips or suggestions to your fellow creators so they can learn something from you?

Ha! Absolutely. Yes, I do realize I’ve won 19 prizes! I remember every single submission. My advice to fellow creators is to only work on ideas that they’re truly passionate about. It’s also important to research your target company; it’s not about you, it’s about them. Lastly, be original, which means finding your own unique inspiration sources and branching out from there, not building on others’ ideas. Remember, eYeka brings in big brands and their marketing teams have seen it all — strive to surprise them!

Thank you for sharing the advice! Since you have been with eYeka for quite a long time, can you also share with us your overall experience with eYeka and what are the things you think eYeka can be improved in the future?

Working as a designer with eYeka has definitely changed my life. I love the design challenges and the quality of brands represented on eYeka. For me, eYeka is my happy place full of excitement, possibilities and challenge. eYeka is a client-driven, work-oriented platform, which means all the energy I put out can be focused on design. Other design platforms center around community votes, ratings, feedback and sometimes this leads to popularity contests or copying.  eYeka focuses on the client, which is just my style.

Among all of your great designs, your Doncafe entry impressed us the most – as the brand used your design and made it into real packaging! Can you share the story with the community?

doncafe-1

I had a wonderful experience working with Doncafe to develop my winning ideas into final packaging. I expect my Doncafe packaging samples any day now and I’m so excited to see them in real life. I consider winning the Doncafe contest as one of my greatest design achievements, especially since I have a special fondness for the art of coffee.

Lastly, can you share with us your inspiration and your favorite artist?

My classic inspirations tend to come from nature: rolling green hills, Pinot Noir, thunderstorms in the middle of New Mexico, animals and the Aurora Borealis. My favorite artist is Andy Warhol. No explanation needed!

Thank you Holly for sharing with us your story. We look forward to seeing more of your great works and wish you best of luck in 2015! :)