Hello! My name is Niki Hinkle and I'm a designer, art director and image maker hungry for big ideas, little moments, good wine and all the fun in between.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, I moved to Boston in 2007 and in 2009, I received my BFA in Graphic Design. I'm the co-founder and Creative Director at Hink Creations, a studio specializing in creative projects relating to sight and sound. Through my in-house, agency and freelance experience, I have worked with a wide variety of industries including healthcare, entertainment, technology, education, finance and more. Recent projects include campaign promotion, branding and identity work for Fidelity Investments, Zipcar, RARE Moving & Trucking, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, James Wagman Architect, and SoundEQ.
I use my problem-solving skills to help businesses achieve their goals and to connect with their audience. I pride myself on building long lasting relationships with my clients and exceeding their expectations. My experience has introduced me to a powerful network of professional creatives (copywriters, musicians, illustrators, photographers, developers and more) that keep me inspired and on top of industry trends. My work has received a HATCH award and two American InHouse Design awards and can be found on billboards, apparel, box trucks, print ads, bus stops and websites across the country.
My Dad used to draw the Sunday comics on my book covers for school and he taught me how to break things down. “It’s not Piglet’s ear, see, it’s just a group of lines.” I took art more seriously by the time I was 15 or 16 and entered some drawings into local contests. It felt really good to find the differences between chalk, ink, watercolor, etc. and it was so rewarding to have that feeling when a piece was “finished”. My junior year I worked on the high school yearbook and used photoshop for the first time… I was hooked. I never thought of art as a career until one day it was all I could think of. Design came into the picture when I realized I could visually solve communication problems for a living. I chose Visual Communication Design as my major in 2004 and have never looked back.
Whether the task at hand is a shiny new logo or a gig poster, it’s like putting together a puzzle. I use my research, client requests and design principles as pieces and when something doesn't fit, I find a new piece. For most projects I do a lot of sketching and note-taking, for every finished design there are stacks of notepads with observations, coffee stains and usually somewhere in the middle, a hint at what the final piece will look like. I don’t like saying that I have a “style” because as a designer, my job is to work within or develop a style and visual guidelines that work for one client and probably won’t work for another. However, my process is my process and the way I work with a grid, colors, fonts, etc. all come from the same mind so I would describe my work as from me for my clients.
My clients! The people I work with, for better or worse, make the work very personal. Client satisfaction means a lot to me and if they aren’t happy, I didn’t solve the puzzle. Whatever the reason may have been, cancelled or abandoned projects never sit well with me. I also do a lot of work in my home and it takes a lot of time. Time I’m not spending with my husband or talking to my family in Ohio and that would be a silly sacrifice if it wasn’t personal on some level.
My clients get more than a zip folder with design assets when they work with me. There is always a reason someone needs a designer and that is where I start - the “why”. For example, why do you need a logo? If we can’t define a reason then chances are, design isn’t what you need. I use my skills and experience to solve problems for my clients. If the “why” is to get more customers, then we could evaluate your website, see what works and what doesn’t and then dig in and make it more user-friendly. I’m passionate and experienced and I think one thing that sets me apart is that I listen. After all, it’s your project and chances are, you know it very well.
I’m very fortunate to have worked with kind people who show their excitement about the work we do together. The best compliments come from the clients that are shocked with the difference from what they've seen in the past. They make designing feel like a little bit of magic and I get really smiley when I read their "thank you" emails. One of my very first clients, whom I’ve been working with for over 5 years always says “of course you’re going to do it, you’re my person”. Hearing things like that makes me very humbled and grateful.
I am currently accepting new design and project consulting opportunities. If you have a project you’d like to discuss, I’d love to hear more about it. You can email me at email@example.com.
In the beginning it was just do be able to do design, any kind of design, for any kind of money. The further I get into my career the higher my expectations are. Now I set goals for what type of projects I’d like to be part of and then take steps to get involved with them. I look for certain connections with clients and their projects. I think it’s very important to continue developing my skills and learning new things. Currently I’m working on calligraphy, next on my list is lettering.
A friend of mine took The Ad Club’s Creative Concepts and ended up getting a job more in line with her career goals and I thought, I wonder if I can do that. I took the class, met some really smart people, got a new job and won an award at HATCH 2014!
When I’m really tired. That’s probably weird… really late at night or crazy early in the morning feel like a different place to me. My heart beats slower and my mind feels super clear. I think it’s knowing that everyone else is sleeping and it’s kind of like stealing time.
Originally from Akron, OH I moved to Boston in 2007. Boston is such a beautiful city and I’m so in love with New England. Whether I need to go camping in the mountains, feel the ocean breeze or listen to the noise of the city, I can get to all of it in a short drive. It’s an amazing city and I’m very proud to live in it.
Hmmm… a few of my favorite things are cooking, wandering, camping, listening to my husband play piano, talking to my family in Ohio and sleeping - I LOVE to sleep!
Everything is a possibility… I’d like to live in NYC for a bit. Someday I dream of having a little hideaway for Hink Creations with a recording studio and I could have a photo studio, dark room and a big open design studio with giant windows.