Designity is made up of a multitude of creative specialties. Despite the implications in our name, we offer a lot more than just design services.
Our copywriters are some of the best and most well-rounded in the industry. In today’s creative highlight, we’re going to zoom in on Gillian (Gillie) Hanna, a New York based copywriter with a fascinating background.
Get to know the voice behind your brand. This is Gillie!
What got you into copywriting?
Well, I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. I used to have this big typewriter at my house and I used to write stories on it and I just always loved writing.
My goal at some point is to finish writing my book and maybe put out a couple of poetry books. Writing has always kind of been my thing.
I have my Masters in it as well.
What was your first writing gig?
So I used to write when I was in college. At the time, back then, we had these things called Zines and it was like, instead of like a real mainstream magazine, they were kind of these off the beaten path, smaller magazines. Very niche.
I used to write for this Zines called Fishwrap and it had to be—well, it was a funny column that I wrote each month about another magazine. I had to critique it and trash it but in a funny way.
I don’t even know if I got paid. I think I was just doing it because I needed to build a portfolio.
Have you always been a writer or did you do something else before?
No, I didn’t always do copywriting as a career. I did it for a little while, years back when I was home with my kids. For a good decade, I was a fitness instructor and trainer. It just fit into my schedule with my kids.
Then, for the past, like, eight years, I’ve been opening an agency but it’s totally different from Designity. We’re Magento based and we construct and create solutions for people whose site runs on Magento.
Sometimes we create the site, sometimes it's about the marketing, but it’s all really around Magento. So, I started that agency with my husband eight years ago. I had been in the agency world working mostly as a creative project manager but I needed to take a break.
So, here I am, writing again which I didn’t expect because that’s not exactly what I had applied at Designity for.
No, actually. When I did the challenge that you have to do, they got in contact with me and were like “Do you want to be a writer?” and I was like, “You know what? I do! That would be so nice.”
What position did you originally apply for?
It was a position that I think doesn’t exist anymore. It was actually for a project manager and there were two types of project managers. One for people who were new and just coming in with new clients, and one for people who were staying on with the company for a while.
This was how it was explained to me. So, I was just going to be the project manager for like, the older clientele. It’s funny because someone just messaged me a couple of weeks ago and was like “I just wanted to tell you that this job that you applied for doesn’t exist anymore. I’m so happy that you actually didn’t get it because we would have had to get rid of you.”
What are your favorite types of projects to work on?
My favorite type of projects to work on is anything revolving around health and beauty. I’m really into holistic nutrition and wellness. I like beauty and really girly projects. That’s what I would love to be working on all the time.
For some reason, maybe because of my eight years in technology and with the agency, I get a lot of tech jobs, so it’s kind of like when I get a beauty job, it’s very relaxing. Like a breath of fresh air.
Do you have your masters in creative writing?
Yeah, I have my Masters in creative writing. I don’t have an MFA, I have an MA because, at the time when I went for my masters, not all schools considered creative writing an MFA.
In order for me to be able to teach, I had to get my fiction published. And that’s the one thing–as much as I’ve written for a ton of different companies, written articles, worked in publishing, I never had any of my fiction published.
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Do you want to teach? Is that the end goal?
I think maybe one day it would be nice. Not today because I like this industry that I’m in, as far as the agency goes and being able to work on a ton of different projects. I think that one day when I want to slow it down a bit, I would want to teach.
What kind of fiction do you like to write?
My favorite fiction is poetry. But it’s not like, nice poetry, like flowery and pretty. It’s a little bit more raw than that.
Do you ever share your work?
Sometimes I do. Do you know O’neill? Well, he had shared this image, this drawing he did of a cyborg and I said to him, “Do you mind if I use this image to write a poem off of it?" So I wrote a poem about his cyborg which I thought was a cool exercise to do between the different creatives.
I think he loved it, but I don’t know.
What is your favorite part about copywriting for Designity?
I love when I get into the flow of writing. There’s something about being in that flow where time just doesn’t exist and you’re just going and moving through it and it’s almost like a meditative state.
So, I think for me that’s one of my favorites about copywriting. Another one is that I get to learn about all of these different industries that I would never know about if I wasn’t at Designity. It really opens my mind to a broader view of the world.
Outside of writing, is there anything that you love to do, or a fun fact about you?
It’s so funny that you said fun fact because when I started at Designity, at the first creative meeting I was in, they introduced me to the team and they were like “Fun fact about yourself!”
And I forgot every fun fact that I ever did and I said “I like to peel glue off my hands!” Everyone was looking at me very weirdly and one girl in the corner was like, “Oh, I do that too!”
Is that the only thing that stayed in my head?
Well, anyway, I like to do stuff with my hands, like create things. I make hair jewelry, like the kind of jewelry that clips into your hair and hangs. I just love projects, like when I have to make these vases for my sister’s bridal shower. If I have to redo a room, I like to do it myself.
Anything that involves working with my hands.