Holly Dyer

Designer, button enthusiast and runner

I’ve been a professional designer since 1992 and have worked with a wide range of public sector, charity and not-for-profit organisations.

I have expertise in graphic design, typography, branding and print. My key strengths are listening, asking questions and sketching ideas. Clients tell me I make them feel at ease and I am very easy to work with.

I always wear bright colours so I’m not easy to miss, and people always ask me for interior design advice on what colour to decorate their houses.

Education and employment history

I’ve always been very creative and as a child loved drawing and painting. I remember crying my eyes out once because my dog had eaten a drawing I had done for a competition. I did O- and A-level Art and Art History and then a Foundation Course at art college before my degree at Brighton Polytechnic. I loved art college, especially working with like-minded people and being free to experiment and make an artistic mess. I have always been interested in ethics and design and produced projects for The Body Shop and Oxfam for my degree show.

My first job was for a small design agency in east London who worked for various government quangos such as The Office of Fair Trading as well as lots of public sector organisations like The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

After four years I went on to become a designer at the charity ActionAid in north London. I really loved this job as it was such a friendly and creative place to work, and I was able to fullfill my desire of working for a charity. Here I designed the supporter magazine, many logos and lots of children’s educational resources. I developed the brand by adding my own hand-drawn illustrations and lettering as well using ephemera from ActionAids’s overseas programmes. I was promoted to senior designer and was on the panel which interviewed a young whipper-snapper called Dave McCourt! After four years, there was a corporate restructuring and I decided to leave and set-up Bananadesign with Dave.


I’m a print designer and I always like to start a project using good old fashioned pencil and paper to get the ideas flowing. Many designers go straight to the computer but I find this quite restrictive and prefer the creativity that sketching brings. I am highly skilled in the following:

  • Print design (InDesign, QuarkXPress, Acrobat, Adobe Creative Cloud)
  • Print production (Acrobat, Adobe Creative Cloud)
  • Sketching and illustration
  • Hand lettering
  • Using colour

Some possibly interesting things about me

  • I am running the 2016 London Marathon for the mental health charity Mind so a lot of my spare time is taken up with running!
  • I went to a special screening of Toy Story 2 where I sat in the midst of lots of celebs including Helen Mirren, Ruby Wax, Madonna, Richard E Grant, John Thompson and the cast of The Full Monty.
  • I collect buttons which I use in various handmade craft projects.
  • My great-grandmother was from Ardersier in Scotland and only spoke Gaelic, and my daughter Mackenzie is named after her.
  • I had hypnotherapy at London Zoo to cure my aracnaphobia which worked so well I held a tarantula! But now I am galeophobic and crocodile-phobic instead.
  • When I was nine I wrote a letter to Geoff Capes (World’s Strongest Man 1983 and 1985), telling him I didn’t like him.
  • I have been vegetarian longer than I haven’t been vegetarian.
  • I would love to be a mermaid.
  • I was once an extra in Tucker’s Luck (a spin off from Grange Hill) and have appeared in the background of Hollyoaks.
  • My dentist says I am very unusual because I have all of my adult teeth (including four wisdom teeth).
  • I once dressed up as a chicken for CIWF, and travelled on a tightly packed tube train to raise awareness of the plight of battery chickens.
  • I’ve run an after school art club at my local primary school for the last four years.

My favourite monkey…

Is the Bonobo. They are very similar to the chimpanzee but while chimpanzee society is highly competitive and male-dominated, bonobos live very peacefully and harmoniously in female-led groups of up to 100 members. Bonobos are incredibly intelligent and have learned how to communicate in human languages, use tools and play music. Interesting fact: we share 98.7% of our DNA with bonobos.

The other bananas