Your Brand Fixer
Carrie Ford Hilliker
My career in branding was born from a passion for storytelling, photography and new media.
When I was coming of age, so was the Internet. It was a creative goldmine.
I was glued to the experimental work of early web artists and innovators like Deanne Cheuk, Joshua Davis, Jonathan Harris, Matt Pyke, and Carole Guervin. I couldn’t resist the scrappy, DIY nature of the web and the creative power it held - especially in the early days. So, while studying photojournalism in college, I taught myself to code and design websites.
After college I moved to Prague to study documentary photography with incredible photographers like Karel Cudlin, Antonin Kratochvil and Victor Kolarz. I worked for a European photo agency to design and build their website, and help them to navigate the new digital sea change in the photography industry. I met Pulitzer-prize winners in their prime, and young photographers who are now shooting for National Geographic. My head spun.
When I returned home to Chicago, the Internet bubble was growing and the party was in full swing. I was happily swept up into the wild west of the early dotcom world. I was quickly hired as the first Senior Interactive Art Director at Havas Worldwide Chicago. Energized by this new career trajectory, I spent the next decade as a creative at digital agencies in Chicago and Los Angeles like Tribal DDB, Tribune Media and Disney Interactive. The people and brands I worked with were incredible and the education was invaluable, but I craved the freedom of working with my own clients.
So, after nearly a decade working with corporate brands, I broke away from agency life to start Ford/Visuals. Since then I’ve helped hundreds of creative people build their brands.
Over the past two decades, I’ve developed a number of side projects that shed light on the work and stories of these artists, including Fierce Flora, Detangle.Us, The Lord of Shoreditch and Poolside Dispatches. As a primarily self-taught creative, I’m passionate about shining light on non-traditional and underrepresented and artists to help them gain the attention they deserve — despite pedigree, legacy, race, gender or location.
Photography is central to my life. I continually seek guidance, mentorship and education from iconic professional photographers and artists like Roxann Arwen Mills and Elinor Carucci.
My daughter and I split our time between Chicago and Los Angeles.