The Highly Story

With a love of design and aspiring to run his own practice, Daniel initially studied architecture at Queen’s University, Belfast.

A decade on, his dream and design flair finds him in his own practice, building brands rather than buildings, at Carmarthen’s super exciting new brand agency, Highly.

How did we get here?

Daniel graduated in architecture just in time for the Great Recession in 2009. With the economic climate hitting the construction industry hard across Ireland, and little opportunity for architecture graduates, he applied to every firm across the city and a few further afield.

Securing a job in Llanelli Council’s Physical Regeneration team brought him to Wales, a prospect made all the sweeter by the presence of his lovely Welsh soon-to-be fiancée (now wife) nearby. This job would be as close as Daniel would get to a job designing buildings.

Freelance design

With the economy still a long way from recovery, Daniel had to get creative. Literally.

Buying a stack of graphic design books from Amazon, and watching loads of YouTube videos, he began the journey of adapting the skills and techniques he’d developed at university to start a graphic design business. Initially named Sheeps Media, he later established himself as Daniel P Design.

Working on freelance design whilst in full time employment, Daniel soon built enough of a portfolio to secure a role as an in-house designer and marketing coordinator for a garden machinery business. Over his three and a half years there, he learned a huge amount about design, marketing, business, sales, and printing, continuing his freelance work in every spare moment he could outside work.

Having primarily worked on small-ticket design items while in full-time employment, Daniel went part-time. This allowed him to work on increasingly larger budget design work, both locally and nationally.

Within 3 months of part-time work he hit his first business financial milestone. He handed in his notice to enable him to work for himself full time.

Recognising his strengths and the business need, Daniel changed the focus of his design services from ‘everything graphic design’ to logo and brand identity design.

Did somebody say Highly?

Now with eight years freelancing experience, building a strong portfolio of work and developing a great network of complimentary freelancers in the process, Highly’s establishment was imminent.

When in a one-week period Daniel secured two game-changing design and marketing contracts whilst making connections with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, he recognised that it was time to start an agency.

‘Highly Limited’ was swiftly registered, an accountant commissioned and a team gathered together to get to work.

Having held an initial team meeting to scope out what the business would look like in a rent-by-the-hour meeting room, it’s more than exciting to see Highly now established in our own swanky studio space.

Situated in Carmarthen’s new, cutting-edge creative hub, Yr Egin, we get to rub shoulders with Welsh television channel S4C and other creative and complementary businesses on a daily basis.

It is exciting, and this is only the beginning.

Our aim is to become Wales’ best brand agency. Our mission is to eradicate bad design. Our heart is to make a positive difference in the lives of the people we meet and work with.

The Author: Daniel Patterson
Brand Strategist & Identity Designer Every business deserves an Unforgettable Brand. Daniel founded Highly in 2018 to help businesses and organisations do just that! In 2020, he created the Branding Masterplan, helping businesses save thousand$ on brand strategy.