Liam Cunliffe uses his student training to develop his own design style

Filip Resse

Liam is a passionate and talented student in Advertising and Brand Management at Staffordshire University in the United Kingdom. Working on 99designs has allowed him to apply what he has learned as a student, develop a unique style and build strong technical skills. We can’t wait to see how Liam’s skills and experience continue to grow!


Name: Liam Cunliffe
Location: Sale, United Kindgom
99designs handle: Liam Cunliffe
Contests won: 12

How did you get started in graphic design?

I got started when I was young. Throughout high school I liked art but I wanted to use computers rather than paper and pen. So I did GCSE’s and A-level’s in Graphic Design and 3D Design.

How has your design style changed since you first began and why do you think this is?

To be honest, I’ve just developed a consistant style through designing logos for 99designs.

Before then, my style would change according to what I had just learned, I’m continuously looking to improve.

How do you get your inspiration?

For logo design, I draw inspiration from various elements of the brief or my interpretation of the company I’m working for.

I’m now doing a degree in Advertising and Brand Management so I’ve had a great deal of exposure to branding and logo designs. Through that, I feel I’ve developed a good sense of what looks right.

What led you to start using 99designs?

My big brother, Tom (an illustrator), suggested 99designs to me after one of his friends (a 99designer) linked him to it.

When I first started, I was stunned by the idea that real companies might use my designs to complete their brand. It’s something I always knew I’d end up doing but not this soon in my life.

99designs gets a huge amount of stick for cutting out professional designers, but I think the site offers great opportunities for new designers, especially students. My experience with the site has undoubtedly improved my skills and understanding of brand construction which, in turn, has given me a head start on my degree.

What are the three most important things that designers can do to have success at 99designs?

1) Skills! Learn how to use the software before you submit. I see so many designs that are clever but just don’t work because of a clear lack of technical skill.

2) Stay calm! Don’t loose your temper with a CH and post angry comments. You will run into clients who struggle with or even fight the creative process. Just leave them to it and don’t waste your time.

3) Respect other designers. If someone falsely accuses you of copying, be careful with how you respond and remember the CH will be watching. Sometimes it’s better and easier to withdraw your submission then try again. And obviously NEVER COPY. I’d prefer to loose a contest than screw another designer over — “Do as you will be done by.”

Can you recall any times you felt discouraged, creatively stuck or otherwise down about your work? How did you deal with it?

Plenty! Having entered over 100 contests now there have been a good few contests that have sent me into a downward spiral. The best thing to do is give it a break, don’t submit to any new contests for a week or so.

During one of these rough patches, I did some work for a friend instead and that was all I needed to ‘get back on the horse.’

What do you love most about being a designer?

Competition and success. Throughout my education I have always been in competition with those learning around me.

Now working on 99designs, I am in competition with thousands of designers who all share my desire to win.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

Over the next few months, some friends and I will be raising money for prostate cancer research, so that in August we can go on a sponsored road trip around europe.

My mates will be buying a cheap car to travel in, while I’ll be on my bike. I can’t wait!

What do you think of Liam’s work? Share in the comments!

The author

Filip Resse
Filip Resse

Filip Reese works as a Community Liaison at 99designs in San Francisco. He earned a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Davis and has spent time living, traveling, and studying in Europe, Asia, and South America. Filip is an active skateboarder, photographer and outdoorsmen. If hes not writing tweets or handling disputes you can probably find him at Potrero del Sol Skatepark.

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