Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature Chris Hull. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.

Chris, please provide us a short bio.
I’m founder and creative lead at HeliumStudio, a web development firm in Richmond. I graduated from VCU and began my career working as an editorial designer at Style Weekly. In the mid-nineties, my curiosity for this new thing called “the Internet” led me down the path of being a web designer. I worked for several large development firms, before starting Helium in 2005.

Are you involved in any other organizations?
I don’t get out to professional functions nearly as much as I would like, but I’ve been a fringe member of the Richmond Ad Club over the years.

What are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of my family. Raising two boys has been the greatest challenge and joy of my life. I learn so much about myself from interacting with them. I’m also very proud of the work we do at Helium and our ability to work with so many great clients.

Who are your personal role models?
Luke Skywalker was my personal hero growing up. His character was adventurous, smart, brave, and compassionate. I admired his friendships, integrity and his ability to outplay the Galactic Empire.

Did you ever receive professional advice that helped you in your career?
A great bit of advice I got when I started was that if you do great work, more work will come. I’ve used that as inspiration for pushing myself forward if I’m not 100% happy with what I’ve designed and I’ve found that the next pass is always better. I’ve also always loved Chuck Close’s quote ”Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” As a designer, sometimes it’s hard to do something new. If you point your eyes at the screen and grind it out – you’ll eventually get there.

What professional advice do you have for others?
Being responsive is extremely important in working with clients. When there are issues, there is no such thing as over-communication.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
It depends on my mood, but lately I’ve been listing to The Police, J. Roddy & the Business, Courtney Barnett, and old-school REM.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
Richmond has so many great places that it’s hard to pick one, but Lunch/Supper is definitely near the top of my list. I love the quirky, cozy atmosphere and the short ribs are amazing.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I started running a few years ago to help a friend train for a half marathon. When I started, I was really slow and it was hard. I really didn’t think I would stick with it, but I found it incredibly addictive and now I run a few times a week. Running has become a way for me to spark creativity or work out an issue. Try it!

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