Esther McKay

Graphic Designer, Nile design

She designed a life she loved!

My journey began in 2005, while I was working in a little cafe in Auckland. I had been studying photography at nights and was finally nearing the end of my course. I thought photography was what I wanted to do; that it was my passion and would be my future career. However, once I completed my studies, I discovered that the only aspect I really liked was editing the photos… cue the panic! I had put years of work into this, only to discover right at the end that I didn’t actually enjoy it. My life plans were crumbling around me, but I was determined to find a new path. I began researching other areas of work that I was interested in, and that’s when I stumbled upon a graphic design course down in Invercargill. I applied to it on a whim, never expecting anything to come of it. A few days later I received an acceptance and the next week, throwing caution to the wind, I packed up my life and move down to the bottom of New Zealand. 


Looking back, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In between partying hard and studying harder, I became independent, made life-long friends, and even met my future husband! 


In 2008, I graduated and I moved back home to Pukekohe. It was strange to be back home after such a whirlwind three years, where I felt like I had really discovered who I was. The job market had become even more competitive, and I struggled to break into the design industry. I found myself back in the hospitality sector (which I loved but wasn’t part of the plan). Then, one day I was job searching and dropped into my local design and print shop to photocopy my CV. I got chatting to the store owner about graphic design, and they offered me a job on the spot! 


This job marked the beginning of my design journey, and was the first real taste I got of the industry. I quickly discovered I had a real thirst for knowledge, and wanted to experience as much as possible. I moved around jobs a lot, mastering the trade before moving onto the next one. Eventually, I had built up a huge wealth of experience after working in multiple industries, including newspaper, an apparel shop, signage, digital printing, commercial printing, managing a design and print studio, designing graphics for transportation services, and a few others. 


Nile design wasn’t built on nothing. See, I had always dreamed of owning my design business, but had just chalked it up to my desire to escape the rat-race of business life. However, the more experience I gained, the more I felt like it was actually something I could achieve. I spent years putting in the effort and learning as much as I could; so that when I began to take on my own clients I could give them the best possible results. By 2017, I knew that I was ready. I knew that my business was going to work. I had spent almost eight years preparing for this, and I was going to damn-well succeed at it. I was confident in my skills, experience, and portfolio. 

After working from home for four years, in August 2021 I moved Nile Design out of the house and into a beautiful office space in Waiuku. Having a bright, inspiring and comfortable office with larger amount of space has been a game changer for me. My own space away from home It has been a big step up and something I am extremely proud to have achieved.


Apart from my family life, Nile Design is one of my proudest achievements. I love working in the design industry, and my clients love my work too. I know you’re supposed to have a work-life balance, but I truly live to work. Design has been my calling, and that passion makes me excited to sit down every day and get stuck into it. 

Family, friends, past employers, clients old and new,

THANK YOU for being apart of my story so far!  If you want to be a part of the

Nile Design journey, I would love to work with you, I’m ready when you are. Let’s chat!