Cotton ink, home of Freelance Designer and Photographer Darren Cotton, based in Leicester, United Kingdom

about me

Welcome to Cotton Ink, the home of freelance Designer & Photographer, Darren Cotton

Based within the City of Leicester with clients throughout the East and West Midlands as well as further afield, I offer a flexible approach to design and photography grounded with over twelve years experience in a wide range of sectors.

Freelance for all your needs

Deciding to choose a freelancer over an agency has several benefits to any business, foremost is value; a freelancer will produce the same if not higher standard of work often at a fraction of the price. In addition, you receive direct contact rather than via an account manager, enabling a more personal service to ensure the creative vision is fully understood.

I have always had a passion to create, which led me to gaining a Masters Degree in Design from Coventry University in 2003; since then I have undertaken a wide range of projects for both agencies and companies working in the catering, exhibition and retail sectors allowing me to develop a wide range of skills in both production, interior, graphics and brand design.

Thirdly there is flexibility; depending on the client and their needs, I can work remotely or on-site, engaging fully with your business to truly gain an understanding of your project and your clients

Employment summery

In 2014 I decided to start Cotton Ink with the simple goal to offer on trend design and photography services to both existing businesses and individuals that require support to achieve their ambitions.

A helping hand

I feel it is important to give back using my skills to support several charitable organisations including the National Trust who receive any images I take at their properties royalty free for use in their promotions and another local charity to Leicester, the DMU Square Mile, which is run by De Montfort University to offer life-changing services in the Leicester community.

  • Feb 2005 to Dec 2014

    Lead Retail & Senior Designer

    Employed initially as a Senior Designer heading up a small team focused on the company’s re-branding programme within the estate. In August 2012, I moved to in Market Development as Lead Retail Designer focusing on future store developments.

  • Oct 2003 to Jan 2005

    Exhibition Designer

    Working in a small and dedicated six person team, I designed and developed exhibition stands, museums and shop fit outs. Clients included Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Liverpool Natural History Museum and Harrods.

  • Oct 2003 to Jan 2005

    Junior Designer

    Carrying out an industrial placement as part of my third year of my degree; this small design consultancy, primarily concerned with the design of commercial catering facilities allowed me to develop a clear grounding in the design field.

my services

Responsive Web

In this digitally connected world, it has never been more important to have a website which can be accessed on the numerous devices and screen type to ensure your business is showcased at its best to all potential new customers. I create beautiful crafted, bespoke and responsive websites with enhance usability, access and navigation no mater if it is view on a computer, tablet or smartphone.

Digital Photography

Photography combines two of my passions, the desire to create and the desire travel to experience new cultures which has promoted into going back into education and undertaking two years of City & Guilds training to fully understand the art of creating a photographic image. So whether you are planning event or need promotional content creating, I can work with you to develop the style of image you need to the highest standards.

Additional Services

Marketing Support

Drafting Service

Social Media Integration

Specification Development

Site Surveying

Graphics & Branding

Maybe you are a new business and are in need of a strong identity creating or an existing company wanting to update or expand your presence with some new design material. Whether it is a simple as new letterhead, promotional literature, new/updated packaging, an entirely new brand identity; I am well placed with flair & ambition to create something unique to suit you.

Retail Environments

For the most significant part of my design career I have been creating within the retail environments, from bespoke shop-fittings to complete store concepts, I have the skills and experience to deal with the whole process from design, Local Authority Planning and Building Regulation consent to project management of installation. Whether you are looking to refresh an existing store or to develop something completely new, I have the required vision and practical experience to create your store and see it through from start to finish.

Supported Software

Autodesk AutoCAD / Studio Max

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Illustrator / InDesign

Adobe Dreamweaver / Muse

Corel Draw X7

Existing Clients

Image: Window display for the launch of Polar's new M400 Heart Rate Monitor

my portfolio

Below is a selection of both design and photographic projects undertaken by myself over the course of the last few years. If you are interested in seeing more, clicking Bēhance will take you my online profile which lists a my design projects and Flickr focuses on photography.



contacting me

Getting in touch has never been easier; call, email or even use social media.


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