I did my MA at the RSA and got a job with a design agency in London where I did a variety of print, packaging and exhibition publicity. I did some teaching in America and continued working in design. The faculties we bring to the course are our commercial sensibilities and continuing links with industry – keeping up to date with what is happening. I came to NUA because this was the place known for ‘ideas’ and this is what drives the design industry. Ideas are fundamental.
This is what we say to students, we say be experimental and inventive, take it as far as you can, don’t give up and take it on. It can be too easy to give up. There are thousands of Graphic Designers out there so you need to have something that sets you apart and that’s what we focus on – the uniqueness of student’s work.
Design for Publishing is historically about the print aspects, but obviously more and more is digital and that is coming through. We do web design and digital projects but it always stems from having that idea down on paper and where you are going to take it. It’s also book design, editorial and even book binding which is great because it’s interesting to see students respond to the physicality of the book as an object.
We work as a department on joint projects between Graphic Design, Design for Publishing and Graphic Communication. You can’t always easily separate the projects. So we get this whole range of students from different disciplines talking to each other about their projects and what they are focusing on.
When students go out into industry they are going to need to communicate with people from different areas, and our open plan studio helps to encourage that. We make it as industry related as possible, because in industry you are not working in isolation. Regular crits allow students to gain confidence in talking about their own work and being analytical, but within a supportive environment.
We are always thinking about what students are going to end up doing and what they will learn from this course which will help them. More and more the transferability of skills is important. You might not go into Graphic Design and the course helps you realise different opportunities. We have a very high percentage of students with good jobs. We support students as they start to enter the jobs market, we don’t cut them loose.
It goes back to passion and interest in the subject. That you want to be here is massively important and that you know about the course at NUA. You don’t necessarily have to have a graphic design portfolio but we do need to see visual awareness and that you are interested in what’s around you. Students may have done photography for instance. Initiative too. We look at the way people communicate and talk about their work. It’s good to see applicants who are independent and think independently, who want to go out and find things for themselves and don’t wait for people to tell them.
We support students as they start to enter the jobs market, we don’t cut them loose.