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Editor’s Letter SEVN Issue 7 is the final issue of the series and is based on our theme ‘The end’. The issue looks at various responses and attitudes towards finishing our degree and features reactions from students and advice from tutors, ex-students and designers in the industry. The magazine aims to reassure graduating students and offer them advice and information about what’s next after they leave university. The contents will feature individual responses from the contributors based on the issue’s theme, as well as a timeline that showcases students’ work from all three years and a paragraph about how they feel they have progressed. In doing this we are aiming to show people how much we have learnt and gained during our time at university, and encourage people to feel positive about their work. We would like the issue to be a celebration of our experiences and allow readers to gain perspective and knowledge that they can relate to from other students and people who have already gone throught the experience of leaving university. Our aim is to help any feelings of apprehension that graduating students may have by including discussions, advice and reflection in our content. The issue also looks at the journey that has been made throughout the three years we have studied at university and looks at the work and progressions from various students. Reflection is a big part of this issue, as it celebrates how far we have come and what we have learnt along the way.

Amy Murphy, Sam Jones, Natalie Ball, Padraig Tierney


Contributors Response One Word

CONTENTS 1, 2, 3 Words of Wisdom DR.ME Tips


Sam Jones THE END IS? April 23rd 2072 WHAT NEXT? Panic

CONTRIB Amy Murphy THE END IS? The beginning WHAT NEXT? Realisation


Natalie Ball THE END IS? Not over WHAT NEXT? London!

BUTORS Padraig Tierney THE END IS? Iniates a new beginning WHAT NEXT? Creating my own t-shirt brand


Contributors individual interpretations o f the theme ‘ THE END’.


Sam Jones

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Amy Murphy

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Natalie Ball

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Padraig Tierney

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Responses from third years when asked ‘In one word how would you describe your overall university experience?’


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A collection of work from 1st 2nd and 3rd year w ith description f rom the students about they feel they have progressed.


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LEONA BELL I feel over the past 3 years I have been able to apply all the technical aspects of g raphic d esign t o the ideas I h ad a lready g ained from b efore, and c an apply them to real life situations. In this last year I feel that I have improved in my ability to tick boxes and create an idea rather than it being the other way around as it had been previously.

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FAYE LEADBEATER My first year of university was about experience and absorbing a new environment, not necessarily knowledge building thought. Second year brought about collecting skills and learning how to work precisely. My final year was about putting experimenting and f unction into p ractice and t urning it into confidence. Its been captivating and a struggle, but above all exciting.

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ANNA HERON I started off really well in first year, I was so enthusiastic and determined that I did great amounts of work and really threw myself into the course. However, overtime my energy began to fade and I became lazy, not trying out new processes and p roducing w ork that l acked finesse. Second y ear w as difficult, the digital aspects to the work made it challenging for me- i'm so much better with hand made tasks and work that features illustration and creative exploration. A lot of the work I did I changed before the final hand, finally beginning to find my own style. Third year was the biggest push of all, the work I produced being the best over the three years.

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KATIE HILTON Because of m any f actors, doors a re opening e verywhere for people to t ry different p rocesses and l earn new skills. I h ave worked a cross a l ot o f disciplines in these 3 years and it has confirmed to me that I am interested in a lot of things and want to find out and explore everything I can. Rather than be a designer, I would like to simply be a ‘creative person’, with any format and media open t o me t o utilize, and MMU w ith all its e xperiences has taught me that this is completely possible!

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LAURA STANWORTH I'm pleased to look back on certain pieces of 1st and 2nd year work and see that it still maintains a strong focus on concept and wit, things that have become a big part of the work I do now. Browsing through my work as a whole I can see I have improved my skills in typography and layout a great deal. My projects are also now bigger and go into a lot more depth, with me often having o wnership over m any components i ncluding t he idea, copywriting, illustration and art direction.

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CHANTELLE KING The last three years has been the best roller coaster ride I have been on! So many ups and downs, twist and turns, and the occasional hard jolt to the left or right. I feel my skills have massively improved since the first year, along with the confidence in my work. Although I have encountered quite a few personal hurdles, especially in my second year, I have managed to move past them and create some great work in my final year. I would recommend this course to anyone interested in graphic design - I have: met some great people, experienced g reat opportunities and h ave been pushed t o breaking point. I wouldn't have had it any other way! It will be sad to say goodbye, but I will walk away with a feeling of fulfilment and gratification. Thanks to all :) 23


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ADAM GRIFFITHS Somebody once t old me that G raphic Design courses a re a ll about painstakingly d rawing serif fonts and c reating j am j ar labels. I 've screenprinted my bed sheets, produced sculptures in the middle of the woods and set fire to my sketchbook all in the name of design. Ideas are everything.

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ZOE BROWN I began the course favouring a handmade approach to work. I had absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of programmes like Illustrator and InDesign. Now I still lean towards making physical things, even after three years of learning to appreciate said programmes. I like to produce work that people want to be tactile and interact with. I have always loved working with stories, and this hasn’t changed over the three years. I’ve discovered fairly recently that I love collaborating with people from different creative disciplines, and the work can often result in much more exciting ways of story telling.'

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ROWAN PURVIS Every year has been a challenge and at times a bit of a struggle. I feel like I have produced a good balance of work I am extremely proud of and work that is not so great; I feel like this has been part of my learning experience and has helped me to establish the style I want to work in.The course has given me t he chance t o work i n a wide r ange o f areas i ncluding f ilm, photography, collage, digital collage, t ypography, illustration and has also provided me with great opportunities to learn about the different processes that can be used in design such as letterpress, screenprinting and bookbinding.

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CATHERINE BENNETT In the first year, I was set in my art and illustration ways so moving to the adobe programs and working digitally was quite a difficult task. In second year, I felt as though I had to conform with very clean, typographic outcomes which was a little out of my comfort range. T hroughout third year I have learnt what I am comfortable with and I know that my strengths lie in image making. Struggling with n ew briefs during t he first and second year have allowed me t o feel m ore comfortable through the p roblems I have f aced, because I know that I can overcome them. My university experience has been such a massive learning curve and there is not one aspect of it that will not benefit my future career as a graphic designer. 27


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ALEXA HARTLE First y ear seems a d istant m emory.Second y ear I f ound m y feet and established my interests in Art Direction, Branding and Editorial.Third year I think like, act like and I am a graphic designer.

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LAURA JACKSON Looking back over my years at university, I can see the development within my work and how I have become the designer I am today. First year was a bit of a confusing time for me a s I w as getting used t o working with unknown programmes. I did not know my strengths and felt my work was very confused because I was getting used to a new way of working. During second year I was able to experiment with typography and this soon became a passion of mine. It wasn't until the end of second year that I began to understand my style, strengths and weaknesses. Third year has gone really quickly, however I feel I have learnt so much within a year.

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SAM HALL There's been a constant flow of exciting stimuli, ditched the arm bands in second year and really pushed the boat out in the third. Kept my head above water and left feeling ready to jump in at the deep end.

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CHARLOTTE WAKEFIELD These last three years have been amazing, stressful, exciting and a lot of fun. I am very sad to see them go, but really looking forward to what comes next.

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HANNAH THORNTON To me, the course is everything I imagined and more. Without trying to sound cheesy, I do not think I could have found an art school or a course which better suited my interests and design sensibility. I think I will always remember my time here and hopefully some of the lessons learnt will stay with me forever.

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WORDS OF wisdom Helpful tips and w ords o f encouragment from ex students, tutors and designers.


John Walsh 3rd Year Graphic Design Tutor MMU What was your plan when you left university, did you follow through with this plan?

How would you recommend students make themselves stand out from the crowd and become employable?

I only wanted to work with some great people who gave me the freedom to do things my own way and never said no to any opportunity which came along. I went on to work with Trevor Johnson, Tony Wilson, Gary McClarnan, Peter Holden, Robert Redford and the staff at MMU besides many others and I still don’t say no.

To be bluntly honest, with the conceptual, technical and critical skills that you’ve acquired from your time at mmu, you’re pretty much all of the above, you just need to focus on where you want to be now and there’s no reason why you can’t get there.

When you left university were you confident entering the working world and were you sure of yourself as a designer? To be honest I was disillusioned with the world of Graphic Design at the time, the way I worked was rough and ready, mistakes and all, things began to be airbrushed and sickly glossy, I hated Graphic Designers and wanted nothing to do with them, I became a postman and wandered and wondered until the day when I woke up, resigned, set up my own business in the same afternoon and I haven’t looked back since, I can now safely say that I only know about 6 other people who love Graphic Design as much as I do (but I still detest a lot of it!)

What words of inspiration would you give to the next generation of graphic designers? Look back to go forward, question everything, make it up as you go along and if it feels right it probably is right. What qualities do you look for in a potential employee? Passion, curiosity, attention to detail, someone who strives for perfection, someone like me!

How do you go about improving your knowledge and skills if you no longer have the support of your tutors? I am very lucky that most of me friends are the designers who I looked up to when I was a student, if I’m ever in need of some advice they’re just a phonecall away.

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Sue Platt Graphic Design Tutor MMU What was your plan when you left university, did you follow through with this plan?

How would you recommend students make themselves stand out from the crowd and become employable?

I really had no defined plan, I wanted to be an artist and was really reassured that I had been asked by some artists at my degree show to join them in their studio and although that route changed a little it helped me feel valid as an artist.

I was an artist. I painted in a studio, did odd jobs to get by. I was not confident but I enjoyed painting in a studio.

I’m not sure what advice I’d give - I think any genuinely creative individual should stand out from the crowd because they should exude their creative self. Someone should be able to see their charisma, energy, individualism - and their work should show that. They should be addicted to being creative. You have to be adaptable and say yes to opportunities and recognise opportunities. Try to really push at being genuine to what you really want to do, but adapt if thats not possible. Confidence is an important attribute I guess, I’m always impressed by what ex students have gone on to do because they have not been afraid of either knocking on a door or sticking by their self belief.

How do you go about improving your knowledge and skills if you no longer have the support of your tutors?

What words of inspiration would you give to the next generation of graphic designers?

It was difficult to get support - but by joining a studio I had other artists to help me develop my work, or apply for exhibitions. I gradually built new skills : volunteering for Castlefield Gallery, starting to be involved in gallery education work at Cornerhouse, writing for City Life magazine, teaching, - all these things slowly started to shape my career. At the end of the day you carry on learning, the degree is just the start of lifelong learning.

Move Design forward, don’t just copy whats out there and remix it. Be original so that the subject survives.

When you left university were you confident entering the working world and were you sure of yourself as a designer?

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DR. ME Design Company What was your plan when you left university, did you follow through with this plan?

How would you recommend students make themselves stand out from the crowd and become employable?

We planned to move to New York for an internship for a couple of months to work with illustrator Mike Perry and then return and start our own studio, we pretty much stuck to this plan to the letter.

There are two musts and these can be taken in any particular order: Firstly, make great work, this might be obvious but if you get to show someone who you want to hire you your portfolio, you want them to be excited by your enthusiasm and belief in your own abilities, we always get most excited by people who show us personal work that we can really engage with them over, you want to get into a conversation with them about your work not just by showing them book covers for a fake brief (snore). Secondly, we’re sure you’re a good person but you need to show the person interviewing you this, don’t be a dick head is a difficult thing for some people to do but be fun to be with for them, we’re way more likely to remember you if you’re willing to talk to us about what we’re up to and what music you like etc rather than if you just put your head in your portfolio and mutter. Sit up straight, look smart, show us how amazing you really are, because you are, we just don’t know it yet.

When you left university were you confident entering the working world and were you sure of yourself as a designer? I suppose we were yes, it was somewhat of a leap of faith in our own abilities and one that we’re still making to this very day. How do you go about improving your knowledge and skills if you no longer have the support of your tutors? Ok, so, here’s the secret, are you listening, come in closer.....the day that you leave education is when your education truly begins. Learn from everything, never switch off, if you take a walk observe the form and structure of buildings, if you have to have a crummy day job to get by whilst you’re getting your studio off the ground then try and hunt out information from this big (one would assume) successful company that you are slaving for that you can re-appropriate to what you do. You should also learn through play, have fun with things that aren’t a brief and use these things to sharpen your mind.

What words of inspiration would you give to the next generation of graphic designers? Work harder than you did yesterday and don’t forget to be a good person. Oh, and don’t worry about money, you’re a great designer and it will come good in the end if you try hard enough.

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Gill Patchett Topman Creative Studio Manager What was your plan when you left university, did you follow through with this plan?

How would you recommend students make themselves stand out from the crowd and become employable?

To be perfectly honest I didn’t really have a plan when I left Uni, I’ve always been a ‘see where the wind takes me’ kind of girl. I started working as a Graphic Designer straight from school and after 3 years I decided to give up my job and go to University...I didn’t really think beyond that.

Show passion, enthusiasm, individuality and personality, whether that being through your work or how you present it. Research potential employers and try adapt your CV and portfolio accordingly. Attention to detail - make sure you have no spelling mistakes/widows in your CV or portfolio - a good designer will spot this istantly. If you can’t get this right now it doesn’t bode well for the future. (I hope I don’t have any spelling mistakes after saying that!) Be honest, be yourself.

When you left university were you confident entering the working world and were you sure of yourself as a designer? I think being a creative it’s inbuilt in our nature to not be very confident, about ourselves and our work, but that’s what makes most great creatives great. Also confidence comes with experience, whether or not that manifests in your actual work or just the way you present it, and yourself. How do you go about improving your knowledge and skills if you no longer have the support of your tutors? I think information is so much more accessible now courtesy of the internet, it’s definitely easier than it was to keep on top of what’s happening out there creatively...exhibitions and my environment also personally keep me inspired. And simply just learning from others. I’m still learning new things now. I think one bit of good advice would be never be afraid to ask questions no matter how intimidated/embarrassed you may feel.

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What words of inspiration would you give to the next generation of graphic designers? Don’t let print and the old techniques die! What qualities do you look for in a potential employee? Someone who inspires me. Someone who makes their own mark but can adapt themselves to different creative scenarios. But most importantly someone who has an incredible eye for detail.


John McPartland MMU Graduate Designer at Creative Lynx What was your plan when you left university, did you follow through with this plan?

How do you go about improving your knowledge and skills if you no longer have the support of your tutors?

As I finished the course I always had a rough idea of what I wanted to do, I really wanted to work in Manchester but felt that I should go and see what it would be like to work in London. I had placements lined up for when I finished both here and in London so I was all set up for when I left. I loved my placement up here and had another straight after that in London, I noticed a massive difference in not only the pace of work (strangely enough it was quicker in Manchester) but also the culture, as good as London was I knew that I wanted to work in Manchester. Luckily enough I was offered a job at Creative Lynx after my second placement here.

Teach yourself and learn from those around you. There has to be a hunger to learn more and improve constantly, you cannot have somebody walking you through every step of your career telling you exactly what to do. Your support will come in the form of your collegues, you have to absorb everything that they have to offer, listen to what they have to say. Design is a constantly evolving process, you have to be willing to learn for yourself because as soon as you don’t , you will be left behind by those who are.

When you left university were you confident entering the working world and were you sure of yourself as a designer? I was confident up until I started and immediately noticed the difference between the working world and being at University, its important to be confident but don’t go in somewhere thinking that you know everything, because you don’t. I wouldn’t say that you are ever sure of yourself as a designer, especially not as you are just starting out. It takes a whole career to be sure of yourself, you have to be constantly wanting to improve your skills and to do that I feel that you cannot be completely sure of yourself.

How would you recommend students make themselves stand out from the crowd and become employable? Be yourself and make yourself indispensable. People will employ the person not just the work they are able to produce. What words of inspiration would you give to the next generation of graphic designers? Be prepared to leave your comfort zone and work hard, if you really want it then you’ll get it.

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DR. ME TIPS For life as a designer after University

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Make an impact on people; Doing what you want to do is hard. It is hard because it’s your decision working for yourself.

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“Familiarity breeds content”. Make sure companies know what you are doing.

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Make lists. Use spare time creatively.

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Get a studio. Be external. Make your home and workplace separate. This allows you express yourself more.

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Have a website that represents you. Have something that speaks in your language.

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Tell people what you do. The more people you tell, the more possibilities you create.

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Never give up your morals. If you don’t like the company you are applying to you are never going to produce good work.

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Be proactive; see a problem, be the solution. Act on a problem. Try and effect the things that surround you.


Don’t work for free. It’s not good for you, it’s good for them.

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Ask for more. Push a budget.

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If you believe in something don’t let clients persuade you into choosing an idea that you don’t believe in.

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Hold dear your passions. They will feed your work. Bring other aspects into your design as well.

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Don’t get down when it’s quiet. Fill your time if this happens. Make things that excite you.

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Better to be busy than bored. Do an exhibition if you are bored. Get straight into work.

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Inspire and be inspired. Read, be inspired by other people. Never give up on an opportunity to inspire.

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One thing leads to another. Remind people what you do. This creates introductions to new things.

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THIS IS THE BEGINNING.



SEVN : Issue 7