Get Real-World Opportunities from Your Very First Year
Practical skills can help you find a career in your field: just ask Esme!
Esme Gritten graduated in 2020 amidst the global pandemic at a time of uncertainty. Thanks to support from her peers and lecturers and a hands-on course that provided real-world experiences from the go, Esme landed a job as a graphic designer at Jam Creative. We caught up with her to see how she has been since graduating.
I wasn't totally sure about what I wanted to study at university, I knew it had to be a creative course, but I wanted it to also have meaning and value. My time on the USW Graphics course was more than I could have ever expected and within a very short amount of time, I knew I had made the right choice.
Throughout the three years, I was encouraged and supported by a close-knit creative community of both lecturers and coursemates and was pushed to not only learn software but more importantly how to think strategically about design.
What have you been up to since graduating?
I spent a couple of months freelancing and brushing up on my portfolio since graduating and then I was lucky enough to land my current job as a graphic designer at Jam Creative Studios, based in Cowbridge, Wales. Jam is a multimedia creative agency that mainly focuses on interactive projects within heritage, educational and medical sectors.
What projects or types of projects have you worked on?
A general workday consists of the development of multiple ongoing projects. Currently, this includes app development, AR and VR interactives, and some motion graphic work. All projects call for effective communication and decision making within the team and with our various clients.
I feel lucky to have been able to work on many different projects in such a short amount of time in the industry. I work with many different programs, and am also being trained in Unity, a program for 3D development.
The real-world opportunities and support provided by lecturers was second to none and I honestly believe I wouldn't be on my chosen career path or have half the confidence without completing this Graphic Communication course.
Having friends in different degrees gave me the perspective to realize how lucky I was to receive the time and support that I did during my course. Also, I was given real-world opportunities from the very first year, which really instilled a professional mindset very early on in the course. Industry-led competitions were frequent throughout the course and made it clear what the end goal of the course was going to be.
One of the main aspects of what makes this course special is the real-world interaction between the course and industry. I was lucky enough to win two competitions during my time on the course, the first being a work experience placement from a branding competition in year 1 and then receiving a commendation for the YCN competition in year 2.
Both of these experiences helped me develop my confidence and allowed me to see what working in the real world of design was like.
What was your favourite module that you worked on?
Two modules come to mind straight away when I think back to what projects I enjoyed most. Experimental typography was great because it was a module we were encouraged to fully think outside the box and go wild with different mediums when developing our own typefaces.
The second was creating a motion graphic piece that was intended to encourage and incentivize the reading of classic novels within younger audiences. This was my first opportunity to learn Motion Graphics with Adobe After effects and I loved every minute of it!
Why should a young creative pick the Graphic Communication course?
Young creatives should pick this course to fundamentally understand why things are designed in the way that they are and recognize the purpose and thinking behind any given design outcome.
What words of advice would you give anyone that's just about to start the Graphic Communication course?
The best advice I can give to anyone starting the Graphics course is to make the most out of the support available to you, your lecturers are there for a reason and are the loveliest of people.
Learn more about Graphic Communication at USW