My time studying Graphic Communication at Cardiff School of Art & Design has been the best three years of my life. It has opened up so many opportunities for me, and prepared me to enter the creative industry. It’s improved my design skills, boosted my confidence and made me more socially aware.
The course is very hands on, which makes it the perfect place to meet friends – you are always working on projects together and bouncing ideas off each other. The studio culture is lots of fun – something that really helped to get us through the late nights spent meeting deadlines and producing some amazing portfolio pieces.
But it’s not just the other students on the course that you work with – the tutors have provided so much support throughout the three years and have really gone above and beyond for us all. With each of the tutors specialising in different areas of graphic design, they’re able to support you and push you to create the best work that you can, whilst still being able to pursue designs that you are passionate about and make each project your own.
Before I came to CSAD I didn’t quite realise the amount of different projects I’d get to work on. Now as I’m about to graduate I can safely say that there are LOADS! They vary from working with live clients, opportunities to study abroad, entering competitions and exploring branding, typography, animation and more.
Here are just a few of the highlights of my time studying at CSAD:
1. Travelling to India
In second year I had the opportunity to travel to India with creatives from other courses, which was one of the most eye-opening and memorable parts of my time at CSAD. We were able to experience the craftmanship of the locals and it demonstrated how inspiration can be drawn from a lot more than just your laptop screen.
2. Being awarded an ISTD membership
Competition briefs were some of the most difficult to tackle but also some of the most rewarding. The International Society of Typographic Designers is a well renowned design organisation lead by well-regarded designers, and I was granted membership on the strength of the work I submitted! My submission helped me to improve and work on my love of typography, and understand how important format is to design.
3. Winning the Team Spirit award at Big Ideas Wales
Another collaborative brief was Mind Your Own Business, an entrepreneurial project where students from different courses at CSAD came together to set up a micro-business. My group decided to take it forward to Big Ideas Wales, where we were awarded the Team Spirit award. Not only did this improve my collaborative skills, it also helped me improve my understanding of entrepreneurship and pitching.
4. Working with Plan UK
Writing is not one of my strengths, so I was dreading the time that I had to start writing my dissertation. However, I decided to write my thesis on Period Poverty, a current issue I feel passionately about, so this allowed me to enjoy researching and writing about the subject.
This has resulted in me becoming part of International Full Circle, a group in Cardiff supported by Plan UK (a charity that stand for girls rights) to create a campaign about Period awareness and education.
5. Speaking at Creative Mornings
My final major project was one of the most passionate and ambitious pieces of work that I created over my time at CSAD, and the degree show exhibition where I was able to show it off opened up a number of opportunities.
One of these was the chance to speak at Creative Mornings Cardiff. It’s a regular event bringing together the local creative community, and myself and three other students from graphic communication will be speaking at it later this month. This is another one of the amazing things about studying in Cardiff – there is such a great design community, and this course has given us lots of opportunity to network.
These are just a few of the best parts of my time studying Graphic Communication at Cardiff Met – if you decide to do the same, here are a few things I’d recommend:
- Turn up! Make the most out of the studio space as it will make you grow so much as a designer and prepare you for the design profession.
- Throw yourself into everything. Take any opportunity that comes your way whether it is studying abroad or entering competition, you’ll benefit from everything.
- Make mistakes. Be prepared to make mistakes and embrace it as you will only learn from them!
- Enjoy it! Whilst this may sound a given, university is hard work, but it is also so much fun – remember to make friends and have a good time alongside your studies.
- Take risks. Be as experimental as you can as it is the best time to play and push creative boundaries.
Check out work from Izzy and other final year CSAD students in our 2019 Summer Degree Show video: