Giving summat back… Inspiring the next generation

A designer’s view

We were recently honoured to receive an invitation to participate, once again, in what has become the annual Conference Week, organised by University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) graphics studios. Supporting the work of local universities and colleges is close to all our hearts. No one sums this up better than one of our senior designers, Abi: “I am a huge advocate of forging links between education and industry. It is undeniably the most influential thing any designer can do — to encourage and inspire the next generation. We all remember being a student, wanting a career as a ‘Graphic Designer’ but not really knowing what that meant, what the industry was really like, or where we would fit in.

“When I was a student, I was fortunate to get work experience at design studios in the North West. That experience, coupled with the contacts I made during my placements, undoubtedly shaped the designer I am today. It pretty much opened every door I’ve ever stepped through in my career to date. The contacts I made became mentors and role models, I’ve watched many of them go from strength to strength. The relationships I’ve forged have been strong – the people I’ve met are people I know I can still call upon to this day.

“A few years ago, I decided I wanted to teach alongside my studio work. I knew I could make a huge impact, being a working designer. My role was varied and involved giving project advice to students, encouraging and inspiring them to push the boundaries of their creative ideas. It’s fair to say that I was absolutely blown away by the keen and talented students, they literally made me question my own ability as a designer! The knowledge, technical skills and creativity they had, at such an early stage in their careers, literally scared the hell out of me!

“The students I worked with were so appreciative of my experience and so eager to explore how to take their ideas further. I ended up forming a really strong bond with them. I was rooting for them to get the best portfolio they could, giving them the best chance possible in industry. I’m still in touch with a lot of my students and will always be their mentor. I tell them that a lecturer is for life, not just for Uni.

“Through my personal contacts, I was able to arrange guest speakers who came to present to the students, to look through their work and to give them unbiased and constructive feedback.

“By staying in contact with education, you help influence and shape the future of design. Ultimately, these students will be employed as a junior one day – it’s important for design studios to influence the type of juniors they need. They are ultimately the thinkers and creators of the future, the workforce that we, as senior designers, will look to for advice on emerging trends and technologies.

“I’m really proud of the impact I’ve had as a lecturer and am always looking for ways to get involved with the next generations of designers.”

If you’re involved in educating the next generation of designers and are interested in discussing how we could help, please contact us.