My name is Emma and I am a Junior Graphic Designer specialising in motion and identity design. I have recently graduated from the Glasgow School of Art – in the midst of a pandemic of all things like c’mon? Gies a break? – and all the while looking for my first job, I have been encouraged to set up this research / writing blog.
After leaving high school, I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to study. I liked art? But I wanted something that would allow me commercial success and, you know, a job. My careers councillor suggested Graphic Design. Designing album artwork and posters for bands and stuff? Cool! I embarked into the semi – adult world of higher education starting with an NC course in Visual Communication at City of Glasgow College before progressing to an HND. These 3 years shaped me massively, not only as a person and being able to venture outside of my home town and meet new people, but as an aspiring designer. From refusing to want anything to do with computers and typography to embracing everything related to design history and theory, I began to wonder where my practice could potentially develop. I always wanted to look “deeper” into a project, I loved the research aspect of design (even though I have been countlessly told off for maybe spending a wee bit too much time on this stage) and the opportunities for conceptual aesthetic development I could draw from every piece of research I came across.
When it was time to go to University, I had always had my sights set on the Glasgow School of Art. I couldn’t tell you why, but I just knew I had to go there. I grew up in a pretty grey town just outside of Glasgow and so always considered the city my home. It made sense for me to study there as I had become inspired by the close knit creative scene and ‘anyone can dae it’ attitude that would otherwise have seemed so daunting in the likes of bigger cities such as London. After a few open days and talks from graduates speaking of studio spaces, collaboration, conceptual design thinking and impressive folios full of larger than life success stories, it was enough for any young starry eyed design student. Sorted. This was my school whether they liked it or not. Thankfully, they did like it.
The next 3 years was exciting, daunting, exhausting but all in all worth it. Aside from meeting great friends and a whole host of fantastically talented and driven classmates, I was taught a lot about my self worth, finding my specialisms, embracing my ideas with confidence (and always with a touch of humility) and the value of learning. Developing new ideas, admitting when you are wrong and putting in the work to better yourself and ultimately your practice became a goal that ran alongside my studio practice. Engaging in student events and societies, and even leading one for a while, helped strengthen my sense of identity as a practising design student. I am grateful for the basic technical skills I was able to develop in College which allowed me to free up more of my time to developing new skills and opportunity for idea exploration and self improvement.
Graduating was always going to be bittersweet – I just didn’t expect it to be quite this bitter. It truly felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me and after wallowing for a bit (pretty sure I was entitled to it) and struggling with picturing my future, I began to get back to work. Staying up doing work ’til 1am cause you slept in ’til 1pm, class zoom calls and a struggle to fight back the urge to hunt for some bugs for Blathers (Animal Crossing – duh!) soon turned into submitting to start ups and projects aimed at providing creative graduates the exposure and support that would have otherwise been lost through cancellation of degree shows. This sense of community reignited the drive and excitement for the creative industry that had been shattered by Miss ‘Rona.
Eventually, I finished. I submitted to my degree show, I created a portfolio and I came away elated with a 2:1 Bachelor’s in Communication Design. I attended a bizarre final send off quiz / impromptu serenade with my classmates and tutors over zoom and had my exit tutorial.
And now I’m here after being encouraged to engage in a writing practice that puts my thoughts out into the world (God help us all) in order to strengthen my interests in design writing and research. I hope you enjoyed this short biopic, I’m sure it was enthralling, and I hope you stick around and come back to check out what else I’ve rambled about.