Just my type

Course: MA Graphic Design and Typography

19 August 2019

Drawing and doodling is something I’ve always done and always enjoyed, so it didn't take me long to realise that graphic design was something I could pursue as a career.

I took a GCSE in art and design followed by an A-level at Luton Sixth Form College, alongside A-levels in maths, physics and computer science.

At A-level I focused on fine art: abstract painting, creating optical illusions (I liked the work of MC Escher), before realising what I was really inspired by was the artwork of album covers and magazines, and that I wanted to go down the design route.

My eldest sister is a cardiac physiologist, my brother is an accountant and my younger sister is studying pharmacology. I guess I was lucky that my parents let me follow my own path and do what I wanted to do.

My eldest sister studied at ARU and because I’d heard good things about, I applied for BA (Hons) Graphic Design.

We had opportunities to work on real briefs for companies like Rexfactor, who produce podcasts reviewing the Royal Family, and inspirational talks from alumni like Matt Power, who won a BAFTA.

Sketchbook containing the word 'outlier' repeated several times
Sketchbook containing the words control, materialise, discuss, protect, evolve, teach, thrive
Graphic design student Dennis Amoah

Before I’d even graduated I was offered an internship by advertising and marketing agency Honest Ideas, which was then extended. The final-year Degree Show is attended by lots of companies and I was approached by another studio at the private view.

I realised though that I wanted to grow as designer, and that I needed to specialise my practice - to give me that push into being a really good designer. This led me to the MA Graphic Design and Typography. It’s much more focused and a smaller group, and it’s great as we can bounce ideas off each other. It’s helped me find the method that works for me: I need to react as soon as possible so I can get that initial response, so now I always carry a notebook with me. I need to document the process, write it down or draw and get it out of my head.

Sketchbook containing hand-drawn font and accompanying notes
Sketchbook containing drawings of letters in different styles
Sketchbook containing the words 'alchemist' and 'background' in hand-drawn font

Our course leader Will's invitation to Type Thursday has been a good opportunity to network and gain a huge amount of feedback. My confidence as an individual and a designer has grown enormously.

I never imagined I'd stand in front of people instilling skills like typography and how to use Photoshop, but I’ve been teaching on ARU's Saturday Arts Club and running skills session for neaco – an educational outreach project in the East of England.

Good typography allows people to communicate more easily. Graphic design certainly helps me communicate, and I like helping others communicate. It’s been fascinating working with people in the younger age group – there are no rules and principles. They just go with what they think looks nice; it’s instinct, a first emotional response, form over function. But it’s important to find balance - emotional response and function. That’s the challenge as a designer.

I’m now working on my final project for the MA which is a variable typeface inspired by Manga. I’m working freelance, and building up my own client base, with a view to opening up my own design studio.




Interested in studying graphic design at ARU? Visit the course page to find out more or book your place at one of our Open Days.