Propercorn YCN Competition, 2015 entry

Interview Falmouth University Graphic Design Graduate Cassie Allen

Cassie Allen is a final year Graphic Design student from Falmouth University, we picked her brain to talk about; life at university, her course, sources of inspiration, life after university & more.

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What attracted you to study at Falmouth University? Would you recommend it to other aspiring Graphic Design Students?

Falmouth’s reputation is what definitely attracted me to Falmouth. I was in my last year of Sixth Form studying for my A Levels (Physics, Geography, Fine Art and Product Design) when my Art Tutor mentioned Falmouth. I applied for the Foundation course and 5 months into the course I found myself with an offer for the Graphic Design degree course. Falmouth University’s infrastructure has developed since then, as has its fast-growing reputation.

In September 2014, Falmouth was named as the number one arts university in the table and recorded one of the biggest rises in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2015 league table; jumping 26 places to 51 in the UK. Graphic Design at Falmouth is a very prestigious course and we’re particularly lucky, as at the start of the academic year we were welcomed into a new building with open planned studios and beautiful meeting rooms for group work. I would definitely recommend Falmouth to any aspiring Graphic Designers out there.

What sets Falmouth apart from other courses? Do you enjoy the teaching? Speakers? Summer placements?

At Falmouth, we work very similarly to how creative agencies function, which is very reassuring. We mainly work independently but have the chance every other week to share ideas and offer advice to our peers in ‘learning teams’, which are useful for throwing ideas around. Falmouth is very ideas based and we focus highly on idea generation. Over the three years, we’ve been exposed to a huge range of visiting speakers as well as top agencies that have come down to run workshops. What is excellent is the amount of time visiting speakers are willing to provide to students, in particular final years. In early February, Will and Charlie (both ex Falmouth graduates) came down from the Design Bridge office in London to talk about the agency and what they’ve been up to which was incredibly valuable. It also gave us time to present ideas we are working on for Design Bridge’s Dogs Bollocks competition deadline. Ian Wharton from AKQA and Marksteen Adamson from ASHA have been some other exciting speakers.

In the second year, students are given a list of 80 top design agencies in the country that are inviting Falmouth Graphic Design students for placements. Students are to submit three names of agencies, which they are interested in working at and then portfolios are sent off to the agencies. I was successful with a placement through the university however it was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. Over the summer, I interned at Mercer Design, Tantrum Productions and Aqueduct which were equally as valuable as each other as they give me a broader experience and knowledge of the industry and more importantly it gave me a clear direction of what I want to do once I graduate.

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What sources of inspiration do you enjoy the most today? Do you prefer the traditional methods or stick to researching online more?

I studied Communication Design abroad in Germany for 5 months with the Erasmus Scheme, which runs in the majority of UK universities. There were seven of us from Falmouth who went out to study Hochschule Augsburg (Falmouth have a close connection with this German University. In 2013 they worked on a collaboration project and won the coveted ‘Best of the Best’ Red Dot Design Award). It was an incredible experience and amazing to be surrounded by many different people from around the world. We tried to travel around as much as we could, and I think that was as equally important as the university studies themselves. It is imperative to remember that there is so much outside the average four walls for all us in this world to explore, and inspiration can come from anywhere sparking imagination and creating all sorts of possibilities. I try to carry a notebook around with me to doodle on and I think any creative person can honestly agree with me in the fact that you never really switch off. Ideas sometimes just spring up on you and crop up at any given moment.

I am very interested in pursuing a career in advertising or marketing as my strengths lie in planning and creative strategy. I really want to develop my skills in this field with future opportunities. I’m a member of Marketing Week, a free daily online magazine that I recommend subscribing for as well as The Drum (advertising). Creative Review and CMYK are great sources of inspiration and great ways of keeping up to date. I also am a big fan of Twitter at the moment, it’s got a lot on there which easily translates onto a variety of other platforms and I strongly believe that if you use it intelligently you can get a lot out of it.

Do you have any favourite people you follow on twitter?

I follow a lot of individuals, agencies and companies on twitter for all different reasons. I follow agencies that I admire and like the work of, people who offer advice for graduates and I find it useful for inspiration, networking and to follow what people you know are getting up to in the world of communications.

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What are you most looking forward to with your studies now coming to an end?

I am really excited to graduate from Falmouth University. The tutors have provided us with strong foundations to give each student the best possible chance of ‘survival’. However, each student will utilse these foundations in different ways. Graphic Design at Falmouth is extremely well connected to industry and the university name in tow opens doors for many students. I am excited and eager to get out into industry but at the same time anxious at where the next couple of unfolding months could take me.

As I said, I am particularly interested in pursuing a career in advertising and would appreciate the opportunity to work and gain broader knowledge within their ever-evolving and dynamic field. I also think it will be really interesting to see what other peers in the cohort do and whom they work for.

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Propercorn YCN Competition, 2015 entry

Propercorn YCN Competition, 2015

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