Since its beginning, the annual Computer Arts Graduate Showcase has given the design work of 15 years' worth of new graduates an international platform, introducing the freshest talent to future employers, clients and commissioners worldwide. We caught up with the Graduate Showcase class of 2010 to find out how, in just one year, they have made the leap from studies to studios.
Adam Sharp, who studied for a BA in Graphic Design at Nottingham Trent University, entered his work in the Graphic Design category of the 2010 Graduate Showcase, and was awarded the category's Excellence Award by judge Dan Moore, of Studio Output. Since then, Adam has been fattening his portfolio up with personal pieces, and working on projects as varied as producing merchandise for Sky 1 show Must be the Music and the cover for Driving Standards Agency in-house magazine. "I never envisaged that my first few projects would be freelance," says Adam. "Whilst there's more of a responsibility there, the rewards are often greater in terms of income and acclaim. It can show potential studios you are capable of carrying a project through outside University without the guidance of tutors and so on."
And so what's next? "I have my sights set on getting into branding," Adam continues, "and recently began applying for graduate schemes with Ogilvy and BBC."
Accompanying Adam in the Graphic Design category of last year's Graduate Showcase was Rishi Sodha, who graduated from Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication with a BA in Graphic Design and has since worked at Pentagram and started his own studio, 2Creatives, with industrial designer Anton Webb. "We're currently building up our portfolio and looking to move to bigger premises," says Rishi. "It's quite a scary prospect, but one we're really enjoying and definitely relishing the challenge. It's been great fun! This year we'll be launching our own online store with custom product ranges (there's two jewellery and one ceramics range so far) and will be looking to further develop our client relationships - both new and current."
Rishi has also continued his work with Designers Against Human Rights Abuse (DAHRA): "My work with DAHRA is also getting very exciting as we'll be launching a new project this September in aid of the UK-based cancer charity, Maggie's Centres. It's a great feeling to see it bear fruit now, especially as it's for such a worthy cause and in support of a fantastic charity. This is something that's very close to our hearts and the response from the creative community has been really encouraging and heartening."
Lauren Porter graduated with a BA in Graphic Communication and Typography from the University of Plymouth, entering her work into the Graphic Design category of 2010's Graduate Showcase. "I think the inclusion of my work in Computer Arts Graduate showcase has helped my CV to stand out when applying for placements," states Lauren. "As following the exhibition in London's Design Week, all placements I have applied for I have received very positive feedback from, and I have always gained a interview and usually a placement or work."
These placements have included a 3-month paid stint at Formoda - where Lauren worked on everything from brand identities to web layouts - a month at The Greenspace where she cut her teeth on branding and ad projects, and a period at kooky accessories label Tatty Devine. "I had always admired how they set up their brand, company and shops," says Lauren. "I read an article about their work a few years ago, which inspired me to aim for a creative career. So actually getting the chance to work there was a great achievement after working hard for three years at university. Experiencing their success has given me the motivation to want to work for my self." After her current placement with designer Camilla Walala, Lauren plans to consolidate alls the skills and experience she's picked up, and kick off her career as a freelance designer.
Graduate of Kingston University's BA Illustration and Animation course, Joe Bichard, is also focussing on his freelance career. Since his work was awarded the Excellence Award in the Animation category of 2010's Graduate showcase, Joe has worked on a TV spot for Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights show, and made idents for MTV's 'Gonzo'. "Next year I am hoping to really push Colour Club, a collective of animators and illustrators I am part of," Joe tells us. "We are currently planning a pilot episode for a children's animated sci-fi series, which we're all pretty excited about!"
Jack Cunningham, who worked with Joe on the awarded Graduate Showcase projects, recalls the reaction the pair have had to their work since entering the showcase: "[Mars! has] been shown internationally, won a Royal Television Society Award and was featured in New British Talent section of the Onedotzero film festival." In addition to being a member of Colour Club, since graduating Jack has also directed the debut music promo for Flashman, featuring Fred Deakin of Lemon Jelly and Airside fame. "It was a huge amount of fun to produce, says Jack of the project, "and I was given complete creative control, which is something of a luxury having just graduated from uni."
Fellow Animation category showcasee Matthew Wade who graduated with a Classical Animation degree from Vancouver Film School, "spent the last year setting up a fully functioning animation studio from home to do freelance work and play with my own ideas, which includes pre-production on an animated pilot in the vein of material you'd find on Adult Swim, Liquid Television etc." Matthew is currently working on getting his own micro-budget feature film off of the ground.
Also making waves in motion graphics over the past year is Hettie Griffiths, whose work appeared in the Video & Broadcast Design category of 2010's Graduate Showcase after she graduated from the university of Glamorgan with a BA in Motion Design. "One of the highlights of my year was being selected to partake in the Onedotzero Cascade program, collaborating with 9 other artists with very diverse specialisms. We were given a week to answer the set brief. This was a fantastic experience which introduced me to a new way of working."
Collaboration is a theme that has characterised Hettie's first year in the design industry, and in March she joined young studio Nearly Normal. "Together we have been working on some really exciting projects, using a mixture of motion graphics and hand made techniques such as paper cut out stop motion," says Hettie. "I have realised the benefits or working freelance. For me, however, they don't add up to the joy of collaborating with other artists."
The freelance life, however, has been calling to motion designer Melanie Lukhaup, who moved from Munich to London after graduating from Georg Simon Ohm University of Applied Sciences with a degree in Media Design. Since graduating, Melanie has been involved with the redesign of the Iraqui TV channel Albaghdadia, and has also produced work for Foreign Office Design. Her work appeared in the Animation category of the 2010 Graduate Showcase. "As Computer Arts is an internationally so well-established magazine, it's an extremely good referee, helpful in acquisition concerning my job as a motion designer especially here in the UK," Melanie explains, "where really everyone knows and appreciates the mag. Moreover, my success in having been included in last year's Graduate Showcase with my experimental animated short Psidomania encourages me not to stop investing time in private non-commercial projects, which I will definitely continue doing besides work in the future."
Another featured graduate to have launched a career overseas since appearing in the Graduate Showcase is Lucy Nurnberg, who was awarded the Excellence Award in the Illustration & 2D category. "I moved to New York last September, and shortly afterward took up a six month stint as an assistant to the wonderful designer and illustrator Laurie Rosenwald," Lucy explains. "I helped her out with some really exciting projects, one notable example being the creation of the upcoming iPad/iPhone app David's Diary, featuring six animations of diary entries of the author David Sedaris. Outside of that, I found time to cram in some of my own illustration commissions, ranging from poster designs for theatre and performance productions, editorial spots and designs for textiles."
Also showcased in last year's Illustration and 2D category was the work of Ross McEwan, a BA Visual Communication graduate of the University of Derby. His first year on the professional stage has involved designing artwork for local bands and independent magazines, and the creation of online gallery Art for Dark Walls, a platform for the freshest of Manchester's visual arts output. "The showcase has exposed my work to a wider audience and added a vote of confidence in my work from a well-known name in the industry," says Ross of entering last year's Graduate Showcase. "It gave me an added prestige that actually influenced an employer to have the confidence in me to produce artwork for them. It was certainly a great start after graduating, and well worth entering."
Accompanying Ross in 2010's Illustration & 2D category was Beugism - AKA Alex Beuge - who landed the gig as in-house illustrator at The Times after graduating from Central St Martins with an MA in Communication Design (Illustration). And that's not all: "At the moment I am preparing my first solo show at Direktorenhaus in Berlin. My work can be seen from June until September 2011."
Illustrator Jack Hudson has also leapt from the pages of 2010's Graduate Showcase into a successful year of freelance design. "I've been lucky enough to have worked with some great clients so far," says Jack. "Some of which include Google Chrome, O (The Oprah) Magazine, Partners and Spade (NY) and Mother London Advertising agency."
And 2011's Graduate Showcase? Well, firstly, the designer behind the branding work for this year's showcase is Richard Nabarro, who was featured in 2010's Graphic Design category. He has since gone on to bag the role of junior designer at Manchester's The Neighbourhood. "It's impossible to get commissions if nobody knows about you, and I was actually surprised at how many people recognised my work simply because they'd seen it in the Graduate Showcase," states Richard. "Without the feature, I would have undoubtedly missed out on a string of commissions, so I feel like it helped set my career in motion."