I would have loved to have studied art when I left school, but it wasn’t to be at that time. I’ve always been creative, doodling, mixed media art, crafting, photography, dressmaking and decorating our house in weird and wonderful ways. 

In 2010 at the age of 48 I thought if I don’t try to go to college to study art now, I’ll never do it. I had an interview with an art lecturer who then introduced me to 2 other lecturers who opened my eyes to the possibility of studying 2 different courses that I had not even considered. I was surprised and lucky to leave the college that day with offers of a place to study NC Art, Photography and Graphic Design/New Media. I chose the NC Graphic Design/New Media course as it covered a variety of subjects that I was interested in and my youngest son had also just completed this course at the time and he knew I would love it and he encouraged me to go for it, as did my other 2 children.

The first few days I wasn’t sure I had made the right choice to study at college as the other students in my class were very young compared to me, by the end of the week though I knew I was doing the right thing. All the different age groups in the class got along so well and it was brilliant how we all helped one another. The course covered so much, from design rules and theory, Digital Design, Graphic Design, Typography, Children's Illustration, Photography, Animation, Web Design and more. Over the 3 years I studied I learnt to use multiple applications within the Adobe Creative Suite and other applications.

Due to circumstances I couldn’t study the following year but couldn’t wait to return in 2012 to study HNC and then onto HND Visual Communication. The variety of subjects that the courses cover was so interesting, it was hard work when you had a few different design projects to work on at the same time and deadlines to keep, but it was fun too.

The lecturers were great and always encouraging me to push myself out of my comfort zone and to believe in myself and my abilities.  As I progressed through the courses my confidence grew and I was doing things that I’d never thought I would be able to do.

The course teaches you how to design visual solutions to a clients’ brief, starting from quick initial ideas, through the stages of development, presenting developed ideas to the clients and finalising the design and saving all files in the correct format for whatever purpose they were required for.  I learned time management so I could work through a design project and have it completed by the deadline. It definitely prepared me for a future in the Creative Industries. While at college I started to sell my designs online as Craft and Party Printables that customers could download and print themselves.

On completing my HND I moved house to rural Aberdeenshire where I applied for a few Graphic Design positions in Aberdeen, but the thought of the daily commute into the city really did not appeal to me.

I decided to start my own small design business, I took part in North East Open Studios for a couple of years which helped me to get known in the area.  I now have my own studio at home and a website with an online shop where I sell my designs as prints, greeting cards, stickers, small gifts etc.

I also take on Graphic Design projects and always love the challenge of creating a new logo.

I sometimes think I should focus on just one thing but I love the variety in what I do. One day I can be designing a logo and signage for a local business and the next I have a client in the USA asking me to create a range of personalised party décor for them to print, and the next I can be posting greeting cards and fridge magnets featuring my designs to Australia.

I would definitely recommend this course to others, as you study the various subjects you really don’t realise the amount of skills and knowledge that you are actually picking up at the time. The course covers so much, but in a way that it is not totally overwhelming. Just go for it as you’ve nothing to lose, I’m so glad I did. You’re never too old to learn something new.

My ambitions for the future are to expand the ranges in my shops, to learn more about surface pattern design and have a manufacturer license my designs for mainstream retail. You’ve got to dream big!

Studying at college gave me the skills and confidence to be able to work for myself doing something that I love to do.


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