Designers’ degree show tales

With graduate show season now in full swing, we ask designers what they created for their final show when they were at university.

Heidi Lightfoot, creative director, Together Design University of Northumbria, BA Graphic Design, graduated 1994
Heidi Lightfoot, creative director, Together Design
University of Northumbria, BA Graphic Design, graduated 1994

“I started my Graphic Design BA at Newcastle Poly, but by the time I graduated in 1994, it was called the University of Northumbria at Newcastle. When I started we had three Macs in the department and by the time I left there were at least 20 – a big increase but I don’t think anyone had a computer of their own. I mainly remember surviving on tea and buttered scones from the canteen in Squires Building. I’m grateful for the excellent teaching, the studio environment and, crucially, the time to explore many different mediums. My final show consisted of a display, all mocked up using a mixture of letterpress I’d printed, photography I’d taken, illustration I’d drawn, collage, ‘typesetting’, Omnicrom and lots of cutting and pasting.”


Afroditi Krassa, founder, Afroditi Krassa LTD. Royal College of Art, MA Design Products, graduated 2001
Afroditi Krassa, founder, Afroditi Krassa LTD.
Royal College of Art, MA Design Products, graduated 2001

“I designed a floating light: an LED floorlamp suspended from a helium balloon that allowed the lamp to fly freely, anchored down by a cable. It was picked up by restaurant owner Mourad Mazouz and I did an installation of the lamps for his restaurant/gallery Sketch – it was my introduction to the restaurant world!”


Fredrik Öst and Magnus Berg, co-founders, Snask Cumbria Institute of the Arts, BA Graphic Design, graduated 2007
Fredrik Öst and Magnus Berg, co-founders, Snask
Cumbria Institute of the Arts, BA Graphic Design, graduated 2007

“As Magnus [Berg, co-founder, Snask] and I graduated together, we were supposed to be in the same degree show. Our teachers weren’t that happy with how Magnus put his portfolio up on his wall and they got into an argument and gave Magnus two alternatives: ‘Either you redo it the way we want you to, or you take it all down and go home.’ Since we knew that no one from the industry would come and watch our show, it wasn’t a hard choice – Magnus didn’t put anything up. I managed to stay but didn’t perform any better. I was very selfish and screen-printed my portfolio in gold onto huge, fluorescent pink paper that really hurt the eyes. At the bottom of the paper, it just said ‘SNASK OFF!’. To conclude, neither myself nor Magnus were successful in our degree shows – so the lesson is, at least do it better than us!”

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