The Graduates 2017
The Graduates is our chance is showcase the most exciting students graduating from UK art and design courses, presenting a range of talented graphic designers, photographers, illustrators and more.
We’re back for a ninth year and we’re proud to present our chosen Graduates of 2017 below. We’ve also got an array of advice articles and opinion pieces to inspire you as you finish your degree.
We’re excited to announce the Graduates class of 2017. Whittled down from over 1,000 applications, we are proud to introduce 11 individuals whose work demonstrates originality, high quality, great execution and real purpose.
Kingston graduate Jiye Kim creates illustrations that are swift in movement, capturing a scene in the blink of an eye. Naming “exaggeration, narrative and movement” as the key elements to her illustration practice, each of her drawings are highly detailed sketches, minuscule drawings with maximum effect.
From an experimental typography project reinterpreting interstellar signals in 3D form, to isometric pasta packaging, Ben Hutchings’ graphic design work combines science and type in impactful ways.
Photographer Luke Withers applied for The Graduates because he wanted to connect with people outside of his creative field, and adheres to the mantra of “taking all the opportunities that are presented to you”, which has become a big part of his approach to his art. Originally from Belfast, Luke went to the University of South Wales and studied the Documentary Photography course. “It was really a case of noticing that a lot of the photography and photographers I was looking at happened to be coming from the course in Newport,” Luke says of his decision to study there.
“I remember distinctly hearing a phrase in a lecture that has always stuck with my practice: ‘Don’t create work that gives answers, create work that asks questions,’” says artist Morgan Ward. “I always hope that people who view my work ask questions about its creation, context and ideologies.” The university of Chichester graduate has a portfolio of abstract works that explore colour and space in a bombastic manner. Each work is the product of a “continual battle into one’s personal development.
“Be playful,” says artist and illustrator Molly Fairhurst. “Always.” It’s a definitive statement from someone at the outset of their career, one that hints at a wise head on young shoulders. Molly’s work is concerned with “movement, figure and feeling” and her prolific output has developed a portfolio that shows a distinct and assured style.
North Yorkshire-born graduate Maxwell Granger ended up at London College of Communication after a short-lived trip to rival art school Camberwell. “I went round Camberwell initially with my best mate, and we hated it so much that we quite literally pegged it down the road all the way to Peckham Rye,” Maxwell grins. “We both decided – while running – that LCC was for us.”
In her animated short film Contact, Katy Wang tells the tale of an interplanetary journey, inspired by the emotions of a long-distance relationship. Through beautifully detailed and textural hand-drawn scenes and characters, and a subtle narrative, she draws you into her delicately emotive story.
Photographer Giya Makondo-Wills sees herself as a “magpie, collecting information from all over, whether it be anecdotes, research and memories, and putting them together”. Her ability to tell stories in a way that represents both her subjects and herself as a photographer developed during her time at the University of South Wales while studying Documentary Photography.
“It’s cool to work hard,” are graduates Joey Yu’s words to live by. She needn’t tell us twice: the London-based illustrator, animator, curator and all-round creative talent is living proof of her five-word philosophy.
Born in Bristol, illustrator Jamie Edler wasn’t set on going to university but a tutor at A level eventually persuaded him to apply. “I applied to five different universities and decided not to do an art foundation,” says Jamie. “I made the choice to study at Falmouth, deferred a year and moved to China for a bit to teach English.” For Jamie that break gave him time to be ready to get back into education and became an experience that “inspired and motivated” him. “I always knew if I were to study at uni, I would study illustration. It was something I’d always pursued – apart from a few weeks where I thought I might study music!”
An eye for layout and typography is a trait that runs in graduate Tom Baber’s family: “My mum was a graphic designer,” he tells It’s Nice That. “When her friends had babies she would paint their names in bright coloured letters with chunky serifs and animals climbing all over them, I always thought they were really cool.”
As we get ready to announce the 2017 class of It’s Nice That graduates, we caught up with three more of the talented bunch that made it into last year’s line up. Below, you can find out what they’ve been up to and gain some sound advice about that first daunting year out of university.
No matter how hard you work, the road to success is never straightforward. If you want to make it in the creative industry, you’ll need to not only get used to being rejected (a lot), but work out how to harness short-term set backs and transform those soul-crushing “didn’t get the job” moments into life lessons.
Graduating university is a big transition. You go from hanging out with your friends all day creating cool work to wondering how you’re going to make any money from the skills and experience you’ve picked up over the last three years.
It is no news that graduating from university is a very daunting experience, but can be even more so if you have an aching feeling that you may have studied the wrong course, creatively or academically. It is important to remember that creativity, in its many realms and job roles, can easily be made to suit you.
Once you’re free from the bubble of uni, the “real world” of the creative industry can seem daunting, and going it alone can be even more so. For many creatives, however, it’s the freedom they’ve been craving, a chance to finally show the world what they’re made of, and many establish a solid career having never stepped into a “normal” job.
You’ve done the work, but now you need to stand out from the crowd by presenting it in the best light. To help make the most of your assets, and avoid common mistakes, we spoke to creatives from top studios including Pentagram, ustwo, Wieden+Kennedy and Moving Brands to get their advice. Each of them has seen countless portfolios, and here they pass on their wisdom.
Most creative courses have an assessment process that sets it apart from the other degrees. The name alone can strike fear into the hearts of the even the most experienced creative. The crit is a formative experience in education, or, without being too melodramatic, life and tales often emerge of the most bizarre interaction between students and tutors.
As we open the call for entries for the 2017 edition of The Graduates, we caught up with three of the rising creative talents who made it into the The Graduates 2016 line-up from nearly 1,000 entries that we received last year, to find out what they’ve been getting up to in the year since they graduated.
The annual graduate show season is a very exciting time for us at It’s Nice That. Each summer we try to visit as many graduates shows as possible to check out the bright young things who keep the industry churning.
The deadline to apply to It’s Nice That’s The Graduates 2017 is very soon, with submissions closing at midnight on Friday 2 June.
If you’re a student in the UK about to complete an art or design-related undergraduate course then we want to hear from you!