Overall, the course has been a great experience and has led me to develop a variety of new skills, from printmaking to graphic design. For me, the highlight was definitely my placement year. This really helped me to decide what I want to do after university, to make the most out of my final year using my new found professional skills.

As soon as I turned up for my interview at the University of Portsmouth, I knew it was right for me. My course has been so varied and has really allowed me to grow as a person and as a creative professional.

During my placement year, I worked as a graphic designer at ZPos Ltd, a web development company specialising in online ordering websites for restaurants and takeaways. I got to work on a massive variety of projects for our clients, and it was amazing to know that these small businesses were benefiting from my work. Going into my placement I was struggling with finding my place in the world of illustration, but I left as a confident graphic and web designer with professional skills that have been so valuable in my studies and in my freelance work. I still work part time for ZPos and absolutely love it!

I design web and print materials for a variety of clients - mostly small businesses. Although my role is graphic design based, I definitely draw on my background in illustration all the time, and I think this gives my designs a unique personality. Whenever I can I like to add my own illustrations into my work - especially for fun print jobs like personalised Christmas cards.

My final major project focuses on how we can each make small changes in our day-to-day lives to live more sustainably, whilst looking after our mental health. I have made a zine entitled “A Day In My (Not Quite) Zero-Waste, (Reasonably) Sustainable Life”; an autobiographical story of the small daily decisions that can have a positive impact on the planet.

I think that my degree will open more doors for me, especially as it comes with a year of relevant, full-time work experience. I feel ready to hit the ground running after university and can’t wait to get my work out in the world in new and exciting ways.

Madison Ford, BA (Hons) Illustration 2021 graduate

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