My Graphic Design Journey So Far


I've been wanting to do a more personal post like this for a while now but been hesitant as I was worried that it might not be something readers of my blog would be interested in but I actually think that something like this could be really helpful to some. I know for a lot of people in school, college and even university, it can be really hard knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life and hearing from others about how they ended up in the career paths they did could be extremely beneficial. Despite ending up exactly where I want to be at this point in my life, I still wish I'd had access to a lot more information in school to help with my decisions. This post could end up being a bit lengthy so if you are interested in hearing a little more about me and my journey from school to college and then to university, then grab a cup of tea and keep reading.


Sketchbook work from college.

Work from my first year at MMU. 
From around the age of 14 I've known that I wanted to work in design. I remember spending evening after evening on the computer messing around with Photoshop, making terrible collages out of Disney Channel stars and awful vectors. But to me, this was what I wanted to do, I loved creating something out of nothing and creating something visually engaging. I used to spend hours making magazine layouts and covers, dreaming of working for Vogue or Elle one day. I took Design Technology at GCSE level and continued this through to my A Levels, I had the option of doing Art at school but this involved a lot of drawing and painting, something that just wasn't really up my alley. I was more into graphic design and print design than anything fine art. When it came to choosing universities at the end of sixth form the obvious option for me was Graphic Design from then it was a decision of where I wanted to go. With so many choices around the country it can be incredibly daunting narrowing this down to just a handful, this is where I would suggest doing as much research as possible using prospectuses and university websites to find somewhere that is perfect for you. At this time my sister was at university in Manchester and having visited numerous times, I fell in love with the city. The atmosphere, people, places, food and shopping. For me, Manchester was where I wanted to be. I also chose Leeds, Leicester, Sheffield and Liverpool as these universities seemed to appeal most to me and were also in cities I could see myself living in. Being at a very academic school that was extremely focused on grades and results, it felt like anyone not interested in going to Oxford or Cambridge was instantly put in the back seat and due to this I felt completely unprepared when it came round to interviews.

Work from my first year at MMU.
I managed to get an interview at all my choices, going first to Manchester. I'm not going to lie, interviews are intimidating, especially group interviews but as long as you prepare yourself as best as possible, you should be absolutely fine. (I might write a post on interview tips for anyone who's interested.) Unfortunately I felt completely unprepared. I did have one teacher who was very helpful in helping me put together a portfolio but I still felt extremely out of my depth, especially surrounded by dozens of incredibly talented other students. Leaving the interview I just knew I hadn't been successful, it was a gut feeling and after receiving the rejection, I felt lost. I was also offered a place at Sheffield on the condition that I first did a foundation year, costing an extra £9000 but I had my heart set on Manchester.

Work from my second year at MMU.
Going back to school I felt so unsure of what my next move was. I knew I still wanted to go to Manchester and study Graphic Design but how I would get there was a mystery to me. The best option was to look for a foundation course at a college, a one year course that would help me expand my skills in all areas of art and design. I opted for one nearest me, costing just £100 for the year. At the interview I spoke to an incredibly helpful tutor and was offered a spot on the course there and then. I finally felt like things were back on track and headed in the right direction. I can't stress enough how beneficial this course was for me, we covered all different areas of design from photography, to drawing, painting, ceramics and digital design as well as the context behind design. This really helps you to gain a wider understanding of design, develop your skills and teaches you to experiment and play more with your work. I wasn't the best student, I won't lie. I focused a lot more on earning money at work than doing my projects but what you'll find with college and university courses, is that your relationship with the tutors changes. Mine wasn't afraid to tell me like it was and put me in my place, for which I respected him a lot. My attitude changed and I was off to another interview at Manchester in what felt like no time, only now I felt so much more prepared and on the same level as the other applicants.

Work from my second year at MMU.


I think when you're confident and prepared for an interview, this really shines through. I felt so much happier to sit and discuss my work this time around, I was even happier in the work itself. It was so much more experimental and playful. I think this is extremely important when applying to design courses, tutors want to see a range of different skills and ideas and that you can work in a variety of different ways. The college course also taught me to look more at the context and idea behind my designs, that you should have a reason for every aspect of your design from the colours to the typeface. Doing a foundation course like this is also so helpful with the transition from school to university, you get used to the sorts of briefs and workload you might be given when you start and it helps with learning how to write your own projects too.

Work from my second year at MMU. 
Work from my second year at MMU. 

Now I'm starting my third year on the course, I couldn't be more pleased with how everything turned out. A foundation course was a far better option for me than going straight from school, for others this may be different, it's all about doing what's best for you. I still get doubts and worried that maybe I'm not cut out for the course or maybe I'm not good enough to be a graphic designer but I wholeheartedly think this is a good thing. As designers we are taught to question everything and a little doubt and worry helps push me to achieve the best I can and do as well as possible. I was going to write more about my experience at Manchester Metropolitan but I think I'll save that for another post.


For those of you that read all that, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it! For anyone wondering the pictures are snippets of my work during my time at college and university and more can be found on my Behance. Would you be interested in more posts like this? Such as tips on applying to university and interview tips?

10 comments

  1. I can really relate to feeling unprepared for an interview and I think my college only really cared about those applying for the top universities. I've reapplied again this year for a slightly different course but one I want to do more and I feel so much more confident, I'm waiting to hear back from the uni I applied for but I feel more positive this time around!
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

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    1. Thank you so much for reading Jodie, I was definitely very worried posting this as I thought that no one would be interested. My school was exactly the same, anyone not doing medicine or anything considered academic was sort of forgotten about. Good luck, I'm sure you'll do absolutely fine!

      Megan x

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  2. This was so interesting to read and I love your work! I also live in Manchester and love it here too :-)

    LaurieElle.com xx

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it, it really means a lot! Manchester is an incredible city, there's so much to do and there's such a great atmosphere here.

      Megan x

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  3. great work keep going girl :)

    would like you to visit my blog
    from shaz at http://ladyshazbeauty.blogspot.com/

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  4. This was such a lovely read - I think it's so nice to read personal posts as oppose to more commercial posts these days so this was lovely! I actually think your work is amazing and you have a real talent xx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed it, I was so worried before posting.

      Megan x

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  5. These are some great images. I started graphic design in college and wish i'd stuck with it. Would have been so handy making blog images!
    girlavie.com X

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    1. Thank you for reading it! It depends whether you enjoyed it, my parents always told me to do what I enjoy and now what I think I should do.

      Megan x

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  6. Wow, look at those! Incredible! We'd love to see more personal posts like this to get to know you better! :)

    Emily // Lynde Avenue

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