Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Design

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Charlotte Summers

 

Graphic and Communication Design – Level 4

 

Can you tell us a bit about your background before you came to Leeds?

I did Drama, English Language and Art and A Level. I started a bit unsure about what I was going to do and I looked into everything I could possibly do really. My art teacher said, “Why don’t you try the art thing out? You’re alright at that.”

I went to Newcastle College and did an Art and Design Foundation Diploma. I did a seven week intensive course doing all the disciplines of art and did graphics for one week thing as part of it.  I really liked the purpose behind graphics, so I thought I would give it a go and did that for foundation.

What was it about the Graphic and Communication Design course here that attracted you to it?

I really liked that it was academic and practical. I really wanted to keep the academic side and be well-rounded as a student. One of the things that attracted me to Leeds was all the electives and optional modules.  I’ve done things like enterprise and marketing alongside my design practice. It’s been really nice to be able to think with a purpose and think about what I can do with this in a business setting.

What have you enjoyed most about the course?

I’ve loved the practical side of it and I’ve loved the industry briefs that we get to do here. I also love the group work with marketing and getting to meet people across the School. That’s been really nice and has given a more collaborative approach to things.

How does your final year differ from first and second year?

It’s definitely more independent. You’ve got less contact hours but there’s more emphasis on being in the studio and creating your own practice. It’s great for being independent and thinking a bit more like a freelancer.

Your relationship with your tutors change as well. They treat you differently because you’re coming to that point where you’re going to be graduating soon. They treat you like you’re part of a team rather than a student.

What have you most enjoyed working on in third year?

I’ve really enjoyed our industry briefs for things like D&AD and YCN. In the first half of the semester we got an Elmwood live brief. They set us a brief to “adapt of die”. You had to rebrand a service or a product for 2026. They were offering placements at the end of that as well.

In this half of the semester we’ve had D&AD and YCN. The brief I took on was for the road safety campaign, THINK! There are loads of great topics that you can tap into and create campaigns for though.

What are you doing for your dissertation and how have you found working on it?

I’m doing mine on representation of Muslim women in advertising. It looks at things like how minority groups are underrepresented, how media inflicts our stereotyping of this group, and why they should be taken seriously.

I’m enjoying doing it, it’s nice to do an academic practice and research. It’s nice to drive my own research with design at the heart of it.

Year in Industry 

What did you do for your Year in Industry placement?

I went to Marketecture for two months in Manchester which is a digital B2B marketing agency. I had two weeks to work on the brief that they had already done and at the end I had to pitch it. I would also take on ad hoc tasks during the day. That was great to get you up to industry working speed.

I then went to Moo.com which is a print and design company in Shoreditch. One of my key tasks was to look at the design of the Moo shop which is in Box Park in Shoreditch. I had to support the product launches with displays and point of sale. I also worked a lot of events and it was great to interact with the consumer. I did lots of other projects there and helped on things like internal launches and spent time in the PR department.

Then I went to Tommee Tippee which is a baby essentials company in Newcastle. Across my time there they asked me to look at how I would do their brand differently but then I was also doing daily work too.

The Year in Industry was great for just going around and testing the waters a little bit and figuring out what I wanted to do.

Has your experience on your Year in Industry changed how you work now that you’re back at university?

Definitely, the way you work and your mind set towards work is totally different. You take away the nine till five mentality. Before my placements I was working hard but I don’t think I realised the full potential of what could be achieved in a week.

The standard of work you’re producing and what you feel like you can achieve is a lot higher. Before the placements I was doubting my skill but when I went into industry I built up my confidence to the point where I now feel a lot more confident on my course.

It helps to realise your worth and to know that you have a place in the industry. It’s nice to know that before you graduate.

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