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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

Sophie Boyes

BA (Hons) Graphic Design
Graduated 2022

Headshot of Sophie Boyes

Why did you choose Solent?

I chose Solent Uni because I knew that within their graphic design course they supported and encouraged students to not just work on their laptops, but create work by hand - I loved this! This allowed me to produce some of my best work by thinking of different ways to develop exciting and innovative concepts. The freedom to produce work in this way was liberating and is a must for an aspiring designer!

What was the best thing about your course lecturers?

Lecturers were always there to guide and support us, encouraging us to get the best out of every project. They really cared which I believe helped to motivate students to do well.

What about the facilities?

The facilities are fantastic! The photography studio is so professional with all the equipment you could need. I photographed my final major project in the studio and the photos came out amazing. Solent also have a print room where students can letterpress and screen print – a great way to produce original and authentic designs.

Lecturers made lessons engaging, creative and relatable to the industry which was invaluable. There were no limits. If you had an idea, you could keep pushing it and make anything happen which I loved.

Do you feel like your studies helped you prepare for a career in the industry?

100%! It gave me the confidence to believe in myself and helped kick start my career. The course and the lectures cover many different areas within graphic design - this helps give you all the right tools and knowledge to succeed within the industry.

Can you talk a bit about any opportunities you had to get practical experience?

I entered three projects into Creative Conscious Awards 2021 and 2022 which were all shortlisted and now feature on their website - this is a great way to get your name out there and be noticed by people in the industry.

In my second year, we had a live brief set by Baxter & Bailey, a creative agency based in Brighton. The brief was for Royal Mail, and we had to design a collection of stamps. I designed a set of stamps which were Hammer Horror inspired. A stamp magazine editor got in touch with me after finding my stands online. He asked if he could write about my designs, so they could feature in their next edition. However, as they weren’t officially run by Royal Mail, he was unable to include them. I saw this as an opportunity and forwarded the email onto Alex Whittaker, Design Director at Baxter & Bailey who set us the brief. He also agreed that my designs were good enough to print and said if Royal Mail ever plan to run a collection of stamps which were horror related, that he would bare my designs in mind and potentially run them! This just proves that you never know who might see your work online, so always do your best and get your work out there.

Tell us a little about your career so far

I work in consulting as a creative designer at KPMG, part of the digital design team. We work closely with clients across financial services, infrastructure government and healthcare. Our team is made up of researchers, strategists and designers, who design products and services that benefit and engage users, elevate experiences and build trust for clients. We specialise in, UX/UI, product design, service design, content design, prototyping, and design sprints. Our aim is to make digital experiences accessible, meaningful, and valuable.

A typical working day as a creative designer, involves reviewing creative briefs, meetings with stakeholders, working closely with researchers and other designers, creating prototypes, developing designs and pitching ideas to clients.

How did university prepare you for your career?

University helped prepare me for my career by running live briefs for real clients. This gave us an insight into how the creative world works and what to expect after we graduate. University doesn’t just teach you new things, but it gives you the chance to reflect on the kind of creative person you want to become and the impact you want to make within the industry.

What tips would you give to someone wanting a career in your industry?

Don’t rush to find the solution before doing your research. Research is the key to all clever and innovative ideas. Even if you think you’ve responded to a brief with the best idea since sliced bread, never settle. Keep pushing and developing your thinking as you never know where it could take you. Allow failure, it will help you grow and learn how to do things better in the future. Don’t play it safe! Get out of your comfort zone and never be afraid to speak up, ask questions or approach people, as it could lead you to endless possibilities and new exciting opportunities!