Beth Fletcher, graduate from the School of Visual Communication shares her proudest achievements and details on her current role designing baby-wear. Imagine walking in to Asda and seeing your designs on the rails…
What course did you choose to study at Birmingham City University and why?
BCU stood out as a favourite when I was researching different universities. The BA (Hons) Illustration course looked so exciting and after visiting the campus I was very impressed with the facilities - especially the print room in the newly built Parkside campus.
When you started university, did you have a career path in mind?
Not exactly, I knew that I wanted to work within the design industry, perhaps as an Illustrator, but I wasn’t entirely sure on what area I would specialise in. I didn’t realise until I started my studies the range of illustration career options: editorial, publishing, fashion, surface pattern, the list is endless! I am glad that I had the opportunity to explore so many of these options whilst in study, it really helped me to decide what path to take.
Since graduating what industry experience have you gained/what projects have you been working on?
In my final term at BCU I took part in a live brief set by a baby-wear manufacturer to illustrate and design some new, cute animal characters. After meeting with their design team and showing them my portfolio I was offered a work placement. On the final day of my placement I was offered a full time position and I’ve been working there ever since.
What is your current Job role and what does it involve?
My current job role is as a baby-wear designer. The company I work for manufactures and designs baby-wear for some of UK supermarkets and several international retailers.
My job is focused around designing new garments, illustrating graphics, patterns and prints, but also includes trend forecasting and pitching new ideas and trend boards to customers.
Do you have any tips for current students about ‘life after graduation’?
Life after graduation can seem daunting at first, my main tip for any Illustrators is not to lose momentum in your work, and good things can take time especially with finding the right job. I would advise students to keep on creating.
What are your aspirations for the future?
For the immediate future my main goal is to continue learning as much as I can. I really enjoy my job, and I love that I get to draw every day, so my main aspiration is that I can carry on doing it for as long as possible!
What is your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest moment at BCU was when I found out I’d be graduating with a first class honours, that was a really great day. Since then, I started seeing some of my designs appearing in shops, I remember walking into Asda last year and seeing a stack of sleep-suits that I designed, that was a little surreal!
What advice would you give to students thinking to apply for your course?
The only advice I would give is to try out as many new ways of working as possible - have fun experimenting with different techniques and methods. Don’t be afraid to try new things or make a mess of your sketch book!
How have your studies at BCU supported your professional development?
Studying Illustration at BCU has supported my development in so many ways- I wouldn’t have known where to start without them. Some of the modules I studied included; learning how to put together a creative CV and how to set yourself up as a business ready for freelance work. The University also ran portfolio surgeries, and talks with industry professionals which was invaluable and so helpful.
Since graduating from BCU, they have continued to support my development. They invited me back to exhibit some of my work as part of their ‘One Year On’ exhibition, which was a really exciting opportunity.