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Interview with chief editor of magazine "The Poster" and a lecturer in design at Loughborough University


Simon downs studied the most conservative techniques of painting and illustration. However, the love of oil paint and canvas perfectly prepared not too helped him when he was looking for a job in London in the 80's. Simon retrained and started to work with digital systems, including the design of publications using digital technology, interactive advertising, creation of 3D models and the production of publications to be released (both in print and in digital format). These skills, on the contrary, was extremely popular, and the next ten years he was busy creating digital illustrations, design publications, creating interactive advertising and has advised banks from the UK, Europe and the USA. Since 2003 Simon has taught design at the University of Libero and is exploring the use of technology in different cultures with the aim of transferring graphical information. Today he is the head of the program "Graphic communication and illustration" at the faculty of arts , University of Loughborough, editor-in-chief of magazine "The Poster", co-editor of a research journal, drawing "TRACEY", the Director of a research Network in the field of fine art (Drawing Research Network), and author of books on design (his book "The Graphic Communication Handbook" is much more useful and funnier than You can imagine).

What do You see as the advantages for foreign students studying in the United Kingdom for programmes in the field of fine art and design?

  • Teaching at the level of world standards. Students get the opportunity to attend classes of the best teachers in the field of art/design that inspires them, helps to develop skills and confidence.
  • The United Kingdom is one of the leading States in terms of development of arts and creativity. Here is the second in the world industry of media and advertising (which is second in volume only to the United States), whose members work closely with our colleagues from the United States.
  • High quality of higher education in the United Kingdom is recognized by employers, universities and government bodies around the world.
    • Our country - the birthplace of the English language, and where as not here the students can raise the level of language, and thereby improve your career prospects

Than the study of art and design at Loughborough University is different from studying these subjects in other universities of the United Kingdom?

  • Loughborough University is among the 40 best universities of the world in terms of teaching art and design.
  • In addition, our University is the only University, which failed six years in a row to hold on to first place in the rating "the Best University in England for the level of satisfaction of students", compiled annually by the magazine "Times Higher Education".
  • The faculty of arts of the University of Loughborough is renowned for the lively and active research community, whose members have an excellent reputation in the academic environment and always friendly and willing to assist students.
  • The ability to deduct a year of practice in the organization at the expense of the diploma.
  • We spent 3 million pounds on the creation of creative workshops for students in the following areas:
    - Digital technologies and photography;
    Textiles, printing, embroidery and color;
    - Painting and creating prints;
    - Work with stone, metal and ceramics;
    Platforms for performances and rehearsals, costumes, scenery and props.
  • The campus of the University Loughborough is one of the largest, most well-known and safe suburban campuses in the United Kingdom, and is unusual for universities with programs in the arts and design.
  • High professionalism of teachers
  • Communication with employers in the industry
  • Students traditionally show outstanding results in national and international competitions
  • Loughborough is located in the heart of England, so You can easily get to any part of the United Kingdom. The campus is located just one and a half hours by train from London, giving students the opportunity to visit all the new exhibition in the capital. Airport "East Midlands" regional transportation hub, which offers inexpensive flights to many cities of Europe.

What specialties from the sphere of visual arts and design most demanded in the labour market? How, in Your opinion, the situation will change in the next 3-5 years?

Training at Loughborough University programme in the field of art and design will give students the necessary practical skills combined with theory. There are a number of special items for each program, but there are a number of skills are popular among employers in all sectors.

  • Good imagination and creativity
  • Knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses, the ability to analyze their abilities and the influence of external factors
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Resourcefulness
  • Commitment to diversity
  • A creative approach to solving problems
  • Ability to work in team
  • Ability to work independently
  • The decision-making skills
  • Professional communication skills, in person and by correspondence
  • The ability to visualize the results
  • The skills of gathering information
  • Motivation and proper allocation of resources
  • Organization and planning
  • The linkages and knowledge of the industry
  • Planning and career management
  • IT, in particular, special programs to work in the field of art and design
  • Six months after graduation in 2014:
  • 92% of our graduates participated in the survey, found work or continued studying
  • Among the graduates of the bachelor's 16% work in manufacturing, related to their specialty in the arts, 38% are employed in professional activities in the field of design/production and advertisement, 7% are employed in the field of art and entertainment.

At what level of payment you may expect a young professional, just graduated from the program in visual art and design?

The average salary for graduates is £16 800 per year.

Could You name some companies, advertising agencies, auction houses, etc. that hired Your recent graduates?

Our graduates work in many large companies, both British and international, including:
DHL Worldwide, the chamber of Commerce of Singapore, Mercedez Benz, Oxford University Press, Aardman Animation, IPC and the BBC, Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M, Alexander McQueen, Next, Jaguar Landrover.

What kind of education would You advise to international graduate students of the school to increase their chances of getting a job in the field of fine arts and design in the United Kingdom?

Start your journey in this field best of all with receipt of pre-University education, for example, preparatory courses or BTEC diploma, which allow students to take the first steps as a young designer before choosing a higher education program. This experience allows them to gain maximum knowledge while learning at University, which in turn, allows a more impressive portfolio by the time of graduation. A good portfolio is like a magic wand, it doesn't just enable them to find employment, and find your dream job, and will also help to go to a prestigious University for continuing education.

What can a foreign student do to increase your chances of getting work experience in the United Kingdom? That will help to find a job?

The right training structure in the field of art and design will help students find short-term work during the holidays. Real work experience is the most important of all factors in employment. In addition, we encourage our students to participate in all available projects with their respective areas. The presence of any experience is good experience.

How important is a portfolio for admission to University?

All students planning to enroll at Loughborough Universitymust have a portfolio of their recent work. In addition to evaluations, portfolio is one of the decisive factors in selecting applicants.

In what may be the main difficulties for a foreign student entering the program in visual art and design in Your University?

The term "art and design" speaks for itself. These words are not always synonymous. We can better understand the essence of these phenomena, if we think of them as brothers. They have common traits, so other people think that they are similar to each other, but it would be wrong to consider them as one person. Unfortunately, in the portfolio of foreign students, we often see this error when starting from high school, the students considered these two areas as a single unit. If You want to become a designer, Your portfolio should demonstrate that You know how to plan, organize and create, to Express the thoughts of another person. If You want to become an artist, show us works that use different techniques to Express thoughts and ideas.
The same advice applies to essays and motivational letters. The entrant entering the design program, and mentions in an essay only well-known artists, is less likely than one who gives references to contemporary designers. Think about who will read Your work, and demonstrate knowledge in the field in which You want to Shine yourself.

What advice would You give to foreign students who plan to enter programs in the field of fine arts and design in the United Kingdom?

If You love design, if You like to do to help others — don't let anyone stop themselves. You will never regret the efforts to get here. On the other hand, if You have talent, but You do not get pleasure from work, then You should not even think about a career in the field of fine arts and design. Every year in the world there are too many artists that could afford to find a use for those people who Wake up in the morning in awe of the fact that they have the whole day to create.
If You decide you want to do graphic communication, head to the United Kingdom. Higher education in the arts in the United Kingdom is the best and most positive learning environment You can imagine.

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