Visual communication graduate from Leeds College of Art
Personally, my grad show didn’t help me in the slightest. But that’s because I didn’t see it as an opportunity, I wish I’d taken full advantage of it. I was a really diligent student, and really excited about the future, but I saw the grad show as a piss-up, and I shouldn’t have done.
I didn’t email anyone beforehand or attempt to make industry contacts at the show, which looking back, was so daft. There were a lot of people from studios at my degree show – but I had no idea who they were. Try and get people down to your show, or use that as a way to start a conversation. There were loads of designers that I could have sent an email to, saying, “I’ve got my show on this day, are you thinking of coming?”
Also, ask someone who isn’t exhibiting as part of the degree show to be with you. Someone close to you, but not your mum or dad. You can then stand by your work without feeling bored or lonely. But also, if somebody important walks past and likes your work, you’ll be there to talk about it. In my case, I just fooled around with my mates on the course. You could exhibit something really great or provocative that ignites someone’s interest, but if you’re not there to talk to them about it, it’s a missed opportunity.
This is one of the only opportunities where potential employers will be coming to you, so have something for them to take away. That could be a business card, or if you’re into print design, maybe a screen print to give away for free.