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In conversation with alumni August Abrahamsson, motion designer at Little Shadow, London

August Abrahamsson is an animator who graduated from Norwich University of the Arts in 2021. He now works as a motion designer for Little Shadow, a graphics company specialising in visual effects and motion graphics for commercial and broadcast.

Since graduating from BA (Hons) Animation he has worked with brands like Amazon, Sainsbury’s and Aston Martin, and has seen his work on TV programmes on BBC and Channel 5. August reflects on his time in Norwich and how his career is taking shape .

Why did you choose to study at Norwich University of the Arts?

The first thing that caught my attention about Norwich University of the Arts was the location. I’m originally from Sweden and my family has three Norwich terriers back home. I thought “Oh there’s an animation course in Norwich, I might as well check it out”. From there I immediately fell in love with the picturesque architecture and the charm of the city. After my interview I felt really strongly about studying at Norwich. Just for the sake of a full-circle moment I recently went back to Sweden to get my own Norwich terrier, whom I brought back here with me!

How did you find living in Norwich?

I love Norwich! It’s such a manageable city, and you have almost anything you could ask for within walking distance. There are loads of great places for food and great independent shops. I like to just stroll around in the city centre and sometimes I do a little tour hitting all the best charity shops. There are many great places to visit outside of Norwich as well, such Brancaster Beach, Blickling Estate and Cromer.

How did your time at Norwich prepare you for working in industry?

I was taught a good set of base skills within the world of animation. Coming to Norwich, I hadn’t done any of it before and the BA (Hons) Animation course gave me a good foundation to continue to develop my skills. The one good thing to come out of the pandemic was that it prepared me for working from home, which was hard for me before we adjusted to it.

What advice would you give to students or recent graduates about getting a job as an animator?

I think the projects I initiated on my own were really helpful. I also sometimes tried to push myself to do more than what was asked of me. In the end you are doing it for your own sake and not just to fulfil the requirements of a submission. I do think I could’ve used my time even better while I was still at uni, but that’s something you won’t realise until you’re done. Find what you enjoy and focus on that! In the end I think that’s always going to be more fulfilling than striving for what you think other people want you to do.

Tell us about your time after university. Where are you working now?

I’m currently working as a junior motion graphics designer for a small VFX/GFX studio in London called Little Shadow. There’s only a handful of us, but we’ve produced work for brands like Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Aston Martin, and TV programmes on BBC and Channel 5. I found the job on LinkedIn shortly after graduating and applied as soon as I saw the listing. I’ve now been with them for almost a year and a half. I’ve been working remotely since the beginning which has been challenging but also very convenient for me. I wanted to stay in Norwich and wasn’t very keen on moving to London right away.

What is life like as a motion designer for Little Shadow?

Every week is different to the previous one. When a new project is thrown my way I always panic for a minute; I think ‘how am I supposed to make this work?’ Then you give it some time and you get around to figuring it out. It’s often a case of being handed a project folder with assets and storyboards and trying to make things move in a certain way. We do everything from advertisement to graphics for TV and infographic videos for companies. Whenever there’s time I create something for social media. This is great because I can play around with styles and techniques in pretty much any way I fancy.

What have been some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on at Little Shadow?

One of my favourite recent projects has been a TV programme about restaurants in the UK. I was really involved with the design process and look of the show (logo, graphics, style). Some of the designs I created were later printed on a double-decker bus used in the show. It was really cool to see something you’ve created out there in the real world. Amongst other things, I’m currently doing graphics for a TV programme about women who have gone to extreme measures for their children. That includes animated 3D maps of different places around the world.

How has your work developed since leaving university?

I’ve definitely grown a lot since I started this job – in all honesty maybe not in the ways I expected! I learn new things from every project since they’re all different. When I first started it felt like every project required things I hadn’t actually learned at university, but then again I think that’s the beauty and curse of working in the creative sector. There are always new things to learn!

Animation BA (Hons)

Explore the full range of animation techniques and prepare a career in the fast-moving animation industry on Norwich’s BA (Hons) Animation degree course.

View CourseAnimation BA (Hons)