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In conversation with: Freya Milligan, BA (Hons) Graphic Design Student

Freya Milligan discusses what it’s like to study BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Norwich.

Freya Milligan

Can you tell us about why you chose to study at Norwich?

Amongst other universities that I explored on their open days, I found Norwich University of The Arts surpassed them all. From my very first visit to Norwich, I noticed the close-knit and welcoming community. I ultimately decide to study at Norwich for a whole range of reasons. However, the main reason being the strength of the graphics department. Norwich offers a distinguished and innovative BA (Hons) Graphic Design course that has produced a plethora of renowned designers in the industry.

What’s the living experience in Norwich like?

Norwich is a creative city with a vibrant atmosphere and rich in artist spirit. What sets Norwich apart from other cities is its wholesome charm, highlighted by its bustling market, the lanes and the abundance of independent shops. As a city, it is small enough to navigate yet still large enough to offer an exciting and dynamic experience, even after 2 years of living here. Norwich is a walkable city and there is no need for a car. I have found living in Norwich affordable with reasonably inexpensive places to live.

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What does an average day and week look like as a graphic design student?

Each course and year group follow a different weekly structure. My daily and weekly routine is dynamic but it does have a structured balance. On a Monday, I engage in studio contact time where I work on my current project amongst my peers. I also get the opportunity to consult with my lecturers on my work and receive their feedback and assistance. Also on a Monday, I have contextual research sessions, which involve our written assignment work.

Tuesdays are dedicated to independent study, allowing me to focus on work that needs my attention. Wednesdays bring a blend of industry talks from well-known creatives/studios and contextual research lectures. On a Thursday, we have our crit, which is a session where typically two tutors and around 5 students will attend to showcase our work and receive constructive feedback. I find these sessions enriching to my growth as a graphic designer, and I love seeing how others respond to the brief. I use Fridays as a day for my independent work, where I wrap up everything so that I can have a restful weekend.

How do you make use of the university facilities?

There are a range of different facilities on offer at the university. I use the library often (with over 38,000 books) when I need to loan a book for my contextual research, or just as a quiet place to study.

I will also use the design studio a few times a week, a place where I can bring all my ideas to life with minimal cost. Recently, I attended a foiling workshop at the design studio, where we collaborated with FoilCo and GFSmith. This workshop helped me to develop skills that I later used for a luxury packaging project within the course. The large studio spaces are open Monday-Friday and can still be used outside of our scheduled timetable. I often go into the studio with my friends to get work done.

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Discuss your creative approach and the factors that inspire and motivate you?

I like to make connections between subjects to create clever and thoughtful designs. Chris Clarke is the Creative Director at The Guardian designing thought provoking front covers that use clever typography and imagery. The imaginative integration of these elements makes his designs stimulating and witty. During my first year, I drew a lot of inspiration from his front covers.

Furthermore, I am inspired by Rachel Joy Price, who is a type letter artist. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have attended her guest lecture during my first year at Norwich. Speaking as an alumnus, her presentation was not only highly motivating but also incredibly empowering. I resonate with her use of vibrant colour combinations and bright designs, which align with my own personal style. Additionally, her work for huge brands such as Galaxy, Alpro and Taylors of Harrogate adds an extra layer of inspiration to her amazing work.

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In what ways has the course enhanced your skills and equipped you to shape the future?

Although I had an initial understanding of Photoshop before joining the university, the workshops for BA (Hons) Graphic Design students have significantly enhanced my skillset. The taught sessions conducted each week within the Design Studio, are led by highly skilled technicians. They specifically focus on the Adobe platforms that are essential for my ongoing projects. I consider these workshops to be an extremely beneficial aspect of the course, as they have provided me with the necessary skills I need for my studies and the industry.

“My university experience has been an enriching journey, where I’ve gained more insight into my craft, myself as a person and others than the entirety of my education beforehand.”

Freya Milligan, BA (Hons) Graphic Design student

What has been your favourite moment of your course experience so far?

The annual graphics Christmas party is the highlight for me so far. It is a fantastic gathering featuring a DJ, food and drinks. This is hosted in our studio by our lecturers to celebrate the achievements each student has accomplished throughout the year.

What advice would you offer to someone thinking about pursing their studies in Norwich?

I would highly recommend prospective students that are interested in Norwich University of The Arts to participate in an open day. An open day offers a comprehensive insight into what it would be like to study and live in Norwich. I found that my opinions of every university I considered to change significantly once I had visited them in person. So, if I had to give any advice to anyone thinking about studying in Norwich, it would be to come to one of the open days.

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Do you have any plans for the future once you graduate?

My aspiration is to join the graphic design industry, in a position that specialises in branding. I am confident that this type of environment will allow me to grow in a professional sense and contribute to the development on my own style. Ultimately, I envision myself transitioning into freelance work, allowing me to take my work with me around the world.

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Student work by Jack Shorter shows mockups of branding for a tinned drink

Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Learn how to generate creative and effective design solutions for a range of industries on Norwich’s Creative Skillset accredited BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree course.

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Designed gin bottle with the words 'Enigma' on by BA Graphic Design graduate Tom Baines


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BA Graphic Design work by Lauren Kirby showing 3 bottles of mocked up Body Shop liquids with designed labels

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