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In conversation with: Jade Borley, BA (Hons) Design for Publishing student

Jade is a mature BA (Hons) Design for Publishing student, with a background working in the fine art industry. She talks to us about what it’s like to study her course at Norwich. 

Photo by Emily Wilson

Why did you choose to study at Norwich?

I was looking for a graphic design course, as I was interested in branding, and applied to Norwich and two London based universities. I’m from North Norfolk and familiar with Norwich, so I ideally wanted to move down south. However, I was drawn to Norwich University of the Arts from their personal response to my application. I was made to feel like an individual rather than just a number, which was the feeling I got from my other applications. 

The graphics courses at Norwich offer the opportunity to change your degree as you go into second year, without having to retake your first year. I changed from BA (Hons) Graphic Design to BA (Hons) Design for Publishing, as my first year projects made me realise that this was the career route I preferred.

The tutors and academics at the university value your individuality and support your individual journey as a creative practitioner. Norwich is a gorgeous, town-like city. It’s big enough to explore, yet small enough to build relationships with those around you. The independents in Norwich is what makes the city unique and friendly.

Student housing is really easy to find. I lived in halls for my first two years, and now live in private accommodation with friends from uni. There’s an abundance of cosy pubs and bars that host live music nights, which is right up my street. I feel very safe in the city, even at night, and I love how accessible it is with the airport and train station.

What does your average week look like as a Design for Publishing student?

My average week at university as a third year student typically starts with studio practise, independent learning and utilising the collaborative space at university. On a Tuesday I attend contextual research seminars with small group sessions which focus on our written research essays. Lectures from industry professionals happen on a Wednesday and Thursdays are our independent learning days. Finally, I end the week with a group critique session which takes place on a Friday where we share our progress with tutors and peers. This schedule does vary for additional learning opportunities, but it’s regular enough that I can timetable my work into it.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I look for inspiration everywhere, taking in my daily surroundings and refining the art of noticing. Because of my love for fine art, I’ll often attend exhibitions at The Sainsbury’s Centre of visual arts, which is just a fifteen-minute bike ride to the University of East Anglia. I also go to East Gallery, which is part of Norwich University of the Arts campus. London is just a couple of hours on the train too, so I am never far away from a gallery visit.

I’m also inspired by indie magazines and have a bit of a collection going now. The lecture series we have on a Wednesday means that we are constantly exposed to new designers and practitioners, and it gives us an insight into industries that we may not have been familiar with beforehand. We have timetabled career sessions which enable us to work towards a career path that we’re interested in.

Right from first year we are encouraged to consider our portfolio and CV, and have industry standard sessions to help us with this. There are drop-in sessions too where you can discuss your career options with professionals, and they can advise you on the next steps to take, including going self-employed!

“I can honestly say that the course and the tutors do everything in their power to assist us in getting a job in our chosen field straight from graduation.”

Jade Borley, Design for Publishing student

What facilities have you used whilst studying at Norwich?

The facilities at the university are pretty extensive. I’ve used the print workshops and the textile rooms in St. Georges to knit and sew book covers I’ve designed. I’ve made use of the photography studios to take product photos of my outcomes. I mostly use the facilities in the design studio, which are essentially printers of every description. I’ve printed booklets using their extensive range of paper stock, used metallic foil to embellish, printed vinyl stickers, and used the laser cutter to engrave onto wood. The technicians in the design studio are brilliant and can assist with any project you have.

If someone is considering pursing a Design for Publishing degree at Norwich, what advice would you give?

I would advise anyone considering studying at Norwich to take every opportunity thrown at them, as there’s so many great ones! One of my highlights from studying here is being commissioned by the university to design a guidebook of Norwich for applicants. I’ve had complete creative freedom and the opportunity to publish a piece of work before graduating!

Norwich University of the Arts is the ideal place to study to work on your individuality within your creative practice, and curate your talents to stand out.

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Design for Publishing BA (Hons)

Learn to create compelling, effective and beautifully-designed print and digital products on Norwich’s BA (Hons) Design for Publishing degree course.

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