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We Are MA: Marla Di Poto, MA Communication Design

Marla Di Poto travelled from the USA to study MA Communication Design at Norwich University of the Arts. Here she shares her first impressions of Norwich and her experience of MA study. 

Marla Di Poto

What motivated you to study MA Communication Design at NUA?

I previously studied in London which initially influenced my decision to return to the UK to study for my master’s degree. After some online searches of UK art and design schools, the quaint village-like images of Norwich I saw definitely persuaded me to study at NUA specifically.

In terms of the course itself, I valued the openness of the MA Communication Design as I felt that I would be able to explore a variety of areas or topics, being that I am interested in graphic design within the fashion and beauty industries.

What were you doing before starting your MA?

I had just graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I minored in graphic design but felt that I wanted to further specialise in the graphic design area and develop my skills further.

In what ways does MA study feel different to previous study?

It is a bit difficult to compare my studies in the US to this program in the UK, as our education systems are different in structure. However, now that I have grasped the system, I would say that on the whole this MA course is different in the vast freedom that it provides.

In my undergraduate degree I was often given assignments with strict guidelines and requirements, whereas now I feel that these are much looser and open to interpretation for each person.

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Can you tell us about your practice?

Going into the program, I would say generally that my practice revolved around specialising in graphic design within the context of the fashion and beauty industries.

While this is still true, through further exploration of these industries within the program, I have discovered the value I place on whimsy and joy. My ultimate goal through my practice would be to inspire people to see clothing and makeup as outlets to bring people together through a sense of creativity and fun.

Why do you think good design is important?

In a general sense, “good” design can make our lives easier, make things clearer and more organised and make people feel something.

Yet, I think one thing I’ve taken away from this course is really the fact that, while there are certain principles to design, there really is no such thing as “good design”. For me, for my designs to be “good”, I would just hope that I make people smile or inspire them to have fun with their appearance.

“The UK is a great place for anyone with a love for history, art, architecture and culture.”

What was your impression of Norwich and NUA when you arrived?

Being more familiar with London, it was definitely a bit of a shock how small Norwich is as a city. However, I loved the old-world charm that it has. When I first arrived, I loved browsing for vintage clothing and walking around the market.

What advice do you have for someone overseas who might be considering studying the arts in the UK?

As a practical piece of advice, I would say to start planning early and be organised with everything related to the visa and overall application process.

Otherwise, I would say that the UK is a great place for anyone with a love for history, art, architecture and culture. There is a great mix of urban and rural destinations across the country, so there really is a place for everyone. For me, the UK has been one of my favourite places that I have travelled to and I always highly recommend it to everyone who has not yet been.

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