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    Hi everyone!

    My name is Matt and I study Graphic Design at Middlesex University.

    As well as this I am also the course ambassador for this course, so I'm around to help you answer any questions or queries about Graphic Design and what it's like to be a student at Middlesex (from a student's perspective!)
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    Here is a list of some general questions asked about the Graphic Design course at Middlesex University. If you have any more questions than this, or want to know anything else, please ask!



    How does the application process work?



    You will need to get together a portfolio of work (at least 10 A3 or A2 sheets where you’ve laid out work) which you will then bring a long with you to your interview. It’s recommended you bring a range of work so you can show a scope of what you can do. It’s also recommended to bring final work; however, I would also recommend bringing along some process sheets– to show how you got to one or two of the final pieces. Normally the interviews are very informal and you’ll be asked a few questions about work, what design means to you etc and the tutor/interviewer will often give their feedback on your work which you should take note of.



    Does the teaching happen in big classes?



    At Middlesex, Graphic Design is done in a mixture of seminars, lectures and workshops so at some points you will be working in a large group, though mostly you’ll be working in smaller groups/seminars.

    On this course you get a good amount of tutor feedback and will be working with the same tutors’ week in and week out, so you’ll know each other very well by the end of the first year!



    Will I have many exams?



    No, the Graphic Design course has no exams. As the course is based on coursework, you will instead be working on multiple projects at a time throughout the year (as this would be expected of a designer working in the industry) and your grades will be a result of your final outcomes and project work. In the final year your mark will be decided by your Final Major Project, other project grades and your final dissertation.



    Will I have school every day?



    You will normally get one day off a week, but you are expected to be working every day as there will be seminars for different projects on different days of the week. This course is very full on as you will be working on multiple projects at once so it is expected you come for these seminars and work alongside your course-mates. Don’t be put off by this, the course simulates what the real world would be like for someone working in the industry– if you’re not busy then you’re not working hard enough!



    So is the course mostly practical?



    Yes it is, although you will have lectures and seminars once a week on contextual/theoretical art studies, normally alongside Photography and Illustration students.



    Will I have to spend lots of money on books?



    On art books? Not unless you want to! Having your own personal library of inspiration books is a good thing in my opinion, however there is also a fantastic library at Middlesex with a huge creative floor which will give you most resources you need for research. When it comes to sketchbooks, again that is up to you. Normally when you’ve been studying art you’re told to make a sketchbook that is normally a book. On this course you can do that, or you could present your work on A3 spreads, print outs, a collection of small books or a mix of all the above. It is up to you on how to present your work.



    Any top tips I should know?



    If you don’t know about typography, or even if you do a little, then look into it more. Really research type and how it’s used, how it can be used and how different fonts can change the whole meaning of a design. Often underestimated by new students, typography is a bedrock of design that is just as important as the imagery you’re using.



    The next top tip is never stop looking for inspiration. No artist or designer knows everything so always look into creative things going on that are going on. I recommend looking at sites such as Behance and Abzudeezoo.
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    Hi guys!

    I'm going to be doing a weekly blog post through this thread giving you all examples of things I've been up to, and things you can look forward to once you arrive at MDX.

    So, what have I been up this week?

    This week has been a pretty hectic week for me– I've had my first project deadline. So, about my first project. In comparison to first year, where you do a variety of projects to get an understanding and learn more advanced fundamentals of the craft, in second year the projects you get are more open ended. What I mean by that is that you have more options and more independence in what you decide to do, rather than have the tutors guide you the whole way (which they start to stop doing towards the end of first year).

    For example, the first project hand in I had this week was for the 'Creative Conscience' awards which is about encouraging designers to make creative solutions to issues they believe are affecting the world– so that design isn't always just grouped together with advertising or selling products to people. Our brief was to make a campaign or deal with an issue that covers at least three mediums (for example, a product, social media and a magazine). I decided to do a project around Automation, while a friend of mine did their's about Heart Disease. I made a 2.30 minute animation (self-taught for this project) whilst others designed products. For this brief we could do anything we wanted (as long as it was good and made sense, of course). And for this project there is even a chance we could get shortlisted for the actual competition, which is another motivator in doing the best you can do!

    Tutors saw us once a week in a seminar where they gave us their feedback– so just because the projects are more open ended doesn't mean you stop getting tutor feedback.

    The hand-in went well, and the final feedback was excellent (And gave me more to consider if I were to do the project again- or perhaps be shortlisted) so overall a great week!

    Hope you all had a great week as well,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    My Week (14/11/16)

    This week has been a slightly different from the norm week for me– it was events week! What is events week you ask?

    Events week is a week where instead of normal lectures and seminars we instead do something different for the first three days. So instead of normal projects, this Monday we had a one-off workshop which we picked from a list, had visiting speakers from industry come and talk to us on Tuesday and on Wednesday we went to an exhibition at the V&A. It was great!

    The workshop I opted to do for Monday was life drawing, which is something I think all creatives should try at least once– especially if you have any interest in illustration or drawing. We all draw, we all doodle, but there's something about life drawing that is about capturing the essence of the person modelling which I find really interesting. I also find it interesting how people feel as if it needs to look life like; that it needs to be obviously a person. At the end of the day, we're making marks on paper and how you do them and how they look is up to you. It's good for anatomy and it's good for understanding how different marks convey different looks (Which can be taken into any design medium) and it's good for getting messy, which I personally think us Graphic Designers need to do more often! The other workshops on offer were paper marbling, book binding and calligraphy. They change each year, but when you get to this stage you have plenty of options available to you!

    Tuesday was great as we heard from a visiting professional from industry and then from past students who tell us about their experience in industry and show us what they've been up to. The latter is especially important– it shows you the endgame, the reason for why you're studying and that it is possible. Last year we had someone who worked at Apple, someone who worked at Pentagram (look them up, an amazing design studio) and this year we had someone who works for Hugo Boss in their shoe design department– and then we had people who worked for as freelancers or for smaller design agencies which then worked for large household brands. It was inspiring and made me excited to work in industry once I graduate from the course.

    And on Wednesday we went to a fantastic exhibition at the V&A called 'You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970' which is all about how have 'the finished and unfinished revolutions of the late 1960s changed the way we live today and think about the future?'. It's an interactive exhibition about 60s music, art and style where they give you a headset which plays music that changes as you go through the exhibition and it makes you think about the deeper meanings to music and things produced during that time period.

    And then the week continued as normal with our workshops and study day on Friday.

    I hope you've all had a great week, and if you have any questions about the course then please get in touch!

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    My Week (21/11/16)

    Hi guys!

    This week has been really interesting– brand new project briefings!

    On the Graphic Design course you have opportunities in second year to enter competitions, and as well as Creative Conscience Awards you get the chance to be shortlisted into the D&AD awards which is the Oscars for design. If you don’t know about them I recommend looking them up.

    We were given two briefings this week– D&AD and a Branding project. D&AD have a ‘New Blood’ award system which is about encouraging young designers, and to enter you have to pick a brief from a list they offer you. The list is diverse and are given by a wide range of sponsors from Amazon to John Lewis, Adobe to the BBC and they often give work placements/internships to the winners for their briefs– another incentive to do well!

    It’s an exciting prospect and opportunity, and I can’t wait to start it.

    I hope you've all had a great week, and if you have any questions about the course then please get in touch!

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    My Week (28/11/16)

    Hi guys!

    This week has been spent balancing the different projects we've been assigned, and finalising one project for it's final hand-in next week.

    On Monday this week we continued with the first seminar on our branding project, where we given a local business and given the task of rebranding it however we see fit... making sure it suits the message and the company you were given, of course. I was given a local Persian restaurant to rebrand. I know very little about Iranian/Persian culture or food, so while this could be a drawback I can look on this project with entirely fresh eyes (plus, I'm looking forward to learning more about this culture and it's food!). This session we discussed our current, early stage ideas, which follows our initial research into similar businesses, the business itself and by generating a moodboard for inspiration about how we could possibly take it forward. We also had to come up with five 'brand words' to sum up what the company wants to be, i.e. 'modern', 'friendly' etc.

    We've been tasked with developing these initial ideas further and to generate possible font/typographic ideas alongside pictograms– two different styles of logo/branding design.

    For Wednesday, as well having a seminar, I also had a self-imposed deadline for one of the final outcomes for the project due next week. For the project, and my take on it, I decided that one outcome would be a broadsheet newspaper... which is hard to make by yourself in the way I wanted it to look. Reproduction Graphics can print on thin paper, but sometimes printers don't take newsprint (they are a specialised make of printer), and to make it in the print room (on silk screens at A1 spreads, x12 with two layers minimum so x24 screens) would take me a week if I only went to the print room which isn't possible, sadly. So I decided to outsource it to an external printer (5 copies, £30, very reasonable price) with the deadline for it arriving on time being this Wednesday just gone, at 2pm. With projects you have the final deadline, but sometimes it is useful to have your own deadlines for reasons such as this but also to help manage your spare time.

    I'll let you know next week how the newspapers look!

    Hope you're all having a great week, if you have any questions about the course please let me know!

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    My Week (05/12/16)

    Hey guys!

    So this week has been primarily based around the final hand-in for my Wednesday project- and it was really interesting! As well as this I continued working on developments for my Monday project and Thursday ‘Motion Graphics’ workshop.

    On Monday I had developed more options for the Persian restaurant rebrand I’m doing for my ‘Branding’ project. I went to the V&A museum last Sunday and looked at some medieval-era Iranian design for reference as well as looking into modern design styles, as well as researching cultural elements of Iran. I looked into things such as ‘the evil eye’ (a blue pendant about repelling a third, invisible evil) and Iranian folk heroes which I could incorporate into the branding. One route that I developed revolved around the evil eye and got the approval of the tutor and my seminar group, as well as the idea of developing some repeating patterns to accompany that design idea. When things progress a bit further I can show you guys some before and after images!

    Wednesday was the hand in for our 10-week project, and it was quite different from a normal hand-in. We had to present our work out on the tables and then we got the opportunity to go and look at what everyone else had produced. On a project such as this, even when you’re bouncing off of other people for feedback and inspiration you don’t know what everyone is doing, so it was fascinating seeing what everyone made! There were some similar concepts (thematically) that were presented in such different visual methods and it was great seeing the diversity of work. After that we went round one-by-one giving a very quick summary of what we’ve done and why before the two tutors gave quick feedback on what we’ve done. We will get proper feedback sheets, it was just so that we weren’t there for two days!

    Next week I’m in Budapest on a trip with the University, so it’ll be very different from previous weeks, and I’m looking forward to telling you about what I see over there!

    Hope you’re all well, and remember if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    My Week (12/12/16)

    Hey guys!

    Different week from the norm this time– I was away in Budapest with the university... and it was amazing!

    From Monday to Thursday I was away in Budapest with my course, and it was such a good experience. Last year was a trip to Berlin, which I sadly could not make, but each year the course tries to book trips to foreign cities (at a reasonable price for us!). I knew very little about Budapest, or Hungary for that matter, so jumped at the chance to go. When you're over there the course organises optional activities for us to go to (i.e. go to a Museum or Art Gallery) which they pay entry for, or you are allowed to just go and explore the city with your coursemates. It's encouraged to go for a wander around, and I did both the activities and the exploring and I highly recommend going to Budapest as it's a beautiful city– especially at this time of year with all the the Christmas markets around.

    Friday I spent recovering from travel and catching up on projects in bed as when the trips are on it's a reading week for the course (no set seminars or workshops) as not everyone is able to go or can afford to go.

    I had a fantastic week, and I hope you guys did too!

    If you have any questions not resolved in the FAQ, please feel free to ask!

    All the best,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    19/12/16

    Hey guys!

    This week has been, primarily, spent catching up on project work that I missed out on while I was in Budapest last week. As it gets colder I’ve spent this time working at home, as most of my coursemates have started to head off home as Budapest was our last official week– so instead of a studio environment, I’ve been working like a freelancer! It’s nice working in your own space sometimes, although I am looking forward to coming back in the noise and discussion you get at Middlesex. So while I am officially on my holidays, I am trying to keep up with project work before I go home myself and take a break!

    If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    26/12/16

    Hey guys!

    Christmas day has just gone, and I spent the day eating good food and enjoying some much needed time with family. It’s important to take breaks, so I’m enjoying being able to kick back for a bit. I still have coursework to keep up with, which I’ve been doing in small chunks spread out over the week, as being back at home (and travelling to see close friends) doesn’t leave much time for work. So I'm making good use of proper time management!

    If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    03/01/17

    Hey guys!

    First week of the New Year!

    I came back from home to London and have been getting back into the swing of things in this last week of winter holidays to do more coursework! And after a break, it’s good to be getting back into it again and to properly spend time working on the subject. I’ve got a new project starting up, so I’ve been researching for that which is the all-important D&AD awards for this year. I chose the brief regarding the BBC and the Edinburgh Fringe, which means researching into technology and ways of distributing information and how to get people involved. Graphic Design, it’s not just making posters! (Really, it’s not.)

    Hope you’ve all had a good winter break, and I can’t wait to start back at Middlesex next Monday.

    If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    This thread has been really helpful, thankyou!
    Got an interview soon, very nervous!
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    (Original post by aboib)
    This thread has been really helpful, thankyou!
    Got an interview soon, very nervous!
    Hi, Aboib!

    Glad to hear it's helping, and well done on getting the interview!

    Why are you nervous? Is there anything you'd like to know about the process that I haven't already addressed?

    Hope I can help!

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    (Original post by Matt at MDX)
    Hi, Aboib!

    Glad to hear it's helping, and well done on getting the interview!

    Why are you nervous? Is there anything you'd like to know about the process that I haven't already addressed?

    Hope I can help!

    - Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
    you mentioned in your post to be aware of typography. I was taught the basics (like, serif, foot, base) of the font but is there anything you recommend I look at as a crash course? Or any typography artists in particular? I'm aware of Eric Gill but that's it really...?
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    (Original post by aboib)
    you mentioned in your post to be aware of typography. I was taught the basics (like, serif, foot, base) of the font but is there anything you recommend I look at as a crash course? Or any typography artists in particular? I'm aware of Eric Gill but that's it really...?
    Honestly, I would saw you are already aware of typography if you know some of the terminology already– when I started at MDX I knew very little, which is why the first project you do is a crash course on it.

    But if you want to be more aware I would look around online at inspiration sites such as Behance, Pinterest, Dribbble etc and just look at how people use type and how it can be used to convey meanings.

    A few people who I like particuarly for their use of typography are: David Pearson, Stefan Sagmeister and Luke Lucas, if you want a few to start looking at!

    Hope I've managed to help a bit

    - Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
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    20/01/17

    Hey guys!

    Is it really only the second week back? Been working so much on the projects I've lost track of time!

    This week we continued on the three main projects we have as normal (Branding, D&AD and our Thursday workshops) by going to seminars to get feedback, however there were some changes from what we normally do.
    On Monday our normal tutor was away with the university so we had a guest tutor in– who had given us a branding workshop at the start of the project and has tons of industry experience! You can get attached to hearing what one person says and taking it as gospel, so having someone else feedback on your work (and who had never seen it before) is extremely valuable in approaching your work from a different angle. Hearing his feedback really helped me evaluate what I was trying to explore in this branding project as his feedback came from seeing it as it was– unlike our other tutor who has seen our research and how we got to where we were, he didn't have this prior knowledge so judged it more openly.

    Before our D&AD seminar on Wednesday we had a guest lecturer come in and give us a talk about his experience and life in industry, which was really interesting as he came from a very particular part of the industry– the music industry! One of the many things MDX is really good at is getting in visiting speakers to share their experience, and they are always so different and approach things in such different ways that it proves how unique you can be when it is your time to shine in the real world.

    Hope you've all had a good week, and if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    29/01/17

    Hey guys!

    So this week we had something a bit different, but something very valuable: tutorial week. During this week we have a meeting with one of our tutors (they organise it) for half an hour, and basically have a chat about how well we think we're doing, if we have any issues, any feedback on work etc etc.

    My tutorial was on Monday, and was with a tutor I haven't had on a project before as she'd just joined the staff a few weeks ago (and took over the other groups Branding project, not mine). Some people may get disheartened at that sort of thing, but I think it's a great opportunity– she could look over my work with completely fresh eyes and judge the work by itself. I got some really useful feedback and am going to look over my branding project with a broader idea of where I could go with it.

    As my tutorial was on Monday I had the 'rest of the week off', which isn't true. The rest of the week is spent working on projects still, just without the normal seminars.

    Hope you've all had a great week!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
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    05/02/17

    Hey guys!

    This week was a return to the norm after the week of tutorials, so I've spent this week continuing on projects– in particular on Branding and D&AD as the deadlines for these are coming up in two weeks.

    On Thursday we started our latest workshop block, and this time I've traded in Motion Media for Magazine design. The project has a very open brief allowing wide interpretation for the different 'features' available (for example, 'Conflict' is one. It could be about War, or more philosophical). Editorial design is an area I've always been interested in, so I'm looking forward to be able to properly sink my teeth into it once Branding and D&AD come to a close.

    Hope you've all had a great week!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
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    thank you for this thread, it's been very useful! i've got a conditional offer (since i'll be done with my final exams in july) without an interview on skype or anything, they've just asked for my online portfolio and i was really surprised about the outcome!
    however, from what i'm seeing every week day of yours is full of project work. it might sound exaggerated, but do you have free time? although it's something you're passionate about, doesn't it get stressful? i, for one, get really anxious seeing my big assignments overlap and get quite panicked.
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    12/02/17

    Hey guys!

    So, a busy week last week- but when is it not?

    It's been feeling particularly hectic as the deadlines for both Branding and D&AD are next week. I'm feeling confident about both projects and the amount of work I've done, but deadlines are deadlines- you always feel like you need to do more!

    Which brings me to a question asked to me this week, which I haven't had a chance to address directly, by a user on here who was wondering how the work life balance is for the course– which is really important to know!

    First off, the working week is typically 4 days, with one day off for either paid work or free time or up to you– so you're not obliged to be in every day. You need to be for your seminars, it goes without saying, but there should be a free day for you. Secondly, I do have free time! Lots of it in fact, but using it wisely is the real skill. Seminars take up a chunk of the day, but then you have the rest of it to do what you like. It's recommended you keep working, but it's up to you. Somedays you do, and somedays you don't- it's really a personal judgement call on how you're feeling. I think it's really important to take time for yourself (no matter how passionate you are about something, everyone needs a break) the key is realising when you're taking too much. So the work life balance is fair, perhaps tilted more to work- but you get free time, don't worry.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

    Thanks,

    Matt

    Middlesex Course Ambassador
    Graphic Design
 
 
 
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