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Read about Amy's
journey into design

Growing up in a small town, I convinced myself that art was not a ‘credible career’ even though I excelled most in my art classes. Going to an all-girls school, we would have external speakers encourage us to peruse career in STEM. This was great, however where did I fit in? I consequently felt that my art was just a hobby and to succeed I needed to focus on other subjects.

Succumbing to pressures from school and family, I ended up choosing to apply to Biology undergraduate courses. Nothing about this appealed to me, I dreaded the thought of committing and secretly hoped I wouldn’t get a place. I still spent an incredible amount of time making sure I got a good grade in my Art A-Level, staying late after school until I was kicked out by caretakers. My hard work was rewarded when I was asked to work on hand-painted signage for a local festival after they had seen my coursework on social media. They allowed me to give my input in terms of events planning and artistic direction which I found valuable for finding my voice as an artist.

I had a newfound confidence and decided to take the plunge in changing my university applications to Art and Design. However, on results day, I found myself having to look through clearing after being rejected by my choices. I felt disappointed and embarrassed and was knocked back to square one. After A LOT of pep talks from my parents, I went back to the festival to paint signs and worked two jobs in hospitality, saving up money to travel. Whist in Australia I continued to practice my art, eventually deciding to apply to University of the Arts London (UAL) again even though they had previously rejected me. This time they sent me back a proposition, if I agreed to do a foundation course in an art subject, I would be considered for an interview for the following year. This was all I needed to give me direction and consequently applied for a fine art foundation at Northumbria University. The following year, I had secured my interview at UAL, and they offered me a place on their Graphic Design undergraduate course.

My first year was completely remote because of the COVID-19 lockdowns but this didn’t deter my determination to do well and prove myself and so I taught myself the Adobe Creative Suite from my bedroom. Going into second year, I felt enthusiastic to finally be able to meet my tutors and course mates face-to-face. However, it was not what I hoped it would be and collaborating with my peers resulted in the emergence of Imposter Syndrome. A lot of students had much more experience than me and had the ‘big city’ confidence. I wondered if I had made the right choice at all, but after 3 years, a lot of hard work and many sleepless nights, I graduated with a first-class degree. This is my proudest achievement to date.

Post-university is terrifying. The creative job pool is incredibly overcrowded, and it was challenging to not compare myself to more confident male counterparts. A lot of agencies seemed male dominated on the forefront – which made me wonder once again if I would fit in. Alongside working full time in a café, I took on some freelance work for the festival back in my hometown but this time doing graphic work, all contributing to my portfolio.

Fast forward to now, I feel incredibly lucky to be a Design Intern with Silver Agency just 5 months after graduating. I am thankful to be kickstarting my career in a team of inspiring creatives that not only continue to show their endless support and encouragement, but is also stacked with amazing female talent. Being surrounded by incredibly strong designers has helped greatly with my personal development and my creative confidence has never been higher. I am excited to see what the rest of the year has in store and I’m eager to learn as much as I can to be the best designer I can be.

I know ‘little me’ wouldn’t quite believe how far I have come in believing in my creative abilities. It goes to show that you should never give up on a dream and you can quite literally – create the belief.