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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

George Lavender BA Graphic Arts, 2012

Designer at Mother New York

George Lavender's Photo

Winchester is a beautiful and historic town, close enough to the hustle and bustle of Southampton but less distracting and more peaceful. The fact that there is another university I the same area provides a richer youth culture, too.

The best part of my course was being able to explore multiple disciplines before picking a speciality. The small size of the school allows for good quality time with tutors. There’s also excellent print facilities; screen-printing was one of my favourites.

WSA taught me a great deal about how to think logically and solve problems with creative solutions, and to always push the boundaries of what you might be capable of in a commercial environment. It also taught me not to be afraid of making mistakes, at any stage of your career. If there’s no element of risk in your creative work, then chances are it’s been done before.

I now work as a Designer for Mother New York – a design director from Mother London came to WSA in our second year to brief us on a live project. I stayed in touch with him and made contact after graduation, after which I secured a 3-month placement in their London offices. That eventually turned into a permanent position at Mother London for 5 years, until I transferred to their New York office in 2017.

My role focuses on concept driven design and art direction across a range of disciplines, including branding and identity, packaging, environmental, digital and motion design. I get to work with clients such clients as Nike, BBC, New York Fashion Week, Plenish, Barbican, Save the Children and Design Museum.

My projects at Mother often blur the line between branding and communications. As a design studio within an advertising agency, we have the capacity to collaborate with the wider agency team and see concepts through to full execution.

Eventually I can see myself switching from agency side to in-house. But I’d like to develop my own brand, create the intellectual property and fully build the creative from the ground-up.

My advice to students wishing to study BA Graphic Arts is to put yourself out there as much as possible. Say yes to every opportunity, try out different work environments, keep learning new skills, and don’t ever settle until you have all of the answers. The first few months of any job will be the steepest learning curve, adjusting to the culture of a professional studio is almost as important as your own abilities.

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