Katie Jones' FRESH graphic design perspectives
12 June 2018
Degree Show Spotlight Series
Katie Jones' final year work has seen her working with students across Manchester School of Art and other universities across the UK, it has also taken her to the Netherland's to compete in an international competition. She discusses the impactful project that took her there and the degree experiences that influenced her.
Katie is part of our Degree Show Spotlight series that highlights the work of some of he talented students exhibiting in this year's show. Want to discover more student projects? Read about Chantal Barbour's joy-inspired Fashion Art Direction work.
‘I like to see Graphic Design as the perfect opportunity to voice my opinions in a creative and thought provoking way.’
‘My first and second year studying Graphic Design were all about learning new skills I needed to grow as a designer. Not only did I learn this, but I think I grew within myself.
My sensitivity to subjects around me has heightened and third year has enabled me to create work that reflects who I am as a person and things that can be changed to better our world. Both FRESH magazine and the Adidas campaign I developed are both examples of this.
I’d say my specialism lies in layout and editorial design. I really enjoy the endless combinations when working with typography and photography.’
‘Two guest speakers that inspired me massively were Ian Swift (Swifty) and Pali Palavathanon from the branding and digital agency TEMPLO.’
‘Swifty came to take to us at the start of third year and I was more inspired than I’d been for a long time. His work referenced old school jazz and hip hop culture and it was refreshing to see someone’s attitude to design that I felt reflected my own.
He talked to us about how important it is to be constantly creating and feeding our artistic souls and it was the perfect way to enter third year. Swifty’s talk came just before I started working on FRESH magazine and it definitely filled me with the fuel to create something visually delicious and powerful.
Pali Palavathanon was the first guest speaker and designer I had that wasn’t white. Sri Lankan designer Pali came in to the School to talk to us about how powerful graphic design can be. Pali has worked on projects that have helped the homeless and also work which has put an end to injustice and torture in his home country.
His talk filled me with pride and power, which I think has definitely reflected in my own work.’
‘I’ve grown tired of working in a design industry that was severely lacking in ethnic and racial diversity.’
'It took four years before I had my first lecture from a BAME designer, and I felt I needed to do something about it. So, in third year, I started a magazine called FRESH.
FRESH magazine is a celebration of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic designers that exist in the world. I felt that the work of Black and Asian designers was going unnoticed in their field which impacted on my own confidence in relation to entering the art industry.
I began working with Black and Asian artists and designers from all over Manchester School of Art. I photographed and interviewed a huge number of art students, which inevitably led to friendships and connections. It’s been so vital to make these connections because I’ve learnt a lot more about what working life in other disciplines is actually like. It’s also really handy when I need advice about photography or filmmaking to have a content at hand to guide the way.
FRESH magazine has taken me on a journey, I’ve collaborated with students from The University of Manchester and University of Birmingham. It’s becoming clear that my struggles with ethinic diversity within the arts is reflected all over country.
The magazine was then nominated for a Dutch design award – the Spin Awards, which meant that I was able to take this subject to the Netherlands to pitch in front of a huge audience of people. Speaking about this project from people from all over the world has confirmed that what I’m doing needs to be done and it’s given me the confidence to pursue it with passion.
I’m currently in the process of working with a range of Black art students (a film student, a photography student and an architect) to create an event: "The Afro-Asian Invasion" which we hope to showcase the work of BAME students at a larger scale.'
‘Manchester is my home and it’s always been the most reliable source of inspiration for me.’
‘Whenever I feel as though I’ve hit a creative stump, Manchester is the best place to just go for a walk, go to the comedy club or go and sit in a zine library until something comes to me. I thank you Manchester for never failing to inspire.’