14 June 2018
Modernists, medical communications and magazines: Nick Stone shares the experiences that have prepared him for industry
Degree Show Spotlight Series
Throughout his BA Graphic Design degree, Nick Stone has worked with publications and businesses across Manchester. Now, with his final year project is on display in our Degree Show, Nick reflects on his experiences at Manchester School of Art and his development as a designer.
Nick is part of our Degree Show Spotlight series, which highlights the work of some of the talented students exhibiting their work. Want to find out about other designers exhibiting work? Discover Katie Jone's final year project with a purpose.
‘When I arrived here, I was instantly struck by how differently people work here.’
Having previously started another course elsewhere, I’ve really noticed a big change in my thinking. It’s not all about how the final piece looks; it’s about what I’m communicating, and ensuring there is a strong concept underpinning everything I do.
Nothing in my work is there just for the sake of it. Manchester School of Art encourages us to question what constitutes as Graphic Design, especially through Unit X, which has brought me new friends and has allowed me to branch out in the work I do.
‘This is what I’ve found art school to be all about; jumping into new areas.’
Before first year, I’d never tried letterpress – now I’m a regular down there, with most of my projects involving at least one day of experimenting in the workshop.
Even if I don’t end up using these in the final outcome, I still find it a useful part of the process. It’s really enabled me to understand using letterforms in new and unconventional ways, and it’s much more interesting than just staring at a computer screen for a whole project.
‘I’ve also developed a unique style while studying here, and my work now focuses more on editorial design a typography.’
This has led me to work on aAh! Magazine, the rebrand of Manchester Metropolitan University’s student-run publication Humanity Hallows. Leading the team for aAh! was a new challenge for me, as it put what I thought I knew to the test, in terms of both graphic design and people skills.
It was stressful, but the industry experience from my tutor John Walsh really rubbed off on us and a real studio atmosphere developed as the project went on.
Outside Manchester School of Art, this year I’ve been working with Travor Johnson at Havas Lynx, a Manchester-based global healthcare communications group. Also, a real treat for me has been working with the Modernist Society, who run the Modernist Magazine, a favourite of mine since arriving here. These are both examples of how the tutors’ ongoing links with industry have been invaluable, with these real world experiences allowing me to put into practice what I’ve learned on the course.
‘As I approach the end of my time here, I have noticed that my personal and professional practices have fused, as I have had the freedom to just do what I enjoy doing.’
After completing my dissertation on political graphic design, I’ve been trying to get myself involved in causes that are close to me. In particular, I’ve started a series of newspapers, the first focusing on fake news and the second, which I’ve just completed as part of Unit X, focused on Brexit.
This project is now being supported by ‘For our Future’s Sake’, a group of students and young people across the UK, working together to make sure Brexit works for us. After the encouragement I’ve received here, my opinions will carry on informing my work, even as I make the transition into industry.