How I became a Graphic Designer From Porthcawl

January 20, 2023

How did I, George Schofield become a graphic designer from Porthcawl, South Wales?

It all started with playing video games and really wanting to look cool when I posted in forums. The coolest people had ‘Sigs’ that made them look bad ass. So I got myself a copy of photoshop on Windows XP and started where i could, that was youtube in its glory day. Full of people explaining how to use photoshops basic tools.

From there my school life all started to revolve around design, stemming from IT, Computer Science all the way through to art. However the school didnt really specialise or encourage design other than the few bits that were mandatory for IT. Like using a watermark on publish.

I vividly recall watching Geriant Williams a senior designer at Territory Studio , now an excellent designer create posters in art class with such creativity and originality. Something that was always underrated by the School.

Early Work Experience

Porthcawl doesnt offer much graphic design potential in terms of experience. Fortunately at the time i was in close contact with the surf brand Santa cruz. They allowed me to create a handful of local news paper adverts, and eventually graduating to flash banners with previously drawn artwork.

From there working here and there from warehouse work to house removals and eventually started a surfboard ding repair company with a friend that showed me how a business worked and the skills that i acquired in design may be useful in other fields. Such as branding and web design. With a spark of life for design I started to look into Graphic Design and Univirsity

University and graphic design

I went to University as a mature student. A ripe age of 23. Do I think you need University to become a Graphic Designer? Absolutely not. However, I studied at USW where the course helped develop my design skills, art skills, and confidence. Design school can help you learn processes, to let you understand how to use processes to produce outcomes for briefs. University was a great 3 years for me, and it showed when I graduated with a First Class Honours in Graphic Communication.

Graphic Communication What it taught me :

  • How to use and obtain visual research
  • How speaking to the end users help design
  • To start to think creatively, even on your off days
  • Gain confidence in speaking about work
  • Not taking feedback personally
  • The basic design rules that i would have overlooked
  • How useful the design community is

Getting my first clients through Graphic Design

While studying, I was picking up design work and charging small-time fees, for local businesses in Porthcawl. Things like Leaflets, Web adverts and Business cards. Fortunately, during these little hustles, my first major client fell into my lap. A friend who was already in the world of Graphic design was approached to design a brand system for XITE ENERGY. Unfortunately, the client was not going to fit and was handed over to me. Excited to get this design done right I collaborated with a fellow student. From there we got the brief completed in about 3 days. Charging far to little money it was finally something I could use in a portfolio that would show real-life work! The next stage was showing it off. EVERYWHERE.

Confidence & Evolution

With the confidence, I felt I could go alone in the Graphic Design world with the knowledge I had. Finding clients by posting all over social media and local forums. Over the years I’ve made many mistakes and learned a lot. I’ve bumped into alot of other designers. My advice would be, always learn! Ask Questions, Enjoy learning and change the ways you work. One day you will look back and realize how much better the work you are doing now is (This seems to always happen). I have worked in-house for Cardiff Student Union, and The Royal Mint and picked up a part-time lecturing job with the University of South Wales. Design is full of different career paths. This is my story but if you are trying to chase the dream of becoming a designer. Give me a message or email. I always welcome a chat :)