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second year

Forget the “terrible twos” this year can be really great. You're no longer the new kids on the block, and you do not have the third year sword of Damocles hanging over you.

This is the year to work hard, genuinely experiment, go deeper into individual areas/pieces of work. Maybe start to specialise (more than just the pathway you are in), and/or start sel directed pieces of work. Generally you will be given longer to complete briefs and of course you will be expected to finish them to a higher standard.

Use the toys the college has on offer. If you did not do much work in printmaking, bookbinding, photography, computers etc., during the first year, do it now. This year can be very beneficial to your future career as you can take major creative risks without a client wanting to know what went wrong, if a project does not work out. It is a time when you can really specialise (even if only temporarily) in some of the subjects graphic design has to offer.

But this freedom can have a price. You will need to be much more self disciplined than in the foundation- setting first year, as there is far less formal supervision in the second year. It is easy to allow a small amount of work to take all the time available, and thus you end up with little to show for the second year. As a result you enter the final year very stressed at having to work extremely hard just to catch up, besides completing your final year work.

future planning
Currently there is an option to do a year in work placement and make your course into a four year one. If you plan to do this, make sure your grant authority knows about this and will cover your extra year. By its nature, work placement places are limited and are allocated on merit. This means that, in general, your work should be of a good standard and that you have attend regularly. You may be asked to complete a special project in addition to your normal work to aid selection. You will in effect become an ambassador for the college, so the college wants to make sure it sends out committed students.

At or around Christmas you have the opportunity toswap or stay in part of the course, plus two extra options are available to you of Interactive Design and Moving Image-choose wisely in the disco!


This is also time to start making plans for your degree show, both individually and as a group. You could begin thinking about possible themes/venues for the show. If you are planning to have a well-printed catalogue it is a good thing to start saving as a group now. Similarly any outside venue will need to be booked and paid for.

During the spring term it is worth thinking about if you would like to do a work experience placement and take the four-year option of the course.

Towards the end of the year you might also consider if you wish to go on to do a MA. If you do, then the summer term is the time to begin preparing your portfolio. MA interviews in general start at the beginning of the spring term in your final year.

do some graphics work over the summer
This is particularly important if you are planning to apply to the R.C.A. or other MA course. But even if you are not, it is a really good way to start the term. All too often final year students find themselves surrounded by unfinished projects, which can be very depressing. Imagine how nice it would feel to have one in the bag right at the beginning of term. Also the print rooms, computer rooms and photography are rarely busy at the beginning of the autumn term and you will get all the advice/time you need. You could then have the satisfaction of getting your work printed quickly, while you start new final year projects.

Make sure you take a summer break. It is very important to come back to college rested and in a creative frame of mind. Having said that, the summer is probably your last opportunity to really boost your funds before entering the final year.

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