Ashley Williamson – PgCert Design for Visual Communication

Ashley Williamson studied on the Postgraduate Certificate Design for Visual Communication course at London College of Communication, graduating in December 2013.

Here we catch up with him to find out about his background, his influences, and his time on the course at LCC.

Why made you choose the Postgraduate Certificate Design for Visual Communication at LCC?

I think this is one of the only courses of its kind; a part-time course at Masters level that welcomes applicants from all walks of life, that teaches the fundamental practical principles of Graphic Design.

I was an actor for 8 years and was looking to make a career change at the ripe old age of 30, properly, with a solid foundation, but without breaking the bank. This course has allowed me to do that.

Stak show branding by Ashley Williamson. Image by Ana Escobar.

Where are you from in the world?

I’m only from the down the road. Originally from Croydon, but now live in East Dulwich. But that’s been via Acton, Hammersmith, Kent, Manchester, Derby, Norfolk, Suffolk, and even China.

What are you working on at the moment?

I have been very fortunate actually in the way things have gone for me so far. When I was given a place on the course, I also got a job at the College which allowed me to shift my hours around so I could always go to class on the Friday. Since my course finished, I've been working as the Graphic Designer here at LCC in the Internal and External Relations Team. The experience so far has been great and I've been working on a real range of design projects – designing branding and signage for exhibitions, creating books and a lot more. I also still try to continue to work freelance. It’s all very exciting stuff, and I feel very grateful for these opportunities.

Arose From The Concrete by Ashley Williamson

Can you describe your work in your own words?

With any new piece of work, I always look at the brief, understand what the message is, and try to find a solution that relates the message most clearly and simply. This perhaps reveals itself in quite a modernist approach, with simple lines, selective use of colour, clean typography; and always hopefully with some careful thought and concept behind it; but if the brief calls for something else, I won’t stamp any ‘me’ on it. Not intentionally anyway.

I love the work of Armin Hoffman, Muller-Brockmann, Pentagram, Wim Crouwel, all very modernist slick approaches, but then I love Stefan Sagmeister, David Carson, their energy and vigour. But usually, when it comes to putting pen to paper, I will wittle something down to its most pure form.

Please tell us about the approaches, techniques and tools, you use in your work.

I often sketch something on paper first. This might literally be like on a receipt in my wallet, a tiny little thumbnail of a picture. Just to get it out there. I can draw but I freely admit that it’s not until I open up Adobe that I can get anything close to what I envision. More often than not, playing about in Illustrator will often bring forward many more ideas than I could have thought of in my head on my own. I use Illustrator and Indesign mainly for design work. I will go into Photoshop if I need to work on a photo or apply filters, or if I am digital painting. At the moment I am learning more in After Effects as I love Kinetic Typography. But even before any of all this, I read and read; and then read some more. I love design books, websites, blogs and get as much inspiration from them as I can.

Name three things you couldn't be creative without:

Pen, paper, people.

Very Now exhibition branding by Ashley Williamson. Image Lewis Bush.

If you could collaborate creatively with anybody in the world who would it be?

Not sure just yet I would single any one person out. This stage of my career, I want to work with as many people that could teach me, and I could learn from. Someone with energy, big ideas, who wants to push things further.

Tell us about your future plans and ambitions

To improve, to get better and bolder as a designer. To work on projects that really mean something, that bring value and that directly engage with people.

What did you enjoy most about LCC?

My class was brilliant. The tutor and my classmates. Couldn’t have asked for a better group of people.

What’s the best exhibition you’ve seen recently?

Tom Eckersley was pretty cool. It was great to see LCC in context. Also love the simplicity of Tom’s work, the shapes he uses, the concept, clever but totally clear. Icograda was brilliant too. I stole lots of ideas from both of those.

What piece of advice would you give to new students?

Try to get inductions for every open access and workshop area straightaway and read loads.

Where in London do you go when you need a little inspiration?

The Southbank. And then home.