Sarah Schrauwen – PgDip Design For Visual Communication

Manuals 1: Design & Identity Guidelines, co edited by Sarah Schrauwen
Manuals 1: Design & Identity Guidelines, co-edited by Sarah Schrauwen, Tony Brook and Adrian Shaughnessy (Unit Editions)
Manuals 1: Design & Identity Guidelines. Copyright Unit Editions

Sarah Schrauwen studied Postgraduate Diploma Design for Visual Communication at London College of Communication and graduated in December 2011.

Where are you from in the world?

I’m from Antwerp, Belgium.

What are your fondest memories of LCC?

I love making books so I spent a lot of time in the print workshop with Tony and Scott – finding scrap papers to use, saddle-stitching, perfect binding, cutting down to size, etc. I really loved that.

Do you still talk to anyone from your course?

I have lost touch with most of the people from my course, but I’m happy to say that some of them are still very dear friends. 

What are you working on/where are you working at the moment?

I am currently working as editor and designer at Unit Editions, a small and independent publisher of books on graphic design and visual culture. It was founded by design writer Adrian Shaughnessy and designer Tony Brook in 2009 as an alternative to traditional publishing houses. I’m currently working on a new book that will be released in May!

After two wonderful years at Unit Editions, I have decided to pursue a freelance career. I will remain in London for a few months (working on a first freelance commission) and then I’ll move back to Antwerp, Belgium. Hopefully I will continue working with Unit Editions on a freelance basis, and also take on a range of other jobs.

Name three things you couldn't be creative without.

Internet. Books. Feedback.

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

When I was studying at LCC I was dreaming of working at Unit Editions and Spin with Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook – and I have been fortunate enough to actually be able to do so for the past two years. Through them I have met and worked with some amazing people that I admire.

Tell us about your future plans and ambitions.

As I mentioned earlier, I have just decided to become self-employed and start a freelance career as (book) editor and designer. I have been commissioned to work on a book for a few months in London, and after that I’m moving back to my hometown Antwerp. From there I’m aiming to continue working on book projects and designing nice things for small local businesses, and possibly starting a little risograph print studio.

I also have the idea to create a website that features exceptional creative talent from Belgium – bringing long-ish interviews with all kinds of talented people (graphic designers, photographers, product designer, architects, etc.) about their creative process and much more, and of course showcasing their work at length. I’m hoping to launch this website before 2015!

There is also something about the major project that I produced at LCC that’s still nagging at me. It was about how to be a sustainable graphic designer, and looked at educating young designers about a sustainable design practice from the very beginning of college.

I still get emails about this project from students so it would be great if I would be able to get all of the content updated and find a nice place for it on the web so that it’s freely available.

What drives you to keep on going?

I have certain ambitions in life and I work hard to gradually get closer to them. I have great friends and family that support my decisions. And I have a fairly active online presence that keeps me busy and satisfied as well.

Lately I’ve had a tough time balancing my professional and personal lives but I feel like I’m heading for a solution. I think it’s important to realise that change can be a good thing, and to not be afraid to take risks.

What three words would you use to best describe LCC?

Open. Cross-disciplinary. Opportunity.

What piece of advice would you give to new students?

To quote Anthony Burrill: ‘Work hard and be nice to people’.

College is a privilege and it’s important to realise that you will only get from a course what you put in. You’re responsible for your own future, and college is a great place to start getting to grips with this. Furthermore, design is all about networking: the more people you know (and the nicer you are to them), the more likely you are to get work.

Knowledge is power! Learn as much as you can for as long as you can. Don’t say no to risks and opportunities. Try everything once. Those kinds of things. I would also recommend doing internships (that at least pay for expenses): you learn so many things there that you can’t pick up from college, and they’re your best bet to get a full-time job.

Being ‘different’ is a plus. For instance, I studied literature and linguistics before I came to LCC, and I always thought that it would be a disadvantage. However at Unit Editions they showed me that it was to my advantage, being able to combine editing and designing. Being a Jack-of-all trades is often a good thing. You can always become specialised and find your niche later.


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