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BA Graphic Design Communication graduate Sean Chen on designing for the UAL hockey team

Image shows 6 photographs of players on the hockey field, each photo has been experimented with different colours and texture – mainly blue and purple colours.
  • Written byGina Lampen
  • Published date27 July 2021
Image shows 6 photographs of players on the hockey field, each photo has been experimented with different colours and texture – mainly blue and purple colours.
Colour and Texture experimental Image, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

Sean Chen graduated from BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts this summer.

Sean’s final year submission, the UAL Hockey Welcome Package, is inspired by his love for field hockey which has been a major part of his life since the age of 9.

Having moved to London from New Zealand in 2017, Sean was a student on the Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon Foundation Diploma in Art and Design course before progressing onto his BA at Chelsea. It was during his time on the Foundation course that he signed up to the UAL hockey team during Freshers Week.

From feeling unconfident and shy, to captaining and managing the UAL hockey team, Sean told us that signing up to the club has been one of the most fun and valuable aspects of coming to London and studying at UAL.

Four years on, Sean wishes to give something back to the team who, over the past year, have declined in members and have found it hard to train due to the pandemic. Aiming to boost recruitment, the UAL Hockey Welcome Package is designed to welcome new students into the team, so that the club can continue to flourish for years to come.

Here Sean tells us more about his final showcase submission and his time at Chelsea.

A photograph of a woman playing Hockey, she is wearing a UAL Hockey T-Shirt and is holding a hockey stick. Behind her are other members of her team. She is smiling and looking down at the pitch.
A Hockey Session, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

Tell us about your UAL Graduate Showcase submission, UAL Hockey Welcome Package

My project is designed for the upcoming UAL Freshers Fair event that happens every year. This is where students can attend to find out about all the clubs and societies that UAL has to offer.

This welcome package targets the less experienced hockey players, the ones that have played a bit of hockey during school and want to continue playing now that they are at university. It contains key information about what UAL Hockey is like: training details, core hockey rules and a ‘frequently asked questions’ section with a humorous flair to it.

My main goal with this was to allow these potential new members to get to know UAL Hockey a bit more, to be reassured that we’re a friendly and welcoming society before they attend their first training session.

This is a project that I plan to continue developing and expand upon during the summer and hope the society can flourish with more new members ready for when the next season begins.

Image of a poster which has been designed for recruitment to the team. The poster says ‘You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take but your still make the team’ 
Design of a recruiting poster for the UAL Hockey Team, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

Please can you tell us about the process and materials you have used for your project?

A crucial part of the process was speaking to members of the hockey team, both the older members and new members that joined this season. It involved a lot of conversations about how they all personally felt about UAL Hockey and how it makes them feel being a member of the club.

Alongside this, a major part of the process was that I condensed all the core information of UAL Hockey into smaller, bite-sized chunks with a variety of digital and photographic experiments.

Towards the end of the process, it was mostly editing, layout and printing trials with different types of paper. The end goal was turning all of this into something more visual and tangible, in the form of a physical package.

Image shows the inside of the welcome package. There are 6 square leaflets, containing information about the club, such as frequently asked questions, information on how to play and rules.
Overview of the Welcome Package, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

How has your practice adapted and developed through the pandemic?

Working through the pandemic has made me realise that doing work that matters to me, that genuinely interests me, is super important. As cliché as it sounds, it’s what kept me motivated, engaged and allowed me to stay on track with my work.

Having to work remotely and more digitally, I feel like my digital software skills with Photoshop, InDesign, Lightroom and Premiere have improved. It may be due to the time saved from travelling, plus having time to play around and experiment more randomly with the different softwares. I feel a lot sharper and more confident in my abilities compared to in the past. This could just be the result of the accumulation of everything I’ve learnt so far but regardless, I try to see this as a positive of working through the pandemic.

The image is of a set of hands, holding a printout explaining what the UAL Hockey Team is. The leaflet is a purple envelope with the words UAL Hockey on the front, further leaflets slide out of the envelope with more written information about the team.
Hockey Print Out Leaflet, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

How have you found your transition from creating from home to being back in the studio?

The best thing about being back in the studio for me was having my classmates around again. During the first year and half of the second year, many of us would all hang out and work together after briefings or lectures. We could always ask our peers for feedback and advice while being able to check out what they were all doing. This all happened in this special upper attic space above our studio which we call The Upper Casket.

It was super refreshing to be able to work with people around me again and also quite comforting to have people around to speak to. After all the chatting and socialising was over, it was very motivating and productive working in the studio versus working at home in my room where I’d often get distracted.

Image shows a close up of the components which are printed and included in the handout when recruiting new students to the team. 
Components of the printouts, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

What are your plans after graduation?

I will be looking for working opportunities in London, ideally a small to medium-sized graphic design studio if possible.

Graphic design is quite a broad term and practice. I don’t have much of a clue of what life will be like now that university is over, but I’m eager to see all the different opportunities and challenges that will come my way in this industry. I hope to gradually figure out my strengths and weaknesses more and find my footing in graphic design.

Image shows samples of the leaflets pinned to a wall, they are not yet in colour, but they are written on in pen outlining ideas and where to put the different colours.
A sample for the leaflets, 2021
BA (Hons) Graphic Design Communication, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Sean Chen

Do you have any advice for students considering studying on your course?

There will be a lot of group work at the beginning of the course. You will be doing a variety of different activities and projects that you may have never done before with people you would have never spoken to before. It will be uncomfortable in many ways but hang in there. Try to go in it with an open mind and to give as many things a try as possible.

The result of all this will be in the form of a feeling of belonging. You will feel like you belong to the course and the great community that the BA Graphic Design Communication course offers.

The most important thing though is to not forget to have fun and try to enjoy what you’re doing as much as possible. The 3 years will go by so much faster than you could ever imagine.