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Decarla Phillip-Riley is a second year student on BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces at London College of Communication.
Why did you choose to study this course and why London College of Communication?
My journey at UAL actually started in Central Saint Martins. After completing a Foundation Diploma in Architecture and Spatial Design, I jumped into the BA Architecture course later transferring over to London College of Communication to study something a little different. The decision to study BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces came from my love for events, public spaces and understanding the narratives behind them both, from the architecture to the people. I was in search for a course that could teach me about the influence a designer can have on how we experience and understand the spaces around us, and it ticked the boxes.
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far?
First year ended with the completion of a group project, which I enjoyed a lot more than I had imagined. The brief encouraged us to experiment throughout our design process using the 3d workshop, digital lab and creative apps that we had been taught to use over the year. We had to find a way to represent our chosen brand through animation or film which would be projection mapped onto a 1:1 scale model constructed in our own way.
Working in a group meant you could share roles and responsibilities, with some focusing on researching the brand and others on the design process. It pushed you to work harder and faster but get a feel of how you as an individual may work in a team in the future.
Have you had any opportunities to engage with industry whilst on the course?
The Professional Practices Unit had a Lecture Series that was on once a week throughout the first block of second year. We had guest speakers that came in to talk about their first-hand experiences working in creative spaces, from Tamika Abaka-Wood on understanding your audience/end user to Dan Perri on the role of storytelling in your practice. To be able to interact and engage in conversation with creatives who have experience and knowledge in the fields you want to enter, helps you to understand the role of design.
Have you completed any work placements / internships whilst being on the course?
In my free time, I work at Tate Britain and Modern as a Tate Collective Producer, programming events and producing content for our 15 - 25 year old audience. As a producer, you gain insight on the way a gallery works with their visitors to meet their needs.
What important piece of advice would you give to students thinking of studying this course?
Join a society or sports club, especially if you don’t know anybody or just moved to the city. It'a a great way to make new friends, which might lead to you going out and exploring the city more, something that is fundamental on this course. Visiting exhibitions, public spaces and retail spaces is expected and even better when going with a group of friends or likeminded people.
What has been the highlight of your LCC experience so far?
Studying at LCC I have been able to meet other creatives, some that I have started working with outside of the classroom, watching your friendships turning into collaborative projects.
How do you find being a student in London?
Accessibility. London is a small city, packed tight with a lot to discover. I try to take advantage of this city as each street feels like it has been branded with a different story, a different community, a different vibe. As a creative student, the pavement beneath your feet could literally unearth the missing piece in the development of your project. So if I was itching for inspiration, I would take a trip to the nearest high street, absorbing and analysing my surroundings, allowing the atmosphere to let my mind explore freely. I’d probably turn this into a shopping trip, checking out what that area has to offer for fashion, food and COCKTAILS!
What are your career aspirations?
As long as I am still working with and for people then I will be happy. Whether that’s in a different gallery, focusing on how we engage with our younger audiences, through events, marketing and creating youth ownership in these spaces or finding a company/starting a creative enterprise where I can exercise my skills as a designer, maker and thinker. At the end of the day, whatever I do will be to improve, interfere or have influence over someone’s experience and will involve a lot of research and practice. I want to create visuals records, documenting the way I work and the people I work with, maybe there’s an archive, exhibition or documentary in there somewhere.
If you had to describe your LCC experience in three words, what would they be?
A life changer.
View the BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces course page.