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Amazing Alumni- Ashleigh Dussie

Graphic Design at Warrington & Vale Royal College

Former Level 3 Graphic Design student Ashleigh Dussie is one of our most talented and successful college alumni. Previous student of Weaverham High School, Ashleigh chose to study Graphic Design at our Winsford campus following a workshop she participated in with Graphic Design tutor Jayne Fox. Ashleigh says; “I was amazed by the work I saw when Jayne visited my high school. When I then visited the college on an open day, it felt very welcoming and I could see how passionate the tutors were.”

Ashleigh loved her time studying at the Winsford campus, enjoying the “creative freedom we had to explore our ideas.” Throughout the course, Ashleigh learned how to effectively use Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, which ensured she was well prepared for moving on to university. Ashleigh says that the practical experience she gained at college made it easier to move onto the next step; “I found the progression from college to university fairly smooth because I had gained valuable skills from the course.” Ashleigh advises anyone who loves being creative to consider studying Graphic Design, and says, “No two days were the same and different skills were taught, so it helped me to broaden my horizons within the creative field.”

Life after college

Following her college course, Ashleigh progressed onto the University of Huddersfield, to study a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Graphic Design. She found that having the opportunity for self-development and building upon key skills allowed her to gain more confidence and a stronger understanding of the design world. At university, Ashleigh expanded her design knowledge and was introduced to new animation and 3D software, like After Effects and Cinema 4D. Ashleigh says, “I loved the variety within the workshops, ranging from graphics to animation to hands-on processes like screen-printing. Within my practice now, I like to combine different digital and hands-on processes.”

During her degree, Ashleigh was able to participate in a placement year, during which she took part in five work placements in various studies and agencies across the North West. The work Ashleigh did was heavily branding-based, although she also had the opportunity to work within other areas of design such as packaging, events, typography, websites, illustration and merchandise clothing. Ashleigh believes that her placement year really helped to boost her confidence as well as her design skills. She says, “My placement year was extremely valuable for the process of self-discovery. These opportunities helped me develop my skills and knowledge in graphic design as well as interpersonal skills.”

During the pandemic, Ashleigh completed her degree (achieving a first-class grade), and began studying a Master of Arts (MA) in Graphic Design. Ashleigh says that being a new graduate during the pandemic was a daunting situation, but returning to university to further her knowledge has given her something positive to focus on.

Earlier this year, Ashleigh was named as a ‘Woman to Watch’ by Designby Womxn, who showcase and champion female creatives in the design industry. This is a fantastic accolade which highlights Ashleigh’s talent and dedication to design! Read the full article here.  

Looking to the future

After completing her master’s degree, Ashleigh intends to pursue a career “doing what I love the most- something where I’m able to divide my time between design and helping others.” Ashleigh aims to continue building upon her industry experience and would love to work for herself in the future. She is also considering becoming a mentor or part-time teaching assistant, so she can share her personal experiences and help guide others.

To those who are considering a career in Graphic Design, Ashleigh advises, “Definitely do what you love! Enjoy what you create and discover your passions. Show you are a hard worker because opportunities materialise when others see your drive and passion.” Ashleigh also mentions that competition can be tough in this industry, and advises young people to gain as much experience as they can.

Well done Ashleigh, the college are incredibly proud of your achievements!

Find out more about Graphic Design at Warrington & Vale Royal College here.