Patrick Hughes: “Graphic Design is all about problem solving”

  • Published: 23 May 2019

We spoke to fourth year student Patrick Hughes about his personal project, what it takes to be a good graphic designer – and how he managed to secure a job before he even graduated…

“Graphic design all about problem solving. You have to be a creative problem solver first and foremost, as every day you’re coming in and having to come up with different solutions, so it’s not ever the same. You’re always having to re-think how things can be approached and how you can take a relatively known concept and look at it in different ways to build out a brand identity.

“You have to be able to interrogate a subject in its entirety from the very beginning. A lot of the time you’re only given one sentence to go off and create a rich source of visuals, so there is a heavy research element – you’re really delving into the subject matter richly and you have to cherry pick the most important points and form that into a poster or a brand or a campaign.

“We work on lots of different projects in fourth year – I did a project on data loss for the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD), which I passed with a commendation, the highest achievable mark - as well as a competition brief for the The Times. I also worked on a personal project that explores how Glasgow successfully tackled knife crime. It’s a big topic at the moment, with the London Mayor Sadiq Khan recently saying that he’s looking to Glasgow for how to tackle the knife crime issue in London. I grew up in Glasgow and I remember that shift from the city being known as ‘the murder city of Europe’ to a bustling city of culture.

“My project, called Break the Cycle, is about addressing the issue as an epidemic; a disease. I wanted to package that model and show how it can work for other cities, so it’s targeted at that corporate level – local MPS and governing bodies – and comprises everything from print, to web, to motion graphics.

“I’m moving back to Glasgow once I graduate, as I’ve got a job at a design agency called Good. All of the graphic design students did a design brief with them in third year and through that I secured an internship, which I did last summer. It was a great experience, and at the end of it I felt like I was really beginning to shape up and become a junior member of the team, and they actually offered me a job at the end of it. So after the Degree Show is finished I’ll be going to work for them.

“I came to DJCAD thinking I would go into Fine Art, but through the projects in the General Foundation course I saw what you could do with Graphic Design. I went into second year head first and from there just fell in love with it; I wouldn’t do anything else now.”

You can see more from our Graphic Design students at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design and Architecture Degree Show 2019, which continues until Sunday 26 May. 

"At the end of my internship I really felt like I was beginning to shape up and become and junior member of the team, and they actually offered me a job at the end of it. So once the Degree Show is finished I'll be starting a full-time job."

Patrick Hughes, Graphic Design student