Student has designs on the city as festival adopts new branding

Published on 27 May 2024

A University of Dundee student has had her work selected to brand Dundee Design Festival 2024 as part of a new partnership to champion local talent

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The new partnership between the University and Dundee Design Festival (DDF) saw final-year Graphic Design students from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD) invited to submit designs for DDF 24, which will take place later this year.

Sophie O’Mullan’s winning design was selected from 13 student submissions. Her work will feature across the city on posters, printed publications, postcards, festival wear and more. 

As well as having her work featuring in festival branding, Sophie was awarded a £2000 bursary and an opportunity to work with the DDF team for her first professional contract as a Graphic Design graduate. 

All 13 student design submissions are currently on show at the University’s Art & Design Undergraduate Degree Show 2024, which runs from Saturday 25 May – Sunday 2 June.

In her winning work, Sophie explores the multiplicity of design perspectives through the folding of paper, combining a graphic style with photography to create a sophisticated and modern identity. 

Sophie O'Mullan poses with her award winning design

“This is an amazing opportunity,” said Sophie. “I’m incredibly grateful to get the chance to see my design brought to life throughout Dundee. This project is a great starting point for my career as a graphic designer. It will be beneficial to see how the design process works and the part I will play in it all, especially for an event of this scale.

“My design style can be summed up in three words – minimal, playful, and innovative. Each design I create always has a conceptual link or metaphor, which stems from my extensive research. It's important to me that there's always a deeper layer of meaning beneath the surface of my designs.

“We all interpret design in different ways whether creating or admiring. The design identity explores the multiplicity of design perspectives through the folding of paper. Just as folded paper can take on various shapes and forms, design is interpreted and perceived differently by individuals all around the world, each bringing their own background, experiences, and cultural influences to the table.

“Like paper, design is adaptable and ever-changing, responding to shifts in technology, sustainability, and consumer preferences. This flexible design system mirrors the dynamic nature of design itself, constantly evolving to meet the demands of the modern world.” 

Dr Dave Wood, Programme Director of Graphic Design at DJCAD, added, “Here at DJCAD we strive to champion international design talent, and this partnership with Dundee Design Festival is a great example of that. We are immensely proud of all students who submitted their work to this exclusive competition. Congratulations go to Sophie for her fantastic winning design, which we look forward to seeing across the city. 

“DJCAD has helped to kick-start the careers of some of the finest designers across the globe. We are not only the creative heart of the University of Dundee – DJCAD is at the centre of the city’s design sphere. Marking the tenth year of Dundee’s UNESCO City of Design status is also a celebration of our strengths in design teaching and research. We must also celebrate our students, past and present, as their energy and talent continue to make the title a reality.”

Dundee Design Festival is Scotland’s largest design event. This year’s ambitious programme will take over 10,000sqm of space at Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc hosting a week of free exhibitions, activities and immersive installations, from 23-29 September 2024.

Dr Stacey Hunter, Creative Director of Dundee Design Festival, said, “In this the 10th anniversary of Dundee’s status as a UNESCO City of Design it made total sense for Dundee Design Festival to partner with University of Dundee. [DJCAD] has consistently produced graduates who are ready and well-equipped to make their mark within the design sector. For this year’s festival we want to showcase design talent within the city and this project was created to help build capacity amongst the design community in Dundee as well as providing a real-world application for a graduating design student. 

“The standard of design submissions by students was incredibly high and as a frequent visitor to design festivals around the world I appreciate the need for a clear identity whilst conveying practical information, generating a sense of appreciation for good design and excitement about the event. Sophie’s design does all of these things and we’re looking forward to working with her for this year’s festival. All the students’ work will also be exhibited at the festival as part of a vibrant programme celebrating the design talent coming out of DJCAD.”


Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 388878