Feature

Transforming our Streets

Published on 25 September 2020

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD) graduate Callum Laird has been riding high since graduating in June with a First-Class Honours in Graphic Design

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Callum sitting in his office at a desk with a computer on it

Originally from Lockerbie, Callum moved to the City of Discovery in 2017 after securing direct entry for the Graphic Design course.

He said: “I knew DJCAD had a good Graphic Design course and that the University of Dundee offered students a unique experience, and that has certainly been my experience.

“The facilities are great and there is a good mix of time in the studio, with tutors, as well as with external industry professionals. For example, we had the opportunity in fourth year to participate in a two-week project working with Dyson. It was such an incredible experience that helped me gain many valuable skills. It also gave me some ‘real-life’ design experience, working in a fast-paced commercial environment.

“The tutors really encourage you to explore your interests and to push yourself to see what you can achieve. They are very responsive to student requests and really help nurture and develop you.”

A naturally inquisitive problem solver, Callum adopts a research driven approach, spending time upfront to learn the product or project before going into a more creative space.

He said: “I really developed during my time at DJCAD. For example, I now spend a lot more time at the start of a project researching and really getting to understand the brief before moving into the design phase. My ethos is to be constructive and use logic to inform the design process. I think that helps make good design decisions.”

Since graduating, Callum has been busy putting his learning to good use. He is the creative genius behind the colourful zebra crossing-style mural on Union Street in Dundee, transforming the bustling street into a stunning visual spectacle that pops.

The UNESCO City of Design Dundee pedestrianisation project in Union Street aims to allow for safe physical distancing outside as well as outdoor seating for cafes and restaurants – helping support local businesses and creating a unique experience for city-goers.

Callum said: “I’d met Annie Marrs, Lead Officer at UNESCO City of Design Dundee, at Dundee Design Festival in the previous year and we’d kept in touch. I was really excited when she contacted me about the project. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, and incredibly fast paced – but I love to learn by doing.

“The large, colourful graphic plays with the idea of a traditional pedestrian crossing, while acting as a visual barrier for motorists. It’s also designed to attract people and bring them from the waterfront and surrounding areas back into the city centre after the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s been a very humbling experience. We received a lot of really positive feedback from passers-by while it was being painted, and we are still getting lots of great comments about it. The world is in a bit of a state right now so I’m really happy to be able to have used my skills to brighten things up a little.”

Callum didn’t let giving Union Street a makeover slow down his search for a career. Less than three months after graduating he has already secured his first full time, permanent job with Dundee-based technology company, Hutchison Technologies.

To Callum’s delight, just weeks after joining the team his design work is already making an impact. To date he has designed the box sleeve for Evoson Active Pro Studio Headset Microphone, worked on a range of promotional materials and revamped a number of pre-existing case studies.

He said: “I was interested in working at Hutchison Technologies because the company is agile and innovative, and technology is a big interest of mine. The role offers loads of creative freedom which is fantastic, and I love the diverse nature of the work. On a daily basis I work closely with colleagues in marketing, PR, and copywriting, and I am really enjoying learning more about the different disciplines.”

Callum added: “My time at DJCAD has set me up for a really exciting career as a designer and I am now looking forward to the next stage of my life!”

Callum said: “I’d met Annie Marrs, Lead Officer at UNESCO City of Design Dundee, at Dundee Design Festival in the previous year and we’d kept in touch. I was really excited when she contacted me about the project. It was a bit out of my comfort zone, and incredibly fast paced – but I love to learn by doing."

“The large, colourful graphic plays with the idea of a traditional pedestrian crossing, while acting as a visual barrier for motorists. It’s also designed to attract people and bring them from the waterfront and surrounding areas back into the city centre after the coronavirus lockdown.”

Callum Laird

“It’s been a very humbling experience. We received a lot of really positive feedback from passers-by while it was being painted, and we are still getting lots of great comments about it. The world is in a bit of a state right now so I’m really happy to be able to have used my skills to brighten things up a little.”

Callum didn’t let giving Union Street a makeover slow down his search for a career. Less than three months after graduating he has already secured his first full time, permanent job with Dundee-based technology company, Hutchison Technologies.

Callum standing on Union street

To Callum’s delight, just weeks after joining the team his design work is already making an impact. To date he has designed the box sleeve for Evoson Active Pro Studio Headset Microphone, worked on a range of promotional materials and revamped a number of pre-existing case studies.

He said: “I was interested in working at Hutchison Technologies because the company is agile and innovative, and technology is a big interest of mine. The role offers loads of creative freedom which is fantastic, and I love the diverse nature of the work. On a daily basis I work closely with colleagues in marketing, PR, and copywriting, and I am really enjoying learning more about the different disciplines.”

Callum added: “My time at DJCAD has set me up for a really exciting career as a designer and I am now looking forward to the next stage of my life!”

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