Former SCOLA Graphic Design student, Sue Spenceley Burch, found her love of design at Sutton College and has gone on from strength to strength, producing innovative, exciting designs that you may have seen this Christmas.
Describing her journey, she said ‘In 2006 I was a marketing communications manager for a tiny local charity. As you’d expect, money was tight and we couldn’t afford to use a company or even a freelance graphic designer to create the fundraising and promotional materials we needed. There was only one option – I would have to create them myself.
During more than a decade in marketing communications, I had worked with many graphic designers. I’d been ‘arty’ at school and having built a good track record in marketing strategy and copywriting, the new challenge of designing for the charity really excited me.
Fortunately there was a small training budget I could use, so I signed up for my first course at SCOLA – learning InDesign, a programme that designers use to lay out printed materials.
The course was taught by Jo Fenwick, a highly experienced graphic designer who had a real flair for teaching these difficult and complex skills to others. A couple of lessons in and I was completely hooked. I followed that with courses in Photoshop image manipulation and Adobe Illustrator, a software package used in logo design.
With every new thing I learned I loved it more, so I enrolled on a BTEC Graphic Design course, also taught by Jo at SCOLA. I graduated a year later with merits but still I felt I could do more. In 2011 I took a portfolio of my coursework from SCOLA and the items I’d designed for the charity, and successfully applied for the HND Graphic Design course at Reigate School of Art.
After two years as a mature student I graduated in 2013, with distinctions or merits in every module, and launched myself on the market as a freelance graphic designer. My timing wasn’t great, as the economy was still in the doldrums, but several smaller companies saw the advantage in using someone who could advise them on their marketing strategy, design their marketing materials and also write the words.
Things began to snowball and I’ve since been involved in creating logos and corporate identities for new and existing businesses, as well as banners, websites, leaflets and brochures. Recently I designed the poster for Wallington’s Christmas lights celebration. It was fantastic to see my work on display in shop windows all over my home town.
I’m currently working on design projects for a company that makes furniture for hotels, as well as a property search company and a firm of financial advisers. Every day brings enjoyable new challenges and I have SCOLA to thank for it. The courses I took were excellent; very good value for money and extremely well taught.
Graphic Design is a huge subject that’s always changing and innovating. As soon as time allows I’ll be signing up again at SCOLA, to take an advanced course in Photoshop as it’s a huge program with lots of things I could learn and use in my work’