David Sames, BA(Hons) Graphic Design 1997 - 2000
Ruth LittleJohns, BA(Hons) Graphic Design 1999 - 2002
Ruth: My first encounter with graphic design came about when I was tasked with designing a Christmas card at a Carole Vincent art class, a class my parents sent me to every Saturday afternoon for seven years. I knew that I was always going to have a career in design, I just didn't know which discipline. At first I wanted to become an interior designer, after travelling to America at the age of 16 to take a work-placement in Washington DC... then I changed my mind and wanted to become an architect, but the thought of 7 years study put me off. So I chose to complete a foundation course at Falmouth. It was during this time that I realised that Graphic Design was for me.
Why Cornwall... Why not? I grew up here and the idea of leaving Cornwall to study was not an option. University College Falmouth was my first choice... the idea of studying in a concrete bubble of a city is just not me!
David: For me, throughout school I was by far more a creative than an academic. I cannot honestly say that I was aware of 'Graphic Design' as being a particular profession in which I could focus my energy... however, that all changed when I left school and was introduced to the subject by a friend of the family, who had himself gone on to forge a successful career in London. His insight towards what graphic design was about and showing me the work he generated struck a powerful and lasting chord with me.
As to why I choose Falmouth, it was all about location. For many years I frequently visited Cornwall to visit family, and when the opportunity arose to leave the delights of Milton Keynes to relocate down here, to be close to the coast and many friends, I seized the chance.
We now run our own graphic design studio together in Falmouth. Today however, we're frantically trying to complete numerous projects all within rather tight deadlines. But as to how we came to be writing a profile about ourselves at 11:30 in the evening is a slightly longer story...
In a nutshell, both Ruth and I ended up living together after house sharing with a mutual friend at college. Following that fateful encounter almost ten years ago, we both graduated and went onto work with well-respected graphic design studios in both Cornwall and London.
It was after about six years that we both became dejected with the whole corporate design world. So with this we made the conscious decision to take time out and go travelling, to think about what we wanted to do next. Confident of our capabilities and not satisfied by the thought of working for any other design studios in Cornwall, we decided to return to Falmouth to open our own design studio... Sames + Littlejohns.
We have steadily built up a strong client base including University College Falmouth, SITA Cornwall, Orecon and Falmouth Town Council to name a few. The current projects we are working on today include generating design solutions for an exhibition, redesigning the signage, way-finding and interior design for an entire school, generating the branding for a wave energy developer and assisting University College Falmouth in the production of their postgraduate prospectus.
There were two main aspects to the Graphic Design course that have helped us get where we are today...
Firstly, the course reaffirmed our beliefs that the best route to solving any creative problem is by 'approach to thinking and idea generation'. Design was not just about 'colouring-in' and making things look pretty... the pencil is mightier than the mouse! We were taught that the best design solutions, the one that motivated people and inspired the mind, were those that had a compelling idea behind them.
Secondly, with strong industry links, the tutors provided the contacts and motivation to find work placements with leading design studios throughout the UK (and in particular London). Any and all of us who seized this opportunity got first hand experience as to how the best studios operated, and gained an insight as to what made them 'special'. Essentially this exposure set us all up well in preparation for our final year of study, and in many cases opened the doors to further employment opportunities in the future.