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Richard Brownlie-Marshall

Career Path: Creative Designer, Pret A Manger & Founder, Richard Brownlie-Marshall Designs
Location: London, UK

When I was studying at high school, I always excelled in creative areas such as art and graphic communication so I knew this was the career path I wanted to pursue. Growing up in Edinburgh, I always loved the city, but wanted to go somewhere new to study and Newcastle was number one on my list.  I knew the great reputation Northumbria Design School had, so paired with its great location, I didn't want to be anywhere else.

What are you doing now?

As soon as I graduated, I had already lined up an internship in London, so literally had a week from finishing my course to starting that. However it really paid off, as this internship turned into a full time position. I’m currently the Creative Designer at Pret A Manger, which involves working across all elements of design in the UK and internationally. Projects include packaging, marketing campaigns, store interiors and new concept development. On top of this, I also do many projects under my own name; which has included working with The Archbishop of Canterbury, Zizzi and Candy Kittens. I also have several products selling through retail outlets across the world.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

The course was really multi-faceted and allowed me to really grow into many areas of design.  From packaging design, graphic design and product it covered all bases, which became vital for me succeeding in projects after graduation.

What was the best thing about your course?

One of the best things about Design For Industry, was that it builds internships into the course, so that you had to leave the comfort of the classroom and head into the real world.  I personally found this really useful as it gave the opportunity to work on real projects and learn from real-time designers and clients. Also throughout the course, there were plenty of external companies who came to set briefs for us, which again was extremely valuable and a great challenge for students.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

Many of the tutors working in the school come from the design field previously, which is a great experience to draw from. Programme Leader Howard Fenwick was the person who showed me around on my first interview and throughout my studies I found extremely helpful and encouraging in my work.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/throughout your career?

I think the most important thing I learnt was how I work as a designer. Strengths, weaknesses and timekeeping - from working through full projects, you could assess area of improvement and work on them before venturing into the real world. The course is great for allowing you to work with real clients, so that the projects have real value at the time and also for building your portfolio.  The transition from student to employed felt very easy, so it's a true testament to how Northumbira prepared me for the world of work.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I think overall it's the combination of university, area and people that made my experience so wonderful.  I enjoyed my course, and really felt the progression in my work throughout the projects. I took part in societies and volunteering in the Union, picking up the Volunteer of the Year award and being elected President of The Musical Theatre Society for three years.  Equally the city has an excellent nightlife, great art galleries and all the necessities you could want.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Fun, rewarding and unforgettable.

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