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The Vaughan Oliver Graphic Design Scholarships - In Association with 4AD

Northumbria University have great pleasure in announcing the continuation of The Vaughan Oliver Graphic Design Scholarships for September 2024

The scholarships will award two BA (Hons) Graphic Design students with £2,500 during the first year of their Undergraduate degree only.  The money can be used to enhance the overall university learning experience.  For each year of the initiative, two new Undergraduate students will be selected.

If you are ready to start your university journey with Northumbria, create your best future and meet the criteria below, APPLY NOW.

We will let you know the outcome of your application following results day in August 2024.

Vaughan Oliver, 1957 – 2019

Vaughan Oliver was born in Sedgefield, County Durham and raised in nearby Newton Aycliffe.  A recognised graphic designer visionary, Vaughan was one of the most influential practitioners of his generation and enjoyed a global reputation.

Terms and Conditions

To be eligible for a Vaughan Oliver Graphic Design Scholarship you must:

  • Be a UK/Home applicant 
  • Have a household income of under £35,000
  • Have a permanent residence in the North East of England.  Please click here for eligible counties.
  • Apply and enrol to study on the Full-Time BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at the Newcastle Upon Tyne campus, starting in September 2024
  • Choose Northumbria as your firm choice by 06 June 2024
  • Meet all individual entry requirements
  • Be a self-funded student (ie not in receipt of any sponsorship)
  • Apply for one or more elements of the Government Student Finance package (for example, Tuition Fee loan, Maintenance loan) in order for your application to be means-tested
  • Register with Student Finance England (SFE)
  • Agree to share consent via your Government Finance Provider with Northumbria University 

Important Information

  • The students selected for a Vaughan Oliver Graphic Design Scholarship will not be eligible for any other Undergraduate scholarship schemes
  • If you apply and are successful for more than one scholarship, you will automatically receive the highest value scholarship
  • The Vaughan Oliver Graphic Design Scholarship is awarded as cash
  • Payments will be made as 25% of total in November 2024, 25% of total in February 2025 and 50% of total in May 2025
  • Funding is provided in the first year of study only
  • The successful students will be required to send a thank you letter to the donor
  • A progress update for the donor will be requested at the end of the first year of study
  • If you do not provide a thank you letter and a progress update to the donor, the scholarship will be withdrawn
  • If you defer your place at Northumbria University before the scholarship has been paid, the scholarship offer will be withdrawn
  • If you decide to leave your course after the scholarship payment has been made, the University will not make efforts to reclaim the amount
  • If you are required to resit your first year, the scholarship will not be paid again
  • The University's decision is final and cannot be challenged; there is no right of appeal

Selection Process

  • There is a competitive selection process for this scholarship scheme.  Applicants need to apply via online written application.  In no more than 3000 characters (500 words) - 'How will this Award support your aspirations to succeed in Higher Education?' - applications will be considered on the strength of response against a marking criteria
  • We will let you know the outcome of your application following results day in August 2024. 

Read more about Vaughan Oliver

    After studying under his mentor Terry Dowling at Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic (now Northumbria University) in the late 1970’s, Oliver worked in London for packaging design studios Benchmark and then Michael Peters and Partners before making his name at 4AD, a now world renowned independent record label founded by a visionary Ivo Watts-Russell in 1980.  This fortuitous association gave Vaughan an enviable platform to pursue his personal design journey which continues with the label today with the label’s brand identity that Vaughan designed in 1980 remaining unchanged 40 years on.  Oliver created a stunning portfolio of work for 4AD bands including Cocteau Twins, Pixies, The Breeders, Lush, Modern English, This Mortal Coil, Scott Walker, to name just a few - “As 4AD’s in-house designer, he created artwork that helped define them as purveyors of dark and complex alt-rock music; with their clashing fonts and boldly allusive but mysterious symbolism, his sleeves became some of the most revered in modern pop,” The Guardian.

    His time at 4AD attracted devoted admirers and inspired not only graphic designers but fashion designers, film directors, photographers and art directors.  As the labels in-house art director and lead designer Oliver pushed the boundaries of his practice collaborating with an impressive repertoire of photographers, illustrators, artists and fellow designers to achieve his artistic goal, many of whom he had studied with.  Terry Dowling, reflecting on Vaughan’s unique approach to design, commented “As a student, Vaughan was a brilliant rebel.  Original, strong minded, gifted – he always surprised and often shocked with his art work.  He had an exceptional ‘eye’”.

    Revered for his work for the music industry, Oliver’s unique approach to design attracted clients from a broader field including Ballet Preljocaj, Raygun Publishing, V&A Publishing, Penguin, Picador, Serpent’s Tail and Atlantic Books, TV commercials for Microsoft and Sony, work for fashion and beauty brands Alberto Aspesi, John Galliano, L’Oreal Proffesionel and Central Saint Martin’s School of Fashion. He also collaborated with the V&A Museum, Young Vic London, Tyneside Cinema, Artist in Residence, Los Angeles and for film director David Lynch.

    A natural educator, Vaughan taught extensively in the last 10 years of his life inspiring a new generation of designers, illustrators and photographers. He was an elected member of the prestigious AGI.

    A highly successful retrospective of Oliver’s work in Nantes, France in 1992 led to further exhibitions in Paris, Tokyo, Osaka, Los Angeles, Boston MA, London and Athens. His work is retained in their 20th Century Gallery at The Victorian And Albert Museum.

    Vaughan Oliver: visceral pleasures, a design monograph by Rick Poynor for Booth-Clibborn was published in November, 2000.

    “Vaughan explored new approaches to the practice of graphic design, producing inventive, often intense images, that have made a lasting contribution to the graphic image” Rick Poynor. 

    Unit Editions ‘Vaughan Oliver: Archive’ was published in 2018.

Last updated: 19/10/2023

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