- MA Journal
Joy Chen – from MA Graphic Design to the V&A Licensing Team
Arts University Bournemouth is the best place for creative folks. Your uni mates and your tutors can inspire you, and you can end up finding the thing you want to pursue for the rest of your life. The lovely environment, facilities, kind and patient staff and tutors are all reasons for choosing AUB.
I completed my undergraduate degree at Solent University, Southampton. I was in my second year when I started there, and I didn’t really know much about graphic design. But after two years studying and learning more, I got to know the industry and started really thinking about my future career.
Two main things made me choose AUB for my MA. The first and most obvious, it’s an art school; the artistic atmosphere and learning environment are the best. Secondly, the location; the university is near the beach, so Bournemouth is a comfortable place to live.
While studying MA Graphic Design with Dr Phil Jones, I focused on typography, which also includes both basic and advanced skills of Adobe InDesign. In my opinion, knowledge of typography is the most important thing that all designers need to have. Learning typography really helped me to become a patient and precise person who can now make perfection even more perfect.
After finishing my MA, I spent two years working as a freelancer, working in marketing and design in the daytime, and in a restaurant at night.
Now, I work as a graphic designer in the licensing team at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). The department basically helps the museum and its charity earn money. We work with more than 90 licensees all over the world. If you’ve seen V&A branded items around the world in shops and collections, then yes, that’s from us.
My role at the V&A is varied; I don't do much of my own graphic design, but it still uses creativity, accuracy and precision. I go through submitted designs for licensed products, suggest ideas on collaboration branding for licensees, and give the final approval on V&A branding.
For me, V&A isn’t just a museum. It’s a platform that accepts and accommodates artists from different cultures, backgrounds, and disciplines. Coming from an Asian background, one of the bonuses of getting this role was the chance to build strong connections with our Asian licensees.
Doing a job that you love in a place that you love – that's definitely the dream to aim for.