Christina Button graduated from MA Graphic Design in 2012. She tells us about her work since graduating.

“I’m doing a Diploma in Education and Training at City of Westminster College. It’s equivalent to level 5 and it will qualify me to teach over 16s, so sixth form colleges, adult education etc. Mondays and Friday we learn the theory of teaching and Tuesdays to Thursdays is practice. We begin with observation of related courses and then team teaching and, as the year progresses, we become more independent until we are teaching by ourselves.

I got into it by doing the PTTL’s course part-time during one of my first graphic design jobs. I had wanted to get into university teaching so I thought this would be a good first step. I really liked the course and then an opportunity came up to teach ITC in a college near me for six months. It was a very scary experience but, despite that, I enjoyed it and decided to do some more training to increase my chances of getting a job in teaching design.

Since graduating I’ve worked for several companies as an in house Graphic Designer. I didn’t go down the agency route. In my first internship, I had a big part in designing the packaging for their new product, it’s retailing now (or soon) in the packing I designed so that’s kinda cool.

Also I was involved in the branding of sound equipment; so my logo is on headphones, earphones and other sound equipment out there too. I spent a month putting together book covers for a publishing company and I also did a lot of their promotional material too. I went from there to an outdoors company, designing quite a lot of t-shirts and also fabric prints for other clothing. They’re now available online and in their stores.

I have taken and unusual pathway but it’s really good that I’ve had a wide range of industry experience. I want to bring what I have learned into a teaching career, because I will be able to give advice to students based on real experience.

I’ve been involved in Shell Suit Zombie for the last few years. They started out as a zine and they were set up by four university graduates, who’s aim was to produce a yearly publication. They’re also involved in festivals and run their own exhibition, workshops at D&AD and other events. After their third issue they decided to open up to other creatives to get involved and form a collective. We now have around 40 people, including: designers, illustrators, copywriters, artists, photographers, advertisers, film makers and even stand up comedians.

Our last issue was called ‘The Money Issue’. We felt it was really important to address the issue of internships and unpaid work for graduates, that can sometimes go on for too long.  Our next issue, which launches on Tuesday 24th November in Shoreditch, is more focused on career paths. The theme is ‘I still don’t know what I am doing’, and it’s about graduates who have been working for a few years, but still aren’t sure what direction they are going in.

We distribute to universities, but we also get requests to send oversees. Our last edition went to the US. The aim of the project is to represent our skills, but also to support and promote new work.  I oversee a blog connected to the website called Mad Skills Monday where we promote new work. I started off just asking people that I know, so there were a lot of AUB alumni on there, but the more we posted the more applications we got to feature work. When you get featured on Mad Skills it also opens up the opportunity to collaborate with us on the publication. Last year I helped with a feature in Creative Review. Two of us wrote an article on advice for new graduates.  It included ten steps for success, so I put together a brief for our featured artists to illustrate the ten steps and then that was published in Creative Review.

For any budding Graphic Designers, I’d say to consider joining a collective; I would really recommend it actually.  There’s a lot of opportunities that can come up like blogging, magazine publishing and designing websites.  As for teaching, if you’re a bit on the fence about whether you’d like to teach or not I would suggest the PTTLS course.  It’s not that expensive and it a fun short course.”

Visit Christina’s website