Starting out a Career in Graphic Design

VBAT Refreshing
Sep 7, 2016 · 5 min read

Written by Craig Berry
Creative Intern at VBAT

Self-Initiated, 3rd Year, Minimal Illustration Project. Exploring the UCI 5 ‘Monuments’ one day classics professional cycling races.
Illustration, Typography & Print. Source: Craig Berry

Hello, I’m Craig.

I am a recent graphic arts & design graduate from Leeds Beckett University in the UK. Originally from the Wirral in North West England, I am now taking part in a 5 month long creative internship at VBAT in Amsterdam from September 2016 to January 2017.

During my 3 years at university in Leeds I learnt to enjoy living in the city environment, the atmosphere this has, along with the advantages and opportunities that arise from urban living. The projects I did during university focused on things that I was (and still am) interested in, focusing on subjects like cycling, architecture, typography and photography.

Hell of the North Bar. Self-Initiated, 3rd Year, Illustration Project.
A parody poster of other works. Illustration & Photography.
Phife Dawg. Self-Initiated, 3rd Year, Type Distortion Project.
Commemorating Malik Izaak Taylor aka ‘Phife Dawg’. Typography & Print.
Le Tour. Self-Initiated, 2nd Year, Illustration Project.
Commemorating the 101st Tour de France which departed from Leeds in 2014. Illustration.
Self Initiated, 3rd Year, Collaborative Photography & Editorial Project.
Portraits and yearbook style photographs of the 2013–2016 Graphic Arts & Design course at Leeds Beckett University.
Photography, Art Direction & Editorial Design.

Cycling is a big deal for me. My bike is everything to me: a way to commute, a way to socialise, a way to exercise, a way to explore, a way to escape. My beloved bike is fixed-gear track bike that I ride on the roads. It’s very light and nimble, unlike my new Dutch bike which is heavy and is like driving a tank! Although it gets me to where I need to go and it’s great to live in a country where cycling is so widely accepted and appreciated — in the UK cycling is often seen as negative by other road users such as cars and buses.

My passion for cycling led me into my first internship which I started as soon as I handed in my final university work (May 2016). A friend I met whilst cycling in Leeds offered me a potential design internship at his company — Full Windsor (an innovative cycling accessory company), where after an interview I was given the internship and I was immediately given work to produce new t-shirt designs, catalogue and brochure designs, product and packaging design along with other studio jobs like handling stock, contributing to social media campaigns and towards the end I was featured in a new and upcoming product video. This internship was a steep learning curve after university and it was a great insight into ‘real world graphic design’ and all the things that encompasses as well as exciting working in a innovative cycling company.

During my university degree show (which myself and a few other students — working with a local design agency — produced the identity and publication design for) Graham Sturt (VBAT creative director) was invited over by my tutor Andy Edwards, who was also one of Graham’s previous tutors. After speaking to Graham in Leeds and further discussions I was offered a 5 month internship here at VBAT in Amsterdam which I could not turn down. Graphic design is historically important over here, with huge names like Wim Crouwel, Studio Dumbar, Mevis & Van Deursen, Experimental Jetset and Irma Boom to name just a few, have shaped the image of Dutch design and in doing so, influenced the rest of the world.

VBAT is an exciting agency which will hopefully allow me to learn more and gain experience in ‘real world graphic design’ and how large design agencies are ran. Living in Amsterdam, a great European capital city, is also a great advantage with things to do across the city with its vast number of museums and culturally significant places. My first week has been very busy, lots of shaking hands and trying to remember names — which I can remember about 10 so far. The week which included going to a Jeff Mills techno/orchestra event at the Concertgebouw and a type tour around the city led by the renowned David Quay. It’s great to be in a place like VBAT where everyone is welcoming and helpful, there are no egos and the food is great!

Jeff Mills at The Royal Concertgebouw. Image: DeFotomeisjes

I have an obsession with the USA, for a long time I have aspired to live and work there. This obsession comes from interests and cultures such as fixed-gear cycling, hip-hop music, fashion and the overall saturated lifestyle that is apparent over there. Places like New York and San Francisco are dream locations at the moment but something I wish to make a reality later in life, hopefully graphic design can take me there, either working in a studio or starting on my own. I also enjoy photography and the USA is one of the most photogenic places in my opinion.

For more about me and some examples of my work, you can visit my website.

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written by Craig Berry
Creative Intern at VBAT

Inside VBAT

Weekly blog posts by Creatives from VBAT, on different topics related to Retail, Branding, Packaging, Innovation and Design in and around Amsterdam.

VBAT Refreshing

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Multidisciplinary Branding and Design agency. Constantly Creative, Always Refreshing. Creating Iconic Brands.

Inside VBAT

Weekly blog posts by Creatives from VBAT, on different topics related to Retail, Branding, Packaging, Innovation and Design in and around Amsterdam.

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