Posted by Martin Nixon
25 April, 2022

We remember what it’s like to be a student…

I completed a two-year General Art & Design Foundation course there forty years ago in 1982, and it inspired me to pursue a career in creativity; AKA getting paid for doing what you love!

Falmouth Art School (as it was then) was a small provincial art school focusing on fine art rather than design subjects, yet it provided the perfect platform from which to start my career as a graphic designer. With just three O-Levels and the promise of completing an A-Level in Art during my first year, I was accepted and felt supremely lucky that Falmouth provided a rare opportunity for less qualified students to access higher education.

From 1995 to 2005 I returned as a part-time lecturer on various programmes – from Foundation to Graphic Design – and found it immensely rewarding to witness the progression of the young creatives of the future. Indeed, one of my first hires, Chris Holmes, was a talented graduate who went on to become our first Creative Director. He was soon joined by fellow graduates Ben Rowe and Nick Walker, along with many others from Falmouth over the past 30 years.

Many other members of our team have attended Falmouth University through the decades: our Creative Director Diggory excelled on the Foundation course, our designers Tamsyn and Sarah are both star graduates from the BA(Hons) Graphic Design programme, and account manager Cat and copywriter Megan were both graduates in English with Media Studies. 

Over the last 20 years, Nixon has carried out numerous creative projects for Falmouth University with highlights including (appropriate metaphor coming up) the projection of images of student work on the satellite dishes at Goonhilly for their Prospectus.

We have provided paid placements to second year students from the graphic design programme for many years. The value is two-fold; benefitting both the students and our clients. For students, it’s an opportunity to experience live briefs, a studio environment and the day-to-day of a junior designer. On the other hand, our clients get all the benefits of our strategic insight into brand but with fresh thinking and ideas that push boundaries and extend their marketing activity.

With the emerging focus on craft, many students bring additional skillets such as typography, hand lettering and illustration. Placements last anything from two weeks to a month, and we pay them for their labours. For us, too, it’s a symbiotic relationship; as students benefit from an insight into our busy studio, working across a range of client sectors, we benefit from their energy, enthusiasm and imagination. 

So many of our placement students and past Falmouth employees have gone on to great things. We celebrate this and hope we’ve played a small part in their success. In future we look forward to continuing in our aim of creating a channel for creativity, and remain ever grateful for the fact we have one of the best creative universities on the planet, quite literally on our doorstep.