Mature student Antony Gibson is proving most resourceful in promoting his design talent to build his commercial portfolio as he studies to make a career change. Antony joined the Extended Diploma in Graphic Design course in September 2011 and is now in his final year. During the summer vacation, when approaches to design agencies for work experience yielded no response, he devised his own branding project which has been taken up by the company.
Antony explained, “I go to the weekend markets at Kirkstall Abbey regularly. They do a monthly deli market on Saturdays and have a Sunday market which offers arts and crafts, vintage, fashion, jewellery and household goods as well as food and drink. They are always really busy but I realised that they had no brand identity. I thought it would be good to design a poster and logo and send it to them on a speculative basis. They loved it and have used it to brand their website and to make signage which can be seen on the Abbey walls.”
Antony, who has only recently discovered that he is dyslexic, did not do well at school although his creative nature and communication skills meant that he shone in other areas,. He worked as a youth worker and enjoyed a parallel music career, working in music production. He created music for commissions including a BBC documentary and for various commercials, produced hip hop tracks for British rappers, and also recorded in collaboration with other artists. He was signed to a record label in Milan in 2008 as part of a now disbanded duo, Definition of A Soul, who released a highly regarded single in 2010. He is currently discussing releasing an album he recorded with another friend seven years ago on iTunes. One of his compositions for a Danish TV campaign for nurse recruitment also featured in the movie Reuniting the Rubins (2010) starring Timothy Spall.
Despite this success, Antony decided that he had reached a stage where he needed to advance his knowledge and diversify to secure a satisfying and sustainable future. He explained, “I set my heart on being a recording artist but my career didn’t really work out as I intended. I am still working as a youth worker to fund my studies, but I really want to be work in a creative field. Although I had done some counselling training and things related to my youth work, I was always resistant to coming back to study after my bad experience at school. I didn’t realise that College was completely different and I am thoroughly enjoying it. College has done a lot more for me than education. I needed to go through this barrier as I was always looking for employment where there were no tests and this really restricted me. I realised that needed to get over this for my future and for my esteem and I decided that I needed to do a course which would lead me to a longterm career.”
Antony plans to progress to the BA (Hons) Graphics, Illustration & Digital Media course which he feels provides a good mix with his music background. Graphic Design lecturer Kulvinder Reehal commented, “I think it is fantastic how a learner who has had that negative educational experience through undiagnosed dyslexia has overcome his reservations is completely enjoying the course. Antony’s attitude and the eclectic mix from his background mean that he has so much to offer and he has never looked back. His initiative in making this link with the markets at Kirkstall Abbey is so positive will serve him well as he takes on more opportunities and creative projects during his time here and beyond.”