See what makes Graphics and Illustration Pathways Leader Gavin Jones tick in 10 questions!

Get to know Gavin in 10 questions!

Fri 23 Jul 2021 < Back to listing


Continuing our celebration of 10 years as an approved UAL Awarding Body centre, we put 10 questions to some of our academic staff! This week we are hearing from our amazing and super friendly Pathway Leader for FE Graphic Design & Illustration, Gavin Jones!

10 Questions with Gavin Jones

Gavin graduated from Norwich School of Art and Design with a HND and a BA in Graphic Design. He has over 20 years’ experience in commercial graphic design and illustration and has worked with many well-known brands including Volvo, Crayola, Cadburys, Rowntree’s, Greene King, Danepak, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, and Marks and Spencer.

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What is your motto or personal mantra?
I stand by the words “keep moving forward” spoken as part of a quote from Walt Disney. As well as that I find comfort from believing in the motto ‘you are right where you need to be’.

What is your creative specialism?
I come from over 20 years of commercial Graphic Design specialising in typography, logo design, packaging, corporate literature, exhibitions, advertising, and book and magazine design.

What attracted you to this creative practice?
I loved drawing from an early age, but once in higher education I discovered the form of type and when manipulated, what it could do to a layout to change its feel and tone. Whilst I was able to experiment creatively it was equally pleasing to use the rules and guides that Graphic Design has built its foundations on. I enjoyed breaking those rules, but the structure and versatility of commercial graphic design gave me a pathway I could earn money from and create a good life for my family.

Who inspired you in this direction and why?
My Art Teacher in secondary school encouraged me to build and expand on my skills in my Art lessons. From then on I never looked back and read books, experimented with materials, visited exhibitions, and invested in materials and technology and learnt as much as possible given the education journey that was laid before me.

What is the best advice you were ever given, who did it come from?
“Do it, to see it, to do it” - My degree teacher, Ray Gregory, gave this advice during a tough critical presentation. It sent me spinning at the time but it’s a phrase I rely on a lot now.

How do you nurture young talent?
I always encourage students try things and see if you can do no-more with the idea. I assure them that it’s ok that things don’t work. Don’t be precious about the work and embrace making ‘mistakes’ - get over it and accept its progression. I ask them to look around them, to access books first, not screens, and accept that a tablet or computer is merely a tool. Ideas start better from pencil and pen to paper.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?
After the drive to College, and a brisk walk, settled at my desk, classes start from 9.15am. Depending on the stage of the units taught I aim to be available for discussion and advice for any student. 1-to-1 tutorials are great for this. I enjoy discussing ideas and having the opportunity to inspire and ‘pay it forward’ what I have learnt and impart my knowledge to help students progress on their journey. Then repeat 5 days a week. I am currently planning for the new academic year and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow colleagues on cross discipline projects to further the students’ skills and experiences.

Who is your favourite designer and why?
I have always had a love for Roy Lichtenstein, but I will always find my way back to David Carson for his laid-back attitude, amazing skills of breaking type and knowing which rules to break and when. I take comfort in seeing his work in the commercial world - it inspires me to be more creative. As well as Carson I have admiration and respect for the Ex-Creative Director of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, Rob Sheridan. His work with photography, digital manipulation and ‘glitch’ style typography is possibly my favoured work over anything else. They are somewhat uncomfortable and beautiful at the same time.

What’s the best professional compliment you have ever received?
“Thank you.” It seems lame but receiving ‘thanks’ over the years of working in design agencies and running my own company is priceless. It’s great being paid for something you enjoy doing, but when those two words of praise are directed at you it makes the job worthwhile and worthy of your hard work. It pays to be kind.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I have a ‘pay it forward’ attitude which I take great pride in. I enjoy imparting knowledge to students of the things I have learnt and found useful in the commercial world. The students I teach are our next hope for educating and influencing the future generations to buy, educate, inform, and make a difference through creative expression. I feel happy knowing that I am active in that ethos and knowing that I am an active part of the student journey.


Contact us now to find out how you can study on one of our UAL Awarding Body Qualifications


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