Edinburgh based alumnus Andrew Wolffe chats about his close relationship with ECA and explains why work placements are so important.
|Name||Andrew John Antony Wolffe|
|Degree Course||BA Hons Visual Communication|
|Year of Graduation||1986|
Your time at the University
I was born and raised in Gatehouse of Fleet, south west Scotland. Both my parents attended Edinburgh College of Art (my father was a recipient of the Andrew Grant Scholarship) and I followed in their footsteps.
I made the most of my time at Art College; I played trumpet in the orchestra and was a member of the hockey team.
My career was started by taking an unpaid placement in my third year at a leading design company in Edinburgh.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
My unpaid third year placement at Tayburn proved invaluable. Subsequently I was offered a job in my final year and joined the agency as a graduate designer in August 1986. In 1993 I was appointed Creative Director with a design team of 25 designers.
I left Tayburn in 1998 to establish my own business, Wolffe and Co, in Galloway and went on to aquire the studio Pointsize Associates in order to build a presence in Glasgow. However, the deal was finalised a day before the credit crunch struck, and after a period of major cost cutting I decided to close the business. In 2009 I re-established myself as Wolffe in Edinburgh - a design consultancy specialising in refined, complete design solutions. We deliver brand design solutions across print and digital media.
I have always had a very close relationship with Edinburgh College of Art, and I very much enjoy supporting current students in their career development, both as a mentor and a visiting lecturer.
I’m delighted to offer student placements at my agency, which provide students with industry experience, working with the design team and meeting with clients.
Several years ago I became involved with Edinburgh College of Art’s Design Agency initiative. This is a yearlong team assignment, creating student design agencies, supported by academics and the design sector - each student agency is partnered with a professional agency. For me, this initiative gives the students an awareness of the professional requirements of being a designer beyond designing.
I can’t emphasise enough the value of work placements, I recommend strongly that you accept them at every opportunity. They provide a real insight into life after graduation, and help you to develop key skills to stand out from the crowd. And you never know what doors may open as a result.
Also, listen to your mentors, exchange ideas and ask them about all areas of design practice - soak up their design intelligence and experience.