The main takeaway I have from both courses I have studying within the ADBE school was to continue pushing yourself even when presented with challenges.
More about Elizabeth
We caught up with BArch Architecture and MA Design: Products and Furniture alumni, Elizabeth Macgregor, who is currently working as a Children’s Book Designer for Igloo Books at Bonnier publishing.
Tell us why you chose to study at NTU and ADBE. Were there any key features or facilities which may have influenced your decision?
Studying at NTU wasn’t my first choice of university. I was a clearing student and had intended to study elsewhere. However, when I had to choose another university unexpectedly, I visited NTU and was very impressed by the facilities and buildings. It liked the proximity to the city and the study spaces available for Architecture students – specifically the workshops.
I was impressed at the course curriculum for Architecture and its hands-on approach to learning. On reflection I am glad that I ended up studying at NTU, because I had a fantastic undergraduate experience, so much so that when I decided to complete a Masters, I came back to study at NTU.
What did you learn as a ADBE student – both inside and outside of lectures? What still makes you smile when you look back?
The main takeaway I have from both courses I have studying within the ADBE school was to continue pushing yourself even when presented with challenges. The world of design is tough, it is competitive and fast paced – so the courses emulated that in many ways. They were hard work (mainly Architecture), but that has taught me the value of hard work and being productive and efficient when working on a project.
I am proud of the work ethic I have now as a result of these courses, and it helps me tremendously when I am faced with challenges at work.
I look back at my undergraduate course very fondly as my university experience wasn’t interrupted by the pandemic, so I could enjoy the full scope of facilities, there was an international trip, throwing myself into Nottingham city life and extra-curricular university activities too. I was lucky enough to be asked to do the valedictorian speech of thanks at my undergraduate graduation, and I think I will be proud of that for the rest of my life as it was such a special opportunity to be recognised for everything I had worked for throughout my degree.
What does your current day involve?
My job is very dynamic, so I don’t have a ‘typical day’. Most days I am working on some element of digital design. I work in Publishing as a Children’s book designer, so I am required to be imaginative and playful with my approach to work daily. I can be working on front cover digital design, storytelling, design workshops with my team, mock-up book creation, idea generation... the list goes on!
How has your experience studying and being part of the NTU/ADBE community helped you in your current role?
The collaborative nature of the courses I have worked on has helped me within the workplace to have the confidence to work collaboratively within a team – those group projects, as annoying as they are at the time, are so important for working in industry.
What attracted you to this field of work?
My love for books and reading, but also the scope for creativity when designing something for children.
What challenges have you faced?
Complete career change and starting again after a pandemic. I began my career in the built environment field, working at an engineering company, building models and testing buildings. Now I work on illustrating creative stories and designing children’s books – they are completely different. I had to rely in working on a set of transferable design skills and personal projects to showcase what I can do. I faced a lot of rejection when changing jobs due to lack of experience, but I used resilience and determination to keep going.
What have been the highlights and biggest challenges of your career so far?
Highlights would be getting to the point where I can say that I genuinely love my job. Biggest challenge was the career change in a very different working market after the pandemic.
What are your plans for the future?
Continue working at my current company, building skills and experience within this industry. Hopefully taking on a few personal projects alongside work and helping other people get to the point where they can love their job too.
If you had a time machine, what would you go back and tell yourself at University?
Get involved in everything you can whilst you have the time (it really helped me in future). Socialise, enjoy life, teach yourself things you didn’t know you could do so you can look back and be proud.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to share with our alumni community?
Don’t let someone tell you what you ‘should’ be doing – you can decide that for yourself. It’s okay to change your mind, to do a 180, to quit when something isn’t serving you, to keep working on something you love, to push yourself but also to rest.
I’m proud of the life I have created both during and since leaving university, and it is because I focus on enjoying all of the little things that life has to offer!
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