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Emma Hetherington graduates this summer with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration.

Having a passion for design, Emma really struggled when COVID-19 hit, and she was unable to work in the studio environment she loved. Deciding to use her free time during the pandemic to keep doing what she loves, Emma participated in ‘Creatives against Covid-19,’ a campaign that called on the creative industry to design inspiring posters of optimism and hope, to raise funds for ISPCC Childline and Women’s Aid.

“Over the past four years I have learnt so much and have absolutely loved being in the studio environment, where I felt I grew so much as a designer. When Covid-19 hit I was absolutely gutted that I wouldn’t be able to continue going into university. However, the lecturers were amazing and ensured we got everything we needed to continue completing our degree from home.

“I struggled a lot over Covid-19, witnessing how it affected so many families. I decided to use my passion of designing and gave back as much as possible. I participated in Creatives against Covid and I also designed a t-shirt that raised essential funds for our communities. These initiatives were the perfect way to keep my mind busy whilst doing what I love.”

Emma has always had a creative eye, and she knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue an art-related career. Emma explored a wide range of different types of art, but once she tried graphic design, she immediately knew it was the right choice for her.

“I’ve always loved art, so naturally in school I wanted to go down a creative art path. I then studied foundation art at North West Regional College (NWRC). I absolutely loved my time at NWRC. I tried a wide variety of art, from fashion, textiles, fine art and graphic design, but the one I fell in love with was graphic design. It was completely new to me and all the software was quite confusing, but I loved learning about it so wanted to take that journey further with applying to Ulster University.”

Emma decided to study at Ulster University, and reflecting on that, she knows she made the right decision

“I chose Ulster University and it was definitely the right fit for me. I have learnt and gained as much knowledge about graphic design as possible. I’m glad I decided to study at Ulster, as I was encouraged to experiment and was given the crucial tools to really evolve as a designer and to find my style.

“One highlight for me would be making friends and connections throughout the past four years, it has been amazing and I have learnt so much from them all.”

Emma is now working with a New York agency called Crown Creative who have recently opened a studio in Belfast.