Graduates’ designs on success
Swansea College of Art is helping to create the arts and design entrepreneurs of the future. JENNY WHITE met two graduates who are making waves with their own businesses...
BOLD and striking, and with a retro edge, Nia Rist’s prints are instantly recognisable – and her sleek website is the perfect place to shop for everything from gifts to homeware. Scrolling through the products on offer, it’s easy to imagine her following on from where influential designers such as Orla Kiely left off.
Since graduating from UWTSD’S Swansea College of Art surface pattern design degree programme in 2016, Nia has steadily developed her screen-printed interior product range, which she launched to an international audience last summer at New Designers in London. Now, having recently been selected to exhibit as part of the Design Fresh breakthrough talent group, curated by 100% Design and Barbara Chandler, her career looks set to move to the next level.
Nia coincidentally found herself alongside another Swansea College of Art graduate at the 100% Design show in the London Design Fair in the summer. Product Design’s James Lewis completed his BA last year and, like Nia, he was taking an important career step by attending the prestigious show.
Surface pattern design programme director Georgia Mckie said: “This is a huge accolade for the faculty and serves as such a motivator for returning students – to see recent graduates profiled at such a pivotal and influential event in the British design calendar is so for them.”
Programmes at Swansea College of Art are developing quite an alumni of design entrepreneurs who have set up their own labels, confidently taking them to national and international markets in relatively short spaces of time.
“The surface pattern programme instils a ‘can do’ attitude in our students – it is a wonderful experience for our team to watch these students journey from freshers to design professionals,” said Georgia.
“We get an immense sense of pride from the work our graduates go on to achieve.
“Putting creativity and employability on an equal footing and at the heart of our programme is really inspirational paying off for our students. With freshers 2018 now under way, we wonder what this next cohort of first years will go on to pursue once they graduate from surface pattern design.”
Nia says her journey so far has been one of selfdiscovery.
“I have learnt so much about myself, most importantly how crucial it is to forward plan and take advice from experts, who know most about the business world,” she said.
“The help and support I have received and continue to receive from my lecturers at UWTSD has also been invaluable. They are with me every step of the way.”
Nia added that being selected to showcase her work at New Designers and then the 100% Design Show was a big turning point.
“Suddenly my work had an international platform. It led to exciting conversations with Not on The High Street and Tiger Print, and suddenly my journey into the business world had begun.”
Nia’s business venture
Work by Nia Rist.