Thumbing through vinyl records is an enjoyable pastime for any uber music fan, but for Dave King it perhaps had a bigger impact on his life than most.

It was during his time working within a music shop in Edinburgh that his love for record covers – and subsequently the design world – was realised.

After seeing an advert for Edinburgh Napier’s first ever-graphic design course, the music shop became less of a profession and more a hobby as he embarked on the four-year degree.

He said: “It was a bit of serendipity. I was getting bored working in a record shop and looking to do something new. I saw an ad for the graphic design course and thought I’d give it a go.

“The course was a great grounding in design thinking and what you can do with it. It was all totally new to me. I really didn’t have a clue about design back then – I thought it was just about making things look nice. The industry links were great too – I got to meet a lot of people who gave me a hand up in my career.”

Dave’s own ‘hand up’ in his career came in the shape of the StudioLR prize – a now annual award presented at the University’s More Than A Degree Show from the leading agency to a student that showcases great ideas and great potential. The prize – a paid three-week placement – soon turned into an additional month for Dave and then into a full-time job. In 2016, he became the studio’s design director.

Dave added: “The StudioLR prize was a timely confidence boost and was my foot in the door of the industry. I started out with a three-week placement that went pretty well and was asked to stay on for another month of two to finish a project I’d been working on. I pretty much refused to leave after that. I learnt so much in the first year – every day was a real challenge .I made a few good mistakes too – including sending a brochure to print with a back to front image on the cover!

“I then just gradually got more involved in projects and started to understand how it all comes together. I was learning a lot on the job and doing quite a lot of training courses with DBA and D&AD. After a few years I was getting to lead some exciting projects and in 2016 I moved into a design director role. I love my job and I wouldn’t have it if I didn’t go to Edinburgh Napier.

“Now, it’s great to be involved with giving the prize to new graduates. We’re always looking for people with great ideas, people who think a little bit differently and people who are keen to use that to change something for the better.

“One piece of advice for someone considering studying graphic design? Definitely invest in a decent coffee machine.”

We reckon we’ll do just that.
Learn more about graphic design at Edinburgh Napier