Dave King: 2011 graduate in graphic design

As our graphic design course turns 10 years old, we speak with Dave King about his time with the University and how agency life is treating him. We discuss record shops, winning work placements and good coffee machines.
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