Graphic Design Course Alumni: Joseph Smith

We caught up with recent ACC alumni and award winner of the 2023 Best Animation / VFX at our Birmingham campus to hear all about his time studying with us.

Every year we host the Access Creative College Showcase Awards to celebrate and praise the incredible work our students produce. Across all of our campuses we award titles from best song, to best design, to best game art to best software, and so much more! For our 2023 ceremony, Joseph took home the award for Best Animation / VFX in Birmingham.





Joseph won this award whilst studying on our Graphic and Digital Design Level 3 Course. This course explores typography, hand rendered and digital illustration, web design and layouts, designing for adverts and promotional materials.


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Hi Joseph, thank you for talking to us! Tell us, which course did you study and why?

I chose the graphic design course.

I was made aware of the college through a career guidance session at my secondary school. Finding Access, a college that offered a wide selection of creative pathways was appealing to me as I felt I could find a course that suited me well.

I think the college being coursework centric was a good fit for me, in addition to arming students with a lot more industry-like experience compared to an exam based system. The large volume of work produced over the two year course meant I had plenty of pieces to fill my portfolio, I am in a good position to be able to pick the strongest examples of my work from the course. 


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What did you enjoy about your time studying with us? Do you have any particular highlights?

Access Creative college was a supportive environment that gave me a solid framework to develop my skills with lots of tutor support and encouragement to work independently.



Work by Joseph Smith



I enjoyed the freedom to explore and develop my own creative style, allowing me to incorporate a mix of 2D and 3D design into the briefs we were given. We were encouraged to adopt our own niches, meaning that by the end of the course each student had their own distinct techniques, styles and design language.

The highlights of the course would probably be the opportunity to experiment with many different techniques, creating work for the college (for example creating the Christmas poster or making a 3D animation for International Women’s Day) and receiving the national award for best VFX/Animation.


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Congratulations on winning best animation / VFX in Birmingham!! How do you feel after winning? Can you please tell us more about the project?

Thank you, I was very surprised and excited to win the award! I won the award for my            

showreel of 3D animations created throughout the course. This showed me the value of teaching yourself a new skill independently alongside the course. My 3D knowledge has become a very valuable skill giving me a new style to my graphic design projects, a new activity to enjoy in my free time and hopefully will lead to a more diverse range of opportunities in my future career.



Image taken by @Katjpeg_



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What are your next steps / plans and aspirations for the future, career and/or education wise?

Now that I have finished my course at Access Creative College, I will be continuing my education at Loughborough University where I am going to study a BA in graphic design

After receiving my degree I would then like to start my career as a graphic designer or a similar creative role, perhaps 3D motion graphics.


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How did Access help you get to where you need to be?

Access Creative College provides a good framework in the form of live briefs. This allows students to develop and learn through creative restraints, time restrictions and industry like experience, so at the end of my time at college I had built up a solid portfolio of work that got me into all five of the universities I applied for!



Work by Joseph Smith



Would you recommend the course to anyone else, if so, why?

Yes, I would recommend the course to others that want to take a similar career path as it gave the experience, UCAS points/grades and portfolio I needed to take my next steps. I would say that the course does require a real passion in the subject and the willingness to work and develop your skills independently when not in college, as this will lead to the best results and also make the most out of your time at college. You can find Joseph’s socials here


If you’re interested in studying Graphic Design or Animation & VFX with us, learn more about our Media courses here.

Last updated on: 13th November 2023