From education to employment

Former Arts University Plymouth student working for Lucy & Yak

Former Arts University Plymouth student working for Lucy & Yak

Andrew Girdler, who attended the arts university’s Pre-Degree campus in 2015, now works as a graphic designer for the eco-conscious clothing brand

Andrew Girdler, a former Pre-Degree student from Arts University Plymouth, has joined ethical clothing company Lucy & Yak as a graphic designer. Andrew studied at Art University Plymouth’s campus for further education until completing his Extended Diploma in Graphic Design (equivalent to the new post-16 UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Graphics, Illustration & Game Arts) in 2015.

Lucy & Yak is an eco-conscious clothing company, with stores across the country in Brighton, Bristol, Norwich and Nottingham. Founded by couple Lucy and Chris, and named after their Volkswagen van Yak, the couple’s aim was to create eco-conscious, comfortable clothing using organic and recycled materials. Their bright and colourful patterned designs have become synonymous with the brand and since the launch of their dungarees in 2017, they now offer everything from loungewear and jumpsuits to bags, belts and hats. 

Originally from Plymouth, and now based in Brighton, Andrew, aged 25, said, “I’d followed Lucy & Yak online for a few years and loved their branding, so when in 2020 they posted a Graphic Designer role on Instagram, I applied straight away. Due to the pandemic there was actually a two-year gap between my first conversations with the team and me actually joining. While it was a long time, I’m super glad I joined when I did. Those two years allowed me to learn so much more about design and motion graphics.”

“I’d had experience working in the print, publishing and live music businesses, but had never worked for a fashion company before. There was plenty for me to catch up on in terms of digital marketing. My position as graphic designer means I work alongside our amazing Lead Designer Val, creating assets for marketing campaigns, communications, events, our digital platforms and clothing graphics. The job has pushed me to delve deeper into creative software and learning to work in a way that is more digitally focused than any of my previous roles. Every member of the team is super talented and supportive, it’s been the perfect environment for me to grow as a designer.”

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Andrew studied an Extended Diploma in Graphic Design in 2015 (now called the UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative Practice: Graphics, Illustration & Game Arts) before moving to Brighton and studying BA (Hons) Music Production at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM).

Andrew said, “Music is one of my biggest passions but coming from a family of creatives, I got into using Adobe software before I was even a teenager, so I knew I wanted to study a creative subject. I loved the sound of Arts University Plymouth, I went along to an open day and the open relaxed environment really appealed to me. I really loved meeting other creative people and experimenting with different methods and techniques. I definitely wouldn’t have found my way into collaging if it hadn’t been for the arts university. I also didn’t realise how intense life would be after graduating, so it was amazing to just make art in such a welcoming environment.”


Andrew fronts Brighton-based psych-rock band Tunnel Visions, who released the first half of their two-part debut album in 2022, ‘Clear Skies’ with follow-up album ‘Foggy Moon’ to be released in 2023. Andrew, who writes, records, sings and plays guitar for the band also designs their album artwork and has previously worked as a Programme and Production Manager at the Green Door Store venue in Brighton, as a Radio Producer for Slack City Radio and freelanced as a graphic designer. Inspired by the likes of illustrator Jamie Hewlett and ‘Adventure Time’ creator Pendleton Ward, Andrew says his memories of growing up playing the Playstation still influences his work today.

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Andrew said, “I love the 90s, the nostalgia of being aged five and playing Playstation was probably the peak of my life haha! Watching Cartoon Network and ‘Wallace and Gromit’ massively encouraged my love of cartoons. I love punk and psychedelic artwork, album covers and gig posters have always been a massive one for me. Music is what I end up spending most of my time on the internet researching, that’s where I absorb the most art. More recently, I have been inspired by people’s outfits. I always wore quite muted clothing but now I’m working at Lucy & Yak, surrounded by bright and colourful clothing, I definitely notice more people walking around with interesting or weird fits.”

“My advice to people trying to get into graphic design is start by making the kind of art you want to make, even if you’re not doing it professionally. Building up a portfolio of work is just as (if not more) important than having a strong CV. For me, creating work for myself or friends was a great excuse to practise and experiment, helping me build and present a more diverse portfolio which has come in handy! Secondly, reach out and email brands, companies, bands, whoever you love, telling them about yourself and your work, and why you want to work for them. People love it when they can tell you have a passion for their particular brand. ‘You don’t ask, you don’t get’ has been the most consistently useful advice in my life as a designer and musician, use it from time to time!”

Pre-Degree students aged 16 to 19 at Arts University Plymouth reported exceptional levels of satisfaction in the 2022 student survey, with 96% of all second-year students reporting that they were happy with the progress that they have made during their time at the arts university’s further education campus.To find out more about what it’s like to be involved in a creative community, or to learn more about our Foundation Diplomas and UAL Level 3 Extended Diplomas, the art university’s next Pre-Degree Open Day takes place in its city-centre Palace Court campus on Saturday 3 June 2023.

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