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Case Study

Mat Maddison

Durham, UK

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Mat Maddison has always been a creative person and one of his biggest design inspirations was video games. Knowing that the video games industry can be difficult to get into, he made the decision to focus on his studies and work hard building a portfolio before starting a Design degree at the University of Sunderland. After graduating in 2019 he began working as a graduate UI Designer at Frontier Developments and is now working as a Junior UI Artist at Ubisoft Reflections.

I have always been a creative person. Ever since I was young, I would sit and draw and design things – often in school workbooks, which didn’t impress my teachers! One of the biggest inspirations for me design-wise was video games and as I progressed through school and college my mind was set on becoming a video games artist. The video game industry is notorious for being difficult to get into and I wanted every advantage I could get, so I decided to pursue the idea and work hard, often working on personal projects alongside my studies to build up a portfolio. Going to university would help me gain the confidence in my work and learn new tricks!

I grew up in Durham so Sunderland was a new place for me to explore, whilst not being too far away from home. Students I knew who already studied at Sunderland told me how good the social life was and they weren’t wrong! The staff were incredibly helpful, welcoming and friendly all throughout my studies. While I enjoyed pretty much everything about the course, the final major project (FMP) stood out for me. In your final module, you are given the opportunity to make your own brief and become your own creative director. This is a very rare and exciting opportunity any designer will get in their career, and it allows you to create whatever you want, with limitless opportunities to flex your creativity and focus on developing the skills you feel are your strongest.

I graduated from the University in July of 2019. Since graduating I have worked in two different well-known video game studios. I worked as a graduate UI Designer at Frontier Developments in Cambridge and now I'm currently working at Ubisoft Reflections as a Junior UI Artist in Newcastle. The most invaluable thing university taught me was how to be confident with my work. Having confidence in your work and being enthusiastic about what you do goes a long way. And having the knowledge and skills you learn at university to show backs it up!

As cliché as it sounds, if you have a passion for something and you know what you want to be, just go for it! Even if you’re unsure where you want to be after your studies, having the skills behind you and the support that you get at university is invaluable. Studying at the University of Sunderland is a once in a lifetime experience you’ll never regret. You'll meet so many friends, make so many memories and, most importantly, learn lots of skills and gain the confidence to be who you want to be. I would do it all again in a heartbeat!”

Published 8 June 2022

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