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Case Study

Chris Lavelle

Houghton Le Spring

BA (Hons) Design, Multimedia and Graphics


Chris Lavelle was working as head of a design department when he decided he wanted to push his career forward. Through research into design degrees, he found the University of Sunderland. During his final year, Chris won the Royal Television award for entertainment and the Adobe Achievement award which took him to Canada. Today he works full-time as a lead graphic designer for Cambridge University and runs his own freelance studio, ldistudios.

I was working as head of a design department, mainly doing your basic graphic design things. I had never touched upon video or furthered my 3D skills, and I was hoping to push my design career forward. I felt my day-to-day work over a long period of time had made me stagnate, and I needed to open up to new ideas and see things creatively again. Throughout my research, the University of Sunderland kept cropping up as an outstanding course in multimedia and design.

My tutors were amazing, but my favourite part was learning about After Effects and Maya. It was with those programs that I really started to experiment and try to push the boundaries of what I could do.

During my final year at university, I won the Royal Television award for entertainment with a music video called ‘Turn of the Screw’ which was my final year project. It also won the Adobe Achievement award which took me to Canada. From there I did guest lecturing around the country on motion design, before setting up ldistudios to work on my love projects.

I still work as a full-time graphic designer, which I really enjoy, and have my personal projects to push my creativity and up the ante for my day job. I’m very lucky to have ldistudios; I can basically choose what I wish to work on. I love that.

My advice to prospective University of Sunderland students? Try it. I came to the University to study a particular type of design and it took me in a completely different direction. I now love different disciplines and create through many types of media. It really gave me the tools I needed and gave me access to creative thinking again. All I have achieved since would not have been possible without the University. And 10 years on they continue to support me. It’s not just a place in my past, it’s a current companion with a two-way dialogue. It feels very personal to me.

For me, studying at Sunderland was like seeing the world in different colours. Respectful, thoughtful and inspirational."

Published 5 October 2021

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