A Charity Art Director (who also loves Morrissey)

GMD alumnus James Coventry is a highly successful Art Director working in the charity sector, but he has also been busy recently producing new Valentine designs for his sideline in Morrissey-inspired typographic greetings cards…

When did you graduate from GMD?

“I graduated from GMD in 2010 with two main passions; graphic design and the music of Stephen Patrick Morrissey.”

Any reflections on your time studying at LCC?

“Studying at LCC meant we were always tasked with confronting challenging issues. From questioning the effects of gentrification in Elephant and Castle to working with a national charity to change the perception of diabetes, the course encouraged me to consider the role of design and how we can use it to help people. And all the while, it was the music of Morrissey that kept me going in trying to manage a dissertation, four final major projects and a paltry student loan.”

What are you doing now?

“Since graduating, I’ve continued to work with inspiring not-for-profit causes. These include the likes of Anthony Nolan, Shelter and the NSPCC, where I currently work as an Art Director. I’ve been fortunate enough to have taken part in some award-winning, life-changing campaigns and I truly believe that now, more than ever, creatives are turning their skills to projects that change attitudes and behaviour.”

British Heart Foundation campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiSD7Rtzjz4

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“But I also juggle my time running my own greeting card company, selling designs inspired by Morrissey lyrics. We’ve been serving Morrissey’s ardent fan base for a couple of years now, but I’d always been looking for a way to bring together my two passions. One day it hit me that – with a music career spanning more than 30 years – you really can apply a Morrissey lyric to every occasion. http://www.mozforeveryoccasion.co.uk

Moz for Every Occasion was my way of putting this idea to test and the response has been fantastic with worldwide sales, several UK stockists and features in the Manchester Evening News (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/whats-on/shopping/merry-christmas-card-morrissey-lyrics-12290262) and the Huffington Post. Each design is short, sweet and self-deprecating – taking a line from a particular Morrissey track – and it certainly makes a difference to your average greeting card!”

Any tips for current GMD students? Or advice about setting up an online business?

“We’re a rare breed, us graphic designers. Ideas are aplenty and we’re always thinking. But in my own experience, there can be a temptation to park a promising idea and move on to the next before ever fully realising its potential. Launching Moz for Every Occasion taught me the value of acting upon a self-initiated idea, even though I was initially unsure of its wider appeal.

Self-initiated projects are a great way to challenge yourself, so long as they don’t exist solely your portfolio. That’s why I’d encourage students to put as many of their ideas to the test as possible, whether through social media, e-commerce platforms or by simply taking them out into the public. Who knows, it might just lead you to that all important first job opportunity, or at the very least, help to pay the bills.”

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