Samuel Mensah graduated from GMD in 2013 whilst rapidly gaining a slew of awards and industry recognition. Keeping busy with his own global initiatives – Youth Worldwide and D+R – alongside his high-powered day job, he reflects on his time at LCC and tells us more about his current philosophy and interests…
“I believe my time at LCC was definitely a creative coming of age for me. I remember how excited I was when I heard I got accepted and was able to do my Foundation course there and then my BA degree. There was a magical aura around LCC that I felt. It felt like home. Home for creatives. A place where people were like minded and they simply wanted to create all the time. I can’t tell you how much of an empowering prospect that was for me at the time. The highlight of the course for me was being able to work on real briefs for real large clients.
My current job is at McKinsey Digital. I made the decision to come here because I didn’t want to be just a visual designer for my entire life. I have always been drawn to the strategy of design, how it can benefit & transform businesses.
Before this I was at Native Design, a product design studio where I was able to have a hand in developing physical products and diverse digital services.
I definitely found my passion within human-centred design and feel that’s where I felt more fulfilled. Developing things that transform businesses or individuals using impactful design.
Prior to that I was at AKQA for 3 years working with some of the largest brands in the world. It really shaped my professional nouse working at that level and creating campaigns for them.
While I made a name for myself within the advertising & branding realm I have diverged in a way that allows for my creativity to be used in more impactful ways. I’m learning to understand how design, strategy and business go hand in hand. Advertising is all about selling to the consumer using creativity (to then make money for a company) and I feel my direction is simply an evolution of that notion.
YouthWorldWide, to put it succinctly, is a celebration of the power of creativity. It’s a creative network that seeks to support and showcase creativity in all its forms on a global stage. We’ve been fortunate enough to have had exhibitions in London and partnered or sponsored a few overseas too, from the Americas to Africa and Australasia.
Its an outlet for young creatives to do what they really want to do and be supported in it. Also to have their amazing ideas showcased. More than anything it’s a creative network. There’s power in numbers and also power in collaboration. YWW is a celebration of collaboration and where it can go. The idea literally began with me and a friend of mine in California connecting with different designers/artists online and seeing what we could create together. The dream is to take things as far as they can go and hopefully turn YWW into a creative school one day. Educating and celebrating creativity in a way that most traditional institutions.
Most underestimate the power of creativity but in actual fact it’s the most powerful problem solving tool in the world and should be treated as such much more.
D+R on the other hand is more focused on career guidance specifically and more focused within the digital realm. I have noticed there is a trend in students and young people not knowing much about career direction and guidance before and after they graduate. There are very few platforms that seek to give valuable & impactful resources to inform them and point the correct direction. D+R seeks to do so. We are still very much in our development stage so stay tuned!
My career plans seem quite spread out. I know there are so many avenues to go down. Since completing the GMD course, I feel like every year I’ve grown exponentially in terms of understanding my potential as a creative in this world and how far things can be taken. I definitely believe in lofty ideas such as legacy and I’m starting to understand the grit, sacrifice and selflessness it takes to get to that level. Though I’m working full time now in a product design studio I plan to eventually focus on solely doing my own thing and taking that to unseen heights. I believe in doing rather talking a lot so it’s always a bit difficult speaking about future plans. I will say that I very much believe what I do will involve using creativity and design to give back and help people in some way. What’s been learnt is that design is a mighty tool that can do so much good. Using it in the right way to improve lives and make the world better is where I believe legacy lies. It’s also where I see my future and, I have the utmost confidence in that being the correct avenue to go down.”
Any tips for GMD students?
“I would encourage them all to read as much as possible. Envelope yourselves in your course and keep your passion sky high for the entirety of the 3 years. You will never be this young and free to create at this level ever again so really take advantage of it.
Furthermore I urge them to prepare for their future careers very early. Gain internships, develop relationships & learn about the industry as much as possible in these 3 years so by the time graduation comes around you are already in an internship or full time position.
So many of my peers struggled to find full time positions after university not because they weren’t qualified or talented but simply because they didn’t prepare for future life early enough. Pay attention to your degree but you must take note of your career more so. School isn’t forever and it’s so important to know you can land on your feet after it’s all done. Utilise LinkedIn as much as possible, go to networking events. Perfect your online portfolio, brand and presence. Secure your future now.”