Dan smiling at computer screen sat in yellow modern design studio

“I now see my dyslexia as a strength” – Dyson Graphic Designer Dan Shares UCW Experience

Jonny Dibble News

Education and isn’t a “one size fits all” situation. People learn and thrive in different learning scenarios.

Those who perhaps struggled in a traditional learning system can really thrive when focusing on a single subject, working alongside like-minded people in smaller classes and having more creative freedom. 

Since graduating from the Graphic Design BA (hons) in 2021, UCW alumni Dan Swan now works as a Graphic Designer for multinational technology company Dyson (yes, THE vacuum cleaner company!) 

Before studying his degree, Dan went to Weston College, studying Level 3 Graphic Design and Digital Arts UAL Extended Diploma. 

Dan said: “School was very difficult for me. School’s always pushing you to get your GCSE’s and doing exams and I think not having to do exams and not having to write as much, allows me to shine through my practical design work instead, which is a better representation of what I’m capable of. I came into Weston College just having like my own creative mind and yeah just trying to apply it some how.” 

Male student dan stood in design studio looking and smiling at camera

Passing college with flying colours, Dan then went on to study at UCW, being the first in his household to go and get a degree. 

“When I started studying Graphic Design I kind of had the realisation, that was like ‘oh yeah THIS is going to be my job. 

“Design is a very broad concept to wrap your head around, and creativity is even broader. Having dyslexia, I learned so much more about why I am able to see and understand things the way I do. I think with images and I really don’t calculate words as well. I realised that I had the skillset for design prewired in my brain, knowing what I want to see because I can already see it in my head. I think that was something I learned quite early on in my degree. My degree helped me realise that I don’t have a learning difficulty, I have a learning difference. 

“At university, being able to try stuff, and just see if something doesn’t work – I mean for me, as like a visual learner, that helps me grow and learn rather than passing or failing in an exam situation. 

“I now see my dyslexia as a strength. I mean for anyone who knows that they have dyslexia and don’t feel like they are at the same level as everyone else… it’s because they’re comparing themselves to other people with different strengths. You have strengths, they’re just completely somewhere else.”

Dan designing a graphic using iMac computer

The Graphic Design BA (hons) is a full-time Level 6 degree course, taught in Weston-super-Mare delivered in partnership through Bath Spa University. Dan graduated this course with a First Class Honours… 

“I don’t think I could’ve really done it without the support of some of the staff here, and also the support of friends for feedback on work. 

“You need to be able to learn from the people around you, I think something I’ve heard once before was that you always want to be the dumbest person in the room so you can just learn and sponge from people. 

“The technicians at Loxton Campus, were astronomical. They were so good at helping me I can’t thank them all enough. Tracy, Nick and Ash, Charlie – they all had the time for me, because I was ready to apply myself and say ‘I want to do this, how do I do it? Can you tell me how, can you show me how, what should I do?’. They were always really nice and used their expertise to help me improve my practical and digital design skills.”

photo from behind Dan working on graphic design

With a job at Dyson lined up thanks to meeting a contact and hearing about the opportunity through his course, Dan is now working in the industry… 

“At first I was very anxious going to a job, how different it would be, the pressure going on but the desire and passion to do the work, I think that’s what pushed me and made me ready. 

“The subjects we covered in uni really set me up for my career. The core values of design are shared through most things, you can be designing for an editorial piece or maybe a magazine cover and now I’m designing stuff for the application that I’m using now which is the same sort of concept, but just different ruleset that you can follow. 

“The facilities helped too. I was quite impressed when I first came here as a College student because I’d seen anything like it before. I’d never tried any sort of traditional print method but now I understand loads more methods that I can bring into my work. For example all the different sorts of lino printing and using the roller press, it was just so exciting to do to see what textures come out. Being able to use those practices and then try it for myself to see what I like the most. It was a great way to learn.”

 

Huge thanks to Dan for sharing your journey with us. We hope you continue to thrive in your job and can’t wait to check back in and see your career progressing! A very bright future ahead. 

Click here to learn more about our Graphic Design BA (hons) degree programme