We’re proud to have been working with Nottingham Trent University for several years now, creating outdoor ads, brochures, digital media and more. As a creative marketing agency, we love to attend their annual art and design degree show to scope out the latest and greatest local talent – and we’re never disappointed.
Rather than keep quiet about the amazing work we’ve seen, we’ve decided to welcome local designers, marketers and creatives to share their work and ideas on the Together Agency blog.
Meet Joshua Mulcahy
First up is graphic designer Joshua Mulcahy, aged 21 from Bristol. We first noticed Joshua when we spotted his incredible Steve Jobs portrait at the NTU Graphic Design degree show this year.
Your NTU course
I began studying at Nottingham Trent University in 2011, somewhat influenced by my former college teacher. Understanding my design style, he suggested how the Graphic Design course there had a great support team, with an interest in ‘out of the box’ thinking. During my time on the course I found this to be true, receiving frequent one-on-one support from course leaders to technicians. I think this suited me best, and my perhaps more ‘fine art’ style of thinking, boosting my confidence greatly.
The motive behind much of my work is the exposure of political or cultural events, taking inspiration from Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus. This is the reason much of my work can appear very simplistic, translating complex information into a basic form. I am currently developing a professional website, but some of my work can be found at www.joshuamulcahy.co.uk
‘Think Different’, Joshua’s degree show piece, is a physical infographic constructed from 1600 pieces. Each triangle represents an employee at Apple’s main factory, Foxconn in China. Every 48 hours, this number of employees quits the factory due to poor working conditions. The 14 missing pieces each represent an employee who has taken their own life whilst at work at Foxconn. Joshua used tones of red and yellow to reference Chinese temples, and the stained-glass aesthetic of the piece is a nod to religious iconography.
I am very much influenced by musicians, one being Bob Marley and his philosophy. He believed the influential power of music could be used to bring peace to the world. Even after being shot two days before a major free concert following conflicts at the time, Bob refused to cancel as he knew his music could bring joy to the people of Jamaica. He came on stage and said “The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.”
Similarly I believe graphic design is a powerful tool, and like weapons, power can fall into the wrong hands. I feel it is important to expose examples of negative media and hidden truths, visually, so all can access it, not just those with an academic education.
Your graduation year
The highlight of my university experience was my third year final project. This was because I feel the work best exposed me as not only a designer, but an individual, swaying from mainstream opinions. The reason I love design is that it has the ability to influence positive change, I just feel that today a lot of designers have lost touch with this fact. Today too many people play it safe, making decisions based upon fear and not love, as Gandhi once said ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’, I feel my final project captured sight of this again.
Your aim/dream in life
I am very passionate about music, film, bikes and design. Over the next 20 years or so I’d like to develop a career that allows me freedom to dabble in and out of all these areas although later in life I’d like to move away from mainstream society, set up a high quality retreat with cheap food so that all can access it as a social hub for the local community. Currently, I have plans to produce short documentaries, on ethical projects in Ghana and Germany. I am also in negotiations with an up-and-coming bike manufacturer, to become brand manager of two or more of their companies, which I feel I can help to influence people to get out of the house and get back in touch with nature.