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Work by Megan Lilianna Raats on a bus stop Image courtesy of Megan Raats
Studying Graphic Design at ECA prepared Megan for entering the design industry upon graduation. The hands on approach to teaching and industry-related project briefs equipped Megan with the necessary tools and experience to be able to jump right into the industry, even amid a global pandemic.

Since graduating, Megan has secured a full-time position as a Junior Art Director in Amsterdam after a completing a six month internship at the same company.

Why I chose to study Graphic Design - BA (Hons)

ECA seemed like a great place to further develop my skills as a designer. The curriculum sounded great. Live briefs, client-based work and setting up your own studio as part of fourth year, seemed like an amazing opportunity to practice like in the working world. Also, the facilities at ECA looked great; wood, metal, printing workshops and more to choose from.

My time at ECA

During my time at ECA, I tried out a lot of different things; animation, digital design, letterpress, laser cutting and much more. Also, in terms of projects there was a real variety. I did both individual and collaboration-based projects which was a great experience since it meant we also got to work with a variety of people.

Like I mentioned earlier, at ECA a lot of the curriculum was taught through real-life scenarios such as the live briefs and client-based work. This was amazing because besides enhancing my skills as a designer, I learnt about time management, finances, presenting, client relationships and more. Such skills are an invaluable asset to any designer after graduation, so it was great to be able to practice them at university itself.

Also, it was great that ex-ECA students would come visit our studio and give talks and do workshops. This was valuable since they have been through the process themselves not too long ago and gave great advice about their journey as designers. It made being a designer feel more tangible and less daunting.

"At ECA a lot of the curriculum was taught through real-life scenarios such as the live briefs and client-based work. This was amazing... I learnt about time management, finances, presenting, client relationships and more."

Megan Lilianna Raats

Graphic Design - BA (Hons) alumna

My experiences since graduating

Well, it was a wild ride for sure. Due to COVID-19, we had to move online for about the last 2 months or so of my degree. This also meant that, sadly, we did not get a degree show.

Originally, I planned on staying in Scotland since there are many amazing studios there. However, I moved back home to Amsterdam in March due to the pandemic and finished my degree from home. After graduation I got an internship at a strategy/branding studio in Amsterdam as a Graphic Designer. The internship was for 6 months and in January I got offered a full-time position as a Junior Art Director. Despite there being a whole pandemic which I (and I am sure a lot of people) did not see coming, I feel extremely lucky to be where I am at.

ECA has prepared me in so many ways. Firstly, I would like to say that in your final year they really help you get ‘industry ready’. Important things such as creating a portfolio, presenting yourself as a designer and selling yourself really helped me in the job-hunting process. But besides that, they really teach you how to be independent and train your creative thinking. The variety briefs you do over the course of four years are extremely useful in helping you to think on your feet and solve problems.

My biggest achievement since leaving ECA is probably being involved in all kinds of great projects. Besides being a graphic/digital designer, I am learning so much about other Art/Design areas. For example, I have been trusted with preparing, styling and photographing for shoots all by myself. Also have learnt a lot about creating campaigns and social media strategy.

My advice to new and current students

For all the first years, have fun. You will laugh at the silly, weird, and wonderful things you have done over the years. So don’t get too caught up or stressed by that one project; enjoy your time, it will fly past and you will improve over time!

For all the final years, believe me, imposter syndrome is real, but most feel it (yes even your design ‘gods’). Don’t be too hard on yourself and know your worth.

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