Student launches charity after success of dissertation project

Esther Gbogbaode student work

Article by: Gaynor Orvis

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Growing up locally, Esther Gbogboade always knew that she wanted to study close to home. After visiting Ravensbourne, she was struck by how different the campus building was compared to other universities she had visited, and how collaborative the space was.

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Esther is now studying on the postgraduate MSc Digital Marketing course and has progressed all the way from foundation level. After completing her foundation course, she had built a solid group of friends and contacts, and so it was an obvious choice for her to stay at Ravensbourne to study for an undergraduate degree in advertising and brand design.  

Professional-style photograph of female wearing a camel coloured off the shoulder jumper smiles for the camera against a black background

She is now the co-founder of a charity and is utilising Ravensbourne’s facilities to help raise awareness of the work they do.  

We caught up with her to discuss how her work has progressed throughout her time at university, the opportunities available to her, and her exciting plans for the future.


Esther Gbogbaode hero image
Example of Esther's illustration work.

Could you tell me a bit about yourself? What subjects were you interested in before you started university? 

For my A-Levels, I studied IT, photography and art and design – so my studies mostly had a creative focus. 

Even when I was doing my GCSEs, I knew that I wanted to go to Ravensbourne. I went to an open day, saw the building and thought it looked amazing. Ever since that first visit, I knew that I wanted to come here. 

What appealed to you about Ravensbourne?  

I live locally and was born and raised in Greenwich, so the area around Ravensbourne was familiar to me. I knew I wanted to live at home while I was studying, so the location was important.

The main reason that Ravensbourne appealed to me was that I hadn’t seen a university building like it. I saw everyone enjoying the collaborative space and, and I wanted to be a part of it. 

Esther Gbogbaode student work

An example of Esther's personal work and prints she sells on her website.

Thinking back to your first months at Ravensbourne, what were your initial hopes for your course? Is there anything you knew you wanted to achieve? 

One key thing that I wanted to achieve was to develop a more refined creative voice and a better way to represent my creativity visually.  

The design course at my school wasn’t very well funded, so I was excited to be in an environment with great facilities. I knew that with access to the right resources and support, my natural creativity could flourish. 

I remember talking to my teacher about university options while still at school, and she recommended that I do a foundation year before I went on to undergraduate. We agreed that it would help me to prepare a bit more and give me a chance to learn some of the basics in terms of design. 

Do you feel your style has developed? 

 I definitely have a more established style now. A massive thing that I have learnt throughout my time at Ravensbourne has been how to understand and address a brief. 

I now know automatically how to undertake a piece of work. My undergraduate course really helped me to develop both creative ways of thinking and the structure needed to address a brief in the most effective way.  

Why did you choose to decide to stay on at Ravensbourne? 

When I started my foundation course, I thought I wanted to progress to study graphic design at undergraduate level. However, as the foundation course progressed, I realised that I still wanted to have a lot of room for experimentation. For this reason, I felt that for me personally, the BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Design course offered me a lot more flexibility to explore different avenues. It was important for me to have the space to change my mind as my practice developed.  

In terms of why I stayed on at Ravensbourne, I was already so comfortable here and so it seemed like an obvious choice. I just couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else. 

Do you feel you have developed as a person during your time at Ravensbourne? 

At Ravensbourne, almost from day one you are encouraged to work with other students and across different disciplines. Because of this, I feel like it has pushed me to develop my communication skills. 

This was a massive thing for me, as at school I was very shy. Looking back, I can now see that I have developed so much as a person.  

Esther Gbogbaode student work

Example of work Esther completed as part of her final major project on the BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Management course, which she now plans to transform into a business.

Have you had any exposure to industry while you’ve been studying at Ravensbourne? 

Yes, definitely. I’ve had lots of networking opportunities while I’ve been at Ravensbourne, especially on the BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Design course.  

Derek Yates, our course tutor, would throw opportunities our way, and then it was up to you whether you wanted to pursue them or not. The course encouraged you to go out and do your own thing too. 

A lot of the lecturers and teaching staff have worked, or are still working in industry and have their own practices. The teaching on the course deliberately mimics industry too, so you are constantly being prepared for life after graduation.  

Have you had any work opportunities while you’ve been at Ravensbourne? 

Yes, I’ve had a number of work opportunities while I’ve been at Ravensbourne, including becoming a student ambassador. In this role, I was responsible for supporting students with their portfolios and offering them advice. I also sat in interviews with people hoping to join the advertising degree.  

On the course we did lots of collaborative work with actual brands too, for example, I worked on a project with Apple and another with The 02. 

Is there a particular module or project that you enjoyed the most? 

The one that sticks in my mind the most is a project I completed on the advertising course with Arduino, which is a platform where you can learn to code. 

As part of the brief, we had to create an interactive PR stunt and base it around a particular song that we’d chosen.  

We worked in groups of three, and my team bought an actual tent and used code to light up the tent. When you stepped into the tent, the song would start playing and this was all done using a piece of code – it was pretty clever. I was really proud of what we achieved during this project, and it was a lot of fun too. 

 Do you think your time at Ravensbourne has prepared you for the world of work?  

Yes, I think it’s been very important. I've learnt the processes to tackle a brief and the time management skills needed to deliver a piece of work to a deadline. 

The way the advertising course is structured, you almost feel as if you are working in a creative agency. Everything is so geared up to preparing you for industry and the way in which you receive feedback is similar to a real-life scenario.

The actual content of the courses, so the types of things you are learning about, is always very relevant. For example, in my postgraduate course, I’m learning all about how companies can use AI to sell more products. There is a big focus on future-proofing, so anticipating what the future holds, and finding new creative ways to solve problems. 

Esther Gbogbaode student work

Example of Esther's illustration work.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self before starting your studies? 

You don’t have to have everything all figured out or even a particular topic or style nailed down. Your work will likely change dramatically as you continue your studies anyway.  

Also, I would say, don’t be too protective over your work because as again, it is likely to transform over time. Change is completely normal and necessary for your growth. 

Finally, what are your ambitions for the future? 

I currently co-run a charity which raises awareness of sickle cell disorder, called The Sound of Sickle. I actually started this as part of my dissertation. It was a physical dissertation so as part of this I created an event, and from there it led me to launch a real-life charity – which is still pretty crazy to think about. 

Through my work with the charity, I’ve spoken to the likes of Google HQ, BBC Radio 1XTRA and Represent Radio. 

In the future, I want to work to further expand the reach and the visibility of the charity. That’s one of the reasons I’m back at Ravensbourne, actually. The facilities available here are excellent. For example, access to Incubation, which provides commercial space and support for graduates and small businesses launching a product or business. It opens up a lot of opportunities being able to work and study here. 

Explore more of Esther's work on her website and her Instagram.