Oliver Lenain Graphic Design alumni

Oliver Lenain


I studied Graphic Design through GCSEs and A-Levels so I knew it was right for me to continue my education to university level. I had friends who had studied at Ravensbourne and, while I was accepted by other universities, I liked the informal feel of the campus with its space and flexibility. I was impressed that members of the course staff remembered me when I returned for a second visit and this helped me make my university selection. I felt welcome from the beginning.

From the start until graduation, I felt that my course, and Ravensbourne as a whole, really had my back and were there to help me grow and prepare for a career in design. One of the benefits of studying at Ravensbourne was its industry connections and contacts which, I believe, really helped propel me into a job the moment I walked out of the door. I found the Rave Lates particularly helpful and engaging, and my course’s industry workshops encouraged my own personal growth. 

Among a number of highlights, three in particular stand out for me. The first was being elected to join the creative direction team for The Degree Show in 2017 - it gave me considerable insight into industry and a taste of how to be a team player. It was an incredible experience collaborating with an amazing team of students from various courses. The second was being chosen for an internship the moment I left Ravensbourne thanks to my course offering portfolio reviews. The third was having my dissertation shortlisted for “Design Award" at the Degree Show.

The skills I developed allowed me to enter the industry prepared to hit the ground running. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with companies that I feel passionate about. I believe that I would not have been in this position without my university portfolio and the advice/feedback from my course tutors.

The Forward Thinking Designers of the Future scheme was a course-specific industry portfolio review. From this, I was selected from 20 students to undertake what was meant to be a 5 week internship at a design agency called Territory Projects -  with an immediate start after handing in my final project. I had to ask for a few days off to actually go to my own Degree Show! This became a 9 month work placement. From Territory I moved on to a full time role as a Digital Designer for Plum Fintech, where I developed  my interest in digital design and finance.

I now work for Barclays as a Product Designer. My day-to-day activities are varied and rarely the same -  team stand ups, stakeholder meetings, 121s with my line manager, design sprints, design crits, presentations and user testing are some of my responsibilities.  

To prospective and current students, don’t be afraid of getting things wrong and failing. Trust the process and ask plenty of questions along the way. It will only help you grow as an individual. Keep experimenting from the moment you start university right up to graduation.  Trust your ideas and keep pushing forward. I found myself second guessing a lot of the time but the moment I asked for feedback from others it sparked the motivation I needed to proceed. Keep reminding yourself of why you started and believe there is a way to achieve what you want. And finally, have fun doing what you chose to do. The more you enjoy it the higher the reward.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design
Year of graduation: 2018