Art director

AOD Alumna Leyanvi Mirando, Senior Artistic Director at MullenLowe Sri Lanka | Print edition

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Claim a versatile and secure global career with a BA (Hons) Diploma in Graphic Design and Visual Communication from AOD

Visual communications – the transmission of messages and ideas through graphics – are fast becoming a critical element in all aspects of our lives; whether we recognize it for what it is or not. No matter the industry, as long as content is allowed to go beyond the parameters of text when it comes to informing, inspiring and motivating audiences, the versatility and value of visuals can never be underestimated.

AOD Alumna Leyanvi Mirando, Senior Artistic Director at MullenLowe Sri Lanka

Academy of Design (AOD) alumnus and MullenLowe Senior Art Director, Leyanvi Methmali Mirando tells Education Times how a degree in Graphic Design and Visual Communication helped shape her own career in advertising and thought impact design across a multitude of industries.

How should you be
where are you today?

I graduated with a BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communications Design from AOD in 2014, and was recruited shortly after. My first employer, Lowe LDB, now known as MullenLowe, offered me a job opportunity after seeing my work at the university’s annual senior year showcase. I joined as a junior art director in training, and after a year moved into the publishing industry as art director of Echelon magazine. Two and a half years later I joined MullenLowe as Artistic Director and in 2021 I was appointed Senior Artistic Director and have been here ever since.

In your opinion, how versatile is a
degree in graphic design and visual communication? Have you seen this versatility manifest in your career?

Oh, sure. A degree in graphic design and visual communications trains you to think multi-dimensionally and cultivates your mind to take a more systemic approach. This allows you to attach yourself to any career and feel confident in your skills in a wide range of undertakings; and even within that, finding ease in applying to very different projects. I chose Graphics & Visual Communications because of this versatility, and even in my job, I rarely find myself having to work on the same thing again. The design keeps you up to date and I’m always mentally stimulated.

When I look at my own batch mates alone, I find that we have all dispersed into various industries, here and abroad; whether in advertising like me, in publishing, or by contributing to the digital ecosystem.

AOD has also always encouraged multidisciplinary training. I vividly remember a semester where, for a project, we had to collaborate with students from all other departments and figure out how to collectively apply our skills to produce something tangible.

What key learning or skill did
you recover from the AOD that you
still holds today?

While at AOD the curriculum of the program itself was comprehensive, what I always appreciate about my learning is how our teachers first taught us how to really understand a project before trying to find a workable solution. It’s because I’ve been given this as a starting point to build on that I’m able to approach any challenge with a broader context and longer-term impacts in mind. term.

Would you say that DOA prepared you sufficiently for both
a local and international career?

Yes, I would say so. During my time at AOD, we took part in numerous study trips around the island, showing how rich our country’s design history is, as well as the potential of Sri Lankan design thought for have an impact on the world.

I am currently working in an international advertising agency headquartered in London. We are a very global company and I have personally been involved in local launches for some well-known international brands. Many times I remember what I was taught in college about how to maintain the ethos of a global brand while implementing it in a local context.

Our subject at AOD was always current, and in addition, we were in the hands of an excellent and invested faculty including international and local tutors who also provided us with relevant points of view on the subject.

Given the rapidly changing nature of the way we work, and particularly in light of the pandemic, how resilient do you think Graphics & Visual Communications is as a study path – and eventual career?

Well, the skills you acquire and also learn to use them will never leave you. Although in the midst of the pandemic there may have been agency cutbacks, there was always the opportunity to go global (remotely) with your individual skills, and even start your own business. The flexibility with which visual designers operate brings great adaptability to a profession, as well as ease of upskilling.

For aspiring graphic and visual communication designers, what would you advise them to focus on and stick to? For those considering a career in
advertising too, which skills in particular should they work on the most?

It may sound cliché, but I truly believe being curious gets you going. Even if it’s something as small as a new project, you have to want to explore all aspects of it. From start to finish of your 9 to 5 workday, stay sharp and alert, read the pulse, and apply yourself accordingly. Never put yourself in a position where you don’t care about what you are doing. Plus, creativity can come from anywhere, and you need to be able to find inspiration wherever you look.

Research is essential. You must be willing and able to invest yourself to really understand the consumer; into who they are and also how they digest information.

When it comes to advertising in particular, you need to master the art of figuring out your flow so you can produce good work in a timely manner. The briefs we receive are often not always ideal as we have endless time to come up with solutions, so we need to be able to think on our feet.

You are currently back at AOD, pursuing a Masters in Design Innovation. What brought you back, and did you find
links between work and studies?

I missed exposure to learning and also felt I was a bit stagnant when it came to being able to bring something new to the table.

As part of the master’s program, we are taught to address contemporary challenges using design thinking. Currently, we are trying to address the country’s food security and economic issues from a sustainable perspective by providing innovative design solutions; which makes us feel connected and grounded as citizens and yes, there have been instances where I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I can apply my learnings to the way I function at work.

The Academy of Design’s BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design program introduces students to the role of a professional designer while providing an educational and developmental environment conducive to future visual design thinkers and versatile problem solvers. Through program content, didactic advice, project “critiques”, lectures, workshops, exhibitions and even industry internships, the course has been organized in such a way as to encourage the growth of individual concepts, the research, experimentation, analysis and critical awareness among budding designers. . The 3-year program accredited by Northumbria University provides a comprehensive experience in graphic design while paving the way for specialization in the fields of branding, publishing or image creation – giving students the opportunity to gain a globally recognized UK degree closer. at home.

From the university’s address at the Colombo Innovation Tower (CIT), the entire AOD student body has the unique opportunity to thrive under the influence of the most stimulating creative environment in the country, while benefiting from a central location, world-class infrastructure and facilities, and an inspiring faculty of experienced global educators.

AOD invites all O/L and A/L graduates and aspiring designers to learn more about AOD and its BA (Hons) Graphics & Visual Communication Design degree, and how prospective students, like Leyanvi, can also qualify to a versatile and secure career path. For further information please contact AOD on 0775727772, email [email protected] or enter between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday – Colombo Innovation Tower, No 477, R. A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo www .aod.lk

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