Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Ollie Piddubriwnyj

Founder and Managing Director: Fifteen

Ollie Piddubriwnyj graduated with a HND in Graphic Design in 1995. Here he discusses his course, Loughborough experiences and setting up his own digital agency, ‘Fifteen’.

Why did you choose to study Graphic Design at Loughborough University?

At the time it was the most hands on course in the country and it was one of the last HND courses to convert to a degree, which I believed would give me my best start for a career as a designer.

What attracted you to Loughborough and your department in the first place?

All the tutors were actual practicing Graphic Designers and that really appealed to me. For example one of my tutors, Ola, designed the Walkers Crisps pack. Impressive hey!

What was your favourite moment at University?

I designed a project for Harley Davidson and was grilled in front of the entire class by a lecturer about it. I thought it had gone badly but at the end Peter Webster (the lecturer) smiled and said “well done, you’ve passed”.

It was simply a test to put me in a real-life situation, which believe me, I’ve been in 1000 times since and without that extra push would probably never have been prepared for.

What did you think of the teaching quality?

My course was possibly a little different, as it was a while ago now and I guess it changes, but the quality of the teaching was exceptional. It was really hands-on, possibly even informal at times but it really worked. I know for sure it was responsible for delivering some really great designers that have gone on to have phenomenal careers.

How did the course help you get to where you are today?

Without a doubt the course had every bit of influence on my career, particularly at the start as I was lucky enough, and thanks to Loughborough University and the lecturers - prepared enough, to be offered the first job I went for.

What did you think of the social atmosphere and activities?

I actually travelled in to University every day from Nottingham but often stayed with friends I’d met on the course for nights out. There’s a great social community at Loughborough, it’s always been that way and it will continue to be.

What have been the ‘wow’ moments and milestones on your career journey so far?

  1. Setting up my own design company and seeing it through to its 10 year anniversary.
  2. Seeing it evolve into a 16 strong digital agency.
  3. Being ranked as a top 3 agency in the East Midlands by ‘The Drum’.
  4. One of our website designs being ranked 1st in the ‘Website of the year’ awards 2015!

What has been your career path to date and when did you decide to found your own company, ‘Fifteen’?

My first job was at an agency called WM Associated in Nottingham. They worked for some really big brands across a wide range of sectors. This was such a lucky start to my career and I learned so much from people that I really respect. Quick name drop for Colin Wood and Jo Muddiman here!

Then I decided I’d take my destiny into my own hands. After spending almost 6 years there I decided to take the plunge and fly solo.

Do you think Loughborough University inspired you?

Yes, in many ways, the people I’ve met (both new friends and lecturers), the working environment, the town, the social life. A bit of all of it really.

You can keep up to date with Ollie's work by following @fifteendesign on Twitter.

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