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Catching up with... Samantha Farrow

This month we are meeting Samantha Farrow who graduated from Kingston with a Graphic Communication MA in 1998.

Samantha has set up her own graphic design agency.

Why did you choose Kingston?

I was living in Surbiton and working in Kingston. I went to see other universities to research their graphic MA courses and couldn't believe that there was such a great course at Kingston University, practically in my back garden!

What do you remember about your time at Kingston? In three words.

Sweat. Tears. Passion.

Have you been back since graduation? If so when and what for?

Stanley Picker has drawn me back a few times. It's a wonderful gallery and the space is awesome. I want one.

Are you still in touch with anyone from your Kingston days?

I meet with Malcolm Kennard regularly. He is an inspiration.

How did you come to set up your own agency?

I was a graphic design consultant at Surrey County Council and one of the senior designers at Meridian TV. I left the corporate world to help two agencies set up. I couldn't believe the low standard of work they were churning out, how they treated the customers and what they were charging.  I just thought ‘I can do this better'. So I did.

What do you like most about living in Hampshire and what do you miss about London?

All the things I love about living in Petersfield are what I miss about London. I miss the vibe, the noise, the dirt, anonymity and diversity. The country offers clean air, peace and someone you don't know very well is sure to tell you that they saw you buying a pound of sausages in Tesco! That freaked me out when we first moved here. Everyone knows everyone else but I love that now. It's also great for our clients. We have a top London offering but because we don't have the overheads we are much more competitive.

Who was your favourite lecturer and why?

Malcolm Kennard. It makes my head hurt to think about how delirious he is about graphic communication. I found all the lecturers loved what they did and that inspired me. You have to love what you do otherwise you can't truly live it, and if you aren't living it then you can't love it. Does that make sense?!

What's your greatest achievement?

Running a successful business that currently employs five staff. When I was employed, I used to get out of bed in the morning before work and think, ‘my God, why am I doing this?'. Now I leap out of bed and think, ‘thank God I'm doing this'.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

Invest in gold.

What last made you laugh?

Acting like a 10-year-old with my best mate Laura from Lasso the moon. We were at a car boot sale and she made me open up a beautiful old enamel tin. I was intrigued and delighted and popped the rusted lid off to discover a yellowing set of false teeth. She was killing herself and we spent the rest of the day talking at each other through gummy lips. Maybe you had to be there!

What's your ideal weekend?

Living in an old market town, I get up really early on Saturday and go to the market with my husband and two daughters, then we scout the charity shops for vintage items and end the morning in a fantastic independent book shop which does pastries and coffee. Sunday is a sorting day, I'll up cycle my vintage finds and get out in the garden with the kids and the rabbits. I can't sit still. My philosophy is to cram as much into life as you can.

You are to live out your final days on a desert island…

Who would you take with you any why? Ray Mears. He is an extreme survival specialist. Although I like to think I could carve out a canoe and skin a difficult could it be?!
What book would you take and why? Guess How Much I Love You. It's a baby book by Sam McBratney and reminds me of my family. Gets me every time.
What movie would you take and why? Pretty Woman. My all-time favourite. Strong, independent woman kicks arse, survives and gets her man. The milk of human kindness and a happy ending. She makes it look easy.
What food item would you take and why? Marshmallows. I've got a very sweet tooth and they are very low in fat.

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