Catarina Mestre wins Graduate Show Design Competition

The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries is pleased to announce the winner of the Graduate Show Design Competition.  (There is a consultation with staff and students on what form the postponed shows might take, however, we didn’t want to delay the announcement of this year’s winner).

Catarina Mestre, BA (Hons) Graphic Design student at the University of Portsmouth, has won the competition with her design concept that celebrates students who work to break the boundaries.

“It felt great to know the judges loved my design as much as I do. It is a concept that I really believe in and put my heart and soul into, just like every other project I do. I’m a firm believer that you should give back to the community and for the Graduate Show committee to admire my ambitious concept shows they share a similar view – to appreciate all the good work done by the students.” – Catarina Mestre

The Concept

“My ultimate goal was to really value Portsmouth’s students and the vibrant city as a whole. The University is full of students who push themselves every day, who want to innovate and be the best version of themselves whilst doing what they love. I wanted to give us all a voice and show that we have the ability to shape new ways of thinking. Visually, I went with the idea of “shaping” and designed squares that represented groups of innovative students.  This became the central aspect of the identity, which then allowed me to map the design onto the shape of Portsmouth, an island city.” Catarina explained.

See her full poster design here.


Catarina’s Story

Catarina is a second-year student on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree.  She believes the course offers an essential platform to explore different subjects and approaches within a safe environment. The undergraduates are taught the importance of questioning every choice they make when designing, ensuring their work achieves its full potential.

“Portsmouth felt like the right place for me because of its vibrant atmosphere. It’s a dynamic place with the perfect balance between traditional and modern. The city offers a rich source of visual inspiration which has helped me better understand design and improved my creative thinking and problem-solving skills. The University combines excellent teaching and top-notch resources, and all of these factors stood out and appealed to me when I was exploring where to study.”


Graphic design students have access to a variety of resources for research and industry-informed design practice. High-quality facilities allow them to develop a range of techniques, plus insightful guest talks are given by renowned professionals during the course. Catarina told us she was motivated by the quality of the teaching and the lecturers’ desire to see the students succeed.


She said: “The course has given me all the tools I need in order to be the best designer I can be, both professionally and personally. It has taught me important values and methodologies related not only to better design-practices but also for interpersonal skills. I’m currently researching different ways to be time-resourceful, in both my coursework and freelance opportunities, and I’m testing ways of approaching client work.”


Catarina sees the degree as a milestone that will not only propel her into working life but also develop her personal intellect, social skills, and ethical choices. She hopes this combination will help her stand out from the crowd after completing her final year in 2021, ready to start the next chapter of her life.