Why we are called 'Just Us'   

Posted: 29th September 2020 | Written by Mark | 3 minute read

At Just Us we want to create more of an applied understanding of what it means to be a creative in an often under valued industry. For those practicing, we want to offer a place to discuss, learn and grow as a designer, creative or illustrator.

But before we talk about how we aim to do that, i think it’s probably worth setting the scene so you know why Just Us came about...

"Down South"

We went to art college in the South West, Plymouth College of Art to be precise. Those that live in or have visited Plymouth will often tell you – it's quite far away from what are often considered the major cities of the UK (We used to joke that everything past the borders of Devon was 'Up North'). When you're on the verge of graduating this can be a little frustrating, for us it felt like you either move to London and find an internship (most of which paid little to nothing at the time) or you work shitty jobs until you can afford it. Obviously this doesnt have to be the case (Drew now lives, works and studies bewtween Devon and Cornwall). At the time we felt so detached from the rest of the industry and maybe others did too, surely it wasnt Just Us?

...and that's where the name came from. 


It all started in 2008, as our third year 'final major project', we wanted to showcase our own work to a wider audience and in turn provide other undergraduates with the facilities and opportunity to showcase their work too.

One of our objectives was to challenge the elitism and exclusivity that we felt surrounded art and design blogs at the time. We believed that the spotlight was too often given to professionals, leaving newly emerging talent in the dark. Rather than struggle to persuade blog publishers that our work was worthy of their audiences, we decided to build a platform of our own. 

"One of our objectives was to challenge the elitism and exclusivity that we felt surrounded art and design blogs at the time" 


Poster tubes containing our original call to submissions posters

We all shared a love for traditional printing techniques and were lucky enough to have access to screen printing facilities at the time. We decided to create our very own 'Call to submission' posters, gathered a list of tutors from various graphic design and illustration courses in the UK, built up a small budget (with help from PCA) and sent them out in the post. We never thought we would get the response we did and it was amazing to find other designers and illustrators echoing our woes.  

In the first year we ended up showcasing the work of over 40 artists and designers online, set live projects and put on an end-of-year show at the KK Outlet in London. To us, it was a complete success. While we take no credit for the incredible talents of the 40+ illustration and graphic design students we worked with, we provided the vehicle that transported their work to the viewing public and to those decision making individuals that make careers happen. Since then, we have gone on to collaborate with various artists and galleries, and we’ve hosted several impressive exhibitions.

An open conversation around the creative process

Moving forward and away slightly from focussing on a collective, we want to focuse our attention on illustration, students and professionals alike; to give an in-depth insight into the discipline and what it means to be a practitioner in an often assumed and undervalued industry.

We recently set up our very own Slack community alongside the website, with the aim of offering a place to showcase, review, discuss, and learn. If you'd like to join the community please visit the link below.

Ultimately we want to help you grow as a visual communicator, and to be as good as you want to be.    

"We want to help you grow as a visual communicator, and to be as good as you want to be."

We are currently building a community on Slack with past members and are opening submissions for new ones  - if you would like to join go to the link below and submit your details.

All imagery copyright Just Us © 2008-2020

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