Published on 16 March 2022
A Sunderland graduate has brought together his love of sport and passion for design to build his own successful business.
Illustrator and graphic designer Jamie Orrell graduated from the University of Sunderland in 2012, with a First-Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism.
He was quickly snapped up by a publishers in Bath, Somerset, where he remained for the next seven years, developing his design and illustration skills.
In 2019, Jamie decided to take a leap of faith and set up his own business – Jamie Orrell Design – creating sports-themed designs for t-shirts, phone cases, posters and stickers.
And his bravery has paid off. Not only are his most recent Newcastle United designs receiving rave reviews, but they’ve also featured on Sky Sports and Match of the Day.
Jamie, 30, originally from County Durham but now based in Bath, said: “I always enjoyed receiving briefs that were sports-based and following positive feedback, took the plunge!
“It’s just a massive privilege for me to be able to create and produce work I’m passionate about – and for it to be well-received is a bonus.”
Jamie’s illustrations have also been used on the front cover of Newcastle’s matchday programmes, as well as when the club announced the appointment of Eddie Howe as manager, and the signings of Bruno Guimarães, Kieran Trippier and more.
As well as the Magpies, Jamie has worked with a range of clients, including ODEON Cinemas, BeIn Sports, The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), Canon, These Football Times, The Scouted Football Handbook, The Football Boutique and Epics Digital Collectibles, where he also works as a Senior Designer.
Not losing sight of where it all began, Jamie has used his success to give something back to the north-east – with all the profits from the sale of his Newcastle prints being donated to the Newcastle West End Foodbank.
“Having grown up in the north-east, it was really important for me to be able to give back to my roots,” Jamie said.
“When the opportunity came about to donate the profits from some of my work to the foodbank, I was very keen to help and I look forward to being part of more charity projects in the future.”
Jamie also feels his studies at Sunderland laid the foundation for the career he has today.
“The University of Sunderland gave me such a solid grounding,” he said.
“While my degree was in Sports Journalism, for my final project I created a sports magazine, which gave me my first foot in the design door, and it was such a good opportunity to show my skills.”
Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Sunderland, Dr John Price, was Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Sports Journalism during Jamie's studies.
He said: “Jamie’s final year project as a student was a fantastic football magazine that combined his love of the game with a real talent for design.
“It is great to see that he has followed these passions on to build a successful career and business.”