Ollie Cox 2006 – 2011

Ollie was a student at Wolverhampton Grammar School between 2006 and 2011.


Ollie runs his own design and marketing agency based in Wolverhampton. He started the business in 2014 after graduating from university and now employs a growing team of designers and marketing consultants. His day to day job involves designing websites, packaging, graphics, logos and adverts.

What skills have you picked up and transferred into your day job from your time at School?
WGS taught me to have a goal in sight and always look at the medium term (rather than short or long term). This is important as sometimes short term planning is too immediate, and long term planning is too difficult to judge. Planning for the medium-term has worked well for me.

How have the skills you learned during your time at WGS assisted you?
WGS taught me to be independent, well organised, and to follow my instincts. It also gave me a good education on which I could learn new skills that I now provide as a service. If it wasn’t for Art at WGS, I wouldn’t have gone to Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD). Without WGS and BIAD, I don’t think I would have the confidence to run my own business today.

What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the variety of work that a designer can get involved with. Every week, we are working on a different types of projects, for different types of customers. I feel that this helps you keep focused and engaged.

What have been your career highlights to date?
My career is short-lived, however, I feel I have experienced two significant highlights to date. Firstly, working for Network Rail as a design consultant was an especially interesting project and one which set me up for the rest of my career. Secondly, taking on my first co-designer was a significant milestone, both personally and for my business.

Have you met any interesting people through their work?
We get some interesting characters come through our doors. We recently helped a local entrepreneur launch a potato business whereby customers order personalised potatoes which are delivered in the post. We are also working with local political candidates.

What this always your chosen career?
I always wanted to be running my own business. I also really wanted to be a designer and therefore going into commercial design was the obvious choice for me.

Which university did you attend and what factors affected your choice of university?
I studied Visual Communication at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD). I wanted to stay local and BIAD had a great reputation and good alumni.

Did you do anything extra at school to aid your choice and application for university?
I was an active member of the drama and arts side of WGS. I feel that the creativity that surrounded the ‘Arts & Drama Centre’ encouraged me to pursue a creative degree. Theatre Studies and Art make a great combination of creative subjects at A-Level.

How have the skills you learned during your Art A Level course assisted you?
The Art Department at WGS is one of the best in the country. The portfolio that I took to interviews allowed me to skip an Art Foundation course which was very helpful. Without the WGS Art department, my portfolio wouldn’t have been this strong, nor would I have been encouraged to take a design degree. I also think that Art requires you to be independent which is a great start for life at university.

What were your favourite moments/memories of School?
Sixth form was certainly the most memorable part of my time at WGS. I feel that this was the time when I had the opportunity to become more independent and pursue the subjects which I felt most passionately about.

Are there any particular teachers that inspired you and why?
There are too many to mention really, however the notable inspirations for me are Mr Millichamp for his enthusiasm and great knowledge and Mr Tyler for his encouragement and support.

What advice would you give our current students?
I would recommend making the most of every opportunity that you have at WGS. I would also strongly recommend going to university with a career in mind, rather than trying to find a career after graduation.

You only get out what you put in. WGS will be one of the best experiences of your life, remember to make the most of it. When choosing a degree course, a lot of people may try to influence you, I recommend going with your gut instinct.

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