Alice Fraser

Why small projects can be beautiful

Since graduating in 2020, Manchester-based designer Alice Fraser has forged a path in research-driven design, and in advocating for a more inclusive industry

Alice Fraser was born in Stockport, studied in Sheffield, and now works in Manchester – and she’s not happy about the London-centricity that’s still rife in the UK’s creative industries. But instead of just griping about it, she set about making the Outside Directory – a website that’s part creative agency Yellow Pages, part ever-evolving demonstration of the breadth of UK creativity outside of the capital, which finally puts to bed the myth that if you want to work in the industry, you have to move to London.

Projects like this hint at Fraser’s more conceptual, research-driven design approach: she loves getting her teeth into a subject, which serves her well in her current role as designer at the Office of Craig Oldham. Oldham was one of her tutors at Sheffield Hallam University, and the fact that the studio mostly works on projects like publications and exhibition design suits Fraser down to the ground. “I love to constantly find out new things, so I wanted to work somewhere where they let me have that space to actually learn,” she says.

Alice Fraser
Top: Office of Craig team, including Alice Fraser, left, and Craig Oldham, right; Above: Exhibition design for Still Parents at the Whitworth in Manchester, a show that created a platform for people to share personal stories around baby loss

“I love working with galleries, exhibitions and books because it’s the words on that page, or the art in that exhibition, that deserve to be celebrated. If it is, and I’ve done my job in the right way, then I’ve made that project worthwhile for the people who visit and interpret that exhibition, or who read that book. I want other people to gain something from the work that I’m doing; not just help sell things.”