As a company we always talk about giving something back. One way we do this is to support the next generation of design talent, and since April we’ve been working with third-year Graphic Design students from Nottingham Trent University (NTU). Knowing the value of gaining real-life professional experience, we worked alongside the university tutors to set a range of relevant briefs for the students that would give them the opportunity to see how the design industry works. The initiative would allow them to visit our studio, attend design workshops and present to a panel of professionals, with the potential of being awarded a one-month internship.
We kicked things off with a trip to Nottingham, where we introduced ourselves, our design process, and the perks of working in one of London’s top design agencies. We spoke about what it was like working on a number of high-profile award-winning jobs, which got the students really excited. Then it was back to the studio to discuss the briefs and chat to the students in more depth. We had three briefs for them to choose from:
Reinventing the supermarket
Tesco is the world’s second largest retailer. What can be done to change the nation’s perception of the brand?
We always used to hear about the huge profits Tesco were making. Now the tables have turned and all we hear about is store closures, falling profits and aggressive buying. Tesco needs to evolve by engaging with customers in new ways.
Create a brand and associated environmental collateral for a new swap shop retail experience based on the high street. This concept facilitates the exchange of unwanted fashion products.
Swap shops are becoming increasingly popular. Living in austere times, we’re more engaged with ethical shopping and bargain hunting than ever before. The ever-expanding world of social networking has made it much easier to spread an idea quickly and makes clothes swapping accessible for everyone. Often associated with second-hand or poor quality items, it’s time to elevate the swap shop and give it a place on the high street.
The gender-neutral store
Create a brand for a retail destination that specialises in gender-neutral product.
Gender politics is a hot topic – many of us prefer not to be defined by our gender and we’re tired of the same old stereotypes. We live in a world where Facebook offers the choice of 71 gender options but the majority of shops are still male/female specific. Selfridges made waves in the press this year when it opened Agender, a gender-neutral pop-up shop in London.
Once we’d set the briefs, we scheduled an interim presentation where we invited the students to our London studio, giving them the chance to workshop their initial ideas with our design team. Having thrown them in at the deep end, we were really impressed by the level of thought and detail that had been put into the presentations.
All that remained was for Simon, Jo and myself to head up to Nottingham, see the final presentations and give our comments. Here’s a selection of some of the projects:
The standards were high and the competition was tough. However we were so impressed with four students – Laura Walsh, James Parr, Izaac Grimoldby and Arwyn Richards – that we offered each of them a one-month internship. We hope that this is the start of a long and successful design career for them.
Well done everyone – we had a great time and we hope you did too. We’d like to say a special thanks to Andy Ellison for organising… Until next year, NTU Graphics.
Here’s what some of the students had to say:
ArwynWhat I enjoyed the most
The fact Jo, James and Simon were approachable if I needed to ask any questions or discuss any ideas. The brief was rather broad which allowed me to make it my own, however regular feedback kept it structured.
Also visiting the studio and getting an insight into the industry environment (in the studio and the pub!) was refreshing and exciting.How it benefited me
Getting feedback from people in industry is invaluable- it reassured me about my work. Also my presenting skills improved and the experience gave me confidence in communicating my ideas.Should D&P do it again?
Yes, definitely! I would strongly advise anyone to do a live brief with D&P.
LauraWhat I enjoyed the most
The gender-neutral brief was really fun to work on – it was really interesting to see how different everyone’s outcomes were.How it benefited me
It was really helpful to gain experience presenting to people from industry, as well as receiving constructive feedback, which helped move the project on.Should D&P do it again?
Definitely! It was a really valuable experience that I’m sure subsequent third-years would enjoy and benefit from!