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The graphic design course blog for HND Visual Communication at Edinburgh College

Showing posts with label agencies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agencies. Show all posts

Employer Engagement - One Week

1 May 2014

We previewed a new 4-minute documentary about the the course last night at 'Rewind' - our annual Graduate Review night.  This event is where we invite past graduates and mentors to catch up, look over the work of our current students, and generally celebrate our extended family of creatives and designers.

The film, shot and edited by film student Adam Cosgrove, features an interview with Multiply UK's Charlie Boyle, and documents our One Week collaborative project for Cutty Sark. 

One Week Case Study : Whitespace

2 April 2014

Our recent One Week project was a ground-breaking example of employer engagement in Design Education, where graphic design students worked on a live project in an industry environment for one week, in collaboration with six Edinburgh-based creative agencies.

The brief came from a high profile client, Cutty Sark Whisky, and the students were assembled into six creative teams, mixing up HNC and HND years.  Each team was assigned a design lead, an agency mentor, and external, real-world accommodation - two at design agencies (Whitespace and RAPP), three in Edinburgh's creative business incubator, Creative Exchange, and one in a bespoke studio in the College. The teams presented their solutions to their agency mentors on the Friday, and then pitched to Cutty Sark in the boardroom at their Edrington offices in Perth the following week.

As part of the feedback process, we caught up with mentor Charlie Bell (Design Director) and Neil Walker (Senior Creative) from one of Edinburgh's leading design agencies, Whitespace, and this is what they had to say -

What were your initial impressions of the brief?
Charlie: Jason’s (Jason Craig, the Global Brand Controller for Cutty Sark), presentation was really good at bringing the brand story to life and laying out all the facts. Initially we felt it was far too open but in fact it actually presented the teams with interesting challenges. It was a really tasty project for the students to get their teeth into.

Neil: The Brief was very open which can be a rarity and problematic when trying to 'home in' on what should actually be done - perhaps some minimum media parameters of some sort may help the students get started and be able to shape the campaign in their heads, allowing them to get on with the messaging and design of their campaign.  The brand had little in the way of public brand equity and was therefore a blank slate when it came to reinventing and communicating a tone and personality - the fact that the client wanted to push the brand so far was not only extremely rare, but a fantastic opportunity.

Photo : Derek Anderson 

What did you think of the format of the One Week project:
Charlie: Perfect amount of time. Good that they had a bit of time either side too.

Each team contained students from both the HNC and HND years, how did this work?
Charlie: Our group went down to 4 but actually this might have given them greater focus. The mixture of first and second years seemed to work. The first years' more than held their own. In fact they were the driving force in the team in many respects.

Neil : I agree - a nice setup to working in a real office too - working with different strengths, backgrounds, skills and experience levels.

What do you think were the benefits of working with students in this kind of format?
Charlie: There was a good structure there. They were able to bounce ideas off each other and really work as a team. And working with the agency we were able to give them deadlines that really focussed them.

Neil: Nice exposure to the pressures of working to a set time-limit to produce an ultimate piece of work for client/agency scrutiny. Also, they had to think out-of-the-box to come up with a wide variety of ideas and concepts but learning that ideas and executions must remain commercial and sell the product/concept.  This initially took some getting used to but quickly became realised and put into action. 

What were your observations of the group as they worked through the project?
Charlie: They took a while to get going. There were some interesting early ideas but they did go round in circles for a while. Dan (Daniel Plunkett, HNC Year) quickly became the voice of the group but they all seem to be contributing. Once the visuals started to come together you could see that the team had quite a nice mix of strengths.

Photo : Derek Anderson

Neil: They seemed to have a willingness and passion to take on board advice in order to turn around great work.  They were perhaps a little too polite of each other's ideas but this is expected and creative diplomacy is of course another vital skill to crack...

What did you think of the work they presented on Friday to you?
Charlie: It all came together really well. They had two really strong central ideas. And they were both very different. Which was impressive. It felt like they had really got to grips with the brand. Some of the executions needed work. There were some weaker bits of work in there (things like the merchandise where a bit superfluous). Once they got into the design detail they'd lost some of the edge to the work. The bits that might make the client uncomfortable. It became a bit safe.

Neil : Overall I think there was some very strong work/ideas/concepts.  They had to deliver in so many ways, by the Friday I felt they not only presented their concepts with confidence but learned to 'sell' them too.  I could see both campaigns working but as initial pitches - certainly with some further refinement and consideration - there would be elements that could be outstanding in the industry and gather a lot of interest for the brand. I really felt they had learned a lot by the end of the project.

Did the team work on the project after Friday and if so what did you think of the final presentation?
Charlie: The team came back on both Monday and Tuesday to build upon what they had done. It was really valuable to get feedback from the Friday presentation and they really took it on board and pushed the ideas even further.

Did you get any feedback from others within your agency who weren't directly involved in the project?
Charlie: The wider team were impressed. The other two design directors were impressed. Yep, everyone was pretty impressed. Even more so when they realised how little experience some of the students had.
Any other comments?
Charlie: Just that we were all very impressed with the team's resolve and dedication. And it was a lot of fun.

The team at Cutty Sark will be feeding back their final choice later this month, when all the artwork from each team will be available to view on pinterest and here on the blog.

One Week #4 : Cutty Sark

13 March 2014

Our fourth 'One Week' project kicks off next week, and today the students were handed out the brief by the client, the blended Scotch Whisky brand Cutty Sark.

This time around we've expanded the format to involve six design agencies who will act as mentors, hosts and creative collaborators - an original and ground-breaking experiment in design education. We've also appointed a design lead within each team, and they'll direct the projects and manage the agency liaison.

Cutty Sark's Global Brand Controller, Jason Craig, gave a detailed presentation in the studio, covering the history, brand development and target markets for the product. He proposed a very open brief - Cutty Sark are looking for fresh ideas to add momentum to their continuing market recovery from a historical low in terms of sales in 2009.  Mentors Charlie Bell and Walter Hamilton (Whitespace), Charlie Boyle (Multiply), and Graham Neish (Neish) also gave up their valuable time today to attend,  alongside Iain Lauder, who originally brought the project to the design team back in late 2013. Jason's presentation included this short promo detailing Cutty Sark's brand philosophy -

One Week kicks off on Monday 17th, with the teams allocated as follows:

1 : Lead - Calum Mackinnon, Mentor - Graham Neish (Neish)
2 : Lead - Andy Palfreyman, Mentor - Gregor Mathieson (Lewis)
3 : Lead - Ryan Allan, Mentors - Charlie Bell/Walter Hamilton (Whitespace)
4 : Lead - Isabel Alonzo, Mentor - Kirsten Murray (Family)
5 : Lead - Mark Phillips, Mentor - Charlie Boyle (Multiply)
6 : Lead - Jordan Pollock, Mentor - Jen Wood (RAPP)

a busy start to 2014

9 January 2014

We've only been back for one week, but things are already seriously busy. On Thursday 16th we are hosting our second Mentor Meeting of this session, where the mentors will get a chance to catch up with the students, look over some initial work on their D&AD projects, and give some useful advice in the run-up to work placement.

Our final year students go on placement each year at some of Edinburgh's top creative agencies during the four-week stretch from late January through February. Arranging the slots has been tricky this time around because we've also had to factor in a week-long student visit to Transmediale and CTM, in Berlin (Jan 28-Feb 4).

The work placement scheme is an important part of our employer-engagement strategy, and an essential experience for student creatives. As usual the response from Edinburgh's design community has been superb, and we'd like to thank (in no particular order):

Lewis, Mortonward, RAPP, Multiply, Contagious, Whitespace, Jump Marketing, Three Brand, Peach Digital, Shaw, Iain Lauder Design, Eskimo, Line Digital, Story, The Union, Tayburn, Skyscanner, Stuff, The Lane Agency, The Gate, White Light Media and Hookson.

RAPP App wins One Week

6 December 2013

SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) were in our studio earlier this week to announce the winning pitch from the One Week project, which ran during the first week in November. The project saw our design students working in small teams alongside a mentor on a live project.   SAMH's Jo Anderson explained that they had some very tough choices to make after the pitches - all six projects featured great ideas, interesting strategies and strong presentations. 

A runners-up spot was awarded to Team Lewis #2, mentored by Gillian Grant and Gregor Matheson, but the winning pitch came from Team RAPP, who spent a week working at RAPP's Edinburgh office under the watchful eye of their mentor Jen Wood.

This team presented a sophisticated user journey that connected perfectly with the target audience, combining inventive traditional advertising and strong copy with a clever App.

One Week Agency #3

6 November 2013

We've been busy this week organising our 'One Week Agency' project. This is the third year we've set a project in this format, where our design students are split into small agency teams to work on a live client brief, alongside an industry mentor. Tutor involvement is minimal and the teams are essentially autonomous 9-to-5 for the whole week.

We've expanded the project from last year, assembling six teams of six students by combining the HND and HNC classes. We also have a great roster of industry collaborators, including mentors Graham Neish (Neish), Kirsten Murray (Family), Alan Lennon (Lennon), Jen Wood (RAPP), and a quartet from Lewis, comprising Ian Kirkby, Gregor Matheson, Gill Carrie, Michael Heins.

To accommodate the teams we've secured an impressive set of team locations - three in-house at the Granton campus, two at the Creative Exchange in Leith, and one at the RAPP Agency.

This time around the work is for SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Scotland’s leading mental health charity ( SAMH's Lexi Parfitt (Campaigns Officer) and Rebecca Sibbett (External Comms) were in our studio today to present the creative brief to our teams. They highlighted recent research conducted by YouGov showing that 45% of people in the 18-25 age bracket said they wouldn’t know where to go to get help with a mental health problem. The challenge therefore is to use any channel of communication to enable young people in Scotland to get help for mental health problems when they need it.

SAMH's current campaign to raise awareness is called ‘Know Where to Go’ and this idea is a key creative parameter the teams need to work within. They also need to use the SAMH logo and brand guidelines, which incidentally have recently been re-designed by one of our favourite agencies, Heedi, whose Creative Director Veronica Ferguson is one of our longest-serving mentors.

We'll be documenting each stage of the process with the six groups, and the presentations for the project will take place on Nov 21st in studio R310 at Granton Campus. Then it's over to the client to make their decision!

One Week Agency #3 runs from 11th-15th November.

Edinburgh Zoo One Week concepts (March 2013)
Letts Diaries One Week (March 2012)

London 2013

20 September 2013

Our 2013 study trip to London has just about been finalised for this year, and will take place during first week in November. The plan is to visit a couple of design agencies (details soon), check out some exhibitions (including an annual pilgrimage to Tate Modern), and generally soak up London's unique design inspiration vibes. Our HNC group did a short project to design a poster for the trip, and the winning design came from Alasdair Muir, with his Pentagram-inspired monochrome travel symbols, closely followed by Saulius Stebulis' surreal take on three days of sightseeing.

Design Team Trip

22 June 2013

We're just back from a couple of days in London, visiting agencies, reviewing our curriculum delivery and planning for next year.

On Thursday we visited YCN in Shoreditch, where Kezia and Zoe kindly showed us some commended work from their new Kickstart Award. We also discussed the student awards, and YCN's future plans for employer engagement in the creative industries. Hopefully the YCN team will visit Edinburgh next year when they set off on their annual college roadshow.

We also popped into the independent comic publisher NoBrow, just round the corner from YCN, to check out some of the best illustration on the planet. They were busy preparing for the 2nd East London Comic & Art Festival (in Bethnal Green on Sat 22nd).

The team also met up with one of our former graduates Hannah Bloomfield, a designer with Edinburgh agency Multiply who has taken up the challenge of establishing and leading the creative team in Multiply's new London studio. Hannah has kindly agreed to come back up to Edinburgh to do a one day workshop with our students later this year.

On Friday we headed across town to Notting Hill to visit the biggest independent design agency in the world - Pentagram. The agency was set up in London in 1972, has offices in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Berlin, and its partners include the likes of Michael Bierut, Paula Scher, Harry Pearce and Angus Hyland. Marta Larsson from Pentagram gave us a great tour of the studio, including the design library, the archive vault, a couple of amazing meeting rooms, and the original print workshop from their pre-Mac days. The studio walls feature famous logos like Nissan, V&A, Eat, Faber & Faber, Penguin, and Reuters, and a brilliant original hand-drawn map by Paula Scher. One thing that surprised us is that the whole agency sits down every lunchtime in a cool dining area and they all eat together. One thing that didn't surprise us was that Pentagram receives about 1000 cv's a week.

As a parting gift we were all given a few Pentagram goodies - including the Pentagram black bible and the rather wonderful Pentagram Marks book, a frenchfold binding of 500 logotypes.

Pentagram Gifts

Pentagram's Lobby

The Pentagram Library 

Zoo Concepts

12 April 2013

Earlier this week our intrepid One Week Agency project reached completion as all four student teams pitched their concepts to the Marketing Team at Edinburgh Zoo. This post features a small sample of visuals from each pitch.

One of these ideas will be selected by the client and taken forward to the development stage.

Team RAPP - '#zooisland'. Mentor - Jen Wood.

Team Lewis - '#theworldinoneplace'. Mentor - Ian Kirkby.

Team IL - '#youradventureawaits'. Mentor - Iain Lauder.

Team Heedi - 'One(sie)'. Mentor - Veronica Ferguson.

One Week Agency

28 March 2013

Pics were taken by Derek Anderson using a Nikon D600.

A selection of images documenting the presentation day. We had four different creative teams all presenting in the same afternoon, at three different locations. Team RAPP presented in the RAPP studio in Leith, Team IL and Team Heedi presented in the College at Studio R310, and Team Lewis presented at the Lewis Agency, also in Leith. All four team will now present to Edinburgh Zoo on April 10th. Read more about the project here.

A RAPPturous week ahead

12 March 2013

It's almost time to get ready. Has it really been twelve months since we ran our One Week Agency project?  Last year we piloted a one week educational experiment, splitting up our HND design students into two agency teams to work on a live client brief alongside an industry mentor. You can read more about that project here.

This year we're doing it all again, but with an even more ambitious remit.  We've assembled four student teams to work with four different industry collaborators - mentors Ian Kirkby (Lewis), Veronica Ferguson (Heedi), Iain Lauder (IL Design) and Jen Wood (RAPP).  Jen has also invited one team to take up residence in the RAPP studio for the whole week, where she and her agency colleagues will be providing authentic project support.

Last year the live brief was for Letts Diaries, this time around the work is for a major Edinburgh-based public attraction (the details of which we'll announce shortly). We'll be documenting each stage of the process with the four groups, and the presentations for the project will take place next Friday.  Then it's over to the client to make their decision!

One Week Agency runs from 18th-22nd March.

Nice Work If You Can Get it

14 February 2013

A great piece of typography from HND student Rowan Campbell, which she completed earlier this week whilst on placement at Edinburgh agency Contagious. The final work will be painted onto wooden slats and mounted on the wall inside the agency. This test run required 150 sheets of A3 to get exactly right.

Rowan is at Contagious for a further week, having spent the previous two weeks at editorial agency Editions.

We Love Review Nights

13 December 2012

Our 12.12.12 review night was another successful get-together for our students, former graduates and mentors. With the class all set to go out on placement early in 2013, this was the perfect opportunity to get feedback on their work, and to find out more about what it's really like out in the creative industry.

As well as a great portfolio surgery session, we were treated to inspiring talks by mentor Ian Farmer, student designer Jonathan Walton (currently being mentored by Ian), and Equator's Creative Director James Jefferson.

Upright Creative's Ian Farmer kicked off by talking about his long involvement with our course, and how the sorts of designers we are producing now (and the awards they are winning) are proof that our curriculum and teaching approach has responded well to the daunting pace of change in the industry. Ian also made it clear that working as a mentor is a lot of fun, and a continual source of inspiration for those professional designers involved in it.

Final year student Jonathan Walton did a nice presentation featuring some examples of his projects, and he showed how the direction and intent of the work had been positively influenced by mentoring input from Ian.

Our guest speaker James Jefferson then gave a passionate talk about his experiences in the creative industry, from the founding and rise of his agency Equator, to the pitfalls of applying for jobs, doing interviews, and the general approach a designer needs to take to be a success. He also made the point that industry needs solid connections to education - our mentoring programme being a very good example of how it can work. James finished off with five off-the-wall gifts of advice, including a really classic final one - 'Don't Design, Do Remarkable Things'.

The evening finished off with a short set of presentations of advice and tips from our former graduates, all currently working at various Edinburgh-based agencies, and all keen to pass on the benefits of their experience. The event was filmed and hopefully we'll have it up on vimeo soon.

James Jefferson in full flow.

Portfolio Surgery.

This looks like nice work.

Graduate Advice.

Discussing a project.

It's Easy With Hindsight.

Our YCN Visit

16 November 2012

As part of our London Trip, the students made the short journey from Russel Square to Shoreditch to visit the YCN Studio, where Project Director Kezia Clark gave a fantastic talk about the YCN Awards and about working in the Creative Industries. YCN's founder Nick Defty also took the time to pop in and say hello.  Inspiring stuff.

Read more about our visit to YCN on their website.

London Week

6 November 2012

Level 5 at Tate Modern.

We've just about finalised the itinerary for our London trip next week. A total of twenty-one HND 1 and 2 students will be going, along with tutors Alex Gunn and Chris Hughes.   The group are due to arrive in London on Monday afternoon, and will be staying in Russell Square. The schedule is planned as follows:

Monday PM - British Museum.
Tuesday AM - YCN Studio visit and Agency talk.
Tuesday PM - ColorCompany's 24/7 Print Studio in Mayfair.
Wednesday AM - Design Your Future - UCAS Convention.
Wednesday PM - Tate Modern and South Bank Centre.

The 14th Annual UCAS Convention, held at ExCel near Canary Wharf, is an opportunity for students hoping to study art, design, media, fashion, architecture, ceramics, and photography at University. Many of the UK's top Art Schools and Universities will be there to talk to students about the courses they offer in these subjects, within a live exhibition environment.

More Info:
UCAS Design Your Future
Tate Modern

Mentoring Session

23 September 2012

Our HND class recently got the chance to meet their mentors for the first session of the year. Our mentor line-up remains unchanged except for the welcome inclusion of Jen Wood, an Art Director at RAPP Edinburgh.

Unfortunately, Jen and a more familiar face, Iain Lauder of Redpath, were unable to make the mentoring night, but the rest of the lineup were all there, looking at the students work and sharing their thoughts and ideas about the year ahead, and discussing the sort of preparation our designers will need when they head out into industry.

Ian Farmer listening intently.

Line Digital's Rufus Spiller having fun.

Family's Kirsten Murray checking out a nice sketchbook.

LEWIS's Ian Kirkby putting some old technology to good use.

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