Create Student Awards 2019
Pursuing a project with an opportunity to explore the relationship between my creative and teaching practice led me to the Create Student Awards, an annual awards ceremony for the graduating students of UoS School of Arts and Media. This was an opportunity to work on a creative branding project within and related to my teaching role but also provided me with a unique opportunity to produce original work in collaboration with my students during my ongoing 'classroom as studio' experiment (as discussed in my MA Thesis which you can read here). I ran several workshops with a small group of graphic design students who had identified branding as an avenue of interest within their own practice. I ran the sessions in a simulated design team scenario, installing myself as creative director with a concept and strategy in place which offered the students the opportunity to learn about brand strategy.
In analysing the brief, target audience and environment of the awards venue the students and I researched and learned about kinetic identity design together, each of us bringing our own experience and perspective to the brief. The students interrogated the strategy put in place, which offered me the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the direction of the project. While not teaching I would work on developing specific collateral for the project, for example, the editorial and social media deliverables which we would then critique together in the next session, the students would bring their own ideas and research to use in developing the project.
The use of a kinetic identity system allowed for several positive things to happen. Firstly, as the project developed the students, and I created a set of 20 idents as a team. However, the nature of the project allowed us all the room to experiment individually. Each student had the opportunity to interpret the brief and produce unique motion elements within the context of design rules developed and agreed by the whole team, which created consistency and built a cohesive identity. Secondly, the exchange of skills and knowledge between my students and I was fluid, their strength (and my weakness) lay in the production of motion design, specifically the software, their weakness (and my strength) lay in the design finish, composition and reinforcement of the overall design strategy. This free exchange of skills offered everyone the opportunity to learn and feel valued.
Beyond the collaborative elements of the project I produced all of the collateral for the event inclusive of internal and external print and social media communication, editorial design, table design, presentation graphics, venue decoration, product design for the awards and video graphics.
The success of the project can be measured by the impact it has had on the future development of my practice. The approach I developed and tested in this project as well as the creative work it yielded was well received by the Dean of the school, guests from the Manchester education and arts communities in attendance as well as the wider student body. I have been approached to run the project again in 2020.
Photography: Nick Harrison