A Design Project to Celebrate Local Creative Talent 

Posted 10th Aug 2019

Future designers from the University of Gloucestershire got a rare opportunity to work alongside some of the county’s leading creatives in a unique design challenge set by the Cheltenham Design Foundation to celebrate our upcoming Design Festival.

To mark the return of the Cheltenham Design Festival and this year’s theme of “How design can bring people together”, the Cheltenham Design Foundation team invited local creative agencies Superdry, Lost & Found, Cellar Door, Jolly Good Design, Round Circle, Pink Sky, Silver and Factory Pattern to take part in a screen printing challenge in collaboration with the University of Gloucestershire.

Each agency was given six weeks to create a piece of typography style artwork to illustrate what “together” means to them before hand-printing their masterpieces in the screen printing studio at the Francis Close Hall campus.

There, students from the University’s graphic design course joined the professionals, getting a rare and hands-on insight into their design thinking and processes.

Commenting on the initiative, Jessica Reid, Academic Course Leader in Graphic Design & Visual Communication at the University of Gloucestershire’s Park Campus, said:

“So many of our students had the pleasure of being part of the Cheltenham Design Foundation at a pivotal point in their young lives. This project was a chance for the University to help this incredible foundation, whilst simultaneously strengthening our relationships with local industry professionals. Our students were able to work alongside the professionals, and help them bring their designs to life with the help of our screen printing experts.

It enabled conversations with the professionals around their creative processes, building lasting relationships that will help the students make their transition from students to professional designers.”

The Cheltenham Design Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation behind the Design Festival, was established by design professionals living and working in Gloucestershire, and works hard to highlight the importance of design and opens up the possibilities of a creativity career to young people in the community.

Gill Belton, a first year student at the University of Gloucestershire had this to say about joining forces with local design industry professionals:

“Meeting the different design agencies in a creative environment was an amazing experience and really insightful. I felt like I really got to know them and what they were about, and realise how differently each agency works.”

By 2020, it’s expected that creativity will be one of the top three most important skills for future jobs (World Economic Forum), alongside complex problem solving and critical thinking which are skills innate to and honed by a creative education.

With only 52% of graduates getting graduate-level jobs (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), the work of the Cheltenham Design Foundation and the support it receives is vital in helping to bridge the gap between education and employment in the design industries.

Our own festival director Georgina Thorne got to spend the whole week at the university with each agency and their student helpers and is thrilled with the outcome of the project saying that “it’s been an absolute pleasure watching design agencies, who would normally be competing against each other, come together and be totally open about their design process to help our next generation of designers.”

“This has been such a positive experience for both students and agencies and the university was instrumental in making it all happen. They gave us full access to their screen printing studio for a whole week and supplied all the paper and ink so we could get really creative.”

Maya Dunn from Superdry, one of the design agencies involved, said  “it was such a fun experience, we really enjoyed getting hands-on and being allowed to experiment with different colours and techniques. We were amazed at how detailed the screen print came out, and look forward to seeing them at the festival”

We are very excited to let you know all the artwork will be exhibited at the Cheltenham Design Festival in November and limited edition hand printed copies will be on sale at the event with all proceeds being donated to the Cheltenham Design Foundation.

The Cheltenham Design Festival takes place at the Parabola Arts Centre in Cheltenham from Friday 1st of November to Sunday 3rd November and you can get your tickets here.