The design courses blog for BA (Hons)
and HND Vis Comm at Edinburgh College

Team Neish #getawaywithit

23 April 2014

Jason Craig and Wendy Harris Jones from Cutty Sark announced the winning solution to the One Week project today in the design studio at Edinburgh College (Granton Campus). Their feedback was thorough, and the assessment criteria covered -

a) understanding the brief
b) effective strategy
c) working as a team
d) creative and original thinking

and they agreed that Team Neish, led by HND student Calum Mackinnon and mentored by Graham Neish, were the winners. The runners-up spot went to Team Multiply, led by Mark Phillips and mentored by Multiply's Charlie Boyle. You can check out a sampler of all six team projects on our Pinterest boards, and the work will be on display in the college Hub until Friday, May 2nd.

The winning team - Calum Mackinnon, Craig Nicholson, Emily Hubbard, Jakub Sobanski, Saulius Strebulis and Magda Milek, have all been offered a place at the Cutty Sark table at the Marketing Society Awards in June, and the students will also be the first recipients of a new year-long graduate membership of the Marketing Society. As an additional boost to the course, Cutty Sark have also offered to sponsor our end-of-year Industry Night and Show, which will be held on May 29th at Creative Exchange in Leith.

Cutty Sark were full of praise for the standard from all the teams, but felt that the #getawaywithit solution really stayed on brief and featured the most original approach. The copy-based campaign played on the rebellious nature of the target audience by associating the Cutty Sark brand with the ethos of breaking rules and conventions. The idea also took into account the logical conclusion of the concept  - that a real campaign would be banned by the ASA - and that this would raise the brand profile.

Jason said "Their pitch showed a strong understanding of the brief, the product and the target audience. The concept showed composure and maturity and led to danger, adventure, the unexpected, rebelliousness and basically the feeling of discomfort which was the main purpose of the brief – to push us towards areas we had not considered. This team did it very well."  He added that "The reality of breaking the law is not to be applauded or rewarded, but basically putting the idea into the consumers head was very clever. It does translate and it would be able to spread internationally, and taking it into filmed live situations to post on social media was clever and feasible and would feed itself into a Phase 2 campaign."

The concept -

Tweak to the bottle cap from white to black -

Guerilla campaign - outdoor, print, social media and ambient channels

An Essay Can Be A Booklet

Graphic Design student Sarah Diver-Lang has just handed in an essay on the Creative Industries as part of her HNC programme, and chose to abandon the standard essay format in favour of this charming typographic-based A5 booklet, featuring an A3 foldout 1500-word essay and accompanying visuals. You can check out more of Sarah's design work on her website.

Whiskey, Bacon Rolls & One Week Winners

22 April 2014

Jason Craig, Cutty Sark's Global Brand Controller, will be in the college on Thursday morning to announce the winning team from our One Week project which took place earlier this month.  Bacon rolls and coffee will be served in the Hub at 9am, where the work from all six teams will be on display.  Hopefully mentors and designers representing all six agencies that were involved will be able to make it along too (those being, in no particular order, Lewis, Multiply, RAPP, Neish, Whitespace and Family).  
As soon as we get the all clear from the client, samples from each solution will be available to view on our Pinterest boards, and the winning solution will be posted in full here on the blog.  The work will remain on display in the Hub until Friday, 29th April.

Star Creative Shortlist

12 April 2014

For the fourth consecutive year we're celebrating good news from the Marketing Society Scotland, who have shortlisted two of our final year design students, Calum Mackinnon and Andy Palfreyman, for the Star Creative Award 2014.   This award is in the Development category, sponsored by Union Direct, and requires students from Universities and Colleges in Scotland to submit a written proposal to a brief set by a high-profile client, in this case John Lewis. Only six entries make the shortlist, and they are then required to develop their idea and present it to the judging panel early in May, and a win this year would secure HND Graphic Design a third successive winner, after Steven Brown (2012) and Jonathan Walton (2013).

The winner is announced at the Marketing Society Star Awards, on June 12th at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, the annual celebration of Scotland's world-class marketing community. You can find out more about the awards, including the shortlists across all the professional categories, at the Star Awards 2014 website.

Game Changers : Gold

4 April 2014

The Design Team is celebrating another award win after two of our 2013 graduates, Alistair Kerr and Hussain Al-Khirsan won Gold last night in the Student Achievement category at the Game Changer Awards for their DO:25 App concept.

The award recognises a student-led project or initiative inspired by Glasgow 2014 and its legacy goals. As well as the team and College representatives, two of our mentors Jen Wood (RAPP) and Graham Neish (Neish) attended the event in Glasgow at the Old Fruitmarket. The offic1al photo gallery can be viewed on the Game Changers website.

Over 275 guests, including Mike Russell, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, and David Grevemberg, Chief Executive of Glasgow 2014, celebrated the evening as 21 colleges and universities received medals, highlighting the commitment of Scotland’s colleges and universities to play their part in delivering a lasting legacy for the XX Commonwealth Games.

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.