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

Concours D'ecriture 2020

3 December 2020

This is the second year that we have collaborated with The French Institute and both Napier and Edinburgh Universities in the annual Concours D'ecriture, where foreign language degree students compose a piece of creative writing, and the results are interpreted by our final year students as pieces of visual communication, expressed purely as typography.

Students submitted writing from Edinburgh, Napier, Stirling and St Andrews Universities, and these were judged by the partners this year - the French Institute, The Goethe Institute (Glasgow) and the Franco-Scottish Society.

Last year an exhibition of the work was held at the Institute, just off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, but this year the exhibiton is all virtual - on screens at the French Institute and via instagram and the Institute's culture blog. The theme this year was music, with all the written entries being inspired by a piece of music. 

This allowed our students to think beyond print and produce some unsusual responses, including lenticular animation, video, light projections, editorial pieces and even packaging in the form of a chocolate wrapper. We also published the visuals, alongside all the written pieces, in a broadsheet newspaper, printed by Newspaper Club, and on display at the Institute during December.  Full details of the winning pieces, plus all the visual work can be found on the French Institute Culture blog here and the newspaper can be viewed at issuu.

Pav is YCN Student of the Year

7 November 2020

To cap off a recent run of awards successes, we gathered last week at the virtual YCN Students Awards to see 4 Edinburgh College students (3 from Graphics Design and 1 from User Experience Design) pick up their YCN Commendations.

Nick Defty and the team at YCN hosted an excellent awards evening, with over 100 participants and a slide show featuriong all the commended work. As well as awarding commendations by brief, YCN also award a student of the year prize for the most outstanding submission, and this year it was shared by two students, Daniel Mason (for the Guardian brief, University of Lincoln) and our very own Pavils Vorobjovs for his work on the Oliver Bonas / Fedrigoni brief. All the commendees are featured here.

Since 2008 the Graphics course has picked up around 20 Commendations, but this is a first having one of our students recognised in this way, so its a tremendous achievement. You can check out Pav's awesome winning work here.

Star Awards 2020

27 October 2020

More congratulations are in order as graduate HND student Balazs Hirth won the coveted Star Student Award at the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards 2020.  His classmate Rachel Nesbitt also won a commendation, and we had four shortlisted entrants.

We've now won this award in no less than 7 of the last 10 years, a real testament to the quality of the students the course produces and also their ability to think, design and present to their peers and wider industry. 

This year the awards ceremnoy was virtual but that didn't lessen the excitement and the sense of celebration that the event generates right across Scotland's creative industry. Well done to all the winners and shortlisted stars.

Full list of winners

Teacher of the Year!

Massive congratulations ot our very own Helena Good who has been named teacher of the year at the Tes FE Awards, which celebrate the best of the UK’s further education sector.

Helena has been teaching Graphic Design at the college for 23 years across the NC, HNC and HND courses, and this award is the culmination of her tireless passion and championing of design education in Scotland and beyond.

As well as all her hard work shaping the mentoring programme and the course relationship with industry, and a huge contribution to the continued success of our students in nationla and international design awards, Helena has been the main vision behind the Daydream Believers programme – a pioneering project aimed at developing the transition from school to college for secondary students.. It is delivered in collaboration with student ambassadors and industry partners, and involves a number of high schools across Edinburgh. 

The judges described the programme as “the most important educational initiative in Scotland at the moment”. Helena also played a key role in the creation and delivery of the recent Creative Bravery Festival, reaching eductaors, students and creatives in over 60 countries. Star Power!

Full list of winners for Tes 2020

Get Real 2020

28 August 2020

Jump over to Instagram to see the Get Real portfolio gallery for our class of 2020!


Commendations & Shortlists!

Some great news towards the end of the 2019-2020 term to help get us all through lockdown

Firstly our students have again been recognised with commendations in the 2020 YCN Student Awards.HNC Graphic Design students Valentina Torella and Elia Ballesteros picked up commendations for their submissions to briefs by Camden Town Brewery and Fedrigoni / Oliver Bonas respectively. This brings the course's run of commendations dating back as far as 2008 to a total of 21.

The YCN Awards started in 2001. Each year YCN publishes a collection of live creative, marketing and business challenges — written by partners, and distributed across the Further & Higher Education network.   Check out this year's full list of Commendations here and you can read a bit more about the success, including some nice quote over on the main college blog.

Secondly, we are also celebrating 4 of our final year students making the shortlist for the Marketing Society Star Awards.  Huge congratulations go to Melinda Babai, Gonzalo Cervilla, Balaz Hirth and Rachel Nesbit who all worked incredibly hard during the initial weeks of lockdown to complete their pitches for this competition. Check out the full shortlist here.  This year the Star Awards is a free virtual event,  broadcasting on October 22nd.

Visiting BILD

4 February 2020

Our annual Berlin study trip again included a visit to Axel Springer - one of the largest publishers in the world and publisher of Europe's largest circulation newspaper, BILD.

Axel Springer's Head of Apprenticeships, Dual Studies & Talent Attraction, Uta Bendixen, organised a tour of the BILD Newsroom, which included a talk by BILD's Editor about the future of publishing, and how the company's graphic design team produces the newspaper, whose circulation is over 1.5m copies each day.

We also visited Axel Springer's incubator project Accelerator, a joint venture between Plug & Play Tech Center and Axel Springer SE, where startups and new technology brands are nurtured and developed - http://www.axelspringerplugandplay.com

One Week Winners

20 January 2020

Team Union Direct (l/r) - Zoe Willis, Valentina Torella, Gonzalo Cervilla, Balazs Hirth & Rachel Platts-Smith.

Our most recent One Week project finished with a remarkable flourish after the client, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) assembled a panel to judge the presentations for a second time.

The brief from SQA was to create a campaign to promote their new National Progression Award (NPA) in Creative Thinking to teachers and the parents and carers of pupils in Scottish secondary schools. For this project we were lucky to have support from some of our favourite collaborators - Amaze Realize, Campfire, Emperor, Neish, Lewis, Union Direct and Whitespace were all involved.

Each agency took a team for the week to work on a campaign idea before pitching the work to a panel of judges from the SQA at the Emperor agency. The judges realised that a second round of judging would be required to find a winner.

The second panel, including representatives from SQA and Education Scotland, assembled at Granton Campus last Thursday and duly selected Team Union Direct, featuring HND Graphic Design students Rachel Platts Smith, Gonzalo Cervilla, Balazs Hirth, Zoe Willis, Valentina Torella, and Ross McGrail.

Their ‘Creativity is Possibility’ concept featured a range of clever ideas and promotional materials to be sent to secondary schools across the country. Edinburgh College student Rachel Platts-Smith, from the winning team, said “We are very proud to be named the winners of this year’s competition. The key to our success was definitely teamwork. We’d like to thank our mentors at Union Direct who were there every step of the way and made this experience all the more enjoyable – we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive, and a judge on the panel, commented that “Creativity is a hugely important skill and that’s why the NPA in Creative Thinking is such an exciting development. I am thankful to all the students from Edinburgh College who provided an incredible range of ideas for promoting the qualification.”

Also on the panel, Martin Boyle, Head of creative, Hospitality, and Sport at SQA, added: “It was thrilling to see the students tackle the brief with such commitment, and creativity. The whole project has been a fantastic example of engaging creative education in practice, bringing together the college, students and industry to create something special. Of course, this isn’t just a theoretical exercise. We hope to be in a position to be able offer our NPA in Creative Thinking to schools and colleges across the country, and utilise the work of team Union Direct in our activities. The standard of work the students presented was genuinely exceptional. I look forward to hearing more about their progress.”

Well done all and huge thanks both to the client and our amazing agency friends.