A briefcase full of awards for Staffs Uni students

Staffordshire University students have won an impressive 17 awards in a national design competition

Students Emily Souter, Bryan Dowley and Sophie Slim holding their Brief Cases certificates

Students Emily Souter, Bryan Dowley and Sophie Slim all won awards

It’s nice to win an award but it has also been interesting working to an industry brief because it gives you an insight into working in the real world.

Sophie Slim, BA (Hons) Graphic Design

The bumper crop of winners were recognised at this year’s Brief Cases Awards which champions up-and-coming designers from universities across the country.

This year, students from across Staffordshire University’s BA (Hons) Graphic Design and BA (Hons) Illustration were tasked by Xerox to develop a product focused on sustainable futures and the ageing community.

Students came up with a host of creative responses from reducing the risk of loneliness to promoting learning across the generations and winners, ranging from gold to highly commended, were chosen by a panel of industry judges.

Final year Graphic Design students Bryan Dowley and Sophie Slim both won gold awards for their work. Bryan, 23 from Meir, came up with ‘Phelt’ a puppet-making subscription service for people with dementia.

He explained: “The tactile and friendly nature of the puppets helps people with dementia to make connections with family members who they might have forgotten and enables them to rebuild their relationship again over time.”

“It was challenging but also really rewarding. It feels fantastic to win a gold award and hopefully this will be a springboard for my career when I graduate.”

Sophie’s winning concept ‘Gone to Pot’ provides indoor gardening boxes for people who don’t have access to their own garden or who live in a deprived urban area.

She said: “Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies for the over-65s but there are millions of older people without a garden who don’t get to enjoy the mental and physical benefits. The Gone to Pot gardening kit gets delivered to their house and they can do it in the box.”

“It’s nice to win an award but it has also been interesting working to an industry brief because it gives you an insight into working in the real world.”

Illustration student Emily Souter won a silver award for healthy eating ‘Goodness’ campaign and accompanying recipe book for the elderly. She said: “It was surprising but really cool to win this award! It was very hard to begin with but it was good to get the experience of working to an industry brief.”

Brief Cases is a national scheme which aims to bridge the gap between education and industry and is one of a number of opportunities that Staffordshire University students have to respond to industry briefs.

Sam Owen, Course Leader BA Hons Graphic Design, added: “I’m impressed with the amount of information, support and passion that is shown by the Brief Cases team. The experience offers our students a fully rounded opportunity of deciphering and responding to a brief which consolidates our teaching – all of which contributes to a student’s future employability skills. The students really got under the skin of this brief and their efforts have reaped dividends. I’m super proud of them all!”

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