Winning students go beyond the brief in design challenge

An impressive 18 Staffordshire University students have been recognised in a national design competition

Brief Cases 2022 winners holding their certificates

18 Graphic Design and illustration students were recognised for their work

It was nice to get a feel for what it would be like working to a brief and presenting a pitch in the industry and I feel more prepared for the future now

Caitlin Reed, BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Brief Cases aims to bridge the gap between academia and the world of work by setting students industry briefs which address skills gaps and tackle emerging issues. This year, students across BA (Hons) Graphic Design and BA (Hons) Illustration at Staffordshire University reaped eighteen wins ranging from gold to highly commended.

The students were challenged to respond to a ‘packaging brief’ set by UK brewer Adnams or an ‘imagine brief’ from Xerox and received support from Brief Cases founder Veronica Heaven and industry partners throughout the project.

The packaging brief tasked students with creating a sustainable brand for either confectionery, condiments or a vegan product range. Lauren Piercy was recognised with a gold award for her vegan milkshake ‘Oom’ which uses seasonal, regional fruit and vegetables and comes in fun, colourful packaging to encourage people to try something new.

The 23-year-old from Leek said: “Moo backwards turned into ‘Oom’ and became a vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free milkshake brand. I chose to use local ingredients for the sustainability element then ingredients like coconut milk which can’t be sourced in the UK are Fairtrade.

“It was great to experience what we might encounter when we are working in the industry. Getting critical feedback from an outside source was also really helpful. It taught me to go above and beyond and to push the boundaries.”

The imagine brief focused on promoting a sense of community and belonging in remote regions, which inspired fellow gold winner Caitlin Reed to create a campaign about her hometown of Haworth in North Yorkshire.

She produced illustrated posters, highlighting the word ‘worth’ in the town’s name, branded paper bags for the town’s independents shops and a range of postcards. All of which received positive feedback from the town’s residents. The 21-year-old explained: “I decided to choose a rural area near where I live because people don’t realise how important and historic it is.

“Other than posters, I thought how could I create something to make people feel like they belong. So, I created postcards that you get sent in the post via a subscription and residents can them keep or send to someone else. They include a message to tell you how important you are and to tell you about the history of your town.”

She added: “I didn’t expect to win! When I submitted my work I wasn’t sure if it was good enough because everyone else’s was so good. It was nice to get a feel for what it would be like working to a brief and presenting a pitch in the industry and I feel more prepared for the future now.”

Other gold-winning projects included Alicia Bennett’s ‘Pips and Pints’ brand which pairs chocolate with complimentary beers, Grace Taylor’s ‘Florist’ chocolates in packaging that can be used to grow seeds once finished, and the ‘Kind Cooks Baking Kit’ by Molly Death for creating customisable cupcakes.

Ben Glazier, MD of Glazier Design, who was on the judging panel commented: “The stand-out is that some of these projects are of a level that would impress commercial clients in a pitch. These students have a great future in design.”

Sam Owen, Graphic Design Course Leader, added: “Brief Cases provide a structured approach and I’m impressed with the amount of information, support and passion that is shown by the team. We always look forward to receipt of the brief and our students this year got really stuck in and amazed us with their entrepreneurial approaches to the problems posed.”

Discover more about Staffordshire University’s range of Art and Design degree courses or book your place on our next campus tour.

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