Level 3 BA (Hons) Graphic Design students at the University of Lincoln Helen Finlinson, Danielle Cowell and James Robins have designed a destination brand identity for Market Rasen, Lincolnshire – one of the first twelve towns nationally to be chosen to rejuvenate its High Street Area, with £100,000 help from the government and Mary Portas Queen of Shops.
The Market Rasen Business Improvement Group, MR BIG, wants to put Market Rasen on the map with local, national and regional visitors – a multifaceted communication challenge. The MR BIG team includes a number of experienced brand and communication professionals and offered the students excellent learning opportunities with the chance to work on a high profile project delivered to a commercial standard.
The brand identity is one of several projects created by University students to market and build the profile of Market Rasen, with involvement from the University of Lincoln’s Public Relations, Journalism, Creative Advertising, Graphic Design and MA Design courses.
Helen, James and Danielle describe their identity for Market Rasen which ‘draws upon the historic Georgian and Victorian heritage of the town, and shows it to be a classic, sophisticated, and respectable place to visit. We feel that the logo really captures the essence of Market Rasen and its community, which is further enhanced by the carefully crafted swash above.’
Chris Twigg, Programme Leader for Graphic Design and tutor for the brand identity project at Lincoln, said ‘James, Helen and Danielle have represented their course well and showed the mettle it takes to deliver great work on a project of this calibre. They were selected because they had a great creative idea, of course, but just as importantly they’ve developed real people skills and professionalism in the way they’ve negotiated and developed this work.’
Sara Scott, Chairperson for MR BIG commented on the Brand identity work: ‘The students have shown real commitment and polish in the way they’ve tackled the project. Their research, pitch and the work produced has all been of an impressive standard and on a par with many commercial providers.’
Asked how their time at University has prepared them to undertake projects like this, the students commented ‘the course has taught us the real theory behind design, such as brand values, and learning that our designs need to have a reason, not to do something just because “its pretty”. Being taught to think smart, and to really understand the theory and reasoning behind what you are doing as a designer has been an essential part of our education.’
Students on the Graphic Design degree at Lincoln are regularly challenged to undertake ‘live’ project work so they can put their experience into practice – learning invaluable lessons through applied project work which gives them the highest possible chance of being employable. Asked about the difference that live project work brings, the students noticed ‘it becomes of utmost importance to manage time well and to get things exactly right – it is real work, affecting real people and is going to help the client generate ‘custom’ which adds a huge sense of importance to work. We became really involved and excited about what the town was doing, and the feeling of being passionate and a part of the project.’
‘Today’s Graphic Design students not only need to be great creative thinkers, they have to be pro-active and dynamic in the way that they find design opportunities,’ Chris said, ‘that’s why it’s great that James, Danielle and Helen have also found funding via the University Enterprise Inc scheme to help start Form and Function, their new Graphic Design business’. Asked about this, the students said ‘getting such a major client brief under our belts has given us a great platform to start building our business on. Also, we now know what clients expect from designers, but also what we can expect from a client too.’
The Market Rasen brand identity project has been underway for several months and will shortly go into full production and rollout. Asked how it felt to pitch and be selected for this project Danielle, Helen and James thought ‘it is a huge confidence boost for us, as individuals but also as a business. It made us think for the first time that we were capable of doing work to an industry-standard level.’