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Local design agency supports DMU students to create virtual degree show


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Working with industry professionals has enabled De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) students to create an interactive online platform to host their annual degree show.

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Open to final-year Graphic Design and Graphic Design (Illustration) students, it will showcase their best creative work ahead of graduating next month, attracting potential employers as well as friends and family worldwide.

The virtual show launches at 7pm on Tuesday 22 June at www.stayconnected2021.co.uk and will remain live for a year, offering valuable exposure for graduates as they establish their careers.

Two graphic design alumni from DMU and directors at Leicester-based creative agency Cite, along with several other members of their team, have supported the students pro bono by helping to develop the new web platform and offering industry expertise.

Cite Director, Andy Leitch said: “This is the second year in a row that we’ve been able to support DMU’s end-of-year show for graphic design, with a website showcasing the remarkable talents of the students. As a local agency with personal ties to the university, we’re proud to support the next generation of young creatives.”

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Pleasure products designed by Grace

Among the final-year students who collaborated with Cite and who are responsible for helping to coordinate the show are Grace Jenkinson, Mia Clark, George Coles and Honey Southworth.

Grace also took the lead on approaching creative businesses based in the city’s Cultural Quarter, to secure a physical presence for the show.

The 24-year-old from Manchester said: “It’s amazing how supportive all the businesses have been. Thanks to them and to designs by George, Mia and our design team, we have a poster trail around the city highlighting some of our work with QR codes linking back to our degree show website.”

Grace’s own work features branding for a range of CBD pleasure products for women, that could be sold in high street shops and supermarket chains.

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Mia's response to a live brief for Corrs Light

“Even within our community of creators at DMU this was a divisive topic, but I really wanted to tackle the taboo around these kinds of products so women can feel more comfortable talking about and using them,” she said.

Mia’s varied showcase includes a digital campaign idea for Coors Light, which she worked on as a live brief for an awards submission, and an illustrative zine based on the 1990s rave scene in Berlin and how it was inspired by historical events.

“Getting my work seen by people in industry and being a part of the art and design scene in Leicester is really important to me. Our degree’s connection to local creative businesses has been valuable and could prove to be vital for the start of my career,” said the 22-year-old from Kettering.

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An awareness-raising campaign by George

George is sharing a campaign he created to increase awareness of blood donation among younger generations, which includes a mobile blood bank travelling to different universities, a dedicated website and printed handouts.

The 22-year-old from Kettering said: “Working with Cite was valuable for lots of reasons, but especially because we can apply what we’ve learned to designing our own personal websites, which is an important way of promoting ourselves as graduates.”

Honey has blended illustration and graphic design skills to create accessible prints for people with visual impairments, including leaflets, business cards, posters and a promotional exhibition. She is also playing a key role in promoting the degree show through dedicated social media channels.

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Honey's accessible prints

“We’ve not had much time in the studio with our coursemates this year, so it’s been a good chance to engage with them and see a range of work. We’ve all put so much effort into this to make up for a difficult year and we’ve been determined to make it worth it,” said the 22-year-old from Surrey.

Lyndsey Webster, programme leader for Graphic Design (Illustration) at DMU, said: “The degree show is a celebration of our students’ achievements, which in pre-Covid times has always been well-attended. However, the virtual format has proven successful and will stay in the near future so a robust and flexible platform on which to run it is really important for us.

“The course is industry-led and getting local businesses to work with our students is crucial for their development and future employability. Cite has a superb team, with great creative and digital skills and their support has been really appreciated by the students. The platform will give our students a global audience for their end-of-year coursework.”

Posted on Friday 18th June 2021

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