Inspiring the next generation at Ipswich Academy

BY The Springers | Journal | 14/04/2023

Showing the way

Spring’s design team is always keen to play their part in inspiring the next generation, so they felt privileged to support a National Careers Week initiative at Ipswich Academy recently, providing an opportunity for pupils to look to their future careers through a virtual Spotlight Assembly for years 7, 8 and 9 to inspire creative talent at this Paradigm Trust secondary school. So, how did Springers Charlie O’Halloran and Charlotte Johnson make a difference and spark the enthusiasm and aspirations of the pupils?

A three step approach to generating design inspiration 

Firstly, Charlie and Charlotte delved into the mindset of their audience by using their own insight and thinking back to their high school days: what did the school uniform look like? Who was their favourite teacher? Did they have any idea at all of what they wanted to do when they left school? And so on …

Secondly they thought about the careers advice they’d received – had it made any difference? From there, Charlie decided he could use his skills in animation to describe his career path so far, and make a short reel for the pupils. Charlotte described what it’s like to work in a branding and design agency and filmed a ‘day in her life’ as the second part of their joint presentation.

Finally, they decided to encourage any budding graphic designers to show their own Design and Art Direction skills.

Working to a product design brief – Charlotte’s challenge

As branding and identity is such a big part of the work we do, for a lot of our clients at Spring, it was only apt to challenge the pupils to try their hand at exactly that.

Using a professional design template, Charlotte’s brief was to design a logo for a sustainably-sourced water brand, and the recyclable can the water would come in. We gave pupils an example of a stylescape to work with, and some of the the key functional considerations to take into account.

The winning design by Alisya Keenan (below) was very impressive. The narrative behind her idea was perfect, and the detailed description about recycling and the positive environmental impact was exactly what we envisioned when writing this brief. 

The use of the raindrop in the logo was great design thinking too. With the logo, iconography, messaging and the planet-friendliness being considered here, we could definitely see this product on the shelves of a supermarket. Below you can see how it came out – looks professional!  

Creating a School Mascot – Charlie’s challenge

Charlie wanted to show how illustration could be brought to life and show a whole other side of graphic design, so he briefed students to illustrate an educational Ipswich Academy mascot.

We were impressed by all the mascots we looked at, from owls to walking, talking books. The use of purple to match Ipswich Academy’s brand colours in many entries is an essential design skill, and the logo featuring on all of them was a great consideration to help with brand recognition. There were some excellent illustrative skills on show too.

However, we could only bring one winning design to bring to life – and that came from Katie Hughes.

We absolutely loved Katie’s Academic Alligator. The name itself was a fantastic idea, but introducing the school subjects through patches on the mascot’s jacket was something unique – an idea we hadn’t even considered ourselves. 

We could really picture this colourful character swimming up the Orwell and causing a storm at Ipswich Academy. 

Why is it important to inspire the next generation of graphic designers?

Experiencing the world of work helps young people to clearly see their future in it. In particular for us, it’s important to show the journey into the design industry isn’t linear: you can approach it from lots of different directions.

Our team realises the importance of sharing their journeys and encouraging young people to pave their own paths. In that way, whilst enjoying their own passion they are more likely to find the career that suits them perfectly … which might very well be in an agency, enjoying their own specialism. 

Seeing the possibilities of entering into a design career first hand, can open doors and drive motivation at school, as Charlotte explains; ” When we were the same age as the students we presented to, we didn’t even know this job role existed. It wasn’t until our GCSEs that graphic design was a career option we were aware of. That’s why it’s also important to show pupils ‘a day in the life’. It gives them a fly on the wall, sneak preview into what they could be doing on a day to day basis.”

“In our opinion, we have one of the coolest jobs going. We want to open eyes to creative opportunities and guide students to follow those paths, or at least encourage a whole load of creative expression along the way.”

Charlie added: “It’s important that young people need to follow those creative paths, but most of all, enjoy what they love doing. If that passion is in graphic design and marketing, maybe we’ll see them at Spring in the future!”

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