Setting a Design Brief for Suffolk New College Students

We teamed up with Suffolk New College tutors to deliver a 10-week course to give year one Graphic Design students a glimpse into creative agency life and equip them with tools on how to respond to a client brief.

From early December 2022 to February 2023, we partnered with Suffolk New College graphic design teacher, Dani Ryles, and illustration teacher, Aaron Lockwood, to tutor a group of year one students.

We were curious to find out how design education works today. Having set up our creative business via different career paths, we were keen to find out what today’s curriculum entails when choosing the direct route into the creative industry, and how it prepares students for the reality of work.

We also wanted to give students a ‘behind the scenes’ look at what it’s like to be a freelancer and run a business within the creative industry. We felt that it’s important to teach the talent of tomorrow some tools for project work with clients that we’ve learned through experience.

Group of students with Angie and Franzi around a table in a college computer lab
Franzi & Angie with the group of year one graphic design students at New Suffolk College

Together with the college tutors, we created a fictitious brief for the students. The students were asked to create a brand identity for a new vegan wrap business ‘Planet Wrap’ – a street food style business selling vibrant vegan snacks inspired by flavours from around the world.

We tasked them with creating a logo, colour scheme, typography, graphics, and illustrations, which they then applied to the design of menus, food wrappers, coffee cups, t-shirts and the street food van itself.

But before students jumped into developing creative ideas, we introduced students to elements of brand strategy and positioning work and highlighted its importance in creating successful branding for clients.

Using case studies and worksheets, we asked the students to interview the business founders (aka their tutors), undertake surveys with fictitious customers and research competitors to understand why the start-up was launched, why people eat vegan food and what their expectations are, and how to position Planet Wrap to differentiate it from competitors.

With a clear idea in mind what Planet Wrap stands for and wants to achieve, the students set out to gather inspiration and initial ideas. They created a mood board and some first logo draft ideas which were constructively discussed in a group setting and then further developed into a full brand identity.

In the last session of the project, the students presented their brand identity concepts. Drawing on their learnings, they explained the rationale behind their creative decisions based on the start up’s brand positioning, considering the research they’ve undertaken into the business, the ideal customer, and local competitors.

We were incredibly impressed with the variety of creative ideas the students developed to interpret and answer the brief. The students put a lot of thought into their creative work and drew inspiration form a variety of different aspects of their life and environment. We loved the lightness and playfulness with which they approached their work. It is hugely inspiring to us. We feel that the New Suffolk College students have a bright future.

The project was rounded off with a visit to Ipswich-based Healeys Print Group where Phil Dodd and Will Healey gave a talk about the history of print and the type of creative career the print industry offers. This was followed by a guided tour through their large workshop to show the students how artwork is produced and finished.

Graphic design tutor, Dani Ryles, sums up the project saying: “Angie and Franzi generously gave up their own time to collaborate with us. Their ability to understand the needs of our students and tailor their approach accordingly was impressive. Their dedication to excellence and passion for their work was contagious, inspiring our students to push their limits and achieve their best work in a limited time frame. They were both able to provide constructive feedback that helped our students grow both personally and professionally.”

year one students group picture with Angie and Franzi

About Franzi Scheithauer

Franzi is Creative Director at Studio Brand Up and specialises in brand strategy and identity design.