Brief Cases is a student competition with a difference. Created by Veronica Heaven of the Heaven Company, the competition is aimed at second year graphics students and designed to strengthen links between education and industry. This is done by use of real world design briefs and continuing interaction with clients while the students work on their design solutions.
In the 2015 competition both Norwich University of the Arts and the University of the Creative Arts (UCA), Epsom (#epsomgraphics) had student winners. Bethany Lall, Tomás De Almeida, and Niall Burr from Norwich; with Conor Dowse, Carla Graves, Jamie Bitmead, and Perry Harding from Epsom.
In March 2016 the winners, Brian Webb from Webb and Webb (one of the judges), and Epsom senior lecturer Sallyanne Theodosiou, were hosted to an amazing three day visit to Sweden by Staffan Sjoberg, Public Relations Manager at Iggesund Paperboard, who are part of the Holmen Group. The visit included a tour of the Invercote! paperboard mill, and exploration of the company’s whole business from seed to paperboard. While spring had just about started in the UK, snow was still falling in Iggesund town situated in northern Sweden, adding a winter wonderland quality to the visit.
Students saw the extra lengths the company goes in their sustainable and environmental approach to their business. Presentations gave them an in-depth view of the history of the company, the complex business of creating their high quality paperboard; and the importance of managing their land and water supplies.
Forest visits saw the logging of spruce, pine and birch; and seeds were observed being planted by machine for replacement forests grown initially in massive indoor nurseries. Students were shown steaming water taken into purification pools and how the water, sourced from the Baltic, is purified once before the company uses it, and three more times before it is put back into the sea. They walked the paper making process, with ear-plugs to protect them from the noise of logs being debarked! They were able to get hands on experience of the feel of the fibres as they were refined; and marvelled at the efficiency of the massive paperboard machine room that runs non-stop 24/7.
It was an amazing insight with real world learning about the paper design process that will stay in the memory of all those young designers (and older tutor and judge!) lucky enough to have taken part.
Report and images by Sallyanne Theodosiou.
Senior Lecturer of BA Graphic Design course at UCA Epsom and Graphic Designer.
Hans Dieter Reichert
Visiting Professor at UCA, Publisher and Director of Baseline Magazine, and Senior Lecturer at University of Westminster, School of Media Arts and Design.