As we prepare to launch the third year of our ‘Im-print! Im-press’ competition in collaboration with G. F Smith and FoilCo, we spoke to last year’s participants to see how the experience has shaped their designs since. The competition aims to inspire a new generation of graphic designers at Ravensbourne University London to not just focus on the visual elements of the design, but to also appreciate the feel of their designs from format and material to production.

Design is more tactile

The students evaluated how the challenge had influenced their approach to future designs whether it was learning a new technique or: “growing curiosity about printing and book making.” The challenge gave the students the opportunity to create a design outside their comfort zone and pushed them to think about making their designs more tactile. Thinking about the physical and material form of design is something Maaike van Neck, BA (Hons) Graphic Design course leader believes is important when inspiring the next generation of graphic designers.  Along with live briefs and actively seeking constructive relationships and collaboration with those who are expects in their fields, is at the heart of graduating from the university.

A learning from the challenge has been the importance of testing ideas as one student explained: “without testing every single detail my design would not have looked the way it did, from testing foils to ink opacity, every test makes a difference.”

Taking part in the challenge has made students feel more confident in the industry and the terminology they learnt from the four weeks of the competition has remained with them. They are now more comfortable when explaining the processes used. One student said: “I always take techniques into consideration and approach ideas with a fresher, more professional feel.”

Make the most of it

Many of the students felt the skills learnt from the challenge have benefited them when seeking employment and talking to prospective employers as they have increased knowledge and understanding of the design industry.

Advising this year’s participants one student said: “Make the most of it! You will learn a lot of new techniques. Choose your material carefully and experiment a lot before choosing how your final prototype will look, it will make your work exceptional.