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BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces explore AR technologies

Concept art for an AR graphic.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date20 January 2022
Concept art for an AR graphic.
Image credit: Rosie Mitchell, Jacob Harris and Tomoyasu Ishizuka.

With a focus on exploring innovative practice at the intersection of spatial design, storytelling and new technologies, our BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces course emphasises the importance of curiosity, creativity and experimentation. Students are encouraged to develop creative solutions that are unique to their own individual interests, designing ‘spaces with something to say’ while gaining vital experience for a wide range of future paths.

One of the key ways in which they build their knowledge and industry insight is through collaborations across the university and beyond, with opportunities to refine their skills through working with live briefs and client feedback. One such example includes a recent project with the Stanley Kubrick Archive at the UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre, which is based at London College of Communication (LCC) and spans the acclaimed director’s entire career.

From scripts and research materials to set plans, production documents, props, costumes and press cuttings, the Archive provides a rich series of materials for filmmakers and cultural historians alike. As the world begins to shift further into digital landscapes, the Archive team have started to consider how access can be extended beyond physical boundaries, enabling audiences to engage with their items in new and exciting ways.

In order to explore the power of new digital dimensions, they enlisted the help of Year 2 BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces students to consider how augmented reality (AR) could not only enhance visitor interaction and experience, but also LCC’s reputation as a leader in emerging technologies across art and design education.

After a series of ideation and development sessions, along with work-in-progress presentations, the Archive team selected an AR design exploring the shapes, symmetry and visual perspectives of Kubrick’s auteurship. Created by students Rosie Mitchell, Jacob Harris and Tomoyasu Ishizuka, the chosen concept focused on accessibility and inclusivity, using AR technology to balance text, visuals and audio in innovative ways to engage a wide range of audiences by instantly connecting cinematic themes, archive materials and immersive experiences. The winning group were then invited to build their idea further with support from the Technical Team in LCC’s Creative Technology Lab, where they were provided with the knowledge and space needed to experiment and grow a fully-realised design.

We caught up with Rosie to discuss the importance of narrative in her creative practice, the joy of learning how to work with emerging technologies, and the importance of collaborating within a positive environment.

Archive shelves filled with cardboard boxes.
Image credit: David Vintiner for the UAL Archives and Special Collections Centre.

Have you always been interested in the field of design, or was this an area you moved towards over time?

I think from an early stage of my life, I gravitated towards design. I thoroughly enjoyed product design, photography and art lessons at school, and ended up doing all of the creative A-Levels I could.

I knew I wanted to do something creative in the long-term, and my product design teacher actually helped me to realise that it could be in the design sector.

Tell us about your creative practice.

My work is based around spatial experiences, and I tend to focus on exhibition design within my projects where I can.

A really important skill that BA (Hons) Design for Branded Spaces has instilled within me is to always think about the narrative, so I always try to develop a metaphor that encompasses a particular theme before developing a wider story around it.

Why did you decide to study at LCC?

I chose to study Design for Branded Spaces at LCC as I wanted a design course that wouldn’t restrict you to just one type of spatial design. I liked the fact that it gives you scope to design spaces and environments without limitations - I hadn’t seen a spatial design course that was so varied before.

I also really like the fact that it invites you to think about the experience of audiences across areas such as retail, art installations and museums.

A screenshot of AR software.
Image credit: Rosie Mitchell.

How did you find out about the Kubrick Archive collaboration, and why did you decide to get involved?

It was originally a course project where we all pitched our ideas to the Archive, and my collaborative group was chosen to create some Augmented Reality (AR) design. It was a great opportunity for us to go one step further and work on a live commissioned project for the largest archive of Stanley Kubrick’s work in the world!

What activities did you take part in as part of the project, and what did you aim to achieve?

We all took part in designing the initial ideas and sketches by meeting up virtually to discuss and collaborate.

Each of us brought our own skills to the project: I focused on the technical development of the Augmented Reality app using AR software, while Jacob [Harris] and Tomo [Ishizuka] focused more on technical design by creating individual AR elements using 3D software.

As a group, we aimed to achieve an AR design that was clear, visually interesting and informational, and I think we managed to achieve that.

What were your highlights of the experience?

I think one of my biggest highlights was learning new software and exploring Augmented Reality as this pushed me to learn another technical skill that works hand-in-hand with design.

I also enjoyed being able to present our ongoing process to our clients through regular pitches and presentations. It was amazing to show them our hard work, and I found it really invaluable to get regular feedback.

Another highlight was getting the chance to test our AR out in the Archives space at every stage of the project!

An augmented reality graphic projected onto a white brick wall.
Image credit: Rosie Mitchell, Jacob Harris and Tomoyasu Ishizuka.

What have you most enjoyed about your time as an LCC student so far?

I feel like there’s always a positive energy at LCC. Everyone who works in the building - from tutors to technicians and students - are all very welcoming, and in my course group especially. We’re all a team.

I’ve enjoyed learning and growing my skills in this kind of environment.

What tips would you give to other students who are interested in exploring BA (Hons) Design for Branded Space?

Be prepared to break down the 'walls' for what you may preconceive as designing for spaces. I’d say that this is a great course for not only learning about spatial design, but a range of important industry tools.

If you want to learn technical skills as well as endless scope for creative flair, join us!

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