BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity student develops sustainable drinks concept
At London College of Communication (LCC), we support students to develop as practitioners while enhancing their employability skills, gaining the knowledge and tools they’ll need to make a living doing what they love.
Our courses offer many opportunities to connect, create and collaborate with organisations ranging from local community initiatives to agencies and global brands. With teaching informed by the latest developments in the creative sectors, our students are also encouraged to gain further insight through activities such as panel discussions, mentoring and live briefs set by experienced professionals.
This emphasis on integrating industry with academia underpins our BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity course, which is designed to develop strategic thinkers and creative communicators. By exploring a diverse range of approaches across the entire creative process, students are encouraged to consider all aspects of branding and identity: from historical, social, cultural and commercial contexts through to contemporary design practice.
Year 3 students were recently given the opportunity to respond to the BrandOpus Chrysalis brief as part of their Final Major Project. Tasked with creating a new drinks brand that had ‘a distinctive and compelling sustainability story at its heart’, participants were not only required to create an impactful visual narrative, but also to consider the importance of environmentally conscious design.
We caught up with the 2021 runner-up, recent graduate Sophia Demetriades, about the inspiration behind her concept, GT, the Original Gold Top Gin, along with the importance of gaining agency experience and her top tips for prospective students.
Tell us about your creative practice – what inspired your interest in design?
I’m a multi-disciplinary graphic designer who loves to create striking designs and brand identities that tell a story. I always like to mix my curiosity with marketing strategy to create something innovative.
After spending time at Shillington, my love for design really started to grow, and from there, I knew it was what I wanted to do!
Throughout my degree and my time at UAL, I’ve developed a style and approach that allows me to add a unique twist to my work. I’d say that the main themes I explore include problem-solving, storytelling and creative strategy.
Why did you decide to apply to BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity at LCC?
Attending university was always up in the air for me, so I wanted to make sure that I found the perfect course. I knew that I wanted to do a degree in graphic design and learn about all parts of branding, so I looked at a few different courses.
I was really drawn to the Graphic Branding and Identity (GBI) course at LCC because it covered both the contextual and technical side of design. Once I found the course and decided that it was perfect for me, it made the decision to apply for University really easy.
How did you find out about the BrandOpus Chrysalis competition, and why did you decide to take part?
I found out about the opportunity through my course - it was introduced to us as an optional brief as part of our final major project. There was actually a variety of briefs that we could choose from, but right away, I knew that I wanted to get involved with BrandOpus as It was the perfect opportunity to merge my passion for sustainability with my love of drinks branding.
Tell us about your creative process - what inspired your idea, and how did you develop it?
The BrandOpus brief was to create a new alcohol brand with a distinctive and compelling sustainability story at its heart.
From my research, I found that when brands try to improve their sustainable approach, many have a focus that’s far too narrow: they mainly look to recycling as the only solution, or focus on one aspect alone such as using wonky fruit. The problem is that this is a far too linear approach. I found that there was a gap in the market for a drinks brand that uses the principles of a circular economy while also being delicious, sustainable and convenient.
I decided to take inspiration from milkmen but with that classic martini addition...a twist! My idea was to develop a concept gin and tonic brand, GT, the Original Gold Top Gin. It even has a milkman twist as it’s actually made from expired milk and whey (lactose waste), which is one of the ways that it uses waste as a resource and gives it an afterlife. Using a circular approach to by-products and waste keeps things in a loop and out of landfill.
My idea developed from the idea of just using milkmen for delivery to actually including waste from the dairy industry, and from there, lots of things fell into place! Whenever I got stuck, I went back to what I fell in love with about the project at the start and added that fun and excitement back in.
What did you most enjoy about the BrandOpus Chrysalis brief?
Seeing my whole idea come to life and take off was definitely a highlight for me, especially when I printed the newspaper. I loved all of the stages, but I feel like the research stage really allowed me to push the idea to something I’m really proud of.
This brief was a way for me to use everything that I’d learnt and developed on the course so far, and really showed me how far I’ve come since Year 1.
What did you most enjoy about your time at LCC?
I’d have to say that I really enjoyed seeing how much I’ve grown and developed as a designer.
There were so many briefs that I really loved taking part in, but I feel like one that really stands out for me - and was a big shift - was the Brand Futures brief from Year 2. My tutor Emily really pushed me, and helped me to develop my confidence and love for the research stage!
My portfolio crits were also definitely a highlight, as from them, I was able to intern with some amazing agencies such as Dearness Only, where I worked with James Taylor. He taught me a lot in a short period of time! I also interned at Anatomy and went on to become a Junior Designer there.
I also worked with different agencies through my course such as Studio Parallel, while the BrandOpus opportunity also enabled me to gain experience with other organisations. It made me so excited for the future.
And, of course, I made some amazing friends along the way!
What tips would you give to other students who may be interested in exploring graphic branding and identity?
- As a first step, look into the course and see if it’s right for you. It really does teach you each stage of the design process on a conceptual level, from beginning to end.
- I loved my time on the course, so I’d really just say dive in head-first and enjoy each part of the process. Give your sketchbook love and care, and be excited about the research part of a brief: even though it’s easy to jump to the end, all of the stages before will take your ideas in directions you’d probably never considered before.
- I’d also suggest that you full advantage of the many opportunities that the course offers, like the BrandOpus brief.
- Lastly, celebrate all small victories!