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London College of Communication collaborates with schuh and Converse to support emerging creative talent

Still of an animated promotional poster.
  • Written byChloe Murphy
  • Published date 27 February 2023
Still of an animated promotional poster.
Still from a 'Leave Your Mark' promotional moving graphic. Image credit: Filip Gonera, Julius Arthur Finck, Shreya Chatterjee and Louis Philpot-Dodds.

Learning how to apply creative skills to real-world scenarios is key to developing as a creative professional. At London College of Communication (LCC), we’re passionate about encouraging students to connect with industry throughout their studies – helping them to gain experience while growing their confidence as they take the first steps towards their future careers.

In Autumn 2022, LCC students were invited to put their skills into practice by collaborating with fashion footwear retailer schuh on the next edition of their live music event series, Student Sessions. Held in partnership with Converse, the project provided an opportunity for the students to create an original visual identity while designing an authentic event ‘for students, by students’.

Coordinated by LCC’s Business, Partnerships and Knowledge Exchange team, over 60 students submitted their portfolios for the chance to take part. Following a careful selection process, Filip Gonera, Julius Arthur Finck, Shreya Chatterjee and Louis Philpot-Dodds were then chosen as the final creative team, and briefed with developing a visual identity that could be applied to a range of promotional and branded material across both print and digital contexts.

Their resulting concept, Leave Your Mark, implemented a bold visual language centred around footwear that was complemented by the dynamism of motion and movement. Their final designs were showcased on posters, social media and digital screens located in schuh stores across London, along with branding at the event itself, which was held at the iconic Corsica Studios - a live music and arts venue in Elephant and Castle, and member of the Creative Elephant network.

The November event was the sixth iteration of Student Sessions, which aims to connect schuh with student audiences through experiential gigs featuring live performances and giveaways. Audiences were given the opportunity to hear from some of the most exciting emerging artists, including one of UK rap’s brightest prospects, Sainté; London-based rapper Kam-Bu; self-taught DJ Jossy Mitsu; and Brixton-born, British-Caribbean selector, ELLADHC, along with a roster of student DJs from LCC.

Case Study | schuh, Converse and LCC

"The next generation of creative industry innovators"

Alice Cleary, schuh Chief Marketing Officer, emphasised the importance of collaborating with organisations who share an ethos and vision.

“Students, music and art are our absolute heartland at schuh, so we’re thrilled to be able to return to the experiential with a bang, post Covid-19, and host this student event in collaboration with our key brand partner, Converse,” she said.

“London College of Communication shares our passion for fostering diverse talent, with this event spotlighting the brightest creatives and musicians.”

Kat Wesley, Strategic Partnerships Manager at London College of Communication, explained that industry collaborations supports students to grow their skills and experience beyond the College Building.

"We are delighted to be partnering with schuh for the latest instalment of Student Sessions - this year in collaboration with Converse, and held at the iconic Corsica Studios.

“Our students are the next generation of creative industry innovators. The opportunity to work with such globally renowned brands provides invaluable experience, enabling them to hone their craft while working on a professional brief.

“With an exciting line-up of established DJs and our own aspiring students, the night offers a celebration of music, culture, and creativity in a legendary local venue, all in the College’s historic home of Elephant and Castle.”

We caught up with 3 of the students involved in the project - Shreya, Julius and Louis – to discuss their experiences of exploring commercial design, the joy of translating ideas from screen to print, and the importance of honing collaboration skills when working across industry-oriented projects.

Three people wearing Converse Allstar shoes.
Louis, Shreya and Julius on set with schuh and Converse. Image credit: schuh.

Tell us about your creative practice.

Shreya: As a graphic designer, I’m passionate about branding and typography. I enjoy telling compelling stories, and strongly believe in the powerful combination of words and images. Alongside digital, I also enjoy working with analogue, where I love to experiment with a wide range of tools that often find their way into my sketchbooks and journals.

Julius: I work mainly in photography - specifically fashion, still life and fine art photography, but do a bit of videography and installation art as well. Recently, I’ve also started to gain experience in art direction and creative direction, which are both things which I want to pursue further.

When it comes to specific themes, I’m always more interested in big topics and questions rather than time-specific happenings. I like the idea of producing something that is timeless.

Louis: I’m studying BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design. Early on, my focus shifted into 3D animation and motion design which has (hopefully) turned into a career path, and I’m also very interested in generative and procedural design.

Currently, I’m interning at XK studio as part of my Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) year.

Why did you decide to study your course at LCC?

Shreya: While pursuing my BA degree in graphic design, I identified a deep interest in branding. After working for a little under 2 years as an interaction designer, I wanted to transition into a career in branding.

MA Graphic Branding and Identity at London College of Communication has been designed to explore the role of visual identity within branding which made me very curious about the course. I contacted some of the alumni who were kind enough to share their experiences, and also looked at the different projects shared by students on the Graduate Showcase site.

Despite the fact that the course seemed challenging, it felt like a challenge that I was eager to take on.

Julius: I decided to study BA Photography at LCC because I like the open approach of its teaching. We’re free to develop in whatever area we like, and have the freedom to experiment a lot.

Additionally, I knew that moving to London and studying at a well-connected university like UAL would give me the opportunity to build a strong network.

Louis: I decided to study at LCC because I'd have the opportunity to take the Diploma in Professional Studies, and because it was local to me. Also, my great uncle studied at LCC when it was London College of Printing, and he went on to have a career in newspaper printing.

I chose to study BA GMD specifically because it seemed like a broad course that would allow me to find my own interests and pursue them.

Graphic featuring poster mock-up designs.
Poster designs for the 'Leave Your Mark' campaign. Image credit: Filip Gonera, Julius Arthur Finck, Shreya Chatterjee and Louis Philpot-Dodds.

How did you first find out about the opportunity, and why did you decide to get involved?

Shreya: Being a student ambassador at LCC, I used to be a regular on the ArtsTemps website as I was always scouting for temp jobs. When this role popped up, I was deeply drawn to it after reading the description.

My course leader, Paul Jackson, had also emailed us about this opportunity as it felt tailor-made for students of branding and identity. I felt like having the opportunity to work with big brands like schuh and Converse would be every student’s dream.

I also had some work experience that I felt could come in handy while working on a project like this, so I decided to give it a shot.

Julius: I discovered the chance to work on this project through ArtsTemps and was instantly impressed. I applied because both brands are renowned, and it was an amazing opportunity to gain some industry experience on a large-scale project. It was also evident that we'd have a lot of freedom in terms of what we produce.

I’d never worked as a graphic designer commercially before, so that felt like something new and thrilling too.

Louis: One of my course tutors, Owen Wells, forwarded our class an email about the project.

What role did you play within the project, and what activities did you take part in?

Shreya: All 4 of us spent the initial few days working on different routes before our first client meeting then finalised our chosen approach. With a focus on embracing the idea of students leaving a mark wherever they go, we decided to divide and conquer.

Filip [Gonera] and I worked on building and designing the visual identity for the event. I hand-lettered ‘Student Sessions’ and ‘Leave Your Mark’, which went on to become the event’s identity and tagline respectively. Once the main event poster was finalized, I designed the social media posts to maintain the same brand language before working on other collateral like the tote bag, customized polaroid frame, power bank, and onsite posters.

Julius: As a group of 4 students, we were responsible for creating a concept that would be suitable for both brands and the event itself before producing all the assets.

My role mainly involved finding and developing the concept with the other students. Since they were all studying graphic design, they began creating the assets and I provided feedback where I could, while also monitoring our process and ensuring we implemented feedback from the client.

Louis: We all played a role in the overall visual language and contributed to coming up with ideas for different interactive experiences on the night.

On top of that, my main focus was to create animations for the stage projections and in-store screens at different schuh shops in London.

Photograph of digital screens behind a DJ performing at an event.
Student Sessions at Corsica Studios. Image credit: Emma Giaretto.

What were your highlights of the project?

Shreya: I think getting your ideas transformed from screen to print is a wonderful feeling. My main highlight was getting to experience the live event at Corsica Studios, where I got to witness audiences having a great time surrounded by the activations and touch-points that we'd created.

Another highlight was receiving a kickass pair of Converse Run Star Hike trainers from Converse and schuh!

Julius: I thoroughly enjoyed the weekly meetings with representatives from both brands. It was a professional yet welcoming atmosphere, and we had the opportunity to share our ideas and progress and receive feedback.

The best part, however, was seeing the event come together, and finding out that we’d completely booked out weeks before.

Louis: The highlight of the project was getting to meet the other students I worked with. It was fun to work with people from other courses, and to get to know each other in that way. I also enjoyed watching the animations I made playing behind the artists during the event.

Why do you think it's important to gain industry experience while studying?

Shreya: Applying our academic learning within a real-world scenario can be quite challenging. Being able to do so while studying is almost like having a cushion to fall back on as we’re given plenty of room to fail, learn and make notes.

We were given the opportunity to communicate directly with our clients, schuh and Converse, and in the end, were able to deliver something that not only resonated with them, but also with our target audience.

Alongside being a great addition to our CVs, gaining industry experience gives us a good taste of what our futures in the creative industry holds.

Julius: I believe it’s essential to gain industry experience while you study. Not only does it provide a chance to build a strong portfolio, but it also offers insight into how the industry works. These nuances can’t be taught in an academic setting, yet are still important for post-university life.

Additionally, I think that industry experience offers a great opportunity to build a network that will be beneficial after I complete my degree.

Louis: I think industry experience is one of the most important things.

One thing I’ve learned from the schuh and Converse collaboration - and also from DPS - is that it's not just about how good of a designer you are, it's about how you interact and share ideas with others. That's how you really make work that you feel proud of.

Graphic featuring poster and social mock-up designs.
Poster and social designs for the 'Leave Your Mark' campaign. Image credit: Filip Gonera, Julius Arthur Finck, Shreya Chatterjee and Louis Philpot-Dodds.

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

Shreya: Each year, LCC welcomes students from different parts of the world. I’ve really enjoyed interacting and working with people from such diverse backgrounds, as well as spending an awful amount of time in the Library, which is a literary treasure trove.

I’ve also loved every minute spent in the print studios, and I wish I could rewind time and go back to all the days I spent within them. During my last few months at uni, l’ve also grown very fond of the Darkroom Bar!

Julius: I mostly enjoyed being around other people who share my passion. We’re all from different backgrounds but have a passion in common that brings us together, and this feeling of community was very special - I enjoyed it a lot.

Besides that, the facilities in the Photography Department are amazing, as well as the technicians, who are always able to help me wherever they can.

Louis: I think I’ve most enjoyed my DPS Year, along wit this project.

I'm finally beginning to see a real career path opening for me which is exciting - if I was at another uni, I don’t think I’d even be thinking about my career until after I graduate, which seems a bit scary to me!

What tips would you give to prospective students who are interested in your subject?

Shreya: If you like the world of brands and graphic design but also want to back it up with a strong academic foundation, this is the course you’ll want to add under your radar. My MA has been one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever done, but the learning has been immense.

Additionally, be prepared to get into the habit of reading a lot of non-fiction, and also a lot of researching and writing. Academic writing can seem very challenging at first, but there are plenty of resources available at uni to help you through this journey.

I will be forever grateful to our wonderful tutors who bring in their diverse expertise and guide us in creating projects that we are proud of.

Julius: My only advice to use every opportunity that arises during your studies. You never know what they might bring, and it’s often a small favour that can lead to a bigger job, new connections or further growth.

Louis: Make sure that you have a genuine interest before you apply to university. It’s important to be open-minded and willing to accept new experiences, yet also make sure you know what you want and stay focused on it.

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