Capturing our Vibrant Campus: Q&A with Communication Design students


Gray’s School of Art ran a competition with second-year Communication Design students to create artworks spotlighting RGU’s vibrant campus.

Out of all the submissions, four winners were chosen. Hear more from two of the winners, Louise and Lea, about their design and their experience taking part in the competition.

Louise Ribbeck

Were you inspired by the brief?

When I first got the brief, I was inspired but wasn’t sure what route to take with my ideas. Being able to communicate in a visual way has endless possibilities as well as outcomes.

We had been shown the previous year’s winners and how different they all were, which allowed me to get a sense of what you can create and where you can lead the brief by making it simple or extreme, formal or informal, relaxed or insane!

It excited me to get out onto the campus grounds and sketch the world around me, looking at nature, buildings, patterns, and people, which became the main element of my final piece.

How did you come up with the idea for your design?

The idea for my design came to me while sitting in the Gray’s School of Art cafeteria, right at the window seats.

I was originally sketching the trees but came to realise just how many people pass the window on their way from the main campus to the art school and wanted to see how many people I could sketch as they passed by, which resulted in a page of students in their natural habitat, showing diversity, inclusivity, and so many other elements.

Showcasing how different each student is to another was my main inspiration, which highlights what RGU’s vibrant campus means to me.

What techniques did you use to bring your idea to life?

Originally starting with a finelinear pen and a sketchbook, I digitalised my sketchbook page on my laptop to refine the linework, colours, and placement of the students, whilst also wanting to include other elements seen within the campus grounds, such as dogs and children, and convey lots of different emotions with the students that we see often within our everyday university lives.

How did you feel about being one of the competition’s winners?

When I was announced as one of the winners of the competition, I was in shock. My course mates work and designs were incredible and communicated Vibrant Campus perfectly, so much so that I thought that I would never have gotten it.

I am grateful for my work and design to have had the recognition that it has gotten, which has definitely given me the boost of confidence that I needed at that time, especially with the deadline blues surfacing.

To me, this showed that you should take every opportunity that you are given. It is difficult at first, and believe me, I am not the most spontaneous or self-confident person in my work, but taking those opportunities will open doors for you. Never be scared to put yourself out there and try something new. To stay in the box of design where you are creating work that is the same as the next person is never a good thing. Be your own designer, and allow those fears and worries to motivate you instead of scaring you!

Lea Zizlavska

Were you inspired by the brief?

When I first got the brief, I thought it was a really interesting and exciting project that really allowed me to freely create with little boundaries on the outcome. It was a project that really gave me the freedom to experiment and choose whatever art direction I wanted to.

Before, I stereotypically jumped straight to the final version of my project but this time I really took advantage of the time given to us and explored all of my ideas.

How did you come up with the idea for your design?

The word vibrant really triggered a sense of diversity and variety and I knew since the beginning I wanted to showcase the vibrancy that our campus offers through various subjects, contrasts and colours.

I experimented with sketching on campus, outdoors, indoors, and in different schools. I tried working both in my sketchbook using various materials, tools and paint, and digitally on my iPad and laptop. This was a very fun experience as I had the freedom to express what my Vibrant Campus looks like visually.

As I progressed, I disconnected with the project a little and really wanted to link the brief back to me and how I view the concept of vibrant campus. As a person who really loves sports and spends most of their free time at RGU SPORT playing basketball, I realised that vibrant campus doesn’t mean just all the buildings around, but what the campus offers for an individual and their self development.

For me, the sports make a big part of the university life which has brought me many friendships and even course-related experiences through building connections across the campus. I connected these two ideas of linking sports with opportunities.

What techniques did you use to bring your idea to life?

I created 9 individual pieces that portray different sports, combined them into one and chose shades of purple to symbolise RGU’s colours. That made my piece more representative of RGU and created an art work that is inspired by some of the RGU sports clubs.

I also decided to work digitally as I wanted to achieve this graphic clean appearance.

The piece symbolises the options and opportunities an individual at RGU has as a student, shows the diversity and variety of sports that RGU offers and one can take part in. And at the same time building strong social connections, keeping active and mentally healthy.

How did you feel about being one of the competition’s winners?

When hearing I made it into the four finalists of this competition, I was truly shocked because we all saw each other’s work beforehand in the studio and some of them were some really strong pieces. Nonetheless, I was very happy and flattered that my work got chosen to be in the final four.

It is always a really good feeling when your work gets the attention and recognition, showing that hard work and a good idea pay off.

You can see all the students’ artworks in the Garthdee House Annexe. Just go left when coming in at the reception, you will see them along the walls of the corridor!

Related blog

Looking back on our experience studying at Gray’s School of Art

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