Brief Cases, which is open to primarily second-year degree students studying any creative discipline to do with graphic arts or communication, aims to bring industry and education closer together.

The scheme is an evolution of Brief Encounters, which ran for around 11 years, and is the brainchild of Veronica Heaven, managing director of The Heaven Company.

It was sponsored this year by Virgin, whose consumer insight manager Thom Stebbings sat on the judging panel, together with Heaven and Brian Webb, managing director of design house Webb & Webb and a former president of the Chartered Society of Designers.

Entrants to this year’s Brief Cases had to choose one of the following three briefs:

  1. Create three stories in a staff communication piece to explain the Virgin brand, taking into account the core values and its look and feel
  2. Create a high quality, creative calendar to raise the awareness of The Heaven Company, a consultancy in communicating Corporate Responsibility and sustainability issues
  3. Produce a visual identity to capture the spirit of the business-university collaboration that is Brief Cases

The Gold award went to Amedeo Spagnolo, a student at the University of the Creative Arts in Epsom, who wowed the judges with his eye-catching, colourful work.

Commenting on the entry, Webb said: “This is a very clear and immediately understood solution. The strapline gives excellent clarity and it is a logo that works across many applications, online and print, including letters, envelopes, digital formats, apps etc. It’s a really well thought through solution.”

Two Silvers were awarded this year, one in the Virgin internal communication category to Steven Parry (University of the Creative Arts, Epsom) and Jenna Plumb (Norwich University of the Arts) for the calendar brief.

Heaven told PrintWeek that the students are required as part of the brief to think about the production element of the brief, rather than just contributing an arbitrary design solution.

“We encourage them to think about things like whether its a large or short run project, whether it’s going to have personalisation, and about responsible design and sustainable production methods – considering things like paper use and ink coverage,” she said.

“An important part of the process is that they are also judged on their rationale – so they have to think through their processes and present a reasoned case for their chosen solution.”

Heaven added: “I am delighted that the scheme has attracted Virgin which is a fantastic sponsor for this design initiative and I hope other companies will come on board to support this initiative in future.

“It is a great way to get involved with higher education and helps to increase an individual’s employability potential. Brief Cases is a way that companies can demonstrate their Social Responsibility, creating a really effective bridge between business and education and giving something back to the community.”