“On paper, it’s exactly how we do it at Dyson.” Bath Spa students collaborate on a visual communications project for a new high-tech food labelling system
In March, Dyson came to Bath Spa to work with 42 of our second and third year students to create the visual comms for a new type of food packaging technology. It was something of a reunion, as all three of the Dyson representatives are Bath Spa alumni. Here’s what happened...
The idea for this project was to give students an insight into the Dyson approach – which is a bit different than that of a traditional creative or design agency. Good design, for Dyson, is about explaining their new technologies as simply and clearly as possible. It's their technology that makes them different, as opposed to their branding and marketing.
The brief was to create marketing material to launch and explain a new invention. To provide the example technology, Dyson decided to partner with Mimica, a company founded by Solveiga Pakštaitė, a recent winner of the James Dyson Award.
The James Dyson Award is an international design award that encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers. The Awards celebrate clever yet simple engineering principles that solve real problems. And if the design is sustainable, it's even better (past winners have designed sustainable fishing nets and foldable cycle helmets made of paper).
As part of the project, our Graphic Communications students also got to meet the maker – Solveiga came in to present her ideas to the students.
Solveiga's winning idea was a new type of food label that more accurately measures the life of the product in order to provide more realistic sell by dates. Existing sell by dates have an in-built contingency for things like mis-storage, which means that they’re quite conservative. This results in millions of tonnes of food being wasted, when it's still good to eat.
Chris, Lola and Matt were here to give creative guidance to Bath Spa students.
Chris Roberts – Creative Director for Image and Identity at Dyson (graduated from Bath Spa in 1994)
“My job is essentially to manage Dyson’s reputation. It’s a big company, one that’s growing really fast and changing every day. Over 700 people work in the creative teams.”
Chris began his career in design agencies, where he was asked to help Dyson develop their identity guidelines. A year later, he decided to join the Dyson in-house team.
Lola Martin – Junior Designer for Enterprise Communications at Dyson (graduated from Bath Spa in 2016)
Lola’s role is to look at visual comms universally for Dyson. She’s brand owner of the James Dyson Award and the James Dyson Foundation.
Lola knew nothing about Dyson until a designer from the company – yet another Bath Spa graduate – returned to give a presentation. She landed her Dyson interview straight off the back of the networking she did at University.
Matt Graham – Creative Director for Image and Identity at Dyson (graduated from Bath Spa in 2011)
After graduating from Bath Spa, Matt took internships at Proctor and Stevenson in Bristol and Ice House Design in Bath before he applied to Dyson.
“The interview was tough, but worth it. Now, I work in new product comms, which means I get to see my work expand and grow.”
– Matt Graham
Graduate opportunities at Dyson
Matt, like Lola, joined Dyson almost straight after graduating. In fact, much of the brightest talent at Dyson has been recruited straight from university. Instead of placements, Dyson offer real jobs, with real projects delivered to real deadlines.
This project is part of the company’s drive to get more involved with creative universities – and hire outstanding graduates. Working in-house sometimes has a stigma attached to it; Chris, Lola and Matt want to see this perception shift.
“I never thought we’d do a hairdryer or a car. We work on so many different things creatively, so my skill-set has expanded massively.”
Bath Spa Graphic Communications students were asked to think about design in a different way – just as they would if they were working at Dyson. The challenge was to explain the benefits of the Mimica label as clearly as possible, in an engaging way.
To do this, students had to consider audience, context, and how to divide the communications across territories and channels.
“At Dyson, communicating real messages takes precedence over fancy design. Everything we do is based in engineering. First we innovate new products, then we figure out how to sell them.
It’s not like working for an agency. You can influence the brief a lot earlier in the process. And you’re more directly exposed to the results of what you do – there’s no escape. Our graphic design has a job to do, and has to be effective.”
– Chris Roberts
Chris, Lola and Matt worked with students directly to consider who to target, what to communicate, and the overall outcome. Chris says:
“If you don’t understand those things, you’ve got no chance of delivering the right messages.”
Their goal is to create a good learning experience for students and develop a network of students who have worked on Dyson projects.
How did our students do?
Here's what the Dyson team said about Bath Spa students:
“They were enthusiastic – everybody was really motivated and engaged. All the students understood the brief; they grasped it really quickly.
We were impressed by how motivated everyone is. They were so switched-on and keen.”
What could you do at Bath Spa?
Find out more about our Graphic Communication course, or learn about our work experience opportunities for students.
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.
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