B_Hive Birmingham

Author: Andy Hartwell

Last month I was invited to be part of B-Hive, sitting on the graphic design judging panel. B-Hive sees students and graduates from Birmingham’s universities and colleges pitch themselves and their work to the City’s leading creative agencies, with the goal of securing themselves a four-week work placement. With myself, Lee and Jim all joining Substrakt straight from university a 3-4 years ago, we were really keen to get involved as we know how difficult the industry is, and how tough the competition can be! A four-week paid placement is an invaluable opportunity for gaining experience in a real studio environment.

The candidates came from the fields of digital, PR, graphic design, marketing and advertising, with a placement up for grabs in each discipline. All briefs followed the same campaign, each having their own objectives. Entries had be whittled down to 12 students who presented their ideas to our panel, including designers/directors from Orb Creative, Viva Aspire, Seal, Tomorrow People and Chosen. Think Dragons Den – with less dragon-like dragons.

The overarching campaign ‘Eat Birmingham’ was to position Birmingham as gourmet capital, communicating its diverse culinary offerings whilst improving perception scores of the city with great restaurants and bars. The graphic design brief was to unify it under one umbrella identity; a name and logo mark that can easily be displayed at participating restaurants to promote their contribution to Birmingham’s culinary diversity.

The level of work was really impressive from the students, five of which were given two two-week paid placements at two of the agencies involved. We went to the presentation evening in Zellig at the Custard Factory where the winners were announced. We are pleased to have Joseph Heeley (BCU) who will be joining us in June and Nathan Matthews (Met) in July who both impressed me with their unique approach and direction on the brief.

Photos courtesy of B_Hive, Taste Birmingham artwork by Joseph Heeley