Blaze Signs has forged an exciting collaboration with the University of Kent’s BA Graphic Design program. This innovative partnership aims to empower students by offering them a unique opportunity to delve into the world of wayfinding and signage design. By combining industry expertise with academic learning, the University of Kent has been able to offer their students a unique insight into the real world of signage design
Uniting Practical Experience with Academic Excellence
With our extensive experience in the signage industry spanning over four decades, we can bring a wealth of practical knowledge and real-world insights to the partnership. Together with the University of Kent, renowned for its academic excellence in graphic design education, this collaboration promises to provide students with an unparalleled learning experience.
The Collaborative Unit: Wayfinding and Signage
The core focus of the collaboration lies in a specialized unit developed for the BA Graphic Design students at the University of Kent. This unit centers around the critical disciplines of wayfinding and signage design, which are vital in creating effective visual communication systems in public spaces.
With the guidance of the Blaze Signs Design Supervisor, Barry, students had the opportunity to explore the nuances of wayfinding, including user experience, information architecture, and visual hierarchy. Additionally, they also delved into the principles of signage design, to better understand what makes a sign both effective and interesting.
Hands-On Learning and Industry Exposure
The collaboration ensures that students gain valuable experience by gaining access to professionals in the industry, allowing students to better understand the signage design process from concept development to installation. Various materials were brought along on one of the visits to teach the students what signs are made out of, and why this is the case. By explaining the typical material uses and their benefits, the students can use this knowledge in their own project, effectively making their own proposal more life-like.
Cultivating Industry-Relevant Skills
By collaborating with companies like ourselves, the University of Kent ensures that its graphic design curriculum remains closely aligned with industry demands. Students will learn how to create visually appealing and functional signage systems that enhance user experience and meet the diverse needs of different environments.
This collaboration not only equips students with technical skills but also enhances their problem-solving abilities, creativity, and adaptability. By combining academic knowledge with practical experience, students will be better prepared to excel in the dynamic and competitive field of graphic design. Of course, the skills they will learn in the signage and wayfinding project are highly transferrable, but it provides an excellent method to apply those skills in a real-word setting.
Throughout the specialized unit, students showcased exceptional growth and development in their graphic design skills, underpinned by industry-specific knowledge and hands-on experience. We believe that our involvement with the students played a role in their development, and helped shape their journey in their second year of university, which we couldn’t be more proud of.
The practical exposure to real-world projects enabled students to demonstrate their creativity, technical prowess, and problem-solving abilities. Embracing the principles of wayfinding, students produced visually stunning and highly functional solutions that surpassed expectations. Notably, the collaborative projects received enthusiastic praise from both academia and the Blaze Team members who were involved with the project. The students were commended on their ingenuity, professionalism, and attention to detail.
Paving the Way for Future Success
Our work with the University of Kent marks an exciting milestone in the journey of BA Graphic Design students. It opens doors to networking opportunities, industry connections, and potential future employment prospects. Students will have a chance to showcase their work to professionals and gain valuable feedback, providing them with a competitive edge as they enter the job market.
Furthermore, it gives us a platform to give back to the community in a productive way, and contributes to the nurturing of the next generation of talent who we hope to see again in the near future.
This project formed part of our organisations wider goals in the world of social sustainability, with collaborations with schools and educational institutions playing a large roll in our efforts for 2023. This project sits alongside other initiatives running simultaneously, including the employability days – run by Education Business Partnership – which saw us conduct mock interviews with Year 10 students and provide class talks on what the world of work is really like, as well as other projects with colleges in East Kent.
You can read more about our involvement with the Employability Days here.