To continue the #TICEInsight journey, mentor Mark Pattinson visited John Spence Community High School to invite young students into the big wide world of Graphic Design. Mark introduced the TICE Programme, expanding on exactly what we provide for creative individuals and talking about his own success in the industry, which naturally caused a lot of mouths to drop in astonishment.

Mark intended on making sure that these students would walk away with a clear understanding of the role of a Graphic Designer, being able to generate ideas with confidence and gain knowledge on how to generate hand drawn ideas – very broad stuff but incredibly useful for an aspiring designer.

Mark kicked things off with the mighty question, “What is a graphic designer and what do they do?” – it was fantastic to hear the varied responses from the class, showing full attention and interest in what is expected from the role.

Prior to the bulk of today’s session, much like training for the marathon, the students had to get their creative brain stretched and warmed up in preparation. Through using triangle templates, they were expected to creative various objects left completely to their imagination. Who knew that shape shifting could be so complex!? The students began to realise how this activity can contribute to their creative development, by taking something simple and moulding it to your own interpretation. The outcomes were so fantastic, Mark was left feeling incredibly excited to see more of their talents being put to the test for the main event.

The mini-brief for today’s session was to design a Christmas themed Starbucks cup in relevance to a festive drink. The creative window was wide open, even to the flavour of drinks which I can confirm, resulted in some weird and wonderful ideas. Taking some inspiration from Mark’s real-life job as a Senior Graphic Designer, he wanted to highlight the necessity to plan and prepare ideas in order for it to maintain a professional and high quality standard. He encouraged the students to collect some initial templates, moving forward to the final templates and then their mind-blowing creations can be shared as one whole piece.

This task thoroughly allowed the students to use a blank canvas and without the reliance of technology to do the work, being able to express their idea from pen to paper. As digital natives, it’s easy to forget how effective these techniques can be but the class seemed to be absorbed in their creations almost instantly. It was interesting to find the students giving each other constructive criticism, a helping hand when needed and advice on any confusions that one may have. It’s safe to say that Mark’s primary aim for creating a community of designers, which is a necessity in his career, was accomplished!

Mark evaluated the final pieces giving copious amounts of praise and from the look of his face, grinning with pride, John Spence seemed to knock it out of the park with their ideas. This day has proven that the North East have outstanding, talented individuals which the potential to succeed in the creative industries. We look forward to seeing where the TICE Programme will take them on the Explore Stage and beyond. A huge well done to all of those involved!