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Posted 03.05.17

Mercedes-Benz smart cars to feature student’s designs

By Phillip Buchan
Sarah Court's 'forfour' design
Students from our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern programme have created new designs for the Mercedes-Benz smart fortwo and smart forfour smart cars, in a competition set for students by Mercedes-Benz South West. Third year BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern student, Sarah Court, won first prize in the competition and was awarded £500 in prize money — with plans for her designs to be applied to two special edition smart cars in the South West. 

Sarah, who is 25 years old and lives in Calstock, Cornwall, was also shortlisted in the 2016 i-dott surface pattern design awards. Sarah describes herself as a designer and maker of digital and screen-printed textiles and surfaces, for fashion, interiors, event décor and more.

"It’s so exciting to know that my designs have been bought by such a respected brand, I can’t wait to see the finished cars complete with my patterns!" — Sarah Court, BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern student

"As well as the obvious benefits," said Sarah, "working on this live brief really taught me the value of conveying the project journey when I pitched and discussed my designs with Mercedes-Benz South West. I found that having that extra angle for a client to consider, when presenting the finished work, really helped to communicate the ideas behind my overall finished design."

Sarah Court's 'fortwo' design

Sarah said "After completing a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Plymouth College of Art, I realised that I’d started hoarding decorative patterns and scraps of printed textiles. This realisation, combined with my tendency to enjoy experimental drawing and illustration, led me to the BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern programme. I’m happy that it did because now I understand that this is a discipline that allows me to work expressively whilst also accommodating my meticulous nature."

"It takes competitive spirit, grit and determination on the part of the students to nail what the client is looking for." — Cathy Freeman, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern

The respected car manufacturer was so satisfied with the quality of interactions with our students that they have initiated another live brief with the college. In collaboration with Mercedes Benz South-West, BA (Hons) Creative Advertising & Brand students are holding initial meetings to plan a creative strategy for marketing the new designs.

Sarah Court presents her designs for smart cars

Cathy Freeman, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern, said: "Working on designs for the ‘fortwo’ and ‘forfour’ with a prestigious organisation like Mercedes-Benz South West was a fantastic opportunity for all of the students involved to gain vital experience in how their design concepts can be applied in a real-world setting."

"It takes competitive spirit, grit and determination on the part of the students to nail what the client is looking for, or to entice them with something new and innovative. Mercedes-Benz South West were really open to different interpretations of the brief and gave the students invaluable feedback."

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