Plymouth College of Art’s in-house design studio The Agency were recently approached by Helm Squared with a brief for the design and manufacture of special awards to hand out at the very first South West Digital Awards.
The Agency was established at Plymouth College of Art to give external businesses and organisations the opportunity to work with the wealth of talented graphic designers, digital and branding experts and creative makers studying and working here.
Founded in 2010, Helm Squared are a technology business that provide a range of event management tools and services in the region. They created the South West Digital Awards to recognise incredible innovation and super startups in the region, from Bristol-based companies selling their products internationally to young developers working out of their bedrooms in Cornwall.
A chance to highlight, reward and encourage digital innovation in the region, the inaugural South West Digital Awards took place on 27 September 2018 at Plymouth School of Creative Arts, with 200 guests in attendance. Helm Squared briefed The Agency to create stylish awards to give to the winners of each category, ranging from App of the Year to New Startup of the Year.
Kamal Gohil, Account Manager at The Agency, enlisted the college’s expert team at Fab Lab Plymouth - a digital fabrication laboratory that gives you the power to turn your ideas into reality, and is home to the latest in digital technology, to design and manufacture the awards.
The first stage of creating the awards began with a pencil sketch from the client, that included an outline of the required dimensions. Kevin Jenkins, BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation programme leader, was called in to transform the sketch into a CAD design.
He explained, “I modelled the object in Solid Edge, interpreting the client’s ideas to make sure that we could create an outcome that met their initial expectations. The CAD design was then sent to the client to be approved, and once signed off, was passed on to the team in Fab Lab Plymouth.”
Ben Mundy, Fab Lab Plymouth Manager, was in charge of the manufacture of the awards. He told us, “The awards themselves are made from walnut, so the majority of the work was in cutting and shaping the wood, but we also used two different types of 3D printer to make additional parts for the awards.”
He continued, “Our Fab Lab includes high-tech 2D and 3D digital equipment that can be found in the best labs across the world. Each award has an internal LED so that they can be lit up. The original design used more than one LED to get the effect that the client wanted, but we were able to refine the design so that only one was needed. We then used the Ultimaker to 3D print the internal workings for each award.
We also used our Form 2 printer to create the inlaid logo on the top of each award, and used our laser cutter for shaping the acrylic sections, and engraving text onto the side of each piece.”
South West Digital Awards coordinator Ros Boyes said, “People really loved the awards at the event last night - including one winner who is an ex-woodworker.
“The whole process of working with The Agency represents exactly what the South West Digital Awards are about: using the talent here in the South West, rather than going to London or elsewhere. Plus, the design perfectly encapsulates the ethos of honouring all of the traditional things about a city, or area but then utilising new digital skills and techniques, moving out of your comfort zone and standing out!”