Student's Graphic Design Skills Help Bring New Nature Trail to Life

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Visitors to a Worcestershire nature trail will be guided by new signs designed by University of Worcester students.

Staff from The Fold, a not for profit community enterprise providing elements for a healthy lifestyle at Bransford, near Worcester, contacted the University’s Graphic Design and Multimedia Course after seeing outputs from other student-designed wayfinding and signage projects.

They were keen to try and harness the same student design skills to help inform and guide visitors on a new nature trail they were in the process of developing on site, to the rear of the café.

The Fold’s development manager, Brendan Cropper, said: “We are very keen to work with our local educational institutes and saw the expertise offered by the Graphic Design & Multimedia Course at the University of Worcester as an ideal match for this project. Working with students and staff was a really stimulating and enjoyable experience and we are absolutely delighted with the end results. Since opening the trail we have had an increase in visitor footfall and many positive comments about the boards and the maps too. We consider the whole exercise to have been a great success.”

Design students Liam Sargent, Mitali Mistry and Josh Ashley worked on the project for a few weeks over their summer break. They also had ongoing help and supervision from design lecturers Helen Holmes and Andy Stevenson.

“Designing the materials for The Fold’s Nature Trail was a really enjoyable experience - it gave me a chance to tackle, head on, a ‘live’ project that was different from anything I had done before,” said Liam.

“I think it’s great that students are offered the chance to work on real briefs with hands-on experience in line with the sort of work that we may be involved with after graduation. I also had a feeling of real achievement when I saw the end results on site. This was especially satisfying after all the work that we'd put in on the project over summer.”

Senior Lecturer in Design, Andy Stevenson, added: “This was a lovely project to be involved in and notable too as it was out of our usual teaching time. Working alongside Brendan and staff from the Fold, we were able to utilise the skills of the students to effectively solve the client’s design challenges with their new nature trail. The solutions and outputs from this project are also very much in line with our ethos on the Graphic Design & Multimedia course of using ‘design for social good’ wherever possible too. This aims to offer a helping hand and our combined skillsets to help benefit local and regional charities and community organisations in particular.”

The information boards and leaflets designed by students and staff of the University are now being used by visitors on site in Bransford. The Fold held a formal opening of the trail in early August 2015 and it’s now fully open to the public and helping to increase the range of activities on offer for the Fold’s visitors.