Last year, Millican Creative Director, Jeffrey Bowman and Graphic Designer, Rebecca Slack, arrived at the University of Cumbria to introduce their 3rd Year Design students to our Blank Canvas project. Over the last few years, the project has supported organisations and people who inspire creativity, action and positive change, such as the Do Lectures and Radiohead. The natural next step was to offer a creative opportunity to local students.
The brief was to design a bag inspired by Millican's core values as a company, choosing from slow travel, sustainability, simple living or connection. We caught up with Rebecca and Hazel (a student from the course), to find out more about their experiences working together on the Blank Canvas brief and to explore some of the finished pieces.
"The Blank Canvas Project with University of Cumbria was a great opportunity to get back into the teaching role that Jeffrey and I had both previously spent time in, alongside our creative roles. We are lucky to be in close proximity to such a creative university to collaborate with.
We presented the brand to their 3rd-year illustration and graphic design students, focusing on what motivates us as a team creatively. Being connected to the outdoors is something that inspires our brand and work ethos every day, so we encouraged the students to get outdoors to begin their project. It was great to see the students travelling into the Lake District accompanied by their Millican companions and immersing themselves in familiar surroundings we know and love.
"There were some really clever and innovative concepts that came out of this project, and we were blown away by their imagination and talent. None of the designs would have looked out of place in our showroom, should they ever be sampled into the real thing. We were lucky to work with a group of incredibly talented young designers last year and we can’t wait to see what the next bunch of students can bring to the table.”
- Rebecca Slack, Millican Graphic Designer
"The Blank Canvas Project was something totally new to what I had previously done on my course, it was a wild card compared to my previous illustration briefs and because of that my whole way of tackling the project was different. Initially, the hardest part was finding something that would inspire me to base my project on, but after I borrowed one of the Millican Rucksacks and convinced some friends that fell walking would be a great idea, it seemed I couldn't get the ideas to stop flowing. I'd never engaged so much with my research and preparatory work for a project before and ever since this project it has changed my design outlook and I think the most challenging aspect of the whole project was deciding on just one idea to shape into my Blank Canvas bag. It is by far my favourite project I've worked on to date!"
- Hazel Mason, UOC Student