Student’s winning card design
goes on sale nationwide

A student from the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham has designed a birthday card that will go on sale nationwide at selected BP M&S Simply Food sites.

20 Mar 2024

Claire and her winning design on sale at BP’s M&S Simply Food store in Farnham.

The selected design was one of 60 submissions to a brief set for UCA’s first-year graphic design students by Farnham-based company Card Connection (part of UK Greetings), which chose Claire Brown, now a second-year BA (Hons) Graphic Design student, as the overall winner.

“I was excited and shocked that they chose my design,” said Claire. “Having my work in the public domain gives me a sense of pride.”

Card Connection’s brief tasked students with creating a birthday card for people aged between 25 and 50 years, with the word ‘birthday’ on the front.

Kelly Courtenay, Card Connection’s Creative Director, said: “We were so pleased when UCA approached us about setting a live brief for the students, it’s been great to be able to support new talent.  

“What attracted us to Claire’s design was that it felt like it was doing something different, which is what we wanted to bring to our range by using an emerging designer with a fresh take, and a student’s viewpoint. We looked to the next generation of designers to bring something edgy and alternative to our range yet was also something we felt confident with and would offer commercial appeal.”

Claire's winning card design

For her winning design, she combined a love of working with her hands - creating a bold paint streak effect on the card - with the use of digital editing software to enhance it and overlay gold-foiled lettering.

Claire, who is 33 and works part-time in the construction industry, added: “Being a mature student felt like I was starting on the back foot, with everyone else in their early twenties. Having my design picked through the live brief has given me a confidence boost – I now have this on my CV.

“It was great to tackle a brief from an actual company – it showed us how they work, and what we can expect when we start working in the industry.”

Claire, who is known among her family for choosing the nicest cards, is keen to work in the design industry in the future and finds creating a physical product and working in a more traditional way more rewarding and aligned to her skill set.

“Lots of people at university work digitally, but I prefer to do things by hand, in an analogue way - like screen printing or lino cutting - so creating a card in my style has helped me develop that,” she said.

Summing up Card Connection’s experience of working with UCA, Kelly said: “Working with the students went very smoothly. We were thrilled with the designs; there was such a mixture of approaches, which gave us lots to discuss. We were so impressed with what everyone had done that it was tough to narrow it down!”

Claire’s winning design will now go on sale at selected M&S Simply Food sites at BP garages across the UK.

To learn more about studying Graphic Design at UCA, visit the course pages.

Follow Claire on Instagram @ebrowncreative