My Brighton adventures with design

When you start a new uni, you want to show others what you do and get that clout to wear it around your street. At least unless you go to a uni that you think is below what you are capable of. (My advice: always go to the best place you can go to). Either way, I was on a lookout for a branded hoodie from the University of Brighton before last Christmas and my hunt was largely unsuccessful.

The hoodie/sweatshirt/T-shirt designs I found in the BSU (Brighton Students’ Union) shops in Falmer and Cockroft (Moulsecoomb campus) were rather disappointing. The fonts were too simple, the crest too generic, everything else too plain and tacky. But then after the shops re-opened after the winter break, I found these gems:

Brighton sweatshirts at Brighton Students’ Union shop in Falmer, January 2022.

As much as my heart longed to have one of these, the price is £23 for the sweatshirt and honestly? My entrepreneurial brain thought I could do much better for this amount of money.

So I rushed to the School of Humanities lobby and pulled out my laptop. The design mode was on. But as I picked out the colour of my future dream garment on Gelato – this ain’t a plug, it’s just what happened – I thought: why would I limit myself to Brighton? There is a place, a true pearl of a place, and it matched more perfectly the mute colours that were the only option in the Gelato design mode. (Dam it, Gelato!)

The result of this brief moment of enlightenment is pictured below:

The only sweatshirt you will ever, ever need. For the fans of perła_pułnocy.

The thing is, to have this Bydgoszcz-sweatshirt-designed-by-me made into a physical item and shipped over would cost me a few pounds less than buying that green or yellow sweatshirt from the Brighton Students Union shop. This is something that lingered hard in my mind, but eventually a sobering conversation with my friend put forward a thought that perhaps the quality of the sweatshirts offered by Gelato is not the best. For all I know, they could be made of carcinogenic sandpaper sown in a sweatshop that fails health & safety regulations. I thought I’d not risk £15 of mine to make a purchase that could be this unethical. Even though I’d kill to have a sweatshirt like this. (If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have designed it).

The Huskup affair

I promise this isn’t another plug. It’s just that we live in a branded world, and what do you call Blu-Tac if not Blu-Tac even if it’s off-brand?
Anyway, that’s not the point. The news is that the restaurant division of the University of Brighton (whatever this means) announced a competition for a design for a reusable cup entitled “Brighton Life” (or “Life in Brighton”, same thing). The winning design would turn into physical cups to be sold across the University’s catering outlets, along a selection of other Huskup reusable cup designs. (Huskup is a company that produces reusable cups – for takeaway hot drinks, like tea and coffee – out of rice husks, instead of plastic).

I had more than a month to design something sensible for this competition. Did I? Well, the design I ended up submitting is literally a result of a couple of hours’ work on the Saturday before submission. It was a ‘new idea’, not the one I had worked on for weeks before – i.e. the two of the three pictures you can see above. The first one is called ‘A colour study for Brighton, 2021’. As you can tell, all of these pictures just reek of professionalism. You won’t see the design I submitted here because I want to keep it a surprise.

None of these things are anywhere close to the refinement of my Bydgoszcz sweatshirt design, but here’s the good thing – you can actually get this sweatshirt made, while the cups are only products of fantasy that will remain a fantasy due to the lack of means by which they could be realised.

That’s all from me today; hope you’ve had a good week so far.

Published by kotersey

Graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First in geography, and from the University of Brighton with a Master's in history of design and material culture. Probably drinking iced coffee and thinking about buildings.

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