Northampton College

Northampton College is a large general further education college with around 8,500 students and a turnover of over £29M. The College offers a range of courses for young people and adults, as well as supporting hundreds of apprentices working in local businesses. The College wanted to attract young people to its open events and inspire them to make a course application.

The marketing team approached agencypds with a brief to support its ‘Start your Story’ theme in which new students were filmed talking directly to camera about their career ambitions, and why they had chosen to study at the College for the first step on their journey.

The response placed individual students firmly at the centre of the concept, creating collateral that set apart the open event campaign from the corporate brand style, using a more fun and contemporary theme.

An illustrative route was followed to complement the geometric shapes and mono photography already in use. With the student as hero, line drawings and a script typeface sketched out the steps the student would take to achieve their career goals.

Illustrations included the college building, a laptop, books, and signposts directing the student towards their next steps including higher education, apprenticeships and employment. The design was signed off with the strapline ‘I’ve started my story – now it’s time to start yours’. This concept had potential longevity as every new student has an interesting and inspiring story to tell.

The new design concept became a live video project for design and media students at the College who were asked to film models in its own TV studio. We arranged for the videos to be projected onto the walls of the College’s campus buildings during open events to inspire visitors to find out more. Once inside, attendees were invited to stand within life size die-cut strut cards, illustrated in the same style, to pose for selfies and share them on social media.

The design concept was reproduced across a range of formats including 48 sheet billboards, bus streetliners, all-weather fence banners, press advertisements, web banners and thumbnails for social media.

The ‘Start your Story’ concept successfully generated a great deal of social media engagement, helping to drive traffic to the College’s website. The marketing team was delighted to see 17% more online registrations overall compared with the previous year.

The concept of using original stories has since been rolled out as part of the design of the College prospectus and across all its recruitment campaigns for young people.

the results

“We loved working with agencypds on this campaign which was so much fun. The new design refreshed the brand and created a great platform for the development of original content based on the ‘Start your Story’ theme. As a bonus, the project enabled budding design and media students to gain access to live work experience with genuine budget and time constraints.”

Marketing Manager, Northampton College

the project team

Emily Syson (Designer), David Nelson (Lead Creative), Simon Byford (Artworker), Lynda Doggett (Studio Administrator), Olivia Ray (Client Services Director) and Rob Shaw (Internal Client Services Manager).

our creative toolkit

If you are thinking about starting a new project we have created a few simple items that might help you. Our creative’s guide to getting the best out of your agency is full of helpful advice and our top tips to writing a creative brief is a perfect prompt when completing one of our project briefing sheets. All three are available to download below.

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