From boring to brilliant: UWE student transforms Webmart's reception area

Issue date: 16 September 2013

UWE student, Jamie Powell, in front of his mural in the Webmart reception area

Jamie Powell, a UWE Bristol student about to enter the second year of his BA in Graphic Design, spent the summer as the artist in residence at Webmart, one of Britain's leading, independent print and digital media companies.

Jamie was based at the company's headquarters in Oxford where he was tasked by Webmart's founder and CEO, Simon Biltcliffe, with bringing some life to the building's foyer, through the design and creation of a mural.

“We had a problem,” says Simon. “We had a pretty cool, and very yellow, building, but a dull reception area. So I enlisted the help of Jamie to solve that problem.

“The idea was that when visitors came into the building they would get an instant understanding of what Webmart, as a company, stands for. I showed Jamie some videos and spoke about what the business is striving to achieve and the changes we want to make, then left him to interpret and create the reception area centre piece.”

The mural took two weeks to complete, from its initial inception to the grand unveiling, and is now proudly on display in the buildings foyer.

Jamie said of his experience at Webmart, “Designing and working on the Mural for Webmart has been the most exciting two weeks of work I have undertaken during my time as a graphic designer. The 'Webmarteers' are a delight to work around and the building itself is a thing of wonder, with every room being more interesting and exciting than the last. My mural is now a part of that, which is fantastic.

“Simon first approached me with the idea during the last month of my first year at UWE. The weeks that followed were spent creating rough design ideas with the hope that Simon and Webmart liked one of them enough to begin finalising the potential mural design.

“Luckily for me the professional practice and communicating with words modules from my first year of study, helped me to curate and professionalise these designs, and the typographic skills picked up during these classes made a massive impact whilst working on the final canvas. I learned things that were directly involved in the quality of the final piece, such as typography and colour knowledge, as well as creating our own typeface, which helped me substantially in learning the ins and outs of type anatomy.”

Videos of the creation of the mural from beginning to end, including a time-lapse video of Jamie working on the canvas, are available on the Webmart website.

For pictures of the mural in all its glory, please visit the UWE Bristol News flickr gallery.

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