On a very rainy Tuesday morning at Sunderland University, based in the fine art and design building, students from Hebburn Comprehensive School and John Spence High School were on their way their way to face the Create Stage of TICE Graphics. With a Starbucks only metres away from their workstation, it was guaranteed to be an exciting and productive few days.

Once everyone was settled in the #TICEGraphicsHQ, mentor Mark kicked off the morning with a few words of wisdom. When briefly discussing the Final Show, where their work will be showcased to hundreds, he explained that this is the point where Mark is expecting work at a very high standard. 19 students out of the 34 students have been selected to complete TICE Graphics so that proved just how big the challenge was going to be.

Day 1 is all about ‘BIG ideas’, something which Mark strongly believes is the only way to get the best outcome – research, doodles and brainstorming were the main components for the day. Many seemed concerned about maintaining quality at this stage, to which Mark confessed that he is terrible at drawing and throughout his career it hasn’t made a difference to the final piece. A sigh of relief rippled through the room, as they grabbed a piece of A3 and went straight to work.

Each group were gathered in a brief meeting to discuss what is expected from each. We are delighted this year to be working with some fantastic companies, including throwing in our own cheeky TICE task…we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with outstanding young graphic designers!


A popular pick for this year – students are expected to focus on packaging and promotional design – they are required to refresh 1 of 2 existing pack for L’Oreal hair cosmetics. Once they have refreshed one of the packs, they were expected to promote them through a press ad, web advertising or social media. They were to receive feedback from Mark Martin, creative director of Everything Different.


This advertising project is in association with David Ferrer Tennis Academy based in Javea, Spain. The club wants to promote healthier snacking choices to its young players and the TICE Graphics team were expected to cover a website (product promotion), flyers/posters, staff uniforms and t-shirts. Oatein would then give feedback to the students.

TICE Programme Leaflet:

This project involved advertising and promotional design, with the aim of students explaining the TICE programme to new students coming on board every year. Through leaflets, flyers/posters, website banners and t-shirts, this is what the Graphics team were expected to deliver. Managing Director of TICE, Jenny and their own mentor Mark were to share their thoughts on the final projects. Students were lucky to be joined by Jenny on the first day to discuss exactly what was expected and to answer any burning questions! They were essentially tailoring their thoughts to the client’s needs which is already a strong sign of professionalism in the creative industries.

Over the 3 days, students conducted research into their chosen projects and kept their target audience in mind whilst working on their designs. It was noticeable to see the students so willing to constantly improve their ideas – hands were constantly flying up in the air as Mark and this year’s team of teachers wandered around the room to give them advice and inspiration in moving forward. Even Mark refreshed their minds on a quick how-to on Photoshop, making sure that the students were using their software as effectively as possible. Pretty far into the Create journey, students were beginning to find independence and originality in their ideas. The doodles on paper were beginning to come to life.

When the final day of prepping arrived, the room was filled with nerves and uneasiness about completing their projects to the standard they hoped. To give them that extra push, Mark was thrilled to introduce Keith Nevens, Programme Leader of Advertising and Design at Sunderland University. He was kind enough to give the students a brief tour of their facilities and most importantly, show them exactly what can be achieved at degree level. He lead TICE Graphics to the Graduate’s Degree Showcase. Students were in complete awe of the the popping colours, prints and concepts that were displayed. It was visible to see them applying the work to their own project. The opportunity certainly gave them that extra boost of resilience they so desperately needed.

With plenty of motivation from Mark and the wonderful talent showcased at Sunderland University, students reached their final hurdle – primping, polishing and proudly saving their work…ready for it to be beautifully showcased at the Final Show.

Thank you to Sunderland University for providing us such fantastic facilities and thank you to the this year’s schools for your involvement and enthusiasm!

Check out their fantastic work here!


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TICE Programme:

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