Elmwood: Adapt or Die

Elmwood: Adapt or Die

Last Monday (3rd October 2016) brand design consultancy, Elmwood came to campus, setting our BA Graphic and Communication Design students the brief “Adapt or Die”.

Rob Skelly and Alex Halfpenny from their Leeds office kicked off proceedings, putting the landscape of brand engagement into context.

No longer can brands expect to succeed by sitting behind a badge and slogan. To keep up with the ever-evolving expectations from consumers, brands must now create an experience and invite people to participate.

For example, companies such as Redbull are far more than just their product, with consumers buying into the Redbull “lifestyle” by attending their gigs and watching them fight it out on the race track, rather than necessarily buying into the liquid within their cans.

It’s the challenge of creating the perfect formula for this kind of brand relationship which Elmwood face on a daily basis and forms the foundation of their student brief.

“Adapt or Die” challenges students to be innovative, creating a brand which is both proactive as well as reactive to one of  four theoretical scenarios of what life is like in 2026.

How would a car parking company compete and exist in a world where driving was outlawed and only driverless cars were on the road? What could retailers offer to make them stand out if the high street was dead? These are just a couple examples of the questions which students will be picking their brains to answer over the next month.

Students will have the chance to bounce their ideas off Elmwood, before making a final presentation on November the 4th.

The best ideas and concepts will then be shortlisted and their creators asked to present to the wider Elmwood team, with the winner awarded a placement.

Speaking about why Elmwood reach out to University of Leeds students in this way, Rob Skelly said:

“The majority of employees in our design team come straight out of university and have grown with us. I came to Elmwood straight out of University after something similar and I’m now Design Director. Even our Creative Director started as an intern. It’s just a rolling process where we are always looking for new recruits.

“Hopefully we’re giving the students a chance to experience Elmwood, as we do placements and internships but at the same time it helps us because we can strengthen our design team.”