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Thursday 23 June 2016

Providing support for stroke survivors

Students from two different courses at Solent have been helping stroke survivors by working with Different Strokes, a national charity providing support for survivors, their carers and family members for over 20 years.

A group of 14 students on the BA (Hons) Public Relations and Communication degree prepared a marketing plan for the charity’s Southampton branch.

Louise Hunt, Senior Lecturer in Retail Marketing at Solent, set the assignment after her own personal experience. “I had a stroke in 2014 and through a mutual friend I was put in contact with Ranj Parmar, who is the treasurer for the Southampton group,” she says.

“They provided me with a great deal of support; I was a working age woman with no experience of a stroke – I didn’t even know you could have one in your early 30s!

“This is a great fit for the students as it is a live client brief, which is great for their CV, and Different Strokes Southampton are completely self-funded, so the people running the branch aren’t marketers by profession. The plan the students created will help define how the Southampton branch can grow their provision and generate more income.”

Also supporting the charity are students from the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course who have designed a logo for their national event ‘Around the World in 8 Ways’.

The event, which will mark the charity’s 20th anniversary, asks for stroke survivors and anyone who has been affected by stroke to record the miles they walk, jog, swim, wheel, cycle or climb to help complete 25,000 miles – the circumference of the earth.

Solent students came up with four individual designs, which were presented to the Different Strokes Southampton Committee. They were very impressed with how creative and individual their creations were, and after long negotiations, the committee decided to go with a combination of the works by two students – Adam Lane and Vilde Hudson.

The winning design.

Different Strokes said: “The logo is so professional looking, we could not have come up with anything like this. It really takes account of the circumference of the world and the eight ways to travel.

“It was really good to meet the students, they too were very professional and I’m glad it was helpful to them to demonstrate their work to a customer. We are very grateful for the help but I’m glad they found the project helpful to them too.

“The professional look and feel of this logo and text are perfect in every way; Solent students have captured the spirit of Different Strokes and Stroke Survivors, having placed much Inspiration in our hearts to reach our goal.”

We also had a chance to speak to the two of the students who took part. Adam Lane – whose design was chosen along with Vilde Hudson – spoke about how the opportunity come about, the support he received and the inspiration behind his work: “The opportunity came in the form of a one week project set by my University tutors. The idea came to my mind as soon as we read the brief, and so, we decided to keep it simple and bright to attract attention. It felt like the logo with an image of eight with the circular arrow surrounding it would explain the event yet remain simple and concise,” he says.

“This work was inspired by the experimental aspect of design with things kept attractively bright. “The course at Solent has provided us with great knowledge and understanding of the elements and principles of design as well as ways of using typography.

“It is amazing how the University is always offering so many opportunities for students to help them build a portfolio and increase their career chances.”

Andreas A Hartveit, 21, from Bergen, Norway – a student whose design was highly commended – also shares his thoughts on working with the organisation and the client brief: “I wanted to take this project in an unexpected direction. Given the fact that the name of this project is pretty long, I decided to advantage of it and ended up with a purely typographical logo.

“I felt that the most important part of this logo would be its dynamics and so I turned the first letter in each word and tried to create an illusion of movement through locating the whole composition in the diagonal direction. The logo itself is also moving because of the diagonal direction of the composition.

“The inspiration for this work lay in my wish to create something unexpected, abstract graphic fragments and the freedom we were given in terms of creativity.

“Even though my logo proposal was not chosen in the end, I really enjoyed working on this project. I am extremely grateful for getting an opportunity to work on such amazing project that I enjoyed it as much as I did!”