The branch manager of my local Marks and Spencer store, back in my childhood hometown of Cheltenham, recently approached me with a request to design and install a wall graphic for backstage within the store. It was a fitting request as the first-ever project I worked on when I started interning in the design industry was for our client M&S.
The store had just refurbished an old office space into a brand new training centre to be used for meetings, courses and workshops for staff within the region. The room had been decorated with a fresh lick of paint in the corporate colours, but it lacked character and inspiration. I was tasked with producing a suitable graphic for one wall that would act as a focal point to greet all visitors and staff.
I was given an open brief, and after speaking with a few members of staff I discovered that many felt very proud of the store and its heritage and history, as it had been present in the town for almost a century. This gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with the creative solution – a logo timeline.
With only one weekend to complete the graphic, I decided to try and use stencils. This was a new method for me; I cut the logos out of large sheets of card to form the stencils, and then used paint pens to fill in the designs. It was a risk as I had never worked with either stencils or paint pens on this scale before and my first attempt would be the real thing.
Luckily, all went well and surprisingly smoothly. I cut all the stencils out in two evenings and then surprised myself by completing the actual installation in only a day and a half. The paint pens were fantastic, very quick but precise to use, which made such a difference.
While I was working, I had a constant flow of M&S employees walking through to have a peep or ask what I was doing. As the design progressed, their reactions were priceless. So many were overwhelmed that the store’s historic presence was being celebrated and honoured in such a way. I learnt that a handful of staff had been working at the branch for over 30 years, which just goes to show the pride and loyalty so many feel towards the company. I am so pleased and proud that I could provide such a striking design, with so much relevance, for them to enjoy every working day.