Birmingham Made Me - the Original Design City
After months of planning with colleagues at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, business partners and engineering design colleagues at Aston University we are finally in the countdown to Birmingham's first Design EXPO in over 100 years which runs from 15th-22nd June and is being hosted by the Mailbox, Birmingham.
We're thrilled to have some of our best-known Midlands brands exhibiting - Jaguar Land Rover, AGA Rangemaster, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Brintons Carpets, Glenn Howells Architects, Acme Whistles, Deakin & Francis and Emma Bridgewater, together with some big national and international names including JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising business.
Obsessionistas, a site dedicated to those passionate about collecting will provide a digital display covering around 20 design archives highlighting our authenticity as the home of design.
Birmingham City Council with support from JCDecaux have made around 200 poster sites available from 1st April to support a campaign aimed at challenging perceptions about Birmingham and its ongoing design achievements.
A poster campaign has been created thanks to the inspiration of design and brand guru, Alasdhair Willis - who recently designed a high profile campaign for David Beckham - showcasing a selection of iconic designs created in Birmingham.
IDEA Birmingham - the business think tank led by Birmingham City University - has brought together a group of influential business leaders to promote great brands and products using the campaign theme, 'Birmingham Made Me - The Original Design City'.
The 'Birmingham Made Me' initiative is set to be unveiled in the first week of April with an eye-catching, city-wide poster campaign promoting products made in Birmingham and the Midlands.
The campaign concept, messaging and design have been created by Alasdhair Willis, the man behind the campaign for David Beckham's new Bodywear range. He works with a number of other high profile clients - as lead global consultant for the Adidas brand, including London 2012, and as creative consultant to Christies auction house, Alfred Dunhill and David Beckham. More recently, he has been working in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover.
The Birmingham Made Me campaign showcases world-beating innovations from the Midlands which has produced designs such as the Land Rover Defender, AGA Range cooker, Pashley Clubman bicycle and Brooks England saddles together with ground-breaking new hybrid supercar concept, the Jaguar C-X75, named the Most Significant Concept Vehicle in Detroit 2011, having been recognised as one of the vehicles most likely to shape the future of automotive industry.
These, and a great deal more, will be on view at Birmingham's first design EXPO in well over 100 years which is being organised by IDEA Birmingham founder members with the support of the Mailbox.
Alongside the EXPO IDEA Birmingham will be holding its own Midlands Design Awards on 22nd June to showcase our great Midlands brands and innovations, our emerging design-led businesses, education-business collaborations together with a Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to design and innovation. So far around 250 businesses have entered across seven Awards categories.
A Judging Panel, including Ian Callum, Director of Design at Jaguar and Gerry McGovern, Design Director, Land Rover, Councillor Sir Albert Bore, Jerry Blackett from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Prof Chris O'Neil, Dean, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design, will meet on 12th April to select finalists in each category. The public will then be invited to vote for the winners which will be announced at the Awards Ceremony.
Alasdhair Willis, husband of Stella McCartney, has been supporting the work of IDEA Birmingham members, together with Stuart Kendall, strategy partner at Cogent Elliott, one of the largest advertising agencies outside London.
Speaking about the new Birmingham Made Me campaign Stuart Kendall said: "It's been tremendous working with Alasdhair and his team at Announcement Creative to promote Birmingham's design credentials. We are so lucky that he has invested this time and energy into developing this beautifully-executed campaign.
"We need to accelerate our joint efforts to drive more business success and growth through increased collaboration. Targeting international markets, opening up new partnerships between business and education, focussing business into new opportunities for knowledge transfer with our great university institutions and gaining a greater reputation for our design excellence can make great strides in moving our region forward."
We are looking forward to working further with Alasdhair Willis and believe that there is a key role to play in raising Birmingham's design profile through his campaign which will in turn assist the work of IDEA Birmingham in promoting our great City and showcasing emerging design talent amongst our large student population.
Beverley Nielsen is Director Employer Engagement at Birmingham City University