Case Study: Student Designers
In this case study, Alex Barton shares with you how to organise an event in just 18 days. Alex won a Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award in August 2010.
Alex is the founder of Student Designers, a business that allows graphic design students eager to build their portfolios a chance to develop their business skills and earn money, whilst offering their clients a chance to take on their work at a great price.
The Student Design Fair concept was announced during a blagging session last year as an example of how we were going to help students.
Eighteen days before the day I realised with growing disconcertion that we were completely unprepared for the event. I suppose that’s not really true. We had 30 students, 6 businesses and sponsors but we didn’t have anywhere to hold the event and the intricate details hadn’t even been discussed.
The Student Design Fair brought together students and businesses for a day of collaborative design and development. Teams of six, organised by the coloured ball they picked out of a bucket, worked with the companies to provide them with a rebrand.
In the end, the event ran like a dream. We finished at 5pm on the dot, everyone had a beer in their hand and the feedback was brilliant.
So here are my top tips for creating the perfect event in just 18 days.
- Find incredible people to help. I approached the Robert Gordon University events department and asked if they could help. It was there I was introduced to Patrycja, a straight-talking, hardworking, organised event hero. From the word go, Patrycja gave me a severe telling off and when she was comfortable that I was sufficiently regretful for leaving it all to the last minute she set to work.
- Find great sponsors willing to help you achieve your goals by providing a great venue, free beer, lunch (both of which help attendance), etc.
- Have a structured day but allow fluidity. It was important for us to finish on time so, to make up for lost time, we halved the time allowed for one project and told the students that the nasty client needs the designs NOW!
- Success is in the details.
- Create an appraisal of the event - what worked and what didn’t. There’s no point making the same mistakes next time!
- Have fun. What’s the point otherwise?
More on Events
If you would like to learn more about running an event, the Shell LiveWIRE Discussion Forum is the perfect place to ask. You can get great advice from your fellow entrepreneurs, business experts and the Shell LiveWIRE staff.