The Design Collective at Forth Valley College

Hannah Keba, Forth Valley College

Lastest blog ‘The Design Collective – A graphic design studio run by HND Graphic Design Students at Forth Valley College’ is written by Hannah Keba, Creative Industries Lecturer, Forth Valley College.

Our students need part time work to fund their studies.
Our student need to demonstrate confidence in their abilities.
Our students need strong portfolios.

We as lecturers want absolute confidence that the content we deliver is relevant to the careers our learners aspire to.
We need to know that what we are doing here works.

These are the statements which together helped shape an idea for The Design Collective, initially a pilot project running over the 22-23 academic year at Forth Valley College. The Design Collective has been an opt-in initiative for HND Graphic Design students. This has seen learners create products to sell from designs they have made as part of their studies, and it has seen them work with clients to create projects for the local community, all with support from lecturing staff. It is important to mention that there is no hierarchy between lecturer and student in the Design Collective, this is an environment where both are equals, participating and learning from each other’s experience. Skills are shared and successes are celebrated.

Our first stall of products was the result of snatched moments after teaching had finished for the day. These Collective meetings continued, students turned up even through the dark winter evenings, until the timetables changed and we shifted online. Word of mouth spread and conversations developed into creating logos for a local charity, making billboard displays for a local football club, business cards and books for local artists. The students opt in to each project, they decide the benefit and the time cost to themselves and make their own decisions.

We now look to continue and grow the Design Collective by building in staff time to further develop our links with industry, with the local charity sector and by occupying a physical space on our campuses. Applications for funding are part of our Year Two plan, with an aim of developing the project over the next four years to become self-sustaining.

What have we learnt? A lot! That our students benefit from exercising their professional practice and engaging with clients while taking ownership of the projects. That our students are resilient, focused and determined and that together as a Collective we have huge potential to shape our futures.

For more information about the Design Collective please contact or

Headshot image credit: Ashley Forsyth (HND Photography)

Share This Story

You may also be interested in