A MAJOR rebranding exercise led by students from Havering College of Further and Higher Education is proving a hit with the traders of The Quadrant shopping arcade.
Students and graduates from the college's BA Honours Graphic Design course headed up teams of creative arts students who worked with nine tenants within the Romford Market Place arcade to re-brand, promote and develop their businesses.
The creative ideas generated by the Arcade Remade project were showcased at a special evening at The Quadrant on Friday, January 16th.
The project is a collaborative initiative involving Romford Contemporary Arts Programme (RCAP), Havering College, Havering Sixth Form College and Redbridge College who have come together in a bid to revolutionise the 1930's shopping centre.
The design showcase event was the culmination of two weeks of work for a 150-strong makeover squad which also included students from Havering College's BA Honours Fine Art and Foundation Diploma in Art and Design courses. They were supported by creative arts lecturers from Havering College and a number of its graduates.
Local arts organisation RCAP has taken over the shopping centre for a year with the aim of transforming it into the new creative hub of the town. An arcade re-brand, a variety of new creative start-up businesses and a creative residency programme have kick started the exciting changes.
While it is early days, one trader is already reporting a boost in business.
Philip Davis, the owner of Travel Right, is delighted by a new external sign designed by students and based on his existing logo.
He said: "I used to put a lot of stock outside the shop and you couldn't really see inside. The students made a new sign based on my logo to put that I can put outside. I liked the idea and it seems to work. There were a lot more people coming into the shop on Saturday.
"It is good to see some young people with enthusiasm and new ideas. We had several meetings and it has been a good experience."
Meat Express manager Daniel Walsh said the company would look at incorporating some of the students' ideas into a shop revamp planned for March.
He said: "Some of the ideas the students came up with were good.
Havering College final year BA Honours Graphic Design student Heera Taak, 21, from Ilford, was project leader for the two student teams appointed to rebrand Vicky's Chippy.
He said: We made the posters, leaflets, A2 signage boards and the new temporary sign at the top. Vicky is looking to get the signage made up properly now.
"Talking with clients and other members of teams has been an invaluable experience because by collaborating with students you get to understand what level everyone is at and gain an idea of where everyone is coming from. Working with clients creates restrictions as you have to work within guidelines and to deadlines. It helps to promote time management, thinking outside the box, also how to stand your ground and input your advice. Overall it was a fantastic experience."
Sue Withers, curriculum manager for Foundation Diploma Art & Design at Havering College said: "Some of the businesses are planning to take on board a lot of the students' ideas and invest some money in developing the ideas the groups had.
"There is a lot of focus on regenerating The Quadrant and this is just the start of it. It is great for the students because it is a genuinely live project. I think that everyone steps up to the challenge and behaves in a professional way."
For more information on the Arcade Remade project see https://www.facebook.com/quadrantarcade