Ten years designing the Shine School Media Awards

There’s an absolutely vital imperative to do something for others in working life, but I’ve always thought that whatever that thing is, it needs to be significant personally. Having always been passionate about graphic design and an employer for many years, encouraging young people with an interest in design has always seemed to me to be incredibly important. So back in 2014 when I had a chance to be involved in an awards scheme that recognises young people who create a school newspaper, magazine, website or podcast, I leapt at the opportunity. That project is the Shine School Media Awards, the 2023 ‘edition’ of which has just happened. This year we mark ten years designing the Shine School Media Awards and I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve contributed.

Stationers' Hall on Shine Awards day 2023

Shine back to front

The Shine Awards is an initiative of the Stationers’ Company, and I’ve been a member of the Company for almost 20 years, and a Liveryman since 2021. The idea that an ancient livery company of the City of London might look forward has always intrigued me. It’s a way of creating continuity and investing in the future. Going back to childhood, as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in design and it’s always struck me there must be plenty like me, out there, who just need some encouragement and a few suggestions on how to get ahead.

At yesterday’s 2023 Shine Awards I was sitting next to students from schools across the UK, listening to the struggles they had to find software to make their projects, how they’d sussed them out using a combination of YouTube tutorials and ‘learning by doing’. It all sounds so familiar! I have to say it was fantastic to hear how in so many cases they’d ‘just got on with it’ without teachers standing over their shoulders. For me, that’s what Shine is all about.

The 2023 Shine Awards winners book

How 2023 went curvy

Every year we try and completely reinvent what we do for Shine’s graphics. To have a completely open brief is the best opportunity a designer can have, and in recent years we’ve taken that and run with it. We discovered the typeface Ramen by F37, a foundry in Manchester and were inspired to not only use the font in our headline but also in the graphic design of the entire event.

Mixing a very zippy, fresh colour palette into the mix the end result appears on the published winner’s book as well as roller banners, screens, a ‘day book’ of events and even the website. We’re also finalising plans for it to be a part of a short film describing Shine to potential entrants for 2024.

And… I suppose that’s what’s next: thinking about encoring the next generation of creative students. But, before we do that, I’d like to celebrate the covers of the past ten winner’s books. They each capture a moment in time, from the introduction of a new logo and clean design, through our adventures in print, all the way through the pandemic to today. I couldn’t be prouder.

Discover more about the Shine School Media Awards project

Find out more background to all the work we’ve done on the awards, and a focus on this year’s project:

Project portfolio page

The awards website

More of our work for charities