Given a brief to re-brand RMIT Vietnam’s Personal Edge program – a practical, skills-based knowledge platform that prepares students for life and work – 24 participants from both Hanoi and Saigon South campuses took part.
Arranging themselves into teams on the afternoon of Day 1, students were briefed by Ms Manuela Spiga, Senior Manager of Careers and Employability Service, the department which runs the Personal Edge program.
“Real-life projects like this are one of the core strengths of RMIT,” she said. “The way this task has been briefed would be like any other client situation, meaning the students have been put under pressure to deliver, no matter what.”
Helping them with their design deliverables – which included a primary logo, app icon and the six Personal Edge skill-set badges – was a panel of five industry professionals, all working as art directors and designers in Ho Chi Minh City. Introduced to the students on Day 1, they acted as a sounding board for concept development, and shared the tips and tricks they use as part of their daily design process.
Le Khai Nguyen was one of the students who took part, and said he found the activity extremely unique, especially the tight timeframe applied. “We hadn’t done this type of project before,” he said, “and the feedback we got was particularly useful in terms of the business side of design, so it was great to be able to hear that directly from the experts.”
Culminating in an off-site presentation on the evening of Day 2, students handed over their work to the client and gave a design rationale in front of the industry panel, their lecturers, and other students. Also present were Professor Rick Bennett, Head of the School of Communication & Design, and RMIT Vietnam President Professor Gael McDonald, who both shared their opinions on the work.
Commenting on the activity, participant Nguyen Manh Khoi summed it up: “This project was difficult, and we had so many ideas, but going through this process and then presenting in only 24 hours was very rewarding.”
Two of the industry experts on hand were Mr Chi-An Benjamin De Leo, co-founder of Rice Creative, and Ms Vi Thanh Ton Vo, co-founder and director of BCA Studio.
“To deliver what they have in 24 hours is impressive,” said Ms Vo. “I really liked the ideas put forward and their ability to present was very good.”
Mr De Leo agreed, saying the amount of work they produced under pressure was encouraging. “I think pressure is good, and I think it was good for them to get constructive feedback from us and their lecturers on a real project,” he said.
The pair encouraged the students to work hard, continue to practise and also to broaden their horizons beyond just design. “Keep signing up,” Mr De Leo advised, “and try different things, because that’s what makes you unique as a designer.”
On the night, a selection of the best work was taken into consideration by the panel, which also included Ms Khuyen Le from Silicon Strait, Martial Ganiere from Platform 5, and Ms Vy Anh-Vu from ANTS.
Story: Jon Aspin