Varsity Trip

CLIENT: Varsity Trip

DATES: Jan-Dec 2018

ROLE: Design Director

DUTIES: Visual design, including creating a logo and brand, printed materials, digital materials and apparel design.

Summary

I redesigned the brand for the 2018 Varsity Trip, the largest student snowsports trip in the world.

Varsity Trip is the largest student snowports trip in the world, and annually takes around 3000 students to the Alps. It's also one of the oldest — it started in 1922, making it older than the Winter Olympics.

This meant that the student population had a high level of awareness already, and so our goal became to promote the 2018 iteration of the trip specifically.

My role involved:

  1. updating and refreshing the brand for the 2018 trip
  2. designing marketing materials including: printed matter, social media posts and giveaway merchandise
  3. designing apparel and merchandise to be purchased by students on the trip

Audience

40,000 students 3083 attendees.

40,000 is the combined student population of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Each university can be subdivided into constituent colleges, and historical trip data shows that the trip has attracted significantly more undergraduate students than graduate students.

This allows us to break the 40,000 students into groups of roughly 300 students, that we could then target our marketing towards.

Approach

Our team opted for a cleaner approach than previous years, primarily making use of this blue and this orange . We made extensive use of bold, sans-serif fonts, flat vector illustration and bright colours, to move the brand away from the murkier green and blue colours and the texture-heavy 'sketchy' style of previous years.

Logo

Below you can see previous versions of the logo across the years, and the versions I made for the 2018 trip.

The variations meant that the logo was usable across physical and digital media. I even included an animated version (making use of Animography.net's animated version of League Spartan) to be used in our video content.

2018 logo variations:

2018 animated logo:

Previous versions of the logo:

Illustration

Across the project, I used vector illustrations that could be split into components and re-used across a wide range of media.

Lots of these were used for online social media posts; examples of these are below:

These illustrations were also used in some of the physical items I designed, such as in welcome booklets, sound-stage banners and accomodation signs in resort.

Examples of illustrations used phyiscally:

Apparel and Merch

I was incredibly excited (as every designer surely is) to design things that would become tangible. There was a lot of this on Varsity Trip. Apparel and merch that I designed includes:

  • T-shirts
  • Sweatshirts
  • Beanies
  • Tracksuit bottoms
  • Jacquard-knit jumpers
  • Ski socks
  • Caps
  • Neck-warmers
  • Sports bras
  • Reusable coffee cups
  • Bike seat covers
  • Foam fingers
  • Racers' medals
  • Playing cards

Some of these items were for promotional giveaways, but many were for sale to students going on the trip ('stash'). We decided on which items to sell based on what was popular in previous trips (derived from sales numbers) and the profit margins of the raws items themselves. We also experimented with new items: fleeces, ski socks, and Christmas jumpers.

Stash sale numbers were incredible: we sold over 700 sweatshirts and over 400 caps and beanies.

Because so many people wear stash, it needed to be on-brand, but also subtle and tasteful, but also not bland. I purposely designed things that were minimal and kept .

To produce everything, we worked closely with:

  1. an outdoor clothing company (Silverstick)
  2. the production company that helped deliver the trip's festival-scale club nights (Zero Degrees Events)
  3. the ski trip fulfilment company (NUCO)
  4. the resort's tourist office (Club Val Thorens)

Selected mockups of apparel (stash):

Selection of model photography:

Selection of merch:

Learnings

The sheer quantity of designed elements that needed to feel cohesive meant that I very quickly learnt to design efficiently and re-use elements where possible.

All the illustrations I designed could be split into layers, allowing them to be reused throughout in different combinations, so as to always feel 'original'. I also created templates in Photoshop so other members of the committee could make announcement posts on Facebook that still felt 'on-brand,' and meant that I didn't have to do it all.

Desiging for Varsity Trip was a lot of work, but it was also a huge honour.

Rocking up to the Alps in December to see 15ft banners with my illustrations, covering the speakers of a huge outdoor stage, and then a day later have over 3000 students arrive wearing t-shirts I'd designed, was pretty magical.