Art school springboards former students into business

Celebrate Winter at Wynyard

Brainbox Studios

Three former students from a specialist northern art college are now on the road to business success and enjoying a career in the creative arts following their studies.

Designers Emma Tweddle and business partner Vik Watson both graduated with degrees in graphic design from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) in 2011, and are now creating up a storm after setting up Brainbox Studios.

Emma, 27, and Vik, 29, created Skelton-based Brainbox Studios in 2011 while studying at the university-level campus in Hartlepool, when they presented themselves and their business plan for their end of year show.

Brainbox Studios is a design agency focusing on graphic and web design, and six years on it is working in association with prestigious clients such as Nike for Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy website and branding, as well as local businesses such as the North Yorkshire Moors Birds of Prey and Chilli Cake Deli.

For the V9 Academy project, Brainbox Studios created the branding, website and promotional materials to help Jamie and his team discover non-league football talent and promote them into the professional game. The young company won the business after a recommendation by another company also involved in the football profession.

Emma, who completed a foundation studies course at CCAD in Middlesbrough, followed by a foundation degree in graphic design at the college, is delighted to have worked on the project and thoroughly enjoying running her own business.

She said: “It feels amazing – to think two lasses from Middlesbrough are working with one of the biggest names in football at the moment is such a huge achievement.

“We are incredibly proud of the results that our business has achieved over the last five and a half years and at the start we couldn’t have ever imagined to be working on such large-scale projects as the V9 Academy.

“We put our success down to steady progression which has resulted from hard work and a true passion for design. We are keen to ensure that any design project we work on sees clients receiving something fresh and innovative.”

In the future, Brainbox Studios is looking to build its client base further and expand the team.

Sherilyn Oliphant, 24, from Greatham in Hartlepool is also making waves in the entertainment industry, developing a career behind the scenes in stage management and special effects make up.

The freelance make-up artist graduated in 2013 with a degree in Production Design for Stage and Screen which gave her training in set design, props and costume within the film, television and theatre.

Sherilyn has gained extensive experience across the entertainment industry both regionally and in London, beginning with a role as art department assistant for the British movie ‘Orthodox’ with Stephen Graham of Boardwalk Empire fame.

Sherilyn also set up her own business – SAO Makeup Artist – in 2011 while studying and has worked on a wide range of feature length and short films such as ‘Dark Net’ with comedian and actor Jonny Vegas, and the regionally filmed horror story, ‘Ripper’.


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