Univerity of Cumbria commissioned me to design an exhibition celebrating their 10th anniversary. The design highlights and celebrates their rich history and the strength of the university today. The exhibition was initially designed to be temporary, but has been such a success that it is now permanent and has been expanded to 4 campuses.

Visitors see the University of Cumbria exhibition

University of Cumbria exhibition close up

The challenge: the University of Cumbria is a relatively new institution, as it was formed in 2007 following the merger of 5 previously separate colleges. The problem is, the people who know The University of Cumbria don’t necessarily know the history of the university. Equally, plenty of students from before the merger may not know about the change.

The brief: The university commissioned me to design an exhibition that would celebrate their history in a highly visual way. In order to do that, I created a time map to tell the rich and varied story of each campus, and the journey towards the merger in 2007. The idea was to involve both old and new students to create a story they could both relate to.

University of Cumbria exhibition timeline design

University of Cumbria exhibition timeline design close-up
A visitor at the University of Cumbria exhibition


“I worked with Steve to create a stunning exhibition to celebrate the at University of Cumbria's 10th anniversary year. Steve took the time to listen to our needs, and was diligent and careful to deliver just what we were looking for. His skill and expertise were very much appreciated, and he went above and beyond to ensure that the whole job was delivered to the highest standards, on time and on budget. He was adaptable and approachable and we never felt like he didn't have time for us. He kept us on our toes when we were in danger of going off schedule and guided our decision-making. I would have no hesitation recommending Steve and Big Torch for any design projects.” Julie Brown University of Cumbria 10th Anniversary Project Manager

The inspiration: One of the main challenges here was different times in history were busier than others. While I wanted a colourful and vibrant design, I had to make sure that it wasn’t so messy that nobody could follow it. That’s why I suggested the idea of colour coded lines not too dissimilar to the concept behind the London Underground tube map.

University of Cumbria 10th anniversary timeline design close-up

Visitor read the University of Cumbria 10th anniversary timeline

The best thing about this project has been the reaction both by the public and the University. Initially designed to spend 2 months at each campus, the exhibition will instead be up permanently at University of Cumbria campuses.

University of Cumbria 10th anniversary timeline design

MY ROLE: Creative direction and exhibition design.
DATE: 2017
Photos by Nick Dagger