University of Cumbria commissioned me to design an exhibition celebrating their 10th anniversary. The design highlights and celebrates the twists and turns of their history and the growing strength of the university today. The exhibition was initially designed to be temporary, but has been such a success that it was expanded to 4 campuses throughout their 10 year anniversary.

Visitors see the University of Cumbria exhibition

University of Cumbria exhibition close up

The challenge: the University of Cumbria is a relatively new institution, formed in 2007 following the merger of 5 previously separate colleges. Because of that, it’s easy to forget that the University had a life before 2007. Likewise, plenty of students from before the merger hadn’t had chance to interact with the new university at all. This exhibition was designed to change all that.

The brief: The university commissioned me to design an exhibition that would celebrate their history in a highly visual way.

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 with this design was the sheer amount of content. Different times in history were busier than others, and we also had several large artefacts to fit within the timeline. I wanted to make the design colourful and vibrant, but also easy to follow so this was a real challenge.

University of Cumbria 10th anniversary timeline design close-up

Visitor read the University of Cumbria 10th anniversary timeline

The idea: I came up with the idea of a time map to tell the rich and varied story of each campus, and the journey towards the merger in 2007. Working with the team at the University I suggested using colour coded lines like a London Tube map to tell the story of the university travelling through time until the lines meet in 2007, when the university forms. Working closely with the team at UoC, we created interactive elements for students both past and present to have their say as part of the exhibition.

University of Cumbria 10th anniversary timeline design