The art and design skills of Tyne Metropolitan College students have been praised for bringing the work of a new North East business forum into powerful focus.
Those to celebrate their stunning logo design, created for the Wallsend Chamber of Trade and Commerce, included North Tyneside Labour MP Mary Glindon and Norma Redfearn CBE, the Mayor of North Tyneside.
They said the image, which shows a powerful liner, coloured blue on a white background, perfectly reflected and celebrated Wallsend’s industrial past and its future based on enterprise and innovation.
The students showed off their work, which also carries the words ‘Wallsend Chamber Building Communities’, at the launch of the chamber on Friday, June 8 at Wallsend’s internationally-known Segedunum World Heritage site.
Also present were around 50 chamber members who will work with the North Tyneside Business Forum (NTBF) and other established North East chambers to promote goals of creating economic prosperity and community wellbeing.
Overall, the chamber aims to be a strong and unified voice to support economic growth in an area bolstered by significant recent job creation and investment, and to be a powerful and sustained platform for further economic improvement.
Five HND In Graphic Design Year 1 students, who are based at Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, in North Shields, were involved in the project, a key element of which was the design process which involved them learning about Wallsend’s history.
They were briefed by business owner Kevin Stephenson, the new chamber’s first chair, and had just two weeks to research and develop initial ideas of which a final concept was developed through mock-ups and from which the logo, business cards, letterheads and social media banners were produced.
Student Joe Fletcher’s design was chosen, though the input of fellow learners Shannon Keir, Jess Dodds, Olivia Redpath, and Kate Ferguson, all 19, was also praised.
Joe, 31, said: “The whole design process was exciting, from researching what was quintessentially Wallsend to conceptualising an idea, to presenting the final design was a great experience.
“When rolling out the brand I couldn’t have asked for better feedback. The people of Wallsend really connected with the design in a way I never imagined.”
At the launch, Mrs Glindon said: "The logo perfectly captures our glory days, but they are not all behind us. The chamber can fly the flag for business as they navigate new opportunities for common benefit."
Mayor Redfearn, who also attended, said: “Wallsend is a town with so much history and a lot to be proud of in its past, with even more coming in the future.
“The establishment of the chamber gives businesses and other members a valuable platform for growth and will give the town a clear and distinctive voice.
“The new chamber has so many different plans to work with schools, colleges, the local authority and the third sector and I look forward to seeing some of the fantastic work they’ll do in the future.”
David Bavaird, chair of NTBF and a governor at Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, praised the students, saying their work and the creation of the new chamber came at an important time for North Tyneside.
Of note was a 30 per cent jump in established businesses – from 3,890 in 2012 to 5,060 in 2017 - and a 71 per cent increase in the self-employed since 2011.
Mr Bavaird said: “The students have demonstrated a keen eye for art and for history. I think the logo looks fantastic and is exactly right and fitting.
“By portraying a liner, they have shown that they recognise shipbuilding as playing a hugely important part in Wallsend and the North East’s past.
“But they have also perfectly captured the idea of the town moving ahead into new and strong waters.
“They can be extremely proud of their work which gives such an evocative celebration of the new chamber.”
He added: “I believe the chamber will quickly become an important part of the business community.
“A strong business voice is critical for economic prosperity and employment and Wallsend and North Tyneside already have much to celebrate.
“Working with other chambers, it will give the Wallsend business community a clear and distinct voice.
“It will be able to speak up on important issues, and without the Chamber, the Wallsend voice would not be so loud.
“The chamber has a great leadership team which will work with schools and the local authority to see Wallsend continue to grow and be an ever better place to live, work and visit.”
The chamber is made up of businesses, colleges and voluntary groups who will agree key priorities, lobby policy makers and promote its work to the public.
It comes amid concerted business development and investment in Wallsend, including over £100m planned for the former Swan Hunter shipyard site.
A further £7m has been ploughed into improving parks, and private sector backing has supported the success of the Forum Shopping Centre and Town Hall Business Centre.
Other notable developments include an expected 400,000 visitors this year to the Wallsend Customer First Centre, and there has also been a large fall in the unemployed.
chamber’s website is under construction, but information can be found on
Facebook at WallsendChamber