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Meet: Mark Lightfoot

Mark Lightfoot graduated from BA (Hons) Media & Production Design at London College of Communication in 1992.  After a successful career in advertising spanning 25 years, he decided to completely change his life and set up his own luxury leather goods brand, Cavesson’s London. Spawned from a ‘light bulb moment’ when going through airport security, the idea grew and evolved, with Mark calling upon his diverse and rich experience to turn the concept into a reality.

Mark Lightfoot

Mark Lightfoot

Where were you and what were you doing before you came to LCC?
I’m half English and half Maltese. I grew up and went to school in the UK. Up until the lower sixth form I was all set to go and do medicine. My father is a doctor, and from a young age I thought that is what I wanted to do too. I’ll always remember the letter he wrote to me at school on learning that I wanted to ditch medicine in favour of the arts. He told me “I don’t mind what you do, as long as what you do is what you love”. I spent a gap year after college doing a sort of home grown conversion course / pre-foundation. I applied to Somerset College of Arts and Technology and through a family connection was introduced to The London College of Printing, where I also applied.

What made you chose LCC? And did you enjoy your time there?
On leaving school, and deciding to change direction from medicine to art, I spent a few months preparing a portfolio – photography, life drawing, various projects – I interviewed, and got a place on the LCP art foundation course. I moved to London in September 1987, and started what turned into 5 years at the Elephant and Castle campus. From foundation I went on to join the four year Media & Production Design course.  I really liked the atmosphere at the college. I had a few connections via a family friend, and an old school mate was there as well – so it came very well recommended.

What are your best memories of your time there?
My tutors were great, and I remember being pushed and encouraged all the time. I was there at a really exciting time, an inflection point – DTP and the Mac were starting to take hold but at the same time I was able to do real hands-on stuff – in the print room I did screen printing, etching, lithography; I did typesetting by hand, used a Linotype machine and typeset using a phototypesetting console. I remember seeing the huge web offset presses and feeling the majesty of it all. I did photographic printing by hand, made AV productions using Kodak carousel projectors. In fact my final year show projects were completely hands-on using Super 8, a U-matic Video edit suite, hand drawn 35mm cibachrome and bleach, 8 track music recording, high contrast litho film… and occasionally a Mac.

The memorable stuff is the hands on; we did use the computer but I have to say I did my most enjoyable work, my most significant work, was with tangible, physical things.

My year group was an amazing bunch. We were all from different backgrounds but we really got on well. I have really good memories from that time. We’re now all spread over the globe – USA, UK, Tokyo, Australia… and we still keep in touch.

What have you been doing since?
Since graduating in 1992 I have been living and working in Malta. I worked for a large advertising agency, I was a design consultant for a Maltese government agency and eventually I setup my own company in 1997 along with a partner. We are now firmly established as one of Malta’s leading branding and web development agencies. I’ve had some fantastic opportunities to work on some great projects. The work is diverse and challenging. Running a small business means you get to do all aspects. Living in the Mediterranean has given me the opportunity to develop my sailing skills too!

www.cavessons.com

www.cavessons.com

And how did you come to launch www.cavessons.com?
About two years ago I happened to be travelling through Heathrow on the way back to Malta. I had on a leather belt and going through security I realised that I did not need to take it off – as I had a detachable metal buckle. I just unclipped that part and put it through the scanner. It got me thinking about a product – leather belts for the business traveller; high quality, with a real design touch. You know how these things can snowball. The idea stuck in my mind, and I kept turning it over. I researched and researched, amassing a huge cache of data about air travel, airside retail, leather goods, luxury, business travellers, leather production and history in the UK, and Europe… in time the idea grew beyond belts and I developed a business plan and a concept for an entire product range. I became obsessed with the idea. I fell in love with it all.

On 14th February 2014 I formed the company and set about trying to raise finance to make the dream a reality. I tried the banks, Government agencies… and finally found a private investor who believed in what I was trying to achieve. After a year of planning and pitching I landed my first round of investment and was able to start building the brand properly.

The great thing about it was using all the experience I had gained from working for other clients. I was able to apply this to my own project. I was in effect the client, and an ideal one at that, because I always approved the budgets. I could specify Colourplan paper without an argument! And when it came to choosing my factory – despite desperately wanting to work in the UK – I found the most amazing and talented team in Ubrique in Spain. These wonderful artisans, craftsmen and women of the highest calibre, work on some of the most prestigious luxury brands; and I was able to have them work with me!

I’ve crafted every single aspect of the brand experience. The product, the packaging, the website, the copy, the collateral, the sales and marketing. It’s exhausting doing it all on your own and I will definitely have to get help very soon, but it’s been hugely rewarding. Not unlike when I produced my degree show.

Mark with Cavessons case

Tell us more about the brand and your plans for the future…
The trademark for  “Cavesson’s London” is owned by Cavesson’s International Limited and licensed to Cavesson’s (London) Limited for the marketing and sales of branded product through a dedicated online store. Just like the branding, I’ve crafted the business structure for the long term, with a clear vision of the future development of the business. Starting this venture later in life – rather than straight out of college – has given me a completely different perspective. I couldn’t have done it before now. I needed the last 20 or so years to build the relevant experience!

Cavesson’s is a very English brand. It’s heart though is very Mediterranean. Just like me. This comes through in the approach to the design – a quiet, reserved exterior, with a loud, exuberant heart. The products all have this quality and I’ve chosen very particular combinations in the colourways. There’s a definite personality to each colour grouping – black and red, blue and yellow, brown and orange. Something for everyone.

My plans for the development of the company are focused on building the company with measure and balance – I wish to create a connoisseur brand and I have my sights set on growing my UK market, and eventually take it to the Far East – specifically Japan. I believe very much in the Japanese market and also their culture. It’s a lofty goal, but I think you need big ones like this. It really helps to focus and provide a clear sense of direction.

See all of Cavesson’s luxury leather products here.

Find out more about the courses offered at London College of Communication.

Past, Present & Future at the London College of Communication

Past, Present & Future at LCC

Tuesday 8 March 2016
London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, London.

 

On Tuesday 8 March, over 80 alumni from the 60s, 70s and 80s turned up for an exclusive event celebrating the rich history of the London College of Communication, as well as a look to the exciting future that lies ahead for the College, including the regeneration of Elephant & Castle.

Many of the guests had lost touch with LCC and the Alumni Association over the years, and were invited (by request of the alumni team) by old classmates and colleagues as a way for UAL to get back in contact with these graduates, and to add them to the alumni database.

Tours of the archives

The LCC Archives & Special Collections opened their doors for the evening

During the event, the archives & special collections team opened their doors to alumni to look around their unique and diverse archival materials.  Many guests also kindly donated material to the archives, including images and college catalogues from their time at the London College of Printing, as it was then known. Guests were also given guided tours of the Imprint exhibition, which explores the development of the College at its current site in Elephant and Castle from 1964 to the present day.

Natalie Brett, Pro Vice-Chancellor & Head of College spoke about the importance of the College’s history and heritage, as well as giving an update on what it’s like to be a student at LCC today. This was followed by a presentation from Artur Carulla, one of the architects charged with creating the new College building which will be a part of the massive changes that are happening in Elephant & Castle.

Natalie Brett & Artur Carulla

Natalie Brett & Artur Carulla

The event continued on into the evening with drinks and reminiscing with old classmates and new friends.

You can view more images from the event here.

 

Update your details to ensure the UAL Alumni Association can get in touch with you to let you know about events in your area.

Meet: Celine Marchbank

Celine Marchbank studied MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, graduating in 2010.  Find out more about how her photography helped her cope with the tragic passing of her mother due to cancer, with the prize-winning Tulip Project.

Celine Marchbank

Celine Marchbank

I had obviously heard of LCC’s good reputation in the photography world when I decided to apply for the MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography course. I did worry that my work was neither photojournalism nor documentary, but I was accepted straight away to the course after my interview. My tutors obviously saw something in my work I hadn’t yet.

Just before I joined the MA course my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  I decided I still really wanted to do the course, I hoped it would take my mind off what was happening at home.

CelineMarchbank_Tulip_02

As her mobility declines Mum stays in her room more and more. Her windowsill becomes a substitute for the garden.

I really enjoyed my time at LCC, there is something quite lovely about the MA course; a room full of interesting, engaged, open and friendly people who love the same things as you. You get to know the people quickly, and we all supported each other, it helped me get through that terrible year.

I’m from Camden Town in North London. South London was rather new for me then, but I’ve ended up buying a house in nearby Peckham, so it must have worked its magic on me.

I love the array of such different art that exists in London; you can see so many different types at any one time. I take much more inspiration from abstract painting and sculpture rather than photography. It’s amazing how much creative talent there is in London, but I worry a lot about the gentrification of our city, forcing out the people who made London great in the first place.

CelineMarchbank_Tulip_13

Photography really helped me to get over the death of my mother. Doing the project about her last year gave me something to work on, and after her death I continued to take photos and started a new project about her. My project Tulip was received so well by people and started to have a life of its own. It was shortlisted for major photography prizes and exhibited widely, after this I started to receive messages from people all over the world who had been through the same experience, it made me feel not so alone. Grief is very isolating, and through photography I could connect with total strangers across the world.

I met my best friend on the course and I know we will be friends for life. She has been a great support; she’s always there to go over a last minute edit or written proposal late at night! I also remain good friends with many of the other people on the course, and have exhibited and worked on other projects with them. I have also become good friends with many other graduates from the other years of the course; as a graduate of UAL, you join a community.

CelineMarchbank_Tulip_14

30th September. One year since Mum was diagnosed. Her condition has deteriorated and she’s been admitted to the Marie Curie hospice for two week’s respite care. I worry looking at her empty bed, will she ever come home?

I love abstract work, my all-time favourite would have to be Mark Rothko. How he manages to get so much emotion on one canvas never fails to amaze me. I love art that shows emotion, I want to feel something when I look at it.  I’m not interested in smart, clever or complicated art – I like bold simple art that knows what it’s about and just says it.

I’m also obsessed with negative space, I try to use it well in my images, maybe because I come from a graphic design background. To me the space around things is as important as the subject. I also love photography about small stories. I absolutely love Leonie Hampton’s In the Shadow of Things. It’s beautiful, and her project inspired me so much when I was doing my Tulip project.

TULIP_Cover

Tulip. My Mother’s favourite flower

My Tulip project has just been published into a book by Dewi Lewis Publishing, so currently I am working on promoting that.  I am also shooting for a new project; it’s about memory and emotions, and my journey through the different phases of grief. I’ve been working on it for the last four years, since my mother died. I’m hoping to have some time to sit with it and start the editing process, and see what emerges.

 

Find out more about MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication

Meet: Chelsea Sheridan

Like many graduates, Chelsea Sheridan decided to go travelling after taking her BA in Graphic and Media Design at London College of Communication. Having spent time in the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand, and then working for a year in Australia, she returned to London and is now about to join the design team at Leisurejobs.

Chelsea Sheridan

Chelsea Sheridan

Why did you decide to go to LCC?

I knew from the start I wanted to go to UAL. Chelsea, St. Martins and the other colleges have such a great reputation and since I wanted to do graphic design, LCC seemed the right fit for me. I did my foundation year there, then specialised in Graphic Design in the second and third years of my degree course.

What did you enjoy most about your course?

I’m very much a hands-on person so I was a bit worried that I might be permanently in front of a computer screen, but I was pleasantly surprised. We were really encouraged to be creative off the screen as well as on, so, for example, I got to spend a lot a lot of time in the screen printing room. There was so much opportunity to do things; to create rather than just print something off.

What were you most proud of during your time there?

I was really proud of my last major project, at the end of Year 3. I probably worked harder on that than anything else I’d done, as it went into our degree show. Again, I actually made something rather than printing it off. I created a home screen printing kit and, at the viewing of our work, I hand screen-printed my business cards as I distributed them.

Did you find your degree an asset when you left college?

Yes. Not just my degree but the whole UAL experience. You come away from University a different person; more independent and more rounded in every way. When I came back from Australia I just looked for any job, really, to get some money together. I got an admin job at Leisure People, but when they saw I had a design degree they encouraged me to help out our online team with some graphic design work. That went very well, so I’m about to move over to the design side full time. I really enjoy the job here and they’ve gone to a lot of trouble to find out what my strengths are and to make use of them.

 Have you got any advice to someone considering doing your course at the LCC?

Do it, you’ll love it. Just make sure to take the time to consider what you really want to do; don’t think you have to do what’s expected of you or what other people are doing. With my skill set I initially thought about doing Fine Art or Surface Design, but I’m glad I settled on Graphic and Media Design. It’s worked out really well for me.

Find out more about the courses offered at London College of Communication here.

Students of Design: Innovative New Website for Emerging Designers

Lindy Staadecker (left) with Anoesjcka Gianotti and Michelle Parekh, the founders of Students of Design

Lindy (right) with Anoesjcka Gianotti and Michelle Parekh, the founders of Students of Design

Lindy Staadecker studied BA (Hons) Interior Design at London College of Communication. Along with two of her close friends, she is launching Students of Design, a “highly innovative” shopping site which will champion emerging British fashion and lifestyle designers and students.  Students of Design will “create, nurture and promote both new and more established confident, self-sufficient entrepreneurs who will in turn create jobs and prospects for others in the creative industries”.

We spoke with Lindy to find out more about her time at LCC, and how she got the innovative project off the ground…

“I chose to study at London College of Communication because it was the only university that offered graphic and spatial design. I wanted to be in central London and I had always enjoyed the graduate shows across the University of the Arts London campuses. I read the lecturer profiles on the website before applying, and loved the idea of studying under Valerie Mace. She is still a very inspiring woman.

I enjoyed my time at UAL to the absolute fullest. I essentially did two courses; an FdA in Graphic and Spatial Design and the third year of a BA Interior Design. The lectures are what made my university experience – all the staff who tutored me through my dissertation were absolute gold. The staff in the workshops, particularly the photography department, saw me through some stressful project deadlines. I learned so much from them.

I presented the idea for Students of Design as my final major project on the BA Interior Design. I used the round table tutorials and the class presentations to test the idea. It was in essence our very first market research. My tutor, Greg Messiah, encouraged me to hand in a project I was passionate about, he was very supportive despite the project not being what he would traditionally expect. During my FMP I often discussed my project with two of my closest friends. Anoesjcka being a designer and having two companies under her belt, understood the difficulties of starting a design based business. She fell in love with the idea of helping young talent. Neither of my friends do anything in half measure, Michelle suggested we join forces and bring the company to life, which gave us a much needed push. We agreed to form Students of Design, said a nervous ‘cheers’, took a big swig of wine and registered the company that evening. We’ve been committed ever since.”

 

You can visit the Students of Design website here

Find out more about all the courses offered at University of the Arts London