HND Interactive Media: A Legacy Course

8" Kidrobot Dunny — a vinyl figure surface design by Sam Crawshaw.
8" Kidrobot Dunny — a vinyl figure surface design by Sam Crawshaw.

This is the legacy page of University Centre at Wakefield College’s HND Interactive Media and HNC Interactive Media courses, predecessors of Study Web Design. First delivered in 1999, both the HND and HNC established a reputation for producing a stream of employable graduates for the web design industry, and in doing so anticipated the shift towards the more work-related ethic of Foundation Degrees.

Graduates are now spread far and wide, from Studio Manager Tom Smith, working just five minutes down the road at Statement, to Martyn Hill, living in the Zhejiang Province of China.

Despite being called Interactive Media – or even Multimedia in an earlier incarnation – we always considered ourselves a specialised web design course. We recognised the need to concentrate on its core disciplines, rather than diversify into appealing but ultimately superfluous skills such as animation or 3D modelling.

We valued the ‘design’ bit of web design, meaning graduates had both creative and technical skills, so were better prepared to gain employment. We also threw in a bit of design for print for good measure, in order to re-purpose those emerging creative skills.

Coca-Cola M5 — mixer bottle surface design by Mark Torrington.
Coca-Cola M5 — mixer bottle surface design by Mark Torrington.

The Edexcel BTEC syllabus posed many challenges: the Computing Fundamentals, Historical & Contextual Referencing and Cultural Interpretation units to name but a few. But in doing so, they presented the opportunity for invention and innovation, and even if we do say so ourselves, we produced some truly unique assignment tasks.

The ability to import units from other syllabuses, particularly HND Graphic Design, also enabled us to transform a potentially dry, technical course into a vibrant and meaningful qualification for the Creative & Digital Industries.

Former students will remember with a mixtures of emotions:

  • the weekly routine of sketchbook work and journal entries;
  • the puzzlement of having to listen to the edgy electronica of the FAX +49-69/450464, Raster-Noton and Em:t record labels, in order to understand what designing for awkward subject material was like;
  • the artistic experimentation of the ‘reverse design process’ [see above] and blindly designing surface patterns for Coca-Cola M5 bottles, Adidas Adicolor W2 Hi and Trexi or Dunny urban vinyl figures;
  • the commercial finishing school of the ‘Professional Team Brief’ and the challenges of working for real clients … and with each other.
Official website for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 2011 Super League season
Official website for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 2011 Super League season.

Our commercial work built steadily over the years and culminated in winning the right to redesign and rebuild the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats website [see above]; the city’s only professional sports club.

Based on little more than a hunch, a student team led by Tim Stringer speculatively pitched a new website solution to the Wildcats, and were delighted to be invited to implement it. The result, weighing in at well over a thousand pages, was used throughout the 2011 Super League season. A change in the club's ownership brought a promising relationship to a disappointing early end for the course and its students.

Notwithstanding, HND Interactive Media did an outstanding job at what we considered to be the essence of Higher Education in the UK: creating employable graduates; who got jobs; and helped drive the local economy forward.

Web designers; graphic designers; front-end developers; web developers; software developers; freelancers; creative directors and small business owners. HND Interactive Media produced them all. We fashioned a whole generation of creative and technical talent for the local web design sector and beyond.

International Peoples Gang: 3395 — CD Digipak by Mark Torrington.
International Peoples Gang: 3395 — CD Digipak by Mark Torrington.

So if you're reading this, looking for a web design course, and disappointed that you've missed out, fear not. We continue to inspire a new generation of designers, developers, creative and digital professionals, and business owners through our Foundation Degree [FdA] Web Design course.

Thank you to Messrs BurgessHaynesMundayPannell — without whom the success of the course wouldn't have been possible.