Hartlepool student wins national design contest

Laura Johnson with her award-winning design.
Laura Johnson with her award-winning design.

College graduate Laura Johnson is the toast of the land after winning a national design competition.

The 23-year-old student from Cleveland College of Art & Design’s Hartlepool campus won the contest, which was held by Absolut Vodka, at this year’s New Designers exhibition.

I couldn’t believe it, because I was never expecting to win, and it is the first thing I have ever won

Laura Johnson, award-winning student from the Hartlepool campus of Cleveland College of Art & Design

Laura has just completed her degree in textiles and surface design. During her final studies, she entered the contest to create a new design for an iconic vodka bottle.

She and five other finalists had to produce their designs on a 50cl Absolut Original glass bottle live at the show, with the pieces exhibited in advance of the winner being chosen.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it, because I was never expecting to win, and it is the first thing I have ever won.”

She said her inspiration was a trip to Thailand so she incorporated tropical designs and carved them into linoleum block sheet.

Her reward was £500 of artists’ materials, and her work will be exhibited for a year in the foyer of the Absolut UK London offices.

She praised her college course and said: “The textiles and surface design course is great, as you can create your own specialism and really go for it. I first discovered block printing when I began writing my dissertation.”

She said she loved the process of block printing and plans to continue her work in the field.

Laura’s love for creativity has continued. She has set up her own hand printed interior textile business called Pattern Pig.

Twenty one graduates from the college’s BA (Hons) Textiles & Surface Design programme exhibited with her at the New Designers show, at the Business Design Centre in London.

Jayne Hemmins, the college’s textiles programme leader, said Laura’s winning design was “stunning and showed flair, technical excellence and an exceptional eye for colour and really emphasised her hand printing skills, as she used a beautiful hand cut lino print as part of her design.”

She said Laura would “go on to have a hugely successful design career.”