Staffordshire University students have been helping to revitalise Michelin’s head office in Stoke-on-Trent.

The tyre manufacturer tasked students across Photography, Graphic Design and Illustration courses with designing wall art to welcome staff and visitors to their Campbell Road offices.

The brief challenged students to think outside the box and create something different to the usual company brand, avoiding traditional tyre or ‘Michelin man’ designs. It was also important that the designs echoed Stoke-on-Trent and acknowledged Michelin’s themes of equality and diversity.

Lucy Wright, Cultural Business Ambassador at Michelin, explained: “Michelin has some fantastic existing artwork but we really wanted to have some fresh art and a new workspace for when we all came back after lockdown. We always try to work with the community around us. I went to Staffs Uni and know that it has got a great Art and Design department so we thought we’d get in touch and see what the students had to offer.”

After all students pitched their ideas, Paige Findler and Dani McMaster were commissioned to bring their designs to life and the pair have been working with Michelin throughout the summer.

Final year Graphic Design student Paige (main image) stood out with her digital designs which reimagine the Michelin brothers with a contemporary twist.

The 21-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme said: “Michelin was a more detailed brief than some of my previously commissioned work but it demonstrated that I can rise to the challenge, problem-solve and wow the client with my creativity. The designs for this project were the largest forms of artwork I have physically ever made. Being picked for something like this is quite a rare experience and I appreciate that they liked my work so much that they would give me the opportunity to do this. It’s brilliant, I’ve loved creating it.”

MA Illustration student Dani celebrates both Staffordshire’s industrial heritage and iconic countryside in her work. The 22-year-old painted rolling hills and trees onto the walls of Michelin’s ‘People Lounge’ alongside illustrated scenes of Stoke-on-Trent including Middleport Pottery and a traditional terraced street in Shelton where she lives. A rubber plant also adorns the wall as a nod to Michelin’s tyre manufacturing legacy.

Dani McMaster

Dani said: “This project worked as an incredible stepping-stone for me – connecting my education with work for genuine clients makes the transition from student to working professional feel achievable and exciting. Most importantly, the communications and outcomes with Michelin helped me prove my own capabilities in the field and I’m proud of the work I’ve come out with because of that. It’s nice to know that it is almost part of the workspace, and that people will be around it and enjoy it as they’re doing their work.”

After being revealed this month, the murals have been warmly received by staff. Illustration graduate Chloe Breeze has also been commissioned to create art for the offices and Michelin hope to work on more projects with Staffordshire University in future.

Kate Wood, Cultural Consultant at Michelin, added: “This is not something we have done before, but it has been such a success that will pave the way for future collaborations. I am thrilled with how Paige and Dani have brought a burst of energy and creativity to our office space that we could never have achieved without their input.”

Lucy added: “What a joy to work with Dani and Paige on this creative mural wall project, making the process streamlined, pleasurable and delivering beautiful mural work. This process has felt effortless and we’ve been wowed with the professional handling of the project by the students. I’ll continue to be advocate of Staffs Uni and look forward to future collaborative creative projects.”

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