The Client

Icon Creative Design

“If it looks easy, it’s hard. If it looks hard, it’s impossible. If it looks impossible, it’s due tomorrow at 8am!” - Icon Creative Design

Established in 1998, Icon Creative Design is a full service design agency based in Newport South Wales. With its young, fresh and close-knit team, Icon blends talent with experience. This has resulted in them working on some very prestigious projects in Wales and further afield.

Their impressive portfolio covers branding to advertising, print, packaging, digital, moving image and much more.

Westdale and Icon have forged a strong working relationship over the years, sharing many core business values and a huge respect for all things print!

icon westdale varsity

Westdale’s Alan Padbury (MD, far left) and Les Godfrey (Production Controller, far right) with the Icon Creative Design Team at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium watching the Welsh Rugby Varsity, Swansea Uni. vs. Cardiff Uni., in April 2016. We won’t talk about the final score…


Project Overview

The Official Opening of the Swansea University Bay Campus at the Great Hall - Invitations & Commemorative Brochure

 Developed by St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, this transformational major project for the University has been more than 10 years in the planning and has taken just over two years to build. The Bay Campus will be home to almost 5,000 students and 1,000 staff from the University’s College of Engineering and School of Management, offering students, staff and business world-class learning, teaching, and research facilities.



The Great Hall is a £32m facility which was designed by the world renowned architect Dr. Demetri Porphyrios. The iconic Great Hall is located at the centre of the Swansea Bay Campus and provides a grand arena for the University to host music concerts, conferences, and hold graduation and other large University events.

To celebrate the Opening Official Opening of the Bay Campus, Swansea University held a gala concert and dinner in the Great Hall and tasked Icon with designing an invitation and commemorative brochure to equal the prestige of the distinguished guest list. Icon, in turn, tasked Westdale with turning their beautiful, sophisticated and intricate designs into the finished articles. 

The Result

Icon and Westdale have collaborated on many projects for Swansea University in the past, including their annual Student Prospectus and other ad-hoc student marketing and literature throughout the year.

This project, however, proved to be a standout challenge for us.

The complexity and uniqueness of the design meant that each element had to be precisely managed prior to hand assembly. To add to the pressure, we had a seven day turnaround from the enquiry landing on Alan's desk to the delivery of the final products, and three of those days were eaten by the May bank holiday weekend. But here at Westdale we like to stare down the barrel of adversity and rise to the test!

The invitation comprised 5 elements; an outer case on 300gsm board with a built-in closeable pocket to hold four single leaf cards of varying heights, a menu, two invitation cards and a RSVP card, which nestled snugly within the pocket. Each single leaf card had a number of versions containing variations of information to allow the client to customise the invitation to the individual guest.

The Invitation was printed using four colour process on GF Smith Munken Smooth Natural White Board with a metallic pantone running through the design on both sides, highlighting key areas from the dark grey background. They were then adorned with satin gold foiling to emphasise the Swansea University logo, coat of arms, Great Hall icon & title.

The outer case and the slot was die-cut and creased along the folds, the pocket then hand-assembled using two glue strips.

The Commemorative Brochure was a landscape A5 booklet, stitched using black wire and encased in an outer sleeve. The booklet was printed using four colour process with an addition of a metallic pantone running throughout the cover and text pages. The cover was the same grey patterned background as the invite and had a luxurious soft-touch laminate and satin gold foiling to finish.

The sleeve was on 350gsm board and, like the cover, printed using four colour process with the same grey pattern, soft touch laminated and satin gold foil to keep continuity. Due to the thumb-cut and glue tabs, the sleeve also had to be die-cut to size, creased along the folds and assembled by hand using two glue strips to hold it in place. The booklet’s then had to be inserted into the sleeves ready to be handed out on the night.

Each invite and each brochure had a list of components to be produced perfectly, and with such a small turnaround and custom materials, there was no room for error.

Whilst the specification was still changing, we were processing the artwork and creating foil dies and cutting formes. As the ink was still drying on the inserts, we were hand assembling the pockets and sleeves. As the booklets whizzed through our stitching line, the invites were already in the post to their intended addresses.

Whilst certainly challenging to say the least, the end product was worth the effort. Icon’s stylish design coupled with our swift but well-executed production made the invitations look the part and set the tone for Swansea University’s elegant affair. By playing to our strengths and coupling experience and knowledge with sheer grit and determination, we achieved what we were tasked with.

The Stats

Five days from quote to delivery.

Eight individual processes per invitation.

Ten individual processes per brochure & sleeve.

The people involved:

  • 3x Directors
  • 2x Estimators
  • 2x Pre-press Mangers
  • 2x Production Controllers
  • 1x Press operative
  • 1x Cylinder operative
  • 3x Foiling & Soft Touch Laminate operatives
  • 4x Hand Assemblers
  • 1x Van Driver