Animation student’s design springs to life

13 February 2019

Third year BA (Hons) Animation student Suzy Ellwand has designed an avatar for a project designed to engage children with the design and manufacture of springs.

The brief, set by JB Springs, was sent out to a number of local universities, but it was Leeds Arts University that impressed with the variety and quality of entries. Students were asked to design an avatar for their Springtelligence education and training programme to help engage and inspire the next generation of spring engineers.

Springtelligence is JB Springs’ answer to the growing skills gap that STEM industries are currently experiencing. Spring engineering touches on all areas of mechanical engineering with many of the advancements in the fields of automotive, aerospace, agriculture and white goods manufacturing not being possible without springs. Suzy’s avatar, Max Stress, will become a key part of the materials developed by JB Springs for primary school aged children and will be a mascot for older learning courses.

Cesca Molyneux, Project Developer, JB Springs said:

“The designs were sent round every employee to vote on and Suzy’s design was the clear winner with nearly two thirds of the votes. We liked the design for both its attractiveness to young children and its versatility. The shape of the snake has the ability to replicate each of the different types of spring which will be a great asset for when we are explaining springs to children as part of our Springtelligence education and training programme.

Suzy has been a joy to work with. She has been very patient with us whilst we work with her to perfect the design as well as being very forthcoming when responding to our requests.”

Suzy’s design is based on the form of a spring, inspired by the way in which a snake can coil. She describes Max as a "happy, fun and bouncy (literally!) character, who would use his own spring-like form to teach children the basic actions of a spring."

Image: Suzy Ellwand's avatar 'Max Stress'

Suzy responded to the brief as the idea for a character design appealed to her. She told us:

“I was surprised to have been chosen and was very excited to hear back from the company. They were very helpful throughout the design process and gave me plenty of ideas for revising the avatar. I was confident in knowing I could easily contact the company or University if I had any concerns regarding the designs or work process, overall it was a very positive experience.

As a result of the brief, I was able to visit the JB Springs site and am continuing to work with them to finalize the avatar. I may also have some future opportunities to do further illustrations and animation for the company.”

Image: Suzy at JB Springs