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Published 15th Dec 2011

Caption:  Cleveland College of Art & Design students Owen Smith, 20, of Darlington, and Holly Baggott, 18, of Middlesbrough, wit

Aspirational art students are set to see their work rock the stages of Europe after being chosen to design merchandise for the sister of one of the greatest drummers of all time.

Graphics students at Cleveland College of Art & Design have landed a major gig to create new tee-shirt designs for rock and blues vocalist Deborah Bonham, the sister of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

Deborah has toured and performed with Van Halen, Alannah Myles, Tim Rose, Uli Jon Roth, Humble Pie, Donovan, Lonnie Donegan, Jools Holland, Foreigner and Paul Rodgers. She is currently recording in Nashville, Tennessee, before touring Europe with her new album.

Interactive media tutor at CCAD Dave Hill, who also acts as Deborah’s manager, said: “Deborah was keen to have some fresh new design ideas for her latest tour merchandise, so I approached graphic design course leader Chris Beadle to see if his students could come up with ideas to meet Deborah’s brief.

“As she is out in the USA recording at the moment we had to send the designs to her at the studios in Nashville. She was thrilled that the students had really got what she and her music are all about.

“A massive part of the challenge was to come up with something that would appeal to the younger generation and that’s exactly what they did.

“Deborah has a huge loyal fan base across Europe and I’m sure that we will see a lot of them wearing the designs created here at CCAD.”

Three of the students, Owen Smith, 20, Holly Baggott, 18, and Lucy Tranter, 17, will now work with Dave and Deborah to come up with the final designs to be used for global tee-shirt sales and on the star’s website.

Holly, of Middlesbrough, said: “I didn’t know much about Deborah before the brief, just that her favourite colour was purple and that she liked Celtic designs, so I did a lot of research and I’m thrilled that she liked my work.”

Owen, of Darlington, said: “I’d love to work within the music industry and it is a tremendous honour, as a young designer, to already have had my work chosen by an established recording artist.

Chris added: “ I am particularly pleased that our students’ work will now be seen internationally and that they will be credited for their work on the actual garments themselves.

“At a time when they are thinking about moving on to university this will be a great addition to their portfolios.”

Useful links

Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD)

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Caption:  Cleveland College of Art & Design students Owen Smith, 20, of Darlington, and Holly Baggott, 18, of Middlesbrough, with Deborah Bonham’s manager and CCAD interactive media tutor Dave Hill





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