Magpie’s directors and Leeds alumni, Becky Edlin and Gerard Savva, have come full circle. Forming Magpie Comms in 2009 as a design and marketing service focusing on the higher education sector, the pair had initially attended Spark’s lunchtime advice workshops to learn about all aspects of setting up a business. Now, four years later, it’s Becky and Gerard who are running workshops and offering advice to enterprising students.
Becky’s role as an Enterprise Ambassador for the University means that she keeps in contact with students and their aspirations – a vital aspect of Magpie’s work. “Our marketing materials and campaigns are aimed primarily at the student and new generation audiences and we provide our clients with branding, advertising, design, digital media and promotion services,”says Becky. “Being based on campus is essential to our work as it means we’re immersed in the student community and can carry out market research for our clients almost instantly. Today’s students are the next generation of influencers and leaders, so our clients want to appeal to them.”
Although the higher education sector is still Magpie’s main customer source, the company has broadened both its client base and its staff numbers. “We’re now a nine-strong team and just about to double our office space to accommodate everyone comfortably – and have room for new recruits,” says Becky. New clients include cafe chain Bagel Nash who commissioned Magpie to overhaul the brand. “Bagel Nash wanted to attract younger customers and our track record showed that we could do just that,” explains Becky. “Our design ideas were applied across the Bagel Nash chain, from the shop interiors to the website, giving the whole brand a more vibrant feel.”
Magpie is also spreading its wings across the country, with Oxford Brookes University and the University of Hertfordshire employing them as graphic designers “Speaking directly to students is more important than ever in a competitive marketplace and universities now understand the need for attractive and contemporary design,” says Becky. “Our knowledge of the sector, combined with our marketing and design skills and our digital expertise, gives our clients that extra value.”