Academic & Education



The University of Essex (UofE) is a British public research university whose original and largest campus is near the town of Colchester, England. It was established in 1963 and received its Royal Charter in 1965. The university ranks 2nd highest in the UK for student satisfaction and most recently won an award for outstanding student support. Over the past five decades the university has grown to more than 11,000 students, including over 3,000 postgraduates, who come from all over the world to study at one of three campuses in Colchester, Loughton and Southend.

Mackman was approached during the university’s 50th anniversary to support the redesign of the UofE recruitment stand (previously a table, branded cloth and exhibition banners) to be used at Higher Education and UCAS recruitment events and fairs. These events are held specifically to recruit new students and normally take place in large halls and exhibition centres.

Brand Facts

  • The University of Essex is committed to excellence in teaching and excellence in research.
  • They were named University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards 2018.
  • The university welcomes students from more than 140 countries – over a third of their students are from outside the UK.

Project Facts

  • The University of Essex approached Mackman to provide an exhibition stand that they could use at recruitment fairs and events.
  • The creation of the stand coincided with their 50th anniversary, and therefore needed to implement a strong visual identity.

The Client

Recruiting students from around the country

The key focus of the stand was customer engagement. The stand therefore needed to be eye-catching and interactive for potential students of UofE and help customer engagement. This would involve using strong creative elements, whilst working within the UofE brand guidelines, to promote the diverse nature of the university. The stand needed to implement a strong visual identity that could be transferred to any future campaigns and/or marketing material to support further objectives.

The success of the project was measured against the following long-term business objectives:

  • Help customer engagement – including potential students, within targeted demographics, to join the UofE.
  • Support the increase in student attendance at the UofE open days.
  • Support the long-term objective to achieve a 50% increase of student intake over the following five years.

The Challenge

Delivery of the stand needed to be ready for the launch of the recruitment season and would therefore take place over a short time-scale (two months).

The Results

The team at Mackman worked to develop a stand that would not only be visually appealing and compliment the existing UofE branding, but also feature interchangeable elements to allow for optimum functionality at different events while conserving the stand’s strong visual element.

We considered the application of each individual element as well as the alternative functions they might perform. We took into consideration the weight and sizing of each stand element, the possible use of existing UofE roller banners for smaller events (rather than the cut through panels intended for larger events), the ability to safely secure a tablet device to the building block elements, and the need for the floor graphics to be suitable for use on different surfaces.

Working with Mackman Group has been a refreshing and engaging experience. Their client centred approach enabled them to mould around our needs and work to very short time scales to produce an innovative exhibition stand for our recruitment fairs. The results have exceeded our expectations, as well as catch the eye of our competitors. We are extremely pleased with all aspects of our working relationship with Mackman and hope to be able to work with them on future projects to support us in innovating our approach to student recruitment.

Dan Barcroft, Communications and External Relations – University of Essex

Working with The University of Essex was an exciting and new challenge for us. The new stand is able to clearly position The University of Essex as innovative market leaders.

Paul Mackman, Client Lead