Mimaki Helps Unlock Huddersfield Design Students’ Creativity

brent hardy smith

Up-and-coming creative design students at the University of Huddersfield are being shown the potential of inkjet printing through a mixture of collaborative teaching and the latest Mimaki technology.

The university’s print room houses a Mimaki UJF small format flatbed LED UV printer and a Mimaki Tx300P-1800 direct to textile printer, alongside various small format transfer printers, large format graphics devices and finishing equipment. The Mimaki equipment was acquired through reseller R A Smart and Hybrid Services.

The initial purchase of the UJF inkjet printer completely changed the organisation’s approach to teaching and supporting print design, resulting in the print room becoming a ‘thriving, interactive hub’, where students are taught to question conventional thinking and utilise the creative capabilities of the print systems. Key to this change has been the approach of PhD student and senior lecturer Brent Hardy-Smith.

‘I’m not here to sit and critique students’ work,’ he explained. ‘Instead, I run workshops, learning alongside the students. Our methodology is all about discovery and transformative design, using the printers as creative tools and collaborating with other technology and materials.

‘I encourage them to ask, “can we?” and to question convention. The design software says what’s possible, but it’s the Mimaki printers that add the potential, and this is transforming the way the students think about the connection between design and print.’

This approach is leading to greater creativity, which becomes a focus of the end-of-year show when students exhibit their work, demonstrating that they are flourishing as young designers, able to incorporate many different techniques, technologies and materials.

‘The range of Mimaki hardware that we have teaches the students the appropriateness of print,’ Mr Hardy-Smith concluded. ‘They quickly learn what to use and why. From their initial amazement at the potential, by understanding what the printers offer, they can be ever more creative in their design process.’