A talented illustrator and animator currently studying at the University of Plymouth has designed artwork which now appears on SailGP’s Great Britain Sail Grand Prix merchandise.

Emma Beavis, who specialises in immersive storytelling, scored highest in a SailGP competition to design a T-shirt that celebrates the ocean and all it represents – inspiring people to protect and preserve all it sustains.

Four judges – SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts, UoP Programme Leader Illustration Ashley Potter, and Richard Mason and Charlotte Koostra from the Great Britain SailGP Team – voted on all the entries, with Beavis’ design scoring higher than those submitted by runners-up Isabel Keen and Eleanor James.

Ahead of working on their respective designs, each of the University of Plymouth students was presented the brief to work to, with the judges basing their scores on seven key themes – including interpretation of the brief.

Beavis, whose artwork is now being used on merchandise for the upcoming Great Britain Sail Grand Prix – which is taking place in Plymouth on 17-18 July – explained her working process and reasoning for her design choices.

“After creating rough sketches from the SailGP briefing session,” began Beavis, “I watched some races live to inspire my idea generation and to rectify my initial sketches to a more technically accurate design.

“Having not previously heard of SailGP, I was immediately captured by the motion and strength of the boats. As my specialism is animation, I wanted to convey motion by creating a flowing focal point with seagulls; guiding you towards Smeaton’s Tower where the boat is heading.

“The biodiversity of the sea is captured through delicate illustrations of marine life as they push the boat through the water, surrounded by oxygenating sea grass and powerful waves.

“When creating my observational sketches, I was also inspired by the teams on board. Their body language was dynamic and strong as they moved across the boat, and it felt important for me to include them in the design and offer recognition of how they work in harmony with the ocean.

“Powered by nature and guided by man - a sustainable collaboration.

“The design inversion works well on black and white backgrounds, offering more versatility for apparel and provides a strong yet sophisticated approach to the brief, whilst highlighting all important elements.”

Beavis’ artwork impressed each of the judges, with Richard Mason and Charlotte Koostra of the Great Britain SailGP Team highlighting her use of color and adherence to commercial viability noted in the brief.

Ashley Potter, the Illustration Programme Leader at the University of Plymouth, similarly praised the design, and later highlighted the impact this competition would have on Beavis and her fellow entrants.

"There were three designs which stood out amongst a high level of entries - all unique in their visual languages," said Potter. "Emma’s was particularly strong as it hit all of the client’s key requests.

"Emma has captured the spirit of competition as well as subtly including the ‘action’ below the waves. The science of the seas is also indicated by the concentric rings, bringing another viewpoint of the oceans.

"It is broad enough in its communication to appeal to a wide audience.

"The use of two colors enhances the cohesiveness of design and the subtle touch of the blue in the railings pulls the landmark tower into the whole - again this is helped by the the encompassing rings circling the tower. The use of the seagulls articulates movement and even the air itself, giving a sense of direction, distance and freedom.

"Emma’s love of animation and transformation has been brought into a ’static’ design giving it life."

"External live briefs from top clients are so important to students," Potter continued. "As a policy we give every student the opportunity to enter live briefs throughout their studies.

"These briefs are where students can put their learned practical and research skills with conceptual thinking into real-world scenarios. The presentation meetings with clients is something that cannot be replicated within role play scenarios within academia; it raises each student’s game and it’s wonderful to see them rise to the occasion.

"For Emma this is confirmation that her process of extensive research, ideas generation, drawing abilities and beautiful execution - her practice, has an appreciative and international audience. This is among the first steps of a promising career and comes at the right time for her as she graduates - a difficult time for every student where the safety of an art education, no matter how stringent, is no longer there on a day to day basis. It’s down to each student to forge their way."

Reflecting on SailGP’s impending visit to Plymouth, Potter finished: "The combination of exciting sport on an international level combined with global positive care and concerns for the environment is terrific.

"The fact that Plymouth is one of the global venues helps to establish the city as an international destination, and the fabulous geographic location is ideal for such a visual event."

All Great Britain Sail Grand Prix merchandise - including the T-shirt featuring Emma Beavis' design - can be bought online at shopsailgp.com from next week, or at SailGP's pop-up shop on Plymouth High Street, near House of Fraser. Location details here

Opening dates:
Wednesday, July 14 - Sunday, July 18
Opening times: