NCAD’s Partnership with PwC

PwC is the largest professional services firm in Ireland, providing integrated audit, tax and advisory services across all industries. In September 2012, PwC and NCAD embarked on a partnership to commission unique design work, created by NCAD students, for inclusion in the PwC calendar.

The PwC calendar is distributed annually to nearly 30,000 clients, staff and other stakeholders across the world.  It is the only printed marketing material distributed by PwC for clients (all other material being distributed electronically) and, as such, it plays a key role in the firm's marketing and communications.

The 2013 edition of the calendar was the first to feature designer commissions.  PwC decided to align this edition with The Gathering – to achieve the dual objective of promoting Ireland as a location for business, and showcasing the emerging creativity and talent within these shores.  The firm’s aims for the calendar more generally also included increased brand awareness and providing an outline of services to clients.

NCAD students contributed to the calendar by creating 12 images that reflected the chosen theme of ‘Why Ireland?’  Once the concept had been agreed, we worked with PwC on the brief for the project, bringing together the wealth of experience within PwC’s Business Development and Marketing team and the knowledge of best commissioning practice from the College.  From the outset, it was acknowledged that this was a ‘win-win’ situation – with PwC gaining access to emerging creative talent and NCAD fulfilling part of its core objective of providing our students with ‘real-world’ learning opportunities.

Twenty-two students from our Visual Communications department collaborated with PwC to develop the 2013 calendar.  This project was conducted as the first module in the students’ third year, and gave them a real sense of the skills they would need to be successful in the field of graphic design.

Once the commercial terms and the process from design to completion were agreed, representatives from PwC joined some of our tutors to deliver the brief to students on campus.  Students were given a tight timeline for the project, with just three weeks from briefing to completion.  Each stage of the project was reviewed against the agreed plan, detailed briefing documents and key milestones. 

By partnering with us, PwC gained access to the College’s own Distiller’s Press, a unique facility that we use to introduce students to the fundamentals of typography.  The Press has produced award-winning work that has been showcased around the world.  As part of this project, using the Distiller’s Press, NCAD students created a valuable series of limited-edition letterpress prints for PwC’s private art collection. 

The 2013 calendar was launched by Rónán Murphy, a Senior Partner with PwC; Professor Declan McGonagle, Director of NCAD; and Tim O’Connor, Chair of The Gathering in November 2012.  The launch achieved strong levels of media coverage, both in domestic and international outlets.

Subsequently, PwC decided to partner with us again in producing its 2014 calendar.  The theme of this edition was ‘Capturing Ireland’s Opportunities’.  It was launched in November 2013.  Speaking at the launch, Professor Declan McGonagle said: “The National College of Art and Design places a major emphasis on providing our students with real-life experiences to develop the skills they will need to contribute effectively to the creative economy. In recent years, we have developed a range of research, innovation and commercialisation opportunities. This partnership with PwC is a good example of one such initiative. By offering our students the chance to work with PwC – and other partners like the IDA – we are aiming to produce world-class graduates with the requisite skills and experience to contribute to our economy, society and culture in a really impactful way.”