11 . 12 . 17

Make Believe – a friendly competition for a great cause


twentysix were given the wonderful opportunity to create a little ‘Make Believe’ this Christmas through Radio Aire’s Cash for Kids fund raising project. 10 creative agencies from across Leeds came together to celebrate the season of goodwill by creating, donating and exhibiting a bespoke piece of artwork based on a selected quote from classic children’s literature.

The cause

1 in 4 children in West Yorkshire live in poverty, Mission Christmas aims to make sure every child has a Christmas to remember. The funds raised from the Make Believe initiative will be donated to Radio Aire’s Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas appeal, which helps to ensure disadvantaged children receive a gift on Christmas Day.

Let the competition commence

Each agency was given a selected quote. After substituting our usual design lunch for an impromptu briefing, we learned our fate. The mutual feeling within the design team was that we lucked out. A quote in which we all agreed would translate nicely into a design.

“Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!”

 Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Perhaps in contrast to other design agencies taking part in the cause, we decided to tackle this individually. Each creating our own interpretation of the quote, directly competing with each other in a friendly, albeit a competitive way. With a 3-week deadline over a hectic work period, notepads became angled and the mind games began.

Some work in progresses from early concepts

Into Wonderland

With the freedom of such an open brief and spurred on by the great cause, it was an exciting chance for us to get our teeth stuck in and create something truly creative. Our only constrictions being the quote itself, and translating the design onto a poster, greetings card and mug coaster. Four members of the design team each began on their journey into wonderland, quickly becoming evident that each artwork was going in a very different direction. A testament to skilled designers we have here at twentysix.

Each design had its own personality and style, inspired by the individuals own interests. Most interestingly was how each individual could take the same brief and produced such varied results.

Taking influence from Felix the Cat and the silent film era of the 1920s, I wanted to create an idea of a mischievous cat which is in effect the unseen force of the story, manipulating events from the background much like the devil in various folklore tails.

Ben Pattison


Inspired by the traditional printing process used within the original books, I wanted to combine this with a modern twist whilst incorporating everything Alice. The poster exists with no orientation, drawing elements from a playing card with each half of the poster telling a different side to the story, and its own half of the quote.

Matthew Watson


The quote focuses on the grin of the Cheshire Cat and touches upon the cat’s elusive nature. I decided to enhance the grin as the focal point of the piece to encourage smiles from children to adults. I have incorporated hints of the Cheshire Cat, plus subtly placed the quote behind the grin. I also wanted tip my cap to some of the other famous characters that await Alice down the hole to Wonderland. The positioning of these characters gives the piece a surreal dream-like quality, which is the essence of Alice in Wonderland.

Oliver Lee


Alice’s adventures in wonderland is a story that blurs the lines between what’s real and what isn’t. I wanted to incorporate this idea into my poster, bringing characters and imagery from the story into a real world setting.

Robert Hancock


We have a winner

We all had a favourite design which wasn’t our own. With no way of choosing a design internally, we passed on the impossible task to the organisers of the event, Magpie. As the day of the event approached, and no indication as to what artwork may have been chosen to be shown on twentysix’s behalf, we waited for the big unveiling.

The fairytale

The exclusive Make Believe exhibition took place at Victoria Gate shopping centre to officially launch the 10 beautifully displayed artworks. The event saw Victoria Gate’s lower shopping floor transformed into an enchanting evening of ‘Make Believe’ complete with green fizz, bagel canapes, and a musical performance of fairytale classics.

All the artwork is now available to buy as a print, greetings card, coaster set or mug at (available until 15/12/17) So if you like art, fairytales, or struggling to find that perfect secret Santa gift, dig deep. It’s for a great cause!

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