Meet the London student who got Kopparberg to pay for a year of tuition with his design

Ben’s limited-edition designs of the company’s cider bottles have hit the shelves UK-wide

Whether it is the weekly pres before Sports Night or a casual drink to drown out the exam sorrow, drinking is engrained in the London student culture.

But while most people end up with nothing but a gruelling hangover during their nine o’clock in-person seminars the following day, Benjamin McKay, a second-year Ravensbourne Uni student, managed to win a full year of tuition from the cider brand Kopparberg and an internship a creative agency.

How did he do it? The London Tab caught up with Ben to find out.

Seizing the opportunity

As an advertising and brand design student, Ben came across the Kopparberg opportunity through his uni: “The brand and creative agency approached my uni and invited all art students across all years to submit designs for a competition to create labels that had the design feel of ‘free to be.'”

The competition is also the first-ever makeover opportunity for the well-known design of Kopparberg’s Strawberry and Lime, Mixed Fruit, and Pear bottles, and catching this rare chance has turned out well for Ben.

“Winning this brief has been enormous for me. To see my work in the real world, to have a year’s tuition paid, to have an eight-week paid internship at Neverland is amazing.

“The impact this will have on my career is hopefully really big. I know I have a good addition to my portfolio and some great work experience under my belt,” he said.

Ben McKay (image provided by and used with permission from Ben)

His dazzling designs debuted in bars, pubs, restaurants, and supermarkets across the UK on 7th April and will be available for a limited amount of time. When we asked how his ideas for them came about, Ben said: “My designs are inspired by my background as a street artist and I wanted to bring an element of club culture along with summer vibes.

“Using stencil art, spray can style and riso print, I aimed to create a free-flowing artistic style with a contemporary look which reflects how I view the world of Kopparberg,” he said.

Ben’s designs and Kopparberg’s original (image credits: Ravensbourne University news and Kopparberg’s Instagram)

‘I want to design for a better planet and to help people with my design’

Aside from winning this competition, Ben also has his own streetwear brand, designed for musicians and DJs, sold over 200 paintings through Artfinder, and painted murals for clubs, bars, and festivals.

We wondered how Ben could go so far with his career as a student while most of us are scrambling to meet the next deadline, but it turns out that he approached uni differently: “I am a mature student – I was an actor for 15 years and decided to change careers to design.

“Design moves pretty fast, but a good foundation in type, layouts, and the adobe creative suite is all you need as well as a passion for it,” he said.

With a passion coming from the desire to “design for a better planet and to help people with my design,” Ben told us that his uni experience has helped him a lot in achieving his goals.

“I wholly recommend that anyone who is thinking of going back to uni should do it! I have really enjoyed my experience so far and have learned so much,” he said.

As the competition received great responses this year, Kopparberg plans to hold it again to decide next year’s limited edition design, with submissions opening from April to August 2022.

Kopparberg’s head of marketing, Rob Salvesen, said that the company is “all about celebrating firsts that last.

“Offering Ben the chance to redesign our core range bottles, a first for the brand since it launched, does just that.

“We are very proud to be able to give independent talent a platform to show off their creativity and help set up what we hope will be a long and successful career for Ben through our internship and bursary. We are also looking forward to doing the same for our second-year winner – check out our social channels for more information on how to enter.”

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