We are beyond excited to finally tell you who your trainers will be this semester! We’ve worked hard and scouted the most important professionals who are ready to give you a pass into their creative process.

This semester will focus on the strategic process behind design, its relevance for business and society, its functional mechanics, beyond the aesthetics. Through remarkable, highly awarded creative individuals from Romania and abroad, like London, Dubai, Paris, Moscow, Hamburg, the classes will go into detail about how to build a memorable brand identity, how to translate it into consumer experience, how to spot, interpret and make good use of illustration, type, new media tools & how to integrate product design trends in remarkable creative campaigns.

You will learn how to master the art of coding and decoding visual languages, how to refine and adapt your visual style and align everything strategically, while being culturally relevant and business sound.

The participants will work on three semester briefs + a short deadline brief. Internationally acclaimed creative directors will be in the jury, to select the very best. The winning team will be selected to represent Romania at the official Young Designers competition via Cannes Lions Creativity Festival, this summer.

Tuesday: 13th of April:

[spacer height=”20px”]7.00 PM-8.00 PM:  Andrei Beșliu, Group Creative Director Cohn&Jansen: “George, The first intelligent banking – the backstage story”

Andrei is an architect turned designer turned art director and currently Group Creative Director.

After a substantial work, play & experiment activity at Headvertising, one of Romania’s most innovative, independent agencies, he took flight to Cohn&Jansen in 2018. Now he’s managing the visual and strategic communication behind George, the first intelligent banking, by making it a relevant yet fun new brand. He thinks advertising is still about having a curious mind and a tough stomach, and not always looking for the next golden, shiny prize. Usually found talking about design in the corners of the agency.

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8 PM-9 PM: Teodora Migdalovici. The Founder of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking  and Love&LOBBY. Cannes Lions Ambassador: “From Design Thinking to Design Feeling”

Teodora Migdalovici is the founder of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking, but also of Love & LOBBY, a private diplomacy platform that aims to promote nations through their true values, away from stereotypes.

As an ambassador for the Cannes Lions festival in Romania, she has been one of the dedicated supporters of creativity in Eastern Europe for the last 12 years and has played an important role in motivating, training, and reshaping the industry.

Q&A on the content presented by the speakers & the first feedbacks on the creative personas.

Thursday: 15th of April:

[spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”] 7.00-7.40 PM: Malik Benamara, Creative Director Scholz& Friends, Germany, Cannes Grand Prix Winner, Creative Trainer @Hamburg School of Ideas: “Stop sabotaging brands”

A Cannes Lions GP winner, Malik Benamara is one of Germany’s remarkable creatives, working for agencies with iconic work, like Kolle Rebbe, from junior to intermediate, LLR, Grabarz & Partner and Scholz & Friends, as a Creative Director. He started by studying design, alongside his twin sister and ended up being a copywriter with an amazing retina. He’s worked on brands like BMW, VW, Nike football, Weber grills, Eurowings, Financial Times Germany. He believes in brands’ social imprint and in his spare time he shares his unorthodox view of the creative world with talent attending the School of Ideas in Hamburg or The Alternative School over zoom.

7.40-8.00 Q&A

8.00-9.00 PM: Feedback on the creative personas profiles.

Saturday: 17th of April: 11.AM- 1.30 PM

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Bianca Dumitrascu: 11.00-12.00 “On the power of type”

Bianca Dumitrascu is a type master, a letterer and a passionate graphic designer navigating graciously from advertising to art, type and design. Awarded with the typographic excellence distinction by Type Directors Club New York and Communication Arts, she is the creative community’s darling in Bucharest and beyond. A former Romanian Young Lion & gold winner, holding a master in Advanced Typography, she launched Ampersand Studio in 2018 — the place where she continues to develop her knowledge and passion by creating identities, books, packaging, posters and art. Through Caracter – launched as well in 2018, she offers training & consultancy in calligraphy, typography & type design. In 2019 she became the official letter dame by launching the #TypeThursday Bucharest chapter.

Her passionate stand for the topic, below:

“Letters have power. Their power lies in their rich, fascinating history. And in turn, their rich, fascinating history draws their own, unique personality and purpose. Every letter carries its own character through form, negative space, and sophisticated simplicity — and that’s a story that always needs to be told right. My mission is to promote, educate, and empower typography’s substantial worth in everything I do.”

Q& A, Feedback on the briefs’ solutions.

Tuesday: 20th of April:

[spacer height=”20px”][spacer height=”20px”]7- 7.40 PM: Jamie Ellul, Founder, Supple Studio: On Supple Design

Jamie is a Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and awarded member of D&AD. He started his design career at hat-trick design consultants in 2001 after graduating from Somerset College of Arts. Whilst at hat-trick, he worked with a diverse group of clients including Fairbridge, BBC Books, The Royal Mail, Natural History Museum, Capital Radio, Land Securities and NESTA. In 2005 he became senior designer at Blast, where he designed the award-winning Inuit Paper identity and campaign for Arjowiggins, as well as work for BBC Events, University of the Arts London and the Arts Council.

In 2007 as a senior freelance designer, Jamie worked with The Partners, 300million, fivefootsix and Wiedemann Lampe before establishing Magpie Studio in a pub in early 2008 with two of his best buddies. Magpie Studio went on to become one of the UK’s most internationally awarded agencies (6th in the Design Week Creative Survey 2013) working with household names from Apple to the British Heart Foundation, Nike to Royal Mail.

In 2013 Jamie relocated to Bath where he started Supple Studio (not in a pub this time). Bringing with him a wealth of experience and an enviable list of clients including Channel 4, Royal Mail, The Royal Mint, University of the Arts London, The Royal Institution, The Chartered Society of Designers, NSPCC and National Museums of Scotland. Over the years he has written various articles for the British design press and has been awarded a plethora of pieces of wood, metal and paper – eighteen D&AD Awards (including three silver nominations, an Impact Award and two Yellow Pencils), thirteen Design Week Awards (including two winners and four commendations), two ADC NY Silver Awards and a Cannes Gold Lion for branding. But he never got himself the elusive record deal he was really after.

“To me being a good designer is about doing good work for good people that does good. Where possible I think we have a duty to create work that helps society and the planet – creating work that helps organizations and causes like not for profits and social and climate action groups. Using our creativity to produce engaging work that helps those organizations to stand out and make a difference.

7.40-8.30 PM: Feedback on the first brief’s solutions.

Thursday: 22nd of April

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7.00-7.40 PM: Davor Bruketa: “Design and business in tough times”

Davor Bruketa is the Chairman of the legendary Bruketa Zinic & Grey. Alongside Nicola, Davor launched BZ in 1995 and pretty soon they made a name for themselves, as well as for the Croatian / Eastern European exquisite talent. Their office, nicely placed in the premises of a former toilet paper factory, is a statement for both their sense of humor and their aim to resist routine and produce exceptional content, standing the test of time.

Recipient of more than 450 international creativity and design distinctions, modestly listed alphabetically, on the agency’s webpage, there is no wonder BZ ended up winning the long sought after International Small Agency of the year Award, a distinction offered by AdAge, in 2014.

If there is a way to describe the agency style, remained untouched over the years, before and after the alliance with Grey, here it is: a soft spot for brilliantly simple insight that is there, for everyone to see, while 99.9 of the people are simply missing its splendid relevance. A human approach on the briefs, with one of the highest creative EQ’s ever seen among communicators. And in the end, a flawless use of all design tools on earth, to bring brands and stories into people’s lives and living them there, to have a voice of their own and to be part of the pop-culture.


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8.00- 8.40 PM: Ana Curbelo, UK, Cannes Grand Prix, D&AD Winner, Illustrator, Giphy artist: “The soft power activism: changing the world one line at a time”

Ana Curbelo (known as @untepid) is an award-winning illustrator and artist.
She has worked as an illustrator internationally with clients such as BBC, Scholz & Friends and Vice, creating characters with a very distinct personal style. Her most notable work is her illustrations for The Tampon Book, which helped change German law and won several awards at all the major award festivals including a White Pencil in Impact at D&AD, and a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, attracting worldwide press interest.
The characters in her work are almost always depicted naked, with the intention of showing the vulnerability of the human being and prompt self-reflection. Their openness and vulnerability endows them with a
humorous and tender dignity, and, though disenchanted, their attitude is not detached or indifferent.
Curbelo grew up in the Canary Islands, studied graphic communication at Loughborough University, and now works from her studio in Stoke Newington, London.


Friday, 23rd of April, bonus class:

1-2PM: Tay Guan Hin is Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Singapore: “Vertical Storytelling”

Tay Guan Hin is Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Singapore. He has helped Visa, Exxon, Shell, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, P&G, HSBC, Unilever, and other global brands improve market share and solve business challenges. He operates well within this complexity, always matching flawless execution with inspiring creative ideas, staying true to the brand’s DNA. Guan is the true collaborator, a profound alchemist of innovative success in a team working in the most creative agency worldwide networks, like JWT, Saatchi & Saatchi, and Leo Burnett.  Guan’s role continues to evolve: delivering insightful creativity that builds on digital and innovative engagement to increase brand preference.

He has been fortunate enough to be recognized in Cannes Lions as a Jury President, D&AD Foreman, One Show Judge, Head of Jury Asia Pacific Effies, and a tank mechanic. As a thought leader, he is a sought-after keynote speaker in global/regional conventions, including Digital CMO Summit, The Martech Summit, CMO Innovation Summit, Spikes Asia, One Show China, Brand Fest, Adfest, Brand Forum, AdStar, and Cannes Lions.  Guan devotes the same passion that goes into his work by mentoring young talents — setting up the first student awards in Singapore, trained students in One Show China, including the Spikes Asia Young Academy.


Saturday: 24th of April: 

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11- 12 PM: Anca Ifrim, Group Creative Director, Former YL, Heist Industries:  “The devil is in the details: how small things in graphic design lead to impact”

Her education draws from a multicultural background, having studied Graphic Information Design at University of Westminster – London. Also an alumnus of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking, she was chosen to join The Roger Hatchuel Academy and subsequently take part in the Young Lions Design competition at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. In the 14 years as a graphic designer & art director, she has worked for global & industry-leading commercial clients, as well as on passion projects. She drives forward strong visual concepts, having delivered brand identities, editorial projects, product & portrait photography, social animated content, digital & integrated campaigns.

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12- 1 PM: Filip Gonzacenco, Publicis Paris:  France, Publicis: “Design, Pop Culture & Conscious Business. A love story.”

Filip Gonzancenco is one of the proud alumni of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking who made it big! In 2015, he won the local competition and became the Romanian representative for Cannes Young Lions 2015.

As he lives abroad now, he is an ardent supporter of Romanian creativity and encourages people to discover his country of origin at every given opportunity.
He is currently working as an Art Director for Publicis Paris and we can’t wait to have a chat about design and pop culture.

Q& A, Feedback on the briefs’ solutions.

Tuesday: 27th of April:

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8-8.40 PM: Jane Struk, Art Director & Board member, Depot Branding Agency, Moscow: The DNA of a Design Winner

Jane Struk is the Art Director for Multinational clients in the Depot Branding Agency, located in Moscow. Jane specializes in branding and packaging design and has been working successfully with a number of major international and Russian brands, NESTLÉ, Unilever, Pepsico, Bayer, Danone, Heineken to name but a few.

After five years of working in Depot, Jane became a board member of the agency.

Depot is officially the most award-winning branding agency in Russia. As a part of the Depot Branding Agency team, Jane contributed to the winning of prestigious awards at international design and advertising festivals. Among them are Pentawards, Red Dot Communication Design, The Dieline, European Design Awards, Eurobest or RED APPLE.

In 2021, Jane for the second time became a jury member of the Pentawards packaging design award, in 2019 Jane joined the jury team of the international Red Apple Communication Design festival, among professionals from other countries. She also lectures and speaks on several national and international forums about branding and packaging design.

In 2018, Jane became a board member of EPDA (European Packaging Design Association). The area of her responsibility includes all external communications of the organization.

Jane finds inspiration in minimalist art, Scandinavian aesthetics and functionalism, managing to interpret them her own way via the medium of graphic design. She puts her love and passion into every single project to ensure that it is a breakthrough.


Thursday: 29th of April:

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7.00-7.40 PM: Basma Hamdy: “Borrow or Steal: Cultural Appropriation in Design”

Basma Hamdy is a research-based designer, author, curator, and educator producing work that bridges historical, political and social issues with archival, documentarian and critical mechanisms. She is co-author of ‘Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution’, (2014), as well as, co-author of ‘Khatt: Egypt’s Calligraphic Landscape’ (2018). She has been interviewed and featured in prominent international media and exhibited and spoke at art and design festivals and conferences around the world. She is currently an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at VCUarts Qatar.


Tuesday: 4th of May:

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7-7.40 PM Vidya Manmohan, UAE, Dubai Lynx & Cannes Lions winner & Juror: “Reset the world through design”

Vidya Manmohan is celebrated for having traveled off the beaten track, across the span of her career.
She walked out of the medical school gates to pursue a career in Advertising.
Switched her expertise from Art direction to copywriting mid-way through her successful career. What’s more, this mom of a medical student has gone back to University to pursue her Masters in Digital Management at the reputed HyperIsland (also known as the Harvard of Digital studies) whilst launching her own passion venture. Her work reflects the pop culture around her and has bagged International awards, not only in the print and outdoor categories, but also in radio, design, digital, integrated and advertising for good. Vidya has also been on the jury panel of International Advertising Festivals like the Cannes Lions, New York Festivals, Clio, Adfest, Lisbon Advertising Awards and the Young Guns to name a few.

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8 – 9 PM: Uwe Melichar, Melichar Bros, Penta Awards Winner & Juror, “What great design means today”

Digitization, Purpose, Sustainability are the buzzwords that drive our design business today. What are the new requirements for designers? What do brand owners want and how to act and react as an agency? Brand & Packaging Expert Uwe Melichar will give you some insights on what’s going on beyond the beauty of design. Uwe Melichar, born in 1968, studied communication design at the Muthesius University in Kiel and worked at the brand agency FACTOR for 25 years. He was the agency’s managing partner and built up the packaging division. In 2020, he left the FACTOR and started his new business, MELICHAR Bros. Under the slogan “Increase Value, Decrease Waste”, the company focuses on sustainable packaging solutions. In his work-life, Uwe Melichar has realised projects for adidas, Bosch, C&A, Gardena, Omron and Miele. Together with his team, he develops packaging and communication design for clients in Japan, Russia, China, the USA and various European countries. He is also a lecturer at several universities, such as the University of Augsburg, is a member of the Type Directors Club New York and president of the European Brand & Packaging Design AssoCiation (epda).


Thursday:6th of May: Cristian Costea, Co-Founder at Font Brief

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Cristian Costea is an internationally awarded creative and a proud former student of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking, currently living and working in Berlin.In 2009, Cristian Costea became the winner of The Alternative School competition and qualified as a Young Lion representing Romania in Cannes. It was an eye-opening experience helping him set his inner compass for international performance.

He moved abroad, working for Jung von Matt, Geometry or Ogilvy in Prague, Hamburg and Berlin, developing his creative language way beyond traditional advertising into branding, mobile and cyber creativity. Ambitious and open minded, he worked both on established brands or sensitive social topics and continued winning at larger scale, up to being a silver recipient in Cannes.

In 2020, together with fellow graphic designer Victor Bartis, he launched, a platform helping designers and art directors to better choose fonts for their projects. You can check out his work here.

7th-9th of May: 48 h brief

Tuesday: 17 of May / Results & Winners Announcements

How can I join?

If interested in joining, you can apply now by sending us your CV & portfolio at until April 12th.

Fee: 200 euros/person. 150 euros/person, if you have a teammate.

We are currently offering 4 scholarships, all thanks to George by BCR. If you want to give it a try, send us an email and ask for the scholarship brief. Scholarships application deadline: April 6th.


The Young Lions Design & The Roger Hatchuel Academy

Entries are open for the Young Lions Design & Roger Hatchuel Academy via The Spring Semester.

Deadline: 17 March

€300 + vat / individual

€500 + vat / team


Looking to buy multiple participations?

More Info