The branding and the brief.

2021 marked 100 years since the University of Leicester opened doors to students in 1921. Since then they have made history with some groundbreaking achievements like the discovery of DNA fingerprinting and uncovering King Richard III’s remains. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they were even the first-ever University to win TV’s University Challenge!  Proud of their history and achievements, they weren’t going to let this landmark year go unnoticed. After all, it’s not every day you can celebrate 100 years. The university came to us for some fantastic ideas for the University of Leicester Centenary merchandise, and some other ideas for some printed corporate gifts.


UOL Centenary Merchandise


For the golden year, the university really had to make an impression. They chose to move away from their traditional red and white colour scheme and opt for gold and black branding to mark the occasion. They have even created a centenary logo that incorporates the number ‘100’. Not only fantastic for their merchandise but the golden branding can be seen on display all over campus making students feel a part of UoL’s history.

The University tasked the Extravaganza team with showing off some creative ideas to celebrate their 100-year anniversary; we couldn’t wait to get to grips with this fantastic new branding as we just knew it would look spot on with the right selection of products. We set about showcasing the University of Leicester Centenary Merchandise with promotional gifts such as thermal bottles and socks aimed at students to high-end keepsake gifts like leather-bound notebooks and gold coins stamped with the centenary logo.


Unviersity of Leicester Centenary Merchandise - Bottles Unviersity of Leicester Centenary Merchandise - Cutlery Unviersity of Leicester Centenary Merchandise - Gift Bag


The event and the merchandise.

The Students and Staff at the University of Leicester certainly know how to celebrate! Kicking off their centenary year with a Birthday Bonanza to mark the occasion, open to everyone at the university and the people of Leicester. UoL offered everyone the chance to take part in lectures and talks as well as several family-friendly activities like learning new archaeological skills and solving crimes with the criminology department.

What better way to spread the love than to present some fantastic golden gifts. For their first event, UoL opted for some black and gold sweatshirts and zoodies (that’s a zipped hoodie!) to sell at the event. Eco Jute bags and Glossy paper bags branded with gold foil were the finishing touches to take the goodies home in style.

The first round of Merch went down a storm. With celebrations continuing through 2021 and spilling into 2022 these golden garments continued to be sold in the webshop for students to enjoy for months after the centenary festival. 

The design was key to these products’ success. By resisting to go too brash with bright colours and bold designs they have created something classy that students will love to wear and hopefully keep for a long time to remember their centenary year at UoL. The classic black and gold combination for their zoodies and sweatshirts works perfectly and shows how simple branding and the right colour combination can be so effective when done right.

With remembrance day just around the corner from UoL’s October birthday, the University held its own remembrance service on campus. This completed a 3 year Poppy Pilgrimage which was launched by Sir David Attenborough in 2018 to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War 1. An important part of the University of Leicester’s History as it led to its founding in 1921. 

 We were able to produce perhaps the most fitting giveaway to mark 3 years of the Poppy Pilgrimage. Our branded Grow Poppies were the perfect accompaniment to the remembrance service. Guests could take home their own mini terracotta growing kits and pots containing poppy seeds and soil. Just add water for an interactive way to remember the University’s wartime history.




Just in time for January graduations!

For students graduating in UoL’s centenary year, it was only right that they were able to celebrate their success in style. Unlike previous years, 2021 and 2022 graduates enjoyed some amazing golden treats. Each received a goodie bag with ‘Alumni’ and the centenary logo in a dazzling gold print. They also enjoyed a beautifully engraved black and gold pen and to top it all off the perfect sweet treat, Gold Chocolate Medallions of course! When UoL’s event team approached us just before Christmas to create some centenary-branded goodies for their January graduation, it was certainly a tall order. Our printers closed over the holiday break and we had over 3,000 bags, pens and medallions to produce. So how did we pull it off? 

As always, preparation and planning are key. We sourced the final three products based on their fast lead times. Amazingly, all were produced in the 5 working day window we had to work with.  Additionally to this, we were able to prepare visuals and finalise the designs with the uni’s branding team before the client signed off, saving us time in the final proofing stage. Once again the black and gold colour scheme used for these products was a real hit. For these Alumni kits, we used some great branding techniques to get the gold really pops. Unlike the Zoodies and Sweatshirts, we used a metallic print. This provides a really nice contrast and adds a little zing to these reusable shoppers. The black and gold pens also looked fantastic. The University logo is engraved into the matt black surface to reveal the shiny gold finish behind, giving a real quality touch to this useful keepsake gift. Finally the gold chocolate medallions. There was no question that these would be such a hit! Everyone loves a freebie choccy, especially when it’s a big chunk of medallion wrapped in gold foil. This product was a real stroke of branding genius as it works so well with the centenary brand.



Is there anything we could have done differently?

As is often the problem we can be held back by time constraints. Our lovingly printed products do unfortunately take time! It would have been great to offer some more to the university to fit with their celebratory campaign if their January graduations weren’t held back by our factories’ Christmas closures. However, we’re always keen to put together a solution and we think we really pulled it off!


So, was the merch a success?

Absolutely, the University of Leicester Centenary event really made the most of this fantastic opportunity to celebrate 100 years. Not just with these golden goodies but with the perfect branding to match. That was the key to these products looking so amazing and becoming such a hit with students and staff. The classic black and gold combo looks spot on when teamed with the right selection of merch and we’re very much looking forward to continuing to celebrate with UOL throughout 2022!


University of Leicester Centenary Merchandise


Contact us.

Have your own landmark year to celebrate? Or perhaps you love the look of our golden giveaways and you’d love to create your own corporate anniversary gifts. Then what are you waiting for!? Just get in touch with one of our team and we’ll be happy to advise on your next campaign. You can call us on 0116 285 2417 or drop us an email at and the team would be more than happy to help.