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Ex-student designs top koala-ty mascot for Australia's Commonwealth Games


A former Wrexham student has put his koalafications to the test designing a new mascot for Australia’s Commonwealth Games.

Ian Anderson, 48, an animation director, who studied design communications and animation at Wrexham Glyndwr University, lead a team of artists to create Gold Coast Commonwealth Games’ 2018 mascot – Borobi, a blue koala who is making national news in Australia.

The original concept of Borobi was picked from a competition and Ian, who has worked for production studio Cutting Edge, based in Australia, for 14 years, helped design the top koala-ty mascot and bring his character to life.

Ian, who left Wrexham Glyndwr University in 1990, known as North East Wales Institute (NEWI) at the time, said: “As animation director I’m responsible in leading the team of talented Cutting Edge artists from the beginning to the end of a production.

“It’s rare I get to animate these days, but I enjoy it when I do. The Commonwealth Games was one of these projects, such an enjoyable project from beginning to completion. 

“We were awarded the contract to bring the mascot competition winner’s design to life. Working with Brisbane agency, Sapient Nitro, we adapted the design to incorporate Borobi's backstory and indigenous design elements.

“It was such an honour to work on a project of such national significance with a very talented team.”

Ian, originally from Liverpool, got his first break into the industry on the production of The Thief and the Cobbler and then headed to Australia and worked on Disney TV’s Goof Troop before working on TV adverts at Catflap Animation.

Pauline Amphlett, senior lecturer in graphic design at Wrexham Glyndwr University who taught Ian from 1988-90, said: “It was always a pleasure to spend time with Ian as student. He was extremely focused on gaining a career in the animation industry. So pleased to know he has gone onto make a successful life for himself.

“We have kept in touch through an Alumni page I have set up on social media. Seeing the release of Ian's Borobi story go global was incredible for his family here in the UK and they must be so proud of him like ourselves.

“Just goes to show from the humble beginnings of studying with us here in Wrexham anything is possible if you set your sights high. Ideas and problem solving are everything in this industry and the edges of all the creative subject areas are now very blurred which is very positive in the creative industries.

“The course philosophy remains the same today. We want all our graduates to gain relevant employment in the design industry.”

To view the launch video of Borobi Gold Coast Commonwealth Games released last week visit