Sunday, 28 June 2015

Graphic Design Show 2015 West Kent College (University of Kent)

Another great year for our HE Graphic Design & Illustration students at West Kent College (University of Kent). Well done to all. Here a a few of the works exhibited along with a brochure put together by yours truly.

Brochure Graphics Spread
Click to view document (if using a Flash incompatible device click the PDF version below)

West Kent College offers a range of creative Higher Education courses including Graphic Design validated by the University of Kent (West Kent College):
http://westkent.ac.uk/university-courses-in-kent/he-art-and-design.html
http://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/undergraduate/additional/#!k-college

Images from clockwise:
Hayley Eldridge, Hayley Eldridge, Fred Sirman, Hayley Eldridge, Matt Wyles, Dave Sexton.

 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Pick-me-Up 2015 at Somerset House

Pick me up 1

Once again we took our students to the current offerings of Somerset House’s Pick Me Up, Graphic Arts Festival. I really wanted to see something different, something inspiring, something to amaze me and I came away feeling mostly flat. The ‘festival’ seemed to have lost its buzz and its edgy excitement . There was little of any substance but then that’s partly what Pick Me Up seems to be about. (No, it’s not me getting old, many of my students felt the same way.) Even the exhibitors appeared to have lost their zest for the occasion, looking quite glum and crestfallen. I suspect that there were fewer exhibitors this year and that made it feel emptier.

Pick me Up is a niche happening. It’s a mixture of the zany, the quirky, the colourful and the cheerful. Typically you’ll see cartoons, surreal and abstract prints and alphabets and much of it now looks like a reproduction of each others style and a rehash of much from previous years, only now it’s looking a little like a tired clown. Pick Me Up appears to have become increasingly safe in churning out pseudo-cheerful work with little to say. Imagine a nursery school with a letterpress, good paper stock and plenty of day glo colours only far more strained in its results. Well, with the few exceptions that’s Pick Me Up 2015. There were some noticeable strong participants and their differences in both technical skills and content made them stand out. My favourites by far were the sensitive and lively drawings of Zoë Taylor and wonderful paper-crafted works of Hattie Newman. Both were a real delight to find.

Visual work aside, the range of speakers this year was good and I was lucky enough to hear Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright of ‘pioneering publishing house’ GraphicDesign&  deliver a great talk on graphic design.

In recent years I have genuinely enjoyed much of what has come out of PMU and the associated genre of art that has emerged. I particularly like the way in which many of the PMU creatives are doing things for themselves, on their own terms and in their own way, however, I can’t help yearning for something fresh or perhaps more importantly a more diverse range of styles. Contemporary graphic art is so much more than what PMU has come to represent. A little substance goes a long way.

PMU_2015_2
Lucienne Roberts (L) & educator Rebecca Wright of GraphicDesign&
Out students taking part in using coloured scraperboard at the Blink Art stand
Our FE & HE students taking part in using coloured scraperboard at the Blink Art stand
Hattie Newman
Hattie Newman
Hattie Newman
Hattie Newman
Workbook of Hattie Newman
Workbook of Hattie Newman
The work of Kate Hudson
The work of Kate Hudson
The work of Kate Hudson
The work of Kate Hudson

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Ladybird by Design

Things to Make, 1963, G. Robinson. (c) Ladybird Books Ltd, 1963
Things to Make, 1963, G. Robinson. © Ladybird Books Ltd, 1963

Like the many thousands of British children who, like me, grew up reading Ladybird Books in the 1970s—and the decade either side of this—can doubtless recall a certain fascination with at least one Ladybird title. For me it was the beautifully realistic and slightly unnerving illustrations by Robert Lumley for The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Like many Ladybird titles the illustrations were engrossing. They were images to be pored over, and as such many remain as indelible memories.

Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion is exhibiting  ‘Ladybird by Design’. Containing some 200 original artworks the exhibition is a testament to Ladybird’s commitment to publishing illustrations of the highest quality; images that would help with learning by being both descriptive and well made. They are realistic yet somehow convey so much more than any photograph might. Yes, the content often depicted a somewhat idealised view of the world, and it is easy to criticise some of the content for being being middle class and for having very gender specified roles, but judging by the stream of visitors that I have seen on my visits the exhibition it’s easy to see that these books are held in firm affection by the nation. Of course, I say that with some bias as one of the many who associates these books with part of my childhood. Seeing these illustrations again, and in the context of having trained as an illustrator and now teaching the graphic arts made me appreciate these wonderful books and their images more than ever. It perhaps also suggests that illustration, often viewed as a lower art form, can rival the interest generated by many ‘fine’ art collections. The exhibition runs until May 10th.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Lettering Workshop with Sean de Burca

Sean_de_Burca_Artwork

Sean de Burca is a former design student of West Kent College (University of Kent) who completed his graphic design degree with us several years ago. Since then Sean has established himself as a designer with a niche angle. As well as being an accomplished musician, producing the artwork for his own albums, Sean is gaining popularity as a designer with other musicians who are appear to want designs with a personal, more organic look rather than a slick, digital feel.

Sean’s work is meticulously crafted and our students had the pleasure of watching Sean deliver a talk and demonstration, during which the students emulated his approach. As someone who is familiar with a number of lettering techniques I can’t recall seeing an approach like this. The process that Sean has created and honed is one that allows him to work at an impressive speed given its intricacies.

Using this tried and tested method of creating lettering guides Sean then builds up his lettering in pencil adding any embellishments as required, and once satisfied with the drawing this is then taken into Illustrator for digital drawing and refining. Lastly the designs are further worked on within Photoshop where he can try a variety of treatments to obtain the right feel for the musician and their music.

It’s always fascinating to observe the subtle nuances of different lettering artists and once the students got to grips with Sean’s method of creating the lettering guides they soon became immersed in creating their own letters. As well as being interesting, some of the students are already considering how they might utilise this technique in their projects.

Sean’s artwork can be seen here.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Ivan Chermayeff: ‘Cut and Paste’ at the De La Warr Pavillion

Chermayeff_DLWP

One of the most cheerful and playful exhibitions I’ve been to this year has to that of Ivan Chermayeff: Cut and Paste, currently at the De La Warr Pavillion in Sussex. Charmayeff, founding member of Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, is a designer of international repute, and has maintained a lengthy and prolific career. He is known particularly for his logo designs that include, among many, Mobil, National Geographic and NBC. Whilst this exhibition contains some of Chermayeff’s commercial work, the exhibition, as the title suggests, is a collection of his personal works that mostly consist of collage together with some calligraphic works. These works demonstrate the bright and witty thinking that one might associate with a successful designer.

The collages are seemingly made of whatever the artist has to hand, be it envelopes, postage stamps, coloured card and other found materials to form fresh and engaging pieces. I’m a big fan of this type of work and I also love the work of the late Alan Fletcher who was also a master of creating similar, quick witted and intelligent collages. I also like these as I think they are a great way of both relaxing, having fun and problem solving at the same time. It appears to be a good time for collage becoming highly visible. Last year I saw the incredible works of Kurt Schwitters, and earlier this year the powerful collages of MatisseIt’s great to feel inspired, but it wasn’t only me that felt that way. To the end of the exhibition hall there was an area for having a go at making your own collages, and my 7 year old sons did a grand job rising to the challenge, as can be seen below. Future Charmayeff’s in the making, perhaps?!

Many of Charmayeff’s collages have been collated in this book titled ‘Suspects, Smokers, Soldiers and Salesladies’, published by Lars Müller. (There are images of Chermayeff’s work in this link.)

The exhibition ends 14th September 2014

Bones1

Bones2 S_Bones

A_Bones

 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Typeface Design (Part 5/5)

IDI Blog

The last installment of my 5 part ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Typeface Design’ can be read over on the blog of the Interactive Design Institute.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

K College Summer Shows 2014

O'Reilly's Whiskey flavoured drinks design by Jamie O'Reilley
O’Reilly’s Whiskey flavoured drinks design by Jamie O’Reilly

A
s ever the HND and BA (Hons) Graphic Design students of K College pulled off yet another another successful end of year show. The show was well attended and the feedback was great, with some students getting interviews for jobs and internships. Some of the work can be seen on our Pinterest page. One  of our BA students, Alex Greenhead, put together a good little review that cab be read here.

Well done to all and best of luck for the future.

Book of quotations by Liz Owen
Book of quotations by Liz Owen
students 2014
Some of this year’s student sensing the relief of a job well done!

shoe 2014

 

Monday, 25 November 2013

Graphic Design Graduation at Canterbury Cathedral 2013

Another great year for our Graphic Design students
Another great year for our Graphic Design students

Another year passes and another successful cohort of Graphic Design students graduate at Canterbury Cathedral. This year saw the small cohort gain two firsts, seven 2:1’s, three 2:2’s and no 3rds. Most of the students pictured here have secured work or placements with the design industry, including freelance design, book cover design, and one has gone onto postgraduate study. The BA coursework can be seen here. Well done to all.

 

 

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Type:Rider

Type:Rider is a new piece of typographic edutainment that’s recently been released by Cosmografik. I thought I’d give it a go to see if it any good. I’m not much of a games player, however, as a graphic design educator I’m always keen to see if something like this could be of use to my students. First impressions of this are quite good. The player is represented by a colon, and the object of the game is that you work your way through a series of atmospheric typographic landscapes, obstacles and puzzles in order to complete each level. The accompanying sounds are equally atmospheric.As you progress through each level, there are oportunities to find out about the history of type and printing.

The overall look of the game is great, although I’m playing this on an iPhone so some of the typographic information is a bit small. I also found that when I got wrapped up in the game I stopped paying attention to the informative bits.  It is just a bit of fun but if it’s enjoyable and gets people reading about type then that can only be a good thing. The app costs £1.99 and the game is also on Facebook.