Category: Partnerships

Our new collaboration with Lantana Publishing

Lena Gomez, of our current MA Communication Design Information Design Pathway cohort, has been involved in an exciting collaboration with Lantana Publishing this year. Lantana is an award-winning children’s book publisher that focuses on diversity, social equality and environmental sustainability.

Alice Curry, Lantana’s founder and CEO had been talking to Pathway Lead Jeanne-Louise Moys about a potential collaboration in 2019. Lantana was looking for a holistic communications strategy that would reflect how their vision and ethos are evolving and work effectively for their different audiences and stakeholders. When Lena joined our MA cohort in autumn 2019, her strengths and interests mapped well to Lantana’s communication needs so Alice presented us with a brief that Lena undertook for her professional practice assignment.

Portrait of young, dark-haired woman
Lena Gomez, MA Communication Design

Lena said: “Diversity in children’s literature was a large aspect of my undergraduate thesis research, so working with Lantana was the perfect fit for me. I was excited to take on the challenge of creating a communications strategy for a client that is in the middle of implementing exciting new changes”.

At the outset of the project, Lena visited Lantana and worked with them to understand their needs and priorities. She then conducted research to align her project with a broader understanding of current marketing and communication trends in the publishing industry and consider the specific customers, stakeholders and potential partners encompassed in the audience. Looking at user analytics on their existing website and social media and developing clear user personas to work with was an important part of her user-centred research. Lena also had to bear in mind how her design solutions needed to be easy and efficient to implement for an independent publisher and work with their existing systems.

Image showing Lena's design proposals for Lantana compliment slips
Lena has also redesigned compliment slips for Lantana using her new logo design

Lena developed a range of initial approaches for Lantana. These included both visual design proposals and strategies for their implementation. Once a direction was agreed, Lena developed her ideas further producing a comprehensive strategy supported by a new logo design and style guide for the redesigned brand, compliment slips and corporate stationery, a series of infographics and proposals for the redesign of the website.

Reflecting on the project, Lena said: “Working with the team at Lantana has been a rewarding experience. Through collaboration and exploration, I feel that we came up with feasible solutions that aligned well with the goals and values of the company. I’m also happy with the range of designs that I had the opportunity to work on, from logo design to infographic design and more.”

Following submission of her project for University assessment, Lantana has contracted her to continue the redesign of the website. Alice said: “I feel the project has been beneficial for both of us, the relationship has been easy and professional, and I’ve really enjoyed working with her these past few weeks. Lena has brought some fresh, new ideas and insights to the project, giving our branding a fun, child-friendly yet professional new look, and we’re delighted. ”

This project is the first collaboration between Lantana and the Department of Typography & Communication. Jeanne-Louise said: “Working on live briefs is always incredibly valuable for our students. Lantana’s brief is particularly good as Lena needed to consider the needs of the publisher and their systems alongside the needs of their multifaceted audience. We look forward to future collaborations.”

 

Real Jobs: Celebrating over five decades of professional design practice on our undergraduate course

Alongside our degree show opening last week, we also launched a new exhibition celebrating our ‘Real Jobs’ scheme.

Real Jobs has been our flagship professional experience programme for as long as Typography has existed as a department. It allows our students their first taste of working alongside clients to co-create, and deliver on, a design brief. Our graduates regularly tell us that their experiences on these projects exposed them to unique and powerful moments that helped them secure their first paid positions, and continue to inform their professional practice today.

Standout projects on display include the Tomos Jones’ recent gold medal-winning University display at the Chelsea Flower Show and Maddi Davies’ collaborative project on Margaret Atwood, Second Sight. But a full range of work is on show, everything from books to branding, and we hope it is a fitting tribute to the students, staff and clients who have contributed to making Real Jobs such a successful part of the curriculum here in Typography.

The exhibition runs until 28 June. If you’ve ever been a client of Real Jobs, or if you’d like to know more about how the scheme could help your project or organisation, please do stop by to enjoy this celebration of five decades of students’ first steps into the world of professional graphic design.

To see our archive of recent Real Jobs, click here. If you think you have a project that would benefit from student design support you can also book in your own project here.

“I believe this is a great scheme, both supporting students with real life projects and work experience and also providing great value to small companies in need of professional design support” – Sirin Myles, International Education Consultant

“The Real Jobs scheme is an excellent way for students to get experience working towards a brief and is a great way to help everyone involved gain experience that will be useful when transitioning into a working environment. I will be recommending the scheme to my employer as I believe it provides unique opportunities for all involved.” – Isabel Cash, Holland House Books

A selection of projects led by current students, including: animations, branding for charities and voluntary organisations, art catalogues and hockey stick graphics.

 

Production processes ranges from letter press posters to the latest digital printing techniques.

 

The exhibition includes (almost) every Typography degree show invitation ever produced, shown together in chronological order.

 

 

Designing for an evolving publishing industry

The Department recently collaborated with Oxford University Press on an exciting digital publishing project. OUP’s brief gave final year students an opportunity to explore the challenges and possibilities of user-centred design for evolving digital platforms.

Read more

Chinese publishing collaboration proceeds

Group photo of the speakers and organisers of the Creative Chinese Character Industry Symposium

The inaugural symposium of the Creative Chinese Character Industry took place at the Beijing Convention Center on 3 and 4 November. The symposium brought together speakers from different areas of research and professional practice relating to the Chinese script: linguistics, Sinology, typeface design, publishing, and calligraphy. The symposium concluded with the preparatory work for the founding of the Chinese Character League, an interdisciplinary body bringing together organisations and agencies, including the Chinese Character Museum in Anyang.

In addition to speaking at the Symposium and being invited to act as guide for the CCL, Gerry Leonidas had the opportunity to update plans for a project, supported by the University of Reading and ATypI, of publishing key typography texts in Chinese. The first title in the series, Jan Middendorp’s Shaping Text, is nearly out of print already; below, Gerry holds the proof edition of the second title, How to create typefaces by Cristobal Henestrosa, Laura Meseguer, and José Scaglione. The series extends to twelve titles, with a schedule of publishing two titles per year.

Gerry Leonidas holds the proof copy of How to create typefaces

DK at the University of Reading

Our first Baseline shift Wednesday morning session kicked off this week and Typography students were lucky enough to receive a visit from two members of the design department at Dorling Kindersley’s Knowledge team. Kit Lane, who is alumna of our department, and Karen Self, art director at DK, gave a very interesting talk covering many different aspects of the company, as well as promoting the varied internships they offer to students.

‘It was very useful to have industry professionals come and talk to us so early in the course. It was good to know about internships I could apply for sometime in the future’ – Ruth Bartley, Part 1

The DK difference

DK offered students an insight into the exciting world of publishing, from their own unique perspective as market leaders across a range of areas. They covered their practical design process as well as the design thinking that goes along with everything they do, emphasising the importance of considering the consumer (not just the reader) at every stage. The lasting impression was that DK operates very differently to many other competitor publishing companies. This was exemplified by the fact that the majority of design is done in-house, with comparatively huge amounts of time (often four or five months) are spent designing each book, spread by spread, as opposed to flowing text into a prebuilt specification.

Design challenge

Students were given the opportunity to take part in a workshop led by Kit and Karen in the afternoon. This involved generating ideas for a new book named ‘Urban Detective’. Students worked through a design process starting with some initial research into the theme before sketching out rough ideas for book covers and inside spread layouts.

    

These ideas were then refined through peer discussion and input from Kit, resulting in a handful of clear concepts. A group crit let everyone to receive feedback on their work. Throughout the process, students kept in mind the audience and aim of the book, in true DK style.

‘I enjoyed the workshop, as it made me consider more about book design, than I might have otherwise considered on my current project’ – Alex Ganczarski, Part 1

‘I really enjoyed the workshop and am taking away a greater understanding of how to plan my ideas and concepts, as well as how the 2nd and 3rd-year students plan and execute their work. It’ll help me a lot over the next 3 years of the course’ – Rory Tellam, Part 1

Portfolio reviews and interviews

Some students also took the opportunity of having a mock interview and portfolio review with Karen. This gave a feel of what an interview is like in a professional context, preparing them for heading out into the world of design beyond university.

‘Karen made the experience calm and professional, offering great feedback on how to improve my portfolio’ – Laura Marshall, Part 3

‘It helped me to understand the process and content of a professional interview in a relaxed and casual context’ – Fay Rayner, Part 3

‘I am so glad I took on this opportunity. It has made me feel much more confident and prepared for future interviews’ – Jacob Hawkins, Part 3

Overall, our visit from DK was a big success. Around 65 Typography students were offered an insight into what life is like in the graphic design and publishing industry, which will be very useful when considering career paths later on – and much sooner for our students in Part Three!

Study Aboard at Monash University, Melbourne

Hi, I am Jason from BA Graphic Communication Part 3. Welcome to my exchange journey to Monash University in Melbourne, Australia!

Even though it is not my first time studying aboard, as I am originally from Hong Kong, it was my first time going to an unfamiliar place on my own. It was quite challenging, but exciting as well.

Monash has a really good academic reputation, and I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. The University is in Melbourne, which is full of galleries and other places of interest to creative minds. During my stay here I’ve chosen two units. One is a Communication Design Studio with UX workshops, and the other one is Illustration to Animation. The main reason to choose both units is to get more exposure to the digital aspects of design. Anyway, let’s see what have I done at Monash University for almost 17 weeks.

Week 1 (12–18 Feb)
The first week in Australia can be described as the most tiring week, physically and mentally. I have to set up my new room, completed lots of documents and forms, and attended all different kinds of orientation events. However, I felt so blessed to meet my first batch of friends from my exchange journey. We met in all different kinds of events that were made for exchange students, and so we are really globalised – Thai, Canadian, Malaysian, Chinese, Hungarian, Korean and Danish.
On the night of Saturday, we have been visiting the White Night in Melbourne CBD, which is an event to showcase interactive art pieces around the city centre. It was a new kind of experience for me, as I have never imagined an art show can be held throughout the whole city.

Week 2 (19–25 Feb)
The second week was the orientation week for all students. Not only there were events from each subject department, but the accommodation halls also held events, including carnival and talent night. In the meantime, I have walked around Clayton, where the main campus of Monash is located. Even though it is quite far away from the CBD, buildings around are very unique as well. This shows Melbourne is really a creative place.

Week 3 (26 Feb–4 Mar)
This was the first week of class, which was one of the exciting parts of the journey. From my past education experiences in the UK, Hong Kong and South Korea, design classes have been taught differently in different places and cultures. Design classes in the UK tend to follow the traditional methods of creating designs, Hong Kong loves merging different places’ designs together, and South Korea likes to combine futuristic designs with traditional art.
The size of class is also different comparing Reading and Monash. In Reading, we have around 40 students per year, and there are around 150 students per year in Monash. One of the most memorable class activities that I did this week would probably be the paper cutout animation. It was my first time doing it and making a character-based animation.
Besides having my first week of class in Monash, I have been to my first beach in Australia, the St. Kilda Beach. As I visited the beach on a weekday, there were extremely few people on the beach, which allowed me to take some good landscape photos.

Week 4 (5–11 Mar)
In the second week of class, I have already got used to the long hours per session. Each session takes 4 hours at Monash, However lessons in Reading are usually around 1–2 hours each.
The moment when you finished lessons, there is always a challenge waiting for you – the rush for the bus. Students have to take a 20 minutes bus ride to the dormitories. A bus waiting game will start right after 6 pm, when most classes end, and many students will run to the bus stop and wait for it.
The first assignment to hand in was a UX diary recording for the fitness app that I have to enhance. Basically, I have to write down the UX structure of the app, rate them and determine which functions are more useful and which are less.
To relax, I watched my first movie in Australia, which is the Black Panther. As our campus is quite far away from the CBD, me and my friends went to Dandenong instead, which can be described as the little India in Melbourne.

Week 5 (12–18 Mar)
Week 5 can be described as the most artistic week. Firstly, I have visited the National Gallery of Victoria. Triennial was exhibiting during that time, which is famous for the Flower Obsession piece by Yayoi Kusama. On the same week, Melbourne city was hosting the Melbourne Design Week, where many design agencies, galleries and studios were giving talks, guided tours, as well as Design Week exclusive activities. Therefore, I have attended a VR related talk that was held by Academy Xi, a company that provides design training, as well as taking part in some other exclusive activities.

Week 6 (19–25 Mar)
My first Communication Design Studio brief to hand in is called Museum Identity. Students have to brand a fictional museum, which I have chosen to brand the Museum of Nintendo. In Reading, students will usually print their projects within the department building. However, in Monash we print our project in the printing store. As it was kind of a new task for myself, I did struggle a bit at first. Since I have to prepare my own paper stock as well as a ready-to-press file and take around an hour transportation to the city centre for the print, it took me a whole afternoon to get my final product printed.
On the other hand, I have created a looping animation for the Illustration to Animation course. For my animation, I have made a frog that throws a paper plane and it returns from the back. The whole animation is made in Photoshop, which was also new to me, as I have only tried creating animations with After Effects.

Week 7 (26 Mar–1 Apr)
I have visited MUMA (Monash University Museum of Art), an Art gallery that operates by Monash University. It not only showcases students’ works but also opens to public artists. I really like the gallery concept of letting students visit the gallery after classes or during their free time.

Week 8 (2–8 Apr)
Week 6 in Reading is a reading week. However, the equivalent week in Monash is a mid-semester break, which is a week off. There is no activity specifically for the week, but students might have deadlines after.
During this week, I went to Sydney for a few days to visit my high school friends, who are currently studying over there. During the stay in Sydney, I have visited a few art galleries, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of NSW, Art Space, as well as the Power House Museum. And of course, I have watched an opera since Sydney is famous for it. However the opera was held on the harbour, but not in the Opera House. After this short trip to Sydney, I felt not only Melbourne, but Sydney is also a really artistic place, where you can feel the creative atmosphere throughout the city.

Week 9-10 (9-22 Apr)
After the whole week of mid-term break, I have quite a few deadlines. Around this period of time, resubmissions deadlines for Reading are also coming. Therefore, I mostly work on them in these two weeks.
I have submitted the second brief for the Communication Design Studio, which I have produced an online archive with Squarespace, with nine images for three categories of Hong Kong cuisine. Moreover, I have done a few Adobe Animate and After Effects tutorials. These helped to equip me with the basic knowledge of animation, especially Adobe Animate, which was new to me.
I also handed in two tasks for the UX workshop. The first one was a pre-production report that includes persona, scenario, user flow diagram for the fitness app that I have to enhance. The second task was creating a paper prototype, which we will test it in front of the class with the lecturers. I have done both tasks in a similar way back in Reading, and so I am quite familiar with the format and the aims of doing these.

Week 11 (23–29 Apr)
After the resubmission for Reading and my third Illustration to Animation brief, which is to create a storyboard, visual concepts and animatic for a fictional animation, I have treated myself a pop concert that held in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Even though I have watched the performance in Hong Kong before, the atmosphere is totally different here in Australia. It might due to the people here are more energetic and higher in spirit.

Week 12 (30 Apr–6 May)
In this week, I have submitted the third Communication Design Studio brief, which I have designed a big and a small component for the Melbourne International Film Festival. The aims are to think creatively across both large and small items and explore the potential of the big item as a powerful contribution to our contemporary visual landscape. After the submission, I have decided to join the Adobe Design Achievement Awards with this piece.
(Update: This piece is a semi-finalist for the Commercial—Print/Graphic/Illustration category.)

Week 13–16 (7 May–3 Jun)
It is nearly the end of the semester, which means deadlines are coming. I have to work on a few deadlines, including 2 briefs for the UX workshop, the last studio brief for Communication Design Studio and a final full narrative animation project for the Illustration for Animation course.
On week 13, I have submitted my app wireframe for the UX workshop. The wireframes were made with Axure RP. This is different from my previous experience of creating wireframes, as students in Reading will usually use Sketch and InVision.
Week 16 was my last week of class. The classes were mostly consulting on our final briefs, with lecturers giving feedback to students one by one. To help me remember this experience in Monash, I have taken photographs with the lecturers and said a big goodbye.

Week 17 and so on… (4 Jun and so on…)
Although I do not have lessons this week, I have three deadlines in total. The first one is a full narrative animation with our own concept and idea. The other one is exploring typefaces with sound and music, and I have designed an EP sleeve, CD cover and Spotify thumbnail for the album ‘Mix & Match’ by LOONA. The last assignment is designing the UI for the fitness app, along with the A/B testing. Therefore, I have designed two app prototypes, equipped with fully designed UI.
Even though the lessons here are over, it is actually the start of further exploring Australia, and beyond. I met up with my family and we went to places including Brisbane, Cairns, Gold Coast and even Auckland in New Zealand.

After the whole exchange journey, I feel like students at Monash have more freedom to decide what to design. They really push students’ creativity to the maximum and apply many artistic decisions into their design pieces. However, students in Reading is more like being taught to survive in the market. It provides training and knowledge for students to become an outstanding graphic designer in the future.
I really enjoyed the whole exchange journey and did not regret at any moment. I really encourage fellow students from the future years to join the study aboard program and choose somewhere you have not yet been to. Even though you might struggle a bit at first, you will experience things that you would not expect. Good luck with your journey!

Jason (Yung Tsz Hin)

 

Mockup Credits (Week 12):

  • Postcard Mockup—https://www.freepik.com/free-psd/realistic-postcard-on-desktop-mock-up_1188830.htm (Designed by Freepik)
  • Poster Outdoor Mockup—https://sellfy.com/p/qKab/

Part 3s in Ravensburg

Part 3 Typography students en route to Ravensburg

Erasmus-supported Teaching Fellow, Sara Chapman and nine of our Part 3s spent Week 6 in Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) in the mediaeval town of Ravensburg, Germany.

Students from both Reading and Ravensburg were working on the same ‘New Blood’ briefs from the D&AD 2017 competition.

Everyone enjoyed a very creative, inspiring and positive week away, during which both students and teachers were able to share skills and approaches.

After an intensive week working together in the shared studio space — sometimes up to ten hours a day — each student made a short presentation to the group about their project.

Students from Reading found that the Ravensburg emphasis on idea generation and conceptual thinking generated some unusual responses. Solutions tended to include a wider variety of multi-media outputs such sculpture, installation, and film making, as well as graphics. In comparison, the Reading approach was more pragmatic and decisive; we have a tendency to identify problems quickly, and use quite tight processes to solve them.

Whilst the Department has enjoyed an individual student exchange relationship with Ravensburg for some years, this was a new development in that a greater number of students could experience a short time in Germany, that complimented their degree studies. We hope to invite German students on a return trip, and also to repeat the collaboration in Spring 2018.

We are grateful for the support from the Ernest Hoch fund for covering the students’ competition entry fees and IMAGINE for covering the students’ travel costs.