Category: Real Jobs

RJ00468 ROSES posters


ROSES is the Reading online sports economics seminars held every Friday. The seminars are organised by our client James Reade who also promotes the seminars on social media and posts them on Youtube. In the past James had either made posters for these seminars himself or asked a colleague to design them on photoshop which James was pleased with but from a design perspective they weren’t very effective and had a lot of issues with alignment and consistency. 


Restated brief

The brief was a simple process for this job as the client made it clear what he needed, we needed to design posters for the ROSES seminars and to find an accessible way for James to replicate our designs for future talks. The posters and the template needed to be versatile to deal with different levels and amounts of information which the original poster designs we were shown did not handle well but James expressed that he enjoyed the rule used in the original posters as well as stating that the posters needed to look professional and the images used needed to reflect the subject matter of each talk.  As for the template, the client was very open minded about how we created the template and what format we used, as long as it was accessible and effective.

We agreed to create the following deliverables for our client:

  •  4 posters for each ROSES seminar
  • Poster template for the client to use to create his own posters 


User Consideration

This poster had several uses all on digital platforms, as an email flyer, poster on social media, and first slide of online weekly presentations. These all had to vary whilst also being clearly consistent as a series. For this real job, we needed to consider the user and the reader. This made the job considerably more difficult. When considering the user of the template ­­­– our client, we first had to attain what software he had available to him. We explored simple free design software that could be used such as adobe spark and sketch. However, after we found that the most accessible software also worked in the correct dimensions; 16:9.


Reader consideration

This was primarily the visual design, we needed to ensure the template produced a visually engaging, informative, and also reflective of the content of the poster. The typeface we chose was inspired by those found on football shirts. This typeface is also available to download for free with google fonts. The box we used that held all the information mimics the sports announcements appearing on television. The imagery takes the main focus thus why a box was most effective as it was least obstructive.


Poster Design

The original posters used for ROSES, from a perspective of a non-designer appear to be modern and professional but from our perspective, the posters lacked an effective structure and it was clear no guides or clear rules were used for any of the elements of information. The images used were also not carefully considered or positioned, some images obstruct the legibility of the type, as well as this, the hierarchy of the typography seemed to be lazy and not well organised with the names of the guest speakers in very large, bold type which we understood the client enjoyed but with the name so large, it created more issues than it solved and with particular name lengths, the white rules became too small and unbalanced.


RJ00468 original poster

 To begin with, we created different approaches to poster layouts that we got peer feedback on to help us choose which layout to take forward and develop. 


Initial ideas

After our initial client meeting, we both went away to come up with as many visual outcomes as we could. We felt a banner over the image as shown enabled a clear section for information, whilst still allowing the image to be prominent. Our next main concern was to create a template that had as few possible points of error, meaning keeping manual intervention low, and where it was necessary minimal. Our client was very clear on wanting a rule, so we used one to divide up our information, so we implemented a red one with the same red as the logo to tie the components together.


Initial poster idea


Taking forward the poster layout that received the most positive feedback, we developed iterations of the poster and took this to our supervisor who helped us to refine the poster iterations to a refined design to be sent to the client. The adjustments made mostly surrounded the hierarchy and positioning of the text, we reduced the amount of different type sizes to just a couple of paragraph styles. The positioning of the text was carefully thought out as we needed to make sure that future posters with longer titles or longer dates would not make our design fall apart, we ensured this wouldn’t happen by shortening the format of the date and adding a rule to separate the date from the title and speaker name of the seminar which meant that the information for the poster could be placed and adjusted within a neater, tighter rectangle across the image with a tint behind the text to reduce the interference with text and image and therefore increasing legibility.


Final design 

The final design has banner, as we felt this visually conveyed how sports announcements are made in the industry (television). We had less variation in typography, it instead had intentional use of white space to indicate hierarchy with more subtlety and elegance. We also decreased the weight of the rule to stop it from drawing away from the image and information too much. We added ‘Reading Online Sports Economics Seminars’ as we felt it was not clear without what exactly ROSES was and therefore a potentially interesting target audience could miss their opportunity.


final poster design 


Once we had decided on the final design, we then had to make it as a template. Our first challenge, as some of the talk titles were 2 lines and some were 1, was having the box be self-adjusting. This we were able to achieve by adjusting the padding and changing the box settings. The next challenge was to ensure the paragraph styles were set correctly, this had to be done so replicating the same order of styles could be easily achieved by the user. Then we had to tackle the guide putting guides in place to indicate where the components should be placed so there is no variation between outputs. Unfortunately, the rule was the one part of the template we couldn’t automate. Since this is simply adjusting the rule to align with the top of the text, we wrote clear instructions for the user and felt this was the best way to keep the effective design, with limited interference from the user.



James Reade, our client was very open minded about the process of making a template which helped as it allowed us to explore multiple platforms and ways of creating a template. Throughout the process we maintained contact with him through email, although his replies often meant pushing back our meetings, particularly towards the end of the project as we were hoping to talk James through how to use the template (despite the template including instructions we thought having a chat on top of this would be ideal) before the Christmas break but due to James being busy with his own work and a lack of communication from his side, this chat has been pushed back and therefore extending the project. However, this isn’t a detrimental issue as the deliverables for the project are completed and apart from this issue our client has been very helpful throughout the process.



This project has been highly beneficial for our personal skills due to the research we carried out when looking for the appropriate software for a poster template. The powerpoint template is a skill we can use in the future whilst simultaneously keeping in mind the client’s needs and knowledge of software, as rarely clients will know how to use or have access to the adobe cloud. Although we had creative freedom on this project, designing a template for specific information was limiting however, we feel that we dealt with these limits well and produced posters and a poster template James Reade can effectively use for future ROSES seminars.


Longhaul Branding and packaging redesign


Longhaul is a company which strives to create savoury performance food for endurance athletes. Currently they have one product on the market, a pouch of blended all-natural whole foods with no added sugar. Although they have two flavours available right now, they are working to offer a larger range and are expanding to four flavours. Each pouch ensures slow released energy that should keep you fueled steadily over a long period of time. They reached out to the department to update their packaging design and make some tweaks to their brand identity so their products have a better shelf presence and stand out from other brands once they launch in grocery shops and supermarkets. 

To see more about Longhaul go to:

The brief

The initial brief called for us to edit the logo and strapline and design the packaging for four flavours (two existing and two new ones). However, it soon became clear that they did not actually want any change to their logo, although they did seem to like the proposed tweaks we brought forward. Instead, we worked on a new strapline, which went through many different versions until the very end, and then also made the packaging for the four flavours. Unfortunately, we also started realising that designing finished packaging for the two new flavours was not going to be possible since the client had not yet finalised recipes and gotten them approved. Instead we offered to give them editable files for them or future designers to edit once all the copy and information has been confirmed. 

In the end, our deliverables were as following:

  • Logo files with new strapline
  • 2x indesign files of finished packaging for the existing flavours 
  • 2x indesign files with missing information for the new flavours to be used by designers in the future


The user

Longhaul specifically brands their product towards endurance athletes. Since none of us in the team are endurance athletes, we had to break out of our own comfort zone and start thinking outside the box. We created a few user personas who ranged from professional athletes to recreational athletes who are serious about their sport. While it was easy to figure out what they would want from the product, it took some more time to think about what they would want from the packaging design. We were confined to the type of pouch the client had chosen, but we had to figure out an attractive and effective way of communicating important information. Although we tried to do this before starting the project, it was something that kept developing as we designed. In the end, it became clear that athletes buying endurance food (or other sports supplements) most care about what they are about to put in their body, what it’s for, and at which stage they should be using it. 

The current market and how Longhaul compares to it

To understand how sports food packaging works, we had a look around at the current market. We actually found that most existing energy related food packaging is not the most eye catching or effective. However, they do often use bright, almost neon, colours so they do still tend to stand out amongst other food packaging. Further, if using any sort of image, most products would use a photo of the main ingredient that the flavour is based on. 

The one brand that both we and the client thought stood out the most was Tribe. This brand is also very focused on natural performance energy supplements, much like Longhaul. However, the main difference on the surface is that Tribe creates sweet flavours while Longhaul makes savoury blends. Tribe’s packaging really works on visualising the natural aspect of their product by showing illustrations of scenes of nature such as a wave, iceberg, or peak of a mountain. The colours of the scenes change for each flavour. 

While finding such a successful design was nice for us since it showed that sports food packaging does not always have to be neon and pretty boring, it also made the challenge for us even bigger. There was a brand out there that stood out, so how were we going to design something that stood out even more compared to that? 

Our mood board built up of other sports food packaging and other pouch packaging


Setting up a template and colour matching 

We received a complicated product data sheet from the client that discussed all the technical data from the printer and manufacturer. I took to trying to decipher all the different measurements on their technical drawing and translating this to an inDesign file that we could work with including a different bleed than we’re used to and strange margins. 

Template based on the printers’ guidelines for us to work on

In the logo files we had received we found three different versions of everything: RGB, CMYK, and Pantone. Unfortunately, neither we nor the client knew which file had been used in the end for the packaging (Pantone or CMYK). Alex went and printed out many different versions to find equivalents which we eventually got to compare the original packaging to after the client had mailed those to us as well. After doing this, we also did a few legibility tests of the red and blue used on the packaging since we saw this as a possible issue. Although we proposed a few changes, the client decided in the end that they were still happy with their original logo.

Test prints of which colours could have possibly been used on the pouches

Initial sketches 

As usual with design processes, we started with sketching some rough thumbnails for the front on the pouch. Although this did help us understand what the client wanted better, we quickly also realised this was not the best way for us to explore ideas. We had very specific colours and assets to use since those parts of the brand already existed. It was very difficult to see how specific aspects would look together in the different situations. What we did learn from our initial sketches was that we were trying to stick too much to the existing brand and how they had used it in their original packaging. 

Initial pencil sketches I made
The original pouch sleeves

Moving on from the original design 

Based on what we had learned from our quick thumbnail sketches, we moved to working digitally and tried our best to move away from the original packaging design. However, we were faced with a whole new list of issues. First, working digitally meant that it was easier to try out small changes and more difficult for us to work collaboratively. This led to a whole range of different ideas, which may sound good initially, but it left us completely lost. There were so many options. We took a very shallow approach: focusing on sport. Since this idea was not specific enough, none of us were able to create a design that truly fit. Everything was either too general and so boring to look at, or would exclude certain athletes. For example, after a meeting with our client we all agreed that representing specific sports would not be appropriate for food that is meant for anybody that falls under an endurance athlete. 

Sample of pouch designs based around showcasing sport

Typebased and more geometric 

After a discussion with Rob, our supervisor, we made an attempt to choose something more specific and move away from imagery that suggested certain sports. This attempt entailed a typographic approach and a geometric graphic approach as these can be very successful when done right. It already became clear quite early on that this was also not the way to go, but I believe our team was trying desperately to hold onto some kind of direction so we did not want to let go of these approaches. 

Although this approach wasn’t what we ended up going with, we did start getting the information hierarchy down. We did still continue to develop this to make it even clearer, but we started realising what information would be important for athletes and what should stand out more than other aspects. For example, to grab the attention of an athlete walking by in a grocery store, things like protein is more important than knowing the details of the flavour, which they can read after picking the product up. 

Sample of pouch designs that follow the typographic and/or geometric approach

Restarting and figuring out what the brand means 

We had a meeting with Rob after trying to make the typography and geometric designs work for very long. During this meeting, he asked us for a few keywords that described what the brand was and what it stood for. It quickly became clear that we had no clue. This was the root of our problems. How can you design something that suits the brand if you don’t know what it’s about? We went away and created a list of words to describe the brand and what the design should be like, eventually narrowing it down to ‘energetic, impact, light, bold, clean’. Although that list may still seem a bit contradictory and generic, we knew exactly what we meant with the words. After that, our designs finally started going into the right direction. 

Effective mountains and tweaking the visual information

Alex and Ro had been experimenting with using mountains as the main graphic for the pouch, reflecting the mountain that can be found back in the logo. However, these still were not suited. They were either too detailed or too simple (and so looked more like a shape than a mountain). During a meeting with Rob talking about exactly that, that the style did not seem to work correctly, an idea suddenly hit me. In our first year, I had taken it upon myself to learn how to create polyart. I created a mountain using this style, which gave us a nice balance between geometric and detail. We all immediately really liked the new idea (which was the first time, so it was a very good sign), and were hoping our client enjoyed it as well. After we got positive feedback from them, Alex went back to edit the mountain so it used tints and fewer swatches as it had already taken me a few hours to create the original mountain, and this was another job that would take a while. Doing this made it easier for us to switch out swatches so we could make the mountains in new colours easily. 

Pouch designs focusing on mountains

Our initial idea with the mountain had most of the information as text on the front. It was quite text heavy for packaging that should catch somebody’s eye. Luckily our client really wanted to use their icons, so we could replace much of the text with icons. Unfortunately, the existing icons did occasionally have a different line width and used the colours in a less consistent way. I went in and made changes to make them more consistent. For example, gluten free was first in red since all the other icons mentioning the food was free of something had a red line through it. However, it made gluten free seem negative and putting a red line through the icon would create a double negative. Instead, we decided to keep it white and in line with the other white icons. I also went as far to create a new icon that signified organic. This was originally because the icon was missing from the files we received, but in the end we and the client liked the new icon more. 

The back

Alex did most of the work for the back of the pouch while the client was too busy to get back to us with feedback on the front of the pouch. The original pouch had way too much text on it, so we agreed on which bits had to be taken out. While a lot of text had already been taken out, a real change was making everything fit on and still follow the type size guidelines. What we really liked about the original back was the clients’ names that they had in a different font at the end of their message. We decided we could make this even more personal. I wrote out their names initially to see if we could fit on handwritten signatures. On the final design, we had managed to get them to write out their own names, which makes the pouch just that bit more authentic. 

Pouch designs for the back

The colours

We looked at colours throughout the entire process, it was not done at a specific point, we were still tweaking up until we sent the files off for sign-off. There was a lot of playing around. Many sports related food products use neon colours on their packaging. We tried using bright colours as well, but this felt very fake and tacky. We also tried correlating colours to the flavours, but most blended foods just turn a shade of brown. Not only is that not a great colour to use for this kind of packaging, but it also really limited us. In the end, using tints and only three swatches on the mountains gave us a nice balance between giving the flavours a relatively bright colour that wasn’t necessarily related to the flavour and a muted colour scheme that fit with the natural aspect of the food. 


Production was different than expected. At first, we were working towards press ready files, however in the end we had to perfect our inDesign files for other designers to work further with. Luckily, we had kept our files very clean. We just had to compare them to the printer’s specifications so we wouldn’t burden a new designer with that job and risk our designs being compromised. When we were almost finished, we came across a rather confusing requirement for the type. Alex got in contact with the printers and found out all text had to be a solid colour, meaning we had to go through and either make text fully C, M, Y, K, or a Pantone swatch. Luckily the client had already told us he was willing to pay for more than just 4 colours, so this was an easy fix.

Final designs

Final pouch design
Final design pouch series

The client was very happy with these designs, listing:

  • [It’s a] more current design, and the use of a mountain is very well aligned with the brand image we want to portray.
  • The design is both clean and eye catching
  • More striking and would stand out on a shelf against competitors well
  • The colour combinations go really well and the nuance in the colours of the mountain looks great.
  • The design works well as a concept that we can apply to new product ranges


This job took much longer than any of us had expected. At first, it looked like the turnaround was going to be in just a matter of weeks, but it took just under a year. Although I am very glad that we ended up having more time, since our designs for the original deadline were not successful, the job did stretch on for a little too long. There wasn’t much we could do about this with our client occasionally being out of the country and corona hitting everybody in a way that could not have been expected. That being said, there was much I learned during this job. Our main challenge was finding out what sort of graphic and design would fit the brand the best. I now know to never start a project without having a clear sense of what the company is about and what the brand should mean. Further, this job also made me understand group work better. We took an approach that leaned towards equal distribution and everybody working on everything, which is not always the most efficient. However, there was not much to distribute amongst us since we were creating a series of packaging (Maybe the team was just a little too big for how small the job actually ended up being). 

We have been extremely impressed with the designs that you have all put forward & are very happy with the final results. So thank you for all of the hard work! – Amelia Watts (client)

It’s been a pleasure working with you all and I’m very impressed and pleased with the final result. – Staale Brinchmann (client)