Category: teaching

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 2: Editorial Design

Staff have asked a team of Part 2 students to publish reflections on the work they produced for taught project over the past 12 months. This is the first in a series aiming to showcase our work.

In 2017 a substantially reworked Editorial Design module was re-introduced into the part 2 syllabus. We completed this module at the end of part 1, while everyone on other courses was finished and celebrating the end of their exams. At the time this was a little bit infuriating to say the least, but looking back at it now, I think my peers would agree that it was great to get 20/120 credits of the year out of the way before we started part 2!

 

What was this project about?

This project was the first time the majority of our year had handled a large amount of continuous text, as well as fully exploring the editorial features on InDesign. After completing a small editorial task in part 1, we had the basis to fully immerse ourselves in this larger and more life-like brief. It was also about using InDesign effectively – we had to imagine we were typesetting the whole book, and how to use tools to make this task more efficient. Master pages and stylesheets were crucial to success in this project.

As well as receiving weekly feedback sessions which were vital to our success and development, the supporting readings for this course were essential in applying theory to practice, and understanding why certain typographic conventions exist. These included books such ‘Elements of Typographic Style’ by Robert Bringhurst, and ‘Designing books, practice and theory’ by Jost Hochuli.

We were provided with text from the book “Charles Dickens: a literary life”, as well as the specified book format of 170 x 245mm. From there, we had freedom in the typesetting of the document, paper stock, as well as a cover design. Some of my peers took it a step further, adding dust jackets and patterned endpapers to their book.

We also were taught how to perfect bind our books. This is where a block of single pages is glued down the spine to hold the book together. Book binding was another new skill to learn, as previously we had only worked with a few spreads. Some of my peers experimented with different binding techniques, using visible stitching to bind their pages, or showing the binding on the outside of the book. This included Fay Rayner, who used a more traditional technique for her book: “I really wanted to reflect on Charles Dickens and his history, therefore I did not use perfect binding but the more traditional technique of section sewn binding, as I believed it better reflected Dickens and the era in which he lived. In addition, I used a symmetrical layout with large margins and added marbled endpapers, which were typically used in Victorian books”.

Maciej Bykowski: Visible binding on the spine with a grey-board cover

Fay Rayner: Decorative endpapers and hand sewn binding

How did I find the project?

Personally, I found this project to be my favourite so far. I fully enjoyed having the freedom of typeface choice, as well as deciding a typographic hierarchy system for the book. It was a big leap from the first typesetting project we did in part 1, but I feel that it has helped prepare me for future editorial design projects. It has also potentially decided my career path: editorial design, as I enjoyed this project so much.

Overall, my peers seemed to agree that  this project was a huge help in getting to grips with the InDesign software, as well as learning binding techniques. Jacob Hawkins commented: “Although at first I thought this project would be less interesting, it turned out to be very rewarding and has taught me the importance of typography, such as how the smallest detail can have a huge impact on your design. I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and it has sparked my interest in book design. I’m excited about upcoming editorial and typographic projects next year.”

Examples of student work

Detailed typography on chapter 1 and cover design by Charles Parish.

An elegant spread alongside decorate endpapers by Jacob Hawkins.

Laura Marshall’s yellow dust jacket alongside her chapter opener.

Beyond awareness: inclusive design for Graphic Communication

This week, Part 2 Graphic Communication students completed the inclusive design component of their integrated design modules. Building on the series of workshops (see BdB blog) we did earlier in the term and relevant readings, on Monday, students presented seminar papers to their peers on particular aspects of inclusive design.

 

Group photo inclusive design
On Monday, our Graphic Communication students presented inclusive design seminars to their peers (from left to right): Jordan Bellinger, Lewis Burfield, Maciej Bykowski, Fenella Astley, Rajvir Bhogal, Stephanie Boateng, Cherise Booker, June Lin and (front) Jordan Cairns.

 

Students discussed and debated, aspects such as:

  • The principles of inclusive design and how designers can make these achievable in real life projects
  • How design briefs often tend to create segregation and how designers can develop more inclusive solutions to briefs
  • The clear print debate – what the guidelines are, who they are for and how implementing these can differ for professional designers and everyday communicators
  • The challenges and key considerations of inclusive design for screen – including the use of colour, images, sound and navigation
  • Key debates and typographic research for inclusive design for children’s reading, focusing on readers who may have dyslexia or visual impairments
  • Inclusive wayfinding – including challenges and innovative proposals for solutions in contemporary design practice.

Students commented that the inclusive design workshops, readings and seminars they have done have helped them become “more consciously aware” of how important it is to consider inclusive design in their own work and how designers may have to take responsibility for designing inclusively for a range of users. The highlighted how it is important to realise that the people they are designing for are probably “not the same as you (the designer)” and that inclusive design is “not just being aware” but about embedding inclusive practices in our industry. They also noted that these seminars had made them aware that there is “not enough research” about inclusive design within our discipline.

Professor Michael Twyman on forms design and the history of forms

(Cross posting from Centre for Information Design Research)

We are delighted to be able to point you to a video of one of a series of seminars for masters students and postgraduate researchers in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication. The seminars, covering a range of topics, are given during the academic year by Professor Emeritus Michael Twyman.

This seminar focuses on the design of forms and its history, and draws together the Department’s research interests both in the history of printing and graphic communication and in the design of information for its users. The seminar demonstrates the use of material from collections and archives, which has been a key part of the Department’s approach to teaching and research since the 1970s.

We are grateful to the Friends of the University for funding the preparation of this recording.

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.

Minister for disabled people visits Reading

Dr Jeanne-Louise Moys and our recent graduate Ryzard Akita showcased Ryzard's inclusive design project at yesterday's Ministerial visit to the University
Dr Jeanne-Louise Moys with graduate Ryzard Akita following their presentations to the Minister
Penny Mordaunt, Minister for disabled people, health and work visited the University yesterday to find out more about our transformative Breaking down Barriers project on inclusive design.
Penny Mordaunt, MP visited the University to meet our Breaking down Barriers team.

Yesterday, Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work visited the University of Reading to find out more about our transformative Breaking down Barriers (BdB) project.

BdB focuses on embedding inclusive design in our curricula across the University. Typography have been highly involved in the project from its inception and were proud to present the ways in which we are engaging with inclusive design across a range of applications including digital, print and wayfinding design.

In particular, we were pleased to welcome Ryzard Akita, one of our 2016 graduates who is now working as a user experience designer, back to Reading. Ryzard presented his final year self-directed project – an innovative mobile app for visually-impaired users – to the Minister. Some of our recent MA and undergraduate dissertations on inclusive design were also on display for the event.

The Minister also engaged with some of the simulation tools we have been using in our courses to increase students’ awareness of the everyday challenges people face in terms of mobility, dexterity and visibility. She praised the project, saying: “Inclusivity and accessibility should be at the forefront of good design, and I’m delighted to see the University of Reading leading the way with their Breaking down Barriers scheme.”

Soapbox host one of our typography summer placements

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Visiting student Gabriela Lyrio Assreuy (far right) joined design studio Soapbox for her summer placement. Gabriela is pictured here with Soapbox’s team of Reading alumni from our BA and MA programmes (from left to right): Žiga Kropivišek, Megan Weston, Francesca Romano and Rachel Bray. Photo: Cormac Bakewell

Our Part 2 visiting student, Gabriela Lyrio Assreuy is spending her summer enjoying a stimulating, two-month placement at Soapbox. The London-based studio specialises in design that ‘helps leading policy, research and advocacy organisations to communicate their ideas’ and is the home to a number of Typography alumni from our BA and MA programmes (see pic). 

Gabriela says: ‘At Soapbox I’m having the opportunity to watch closely how a successful design studio is run and how to deal with real demands, clients and timelines. Besides that, I have been able to work alongside other designers in different sorts of projects mostly permeating print design, such as publication design, infographics, branding. From typesetting to creative design processes, I am putting my abilities to practice and gaining new valuable skills and knowledge that will be essential to build a successful career.’

Soapbox designer and MAID alumnus, Žiga Kropivšek commented: ‘Introducing new colleagues to the work process is always a struggle, that is why working with Gabriela has been such a delight. She was very quick to learn all the tricks and, coming from Reading, we knew she would have a sharp eye for typographic detail. It has been very valuable for our company that we could entrust her with more complex jobs so quickly and her ambitiousness and creativity surprise us again and again.’

Gabriela is a visiting student from Brazil. She has spent this year at Reading as part of the Ciência sem Fronteiras (Science without Borders) scheme. Since 2013–4,Typography & Graphic Communication have hosted three visiting students as part of this scheme. It’s been great having Gabriela in our part 2 cohort and we wish her well as she returns to her studies in Brazil.

Presses in action for open days

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Thank you to all our prospective applicants and their parents who visited the Department on Friday and Saturday as part of the University’s Open Days. We hope you enjoyed the displays and workshops as much as we did.

If you didn’t have enough time to view the BA Graphic Communication final display, you can still see some display highlights on the show website.

If you want more information about studying with us, please email our departmental admissions team (Lauren, James and Jeanne-Louise) at graphiccommunication@reading.ac.uk.

Our next round of Open Days will be in October. Once again, we’ll be inking up the presses so that visitors can print a memento of their visit and get a taste of our hands-on experiential learning approach. There will be also be new digital and print displays of student work to view. For more information about open days at Reading, click here.

Alumni visit to help with data visualisation with Part 2s

We were very pleased to welcome alumni Craig Melvin to the Department during our recent Part 2 ‘Data Visualisation’ project.

Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students
Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students

The Part 2 brief was to create an awareness-raising poster and short animation about some aspect of either ‘Climate Change’ or ‘The Refugee Crisis’. Students presented found data using a combination of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, maps and infographics. The challenge was to tell a story and find ways of engaging interest whilst being accurate, factual and informative.

Craig graduated from our BA course in 2014 and went to work for TDL London, a design agency founded in 2005 by MA Information Design alumni, Oliver Tomlinson. TDL London specialise in using diagrams and design methods to transform information. They use a combination of Process Charts, Explanatory Diagrams, User Journeys, Illustrated Storyboards, Maps & Locations, Data Visualisation and Interactive Diagrams. Craig spent the day giving insightful feedback to small groups of students. He also showed some of his recent work for a refugee charity (pictured below), and told students about his experience of moving on from the Department into the world of work.

RDG101_Reading Presentation_090316 (Short)-18

Inclusive design workshops for print and digital design

This week our part 2 undergraduates participated in exciting inclusive design workshops as part of the Breaking down Barriers project. Students wore simulation gloves to discover how conditions such as arthritis may affect user experience across print and digital design. Read more about the inclusive workshops here.

Raj in gloves
Rajan Dole exploring how paper stock can influence inclusive design
Louise in gloves
Louise Lee wearing simulation gloves to experience the challenges people with arthritis experience when interacting with mobile devices