Highlights and insights from Joan and Zofia's all-digital signage project in Mecca.
Karen Self (Art Director), Michael Duffy (Managing Art Editor) and Kit Lane (Designer and alumni of the Department) joined us for a day of workshopping, portfolio reviewing, and mock interviewing.
Tom Green was commissioned to create a new donor board for an event at Reading Museum.
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Rob Banham explains what is expected of a high quality essay for Graphic Communication and Typography BA, and how university essays are different to A-level essays.
Graphic Communication and Typography graduates, Carmen Martinez, Neil Linford-Relph and Aman Verma, share their experiences of UI and UX design.
David Pearson's experience in real life book cover design, and how his experimentation with different design methods helped create exciting and unique book covers.
Mona Jibril and her business partners wanted to start a company that would provide a high quality line of nightwear and lingerie for women aged 40 to 65. They registered their business under the name Lula & Gabrielle and now needs a brand identity to reflect what they are selling. Their items include nightdresses, dressing gowns, underwear and pyjama sets.
We are aiming to create a cohesive brand identity for Mona’s company. This will hopefully portray Lula & Gabrielle in a professional manner but also in a way that older women would feel connected to this brand. Their visual identity would be used across their labels and packaging for their products as well as on their website and also possibly on social media in the future.
Mona had asked us to create a brand that included a sense of relaxation and high quality material. She asked us to include soft colours and a feather in the logo as a sense of softness that would reflect the material used on the products.
We agreed to create the following deliverables for our client:
- Business cards
Research and ideation:
As there are many companies doing exactly what Mona is trying to achieve, i.e. Autograph, M&S Collection, Jasper Conran and Debenhams, Lula & Gabrielle has a high chance of succeeding in this ecumenic climate.
Some of the companies Mona has sourced inspiration from include:
- Victoria’s Secret
- Boux Avenue
- Agent Provocateur
We then looked at the logos for these companies, as well as the others named above, we noted various features that would make their business seem more appealing. These included:
- Script typefaces
- Feminine colours
- A minimalistic logo
- Sense of intimacy and elegance
As Lula & Gabrielle is aimed at older women, we wanted to make sure the logo would be legible from a distance, although this proved to be hard due to the inclusion of a feather motif. The customers would hold a great source of value to the product they would be purchasing which means that the logo and brand identity all together has to prove that all of the products are elegant and worth buying.
After sketching out several feather designs and other various logo ideas, we began exploring typography. We agreed that a script typeface would be more appropriate for the age range of the customers and soon began exploring different ways of incorporating the feather with the favoured typefaces.
We initially though that having the feather behind some of the type would make the type harder to read, especially for those hard of seeing. We soon conquered this issue by having the ampersand the only thing in front of the feather so that ‘Lula’ and ‘Gabrielle’ would still be legible. This became Mona’s favourite of the logos we had created and therefore became the final logo for her company.
For the Lula & Gabrielle business cards, Mona had stated that she wanted to keep them as close to the logo as possible. We wanted to make sure that the business cards reflected the company but also the two main people behind the company’s name, so we made sure the typography we used reflected their feelings towards Lula & Gabrielle. Although there is very little colour on the business cards, we believe that once the brand is established, the logo will be known very well, with or without colour. As there was little colour in the logo and business cards, there was not much to worry about with the cost of production.
We created several ideas for the business cards before we got to the final design. This was mainly to do with the typography being used for the information.
Mona had wanted us to try and have all of the information on one side and the feather logo on the other, but this seemed too busy and tiring for many people to read, so we discarded this idea and went on to create minimalistic business cards.
As we narrowed down what our client wanted and did not want, we were able to create the final version of the business card for her and her business partners. The new design was simplistic and easy to read but also included the brand identity of the company, which was the main aim.
Mona had given us mainly positive feedback for her company’s brand identity. We are unsure if these are currently in use, or if the company is still around due to the fact that we have had no contact with her and also we cannot find the company online anymore.
We do believe, however, that we were able to give our client a flexible logo which suited her and her company’s needs at the time and also was able to stand out amongst other companies that were considered her competition.
This particular job took longer than we thought to complete due to troubles with meeting the client and gaining feedback as she was very busy, but we are now astute in time management and hopefully this will show in the future.
Not all of our designs were featured in this report due to some of them being thrown out or being lost along the way.
From this project, we have learnt that we should be able to ask for more feedback or clarification on feedback instead of spending time trying to understand what the client may have meant. We were able to gain this understanding eventually, thus creating the brand identity for Lula & Gabrielle.
Coral Hoeren & June Lin
In the beginning of part 2, myself and other students that ranged across the three-year groups started, alongside staff, the I am, We are Different by Design group. The group set out to create a sense of diversity and inclusion within the department as we felt this was somewhat lacking. We aimed to do this in a range of different ways, this specific reflection however relates to the process and creation of the first edition of an annual zine. As a group, we received funding from the university’s Partnerships in Learning and Teaching (PLanT) scheme to create this zine and send it to print in order to distribute it across the university. Our motivations stemmed from believing that the zine would be the best way for us to communicate our opinions and also it gave us all an opportunity to use out graphic design skills learned on the course.
Our brief was to create a zine (mini magazine) that showcased work from current and past students within the school (Art, Film and Theatre and Typography). This included sourcing content, conducting interviews and designing the entire zine within a short time. Our production time was quite short as we all had different schedules (due to the different year group scheduling) and the moment we got funding to the deadline for production being quite close to each other.
We planned for an A5 dimension as it allowed for more content to be included and more copies to be printed and distributed. Additionally, we collectively decided on a matte finish to ensure durability over time. Due to the nature of the content we aimed for the zine to look fun and exciting and like a celebration of the diverse work that is created at this university. Our main aim was to showcase this and allow for people to see and read about work they normally would not be exposed to.
For inspiration and research, we looked at different zines and magazines. The tasks were delegated between us so some of us researched typography whereas others researched layouts etc. Although somewhat useful, sketching out themes and ideas served more effective than looking at other examples as we were creating something that closely reflected the content used throughout.
Throughout this project, we all communicated through Trello, Facebook and with weekly group meetings that always took place on a Wednesday. This was due to the fact that this was the only day where we all had time to meet for a couple of hours at an appropriate time. Having weekly group sessions was really useful as it added to a sense of community we were all lacking, but also made it easier to collaborate and bounce ideas off of each other.
Our process started with discussions concerning who and what we wanted to feature and why. Our featured contributors needed to be engaging with diversity in some kind of way as that was what we aimed to showcase. At times this was quite challenging considering we didn’t want to interpret certain works in the wrong way if they weren’t intended to be about diversity and inclusion (but instead merely personal projects – so diverse by default).
In order to compile and design content, we interviewed individuals across the school as well as researchers and graduates. In order to do this we needed to do research and get ethics approval beforehand. This process of conducting interviews was very useful as it allowed us to explore and develop our professional skills as we had to be respectful and professional in our data collection.
The interviews we conducted allowed us to create articles and spreads showcasing a nice range of work showcasing projects that explored diversity, identity and inclusion (as hoped). Some examples of works that we featured is artwork representing equality within visual arts as well as more researched based content focussed on assisting medical staff.
The cover design of our zine featured a motif of camera lenses – this represented seeing things from different perspectives and capturing these. The range of colour used reflect inclusion and add to the fun and inspiring aspect of the zine. Overall, I can say we were collectively pleased with the outcome and reception.
After completion of our zine, we received a range of positive feedback.
“We are very inspired by the whole project and how we can expand it to other departments. The zine turned out so well!” – Lisa Woynarski (School diversity lead)
Encouraging words like this have led us to be even more motivated to continue to do this kind of work, which we did having recruited members in this year (and hope to continue to do so throughout the years).
In conclusion, this project was one of the most fruitful and beneficial personal projects that I have been involved with throughout the three years of my time at the university. Getting to know members from different year groups allowed for us all to experience diversity and a sense of community in a way that isn’t very common. I am grateful to staff members that allowed for this and encouraged it as often times extra-curricular activities may seem overwhelming or big commitments. We were never made to feel like we had to attend the session, or we would get into trouble. Due to this, it seems we were more inclined to get involved because that pressure was lifted. Additionally, being able to create collaboratively whilst not being marked gave a different perspective into what and how design work can be (considering in most cases this is paid work that doesn’t always serve the designer themselves). Now being at the end of my journey here I really encourage other students to get involved with groups and communities such as these, and if in the future I am, We are Different by Design doesn’t exist, I hope our efforts can inspire others to undertake their own projects within the school.
The Soil Science project was a university-lead project which required several flow charts and tables in order to explain information and educate individuals about soil science. The diagram designed in this Real Job worked alongside various other diagrams and were given to the audience as a handbook for a conference. The client I was working with on this Real Job was Alison Black, a research professor at the University of Reading, in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication.
The Real Job had a very quick turn-around time, of just over a week. Because of this, my supervisor decided it was not an effective use of time to create restated briefs to present to the client, and so this stage was ruled out of the project process.
The deliverable in this Real Job was a diagram handing a group of information about soil science. The client requested that all text was given in 12pt regular Arial, and that the diagram was able to print on one side of an A4 page, ideally filling two thirds of the page.
Research and ideation
The client was able to provide me with the existing diagram which needed to be redesigned in order to allow the readers to access its contents easily, with little confusion. My supervisor had previously redesigned an existing diagram and was able to suggest to me what the client expected. Once given the diagram to redesign I looked into different methods of expressing information. This included tables, flow charts and various other diagrams. Due to the stepped stages of the information in the existing diagram, I decided that producing a flow chart was likely to be the most effective way to style the information.
Due to the short turn-around of the Real Job, there was not a large amount of development with the design. I met frequently with both the client and my supervisor which meant that development was carried out whilst putting together the initial designs for the diagram. The client was very pleased with the designs that I was able to put forwards and issues were resolved quickly. Due to the diagram being used in a handbook for the conference, it was important that the design could work both in CMYK and in greyscale in the instance that the client needed to print in greyscale. The first design shown to the client is given here.
The client and I quickly came to the final design and were able to agree on final touches that needed making. I provided the client with PDF, JPEG, PNG and Ai versions of the file so that they were able to place it in to almost any document that was necessary. The final outcomes, in CMYK and greyscale are shown here.
Working in close proximity to both the client and my supervisor gave the Real Job a sense of achievement and it meant that I was able to react immediately to feedback I was given by both parties. The project, however, did not come without its challenges. Unfortunately, my MacBook was stolen during the process of the Real Job, meaning that I was briefly without any means of completing the work for the client. Despite this, I was luckily able to borrow a laptop and accessed my files online, meaning that I was able to quickly and seamlessly resume the job for the client. I personally feel that I was able to handle this situation with maturity and prioritised the completion of the job in order to satisfy my client, which is a largely significant factor in producing a successful piece of design for the client. I received very positive feedback from my client throughout the project, for presenting a quick and effective solution to the problem and remaining keen and enthusiastic about the Real Job despite the challenges I was faced with.
The British Eating Disorder Society is a new organisation aiming to improve awareness of eating disorders, and the care and treatment of people with eating disorders and their families. The society is a body representing people working in the field of eating disorders across the United Kingdom with the intension to host conferences and meetings, as well as elevate their form, to create a well-supported of professionals. Their main aims are to promote communication, collaboration and consensus amongst people in the field of eating disorders, especially disciplines, professions, academic and clinical settings and sector. BrEDS will represent the views of people working with these people to the media, the public, businesses, government and relevant bodies. Simon Chapman, the main point of contact, is a Paediatrician at King’s College Hospital and specialising in Eating Disorders, as well as working with obese patients. He is part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Clinical Academic Group.
BrEDS would like a clear brand identity, specifically starting with their logo design, to be applied across their website as well as using the logo on social media. The image and feel needs to appeal to professional and hold authority in the field, whilst still being sensitive and subtle with the subject matter of the cause.
The main points of focus are:
- To create a simple, clear yet impacting logo that communicates with their audience and the wider public. This will need to convey their main aims of working with professionals to improve awareness and care of people with eating disorders. The Society intends to be far reaching and influential with government and media.
- To re-structure and apply the logo and secondary branding to the website
- To present a positive/collaborative view of the disorder: it is about recovery, restoration of health, food as medicine and essential to physical and emotional wellbeing. It is also about communication.
The client has not set strict guidelines or preferences for the style or approach for the deliverables. The items should however explore their initial idea of wheat and be sensitive to the subject matter and their audience. The basis of the deliverables and necessary to carry through to the other items is the logo design.
The key deliverables are:
- Design the logo for BrEDS, to be used on website and social media.
- Assist with brand guidelines and website recommendations for a coherent and consistent brand identity. This will include providing a brand guideline document as a PDF
- Design a one-sided business card
- The later request for an A1 poster was added two weeks before the final deadline
Initial contact with the client
Despite being my first real job, I was feeling comfortable with working with an external client having experience as a freelance designer. With a personal investment in the cause I was eager to build a strong and trusting rapport with my client from the very beginning and showed willingness and enthusiasm in my initial correspondence. I was privileged enough to be a part of the BrEDS committee skype meetings, held every two months, from the very beginning of the process, giving me a well-rounded perspective of the whole organisations and the different voices beyond just my main client. The first skype session coincided with the start of my project and I was able to gather the key points that were the basis for my research and design ideas moving forward:
- Remember that BrEDS is a professional body
- There needs to be a balance between medical and emotional in the overall visual identity of the charity.
- It is important that there are no religious connotations, trees or apples
- The preference is to take a more simple approach, with inspiration such as NEDA and AED for their logos.
- Charities show the positive so remember this within the approach to any visuals
- It would be good to have a subtly of the overall intention of BrEDS, which aims to connect with lots of different professionals who deal with treating eating disorders to work as a stronger body of people.
In order to inform my design stage I spent time researching a range of logos, from mental health charities, wellbeing logos and more generally medical branding and logo designs. I look specifically at logos of those mentioned by the client to ensure I was keeping in line with their preferences, as well as trying to form a wider understanding of potential directions that the logo design could go. The research was valuable in showing attention to colour palettes and how these can help create a medical identity without obviously having imagery of something more specific to the cause. Blues and purples appeared to be popular in medical branding.
Sketches and initial ideas
From the research done, I created mood boards for presentation, which included ideas for secondary branding and tag lines. As part of the presentation document I became to sketch 10 ideas to show the client as the first stage of the job. Consideration the a predominately illustrative or typographic logo was key and understanding how the graphic style of the illustration or typeface personality needs to be appropriate for both the eating disorder subject and the charity as a professional body of health care experts and doctors. I used Illustrator to both digitalise hand-drawn sketches as well as outline typefaces for greater flexibility and ease of modifying positioning and scale.
In response to feedback I refined three ideas to take forward to show the client and wider committee. Through this I learnt the attention to detail for how best to present the concepts on the page, drawing on information design, to ensure I kept the description of the idea in the same place on each page as well as keeping the description away from the graphics. Including a short description of the concept and design outline for the designs was a good exercise to consider a concise and professional tone to present my designs to the client and committee. This was a helpful aid for the those considering the designs and the client provided thorough feedback and opinions from the committee that brought together the general consensus in favour of one design. The client also provided a new focus to consider in moving forward with ideas: the group’s wish to focus on integration/collaboration – I would echo this: BrEDS seeks to represent some very different professional groups all of whom work with adults and children with eating disorders. Similarly, another member of the committee emphasised that “For what it’s worth re: logos – I agree with others. Need something more rounded, and welcoming than the fractured images. It’s about bring together. And should be aspirational, and warm.”
“Thank you Philippa for all your work on this – some imaginative and beautiful designs.”
At this point in the job it was clear that the design store would not be working as systematically as I had hope. Attention to adding new concepts and designs to present to the client I learnt how to adapt and evaluate where further designs and concepts needed to be explored rather than pushing on with my own expected deadlines and refinement of one idea. Still considering the preferred design by the client and committee I created two variations of that design whilst presenting two new designs. I spent time digesting the comprehensive feedback I had received to focus more on the togetherness of the charity itself and how differing professionals are coming together under one cause. The new designs were presented in a similar way but it was of benefit to join another skype meeting which fell at the same time as sending through the designs. Before the meeting it was interesting to consider with my supervisor the expectation of the design they would prefer. Up until this point the job had taken a natural course, with there being a general development of one idea leading to the next more refined concept. It was therefore surprising to receive, for what seemed to me, a complete change in direction as the committee all unanimously agreed on a new approach to the brief, overlapping letters, with differing colours to show how differing voices and professionals are coming together to make up BrEDS. This new innovative design was, from my perspective and shared by the committee and client, a fitting direction for the charity and when put against other similar charities. Unfortunately, however as it had been viewed as an alternative approach that would not be chosen the design was very much a draft design, with the overlapping letterforms in need of attention to create a clean and precise composition that would be successful at both a small and large scale. The typeface itself had some awkward curves and inconsistent characteristics that meant that the general appearance was not as crisp as it could be. Whilst this would be expected to go through two stages of refinement to get to the final design there was a turn of events that meant that the committee was now in need of the designs within a week of the skype meeting. The short deadline meant that it was agreed that the design presented would be used as an interim in order to have an identity for the conference. This was a real challenge for me as I did not want the charity to define a visual identity that then may change, even if in a small way, but with such a tight deadline this was necessary. It taught me how as a designer it is important to still maintain a level of refinement of visuals through every stage as people are susceptible to getting attached to ideas and designs. Once sent to them it was hard to retract or modify the designs within my own bounds as a designer which has been an important lesson for me to consider for future jobs in my career.
Following on from this the final stages of the job was about creating a more refined identity for the charity within a need deadline. Despite presenting a more visually dynamic and balanced design it was clear that the committee favoured as little variation as possible from the interim design. With this in mind I chose a more structured and uniform typeface that was stronger in overlapping the typeforms to create a clean and crisp logo. Understanding the large and small scale of the logo was crucial as the colours used at times meant that letters got lost at a smaller scale, at times it meant that BEDS or even BS stood out more than the full BrEDS, an issue that needed resolving. In solving these conflicts and balancing the typeforms and points of overlap the final design was approved. In using this and the composition of BrEDS alongside its full name I provided the client with the small scale and large scale variations. Following this I create business cards and posters that used a clearly defined colour palette and drew on the visual identity of overlapping colours, particularly seen in the poster designs.
The final designs of the logo incorporates overlapping letters to create a typographic identity. The blue and green colour palette clearly defined the logo as a medical charity and the differing colours of the letters is indented to reflect the joining of different voices under one charity. The refinement of positioning of the overlap ensures the logo is success at different scale. Creating a variation in composition allowed the client to use a stacked or more horizontal position in accordance to the overall design that it might be featured on. The business cards play to the striking nature of the logo, with a more simple and clean approach to the design. The geometric Proxima Nova typeface is used for the website and slogan to balance the dynamic typographic logo. The poster plays to the logo and uses blocks of colour, in line with the colour palette, to create a strong visual identity of the overlapping colours. Ensuring the type sits and interacts with these blocks in a crisp and uniform way the posters maintain a medical professionalism whilst ensuring that there is a bold and eye-catching poster for the committee to use.