Author: JosephCooper1997

National Youth Guitar Circus

Background information

National Youth Guitar Ensemble (NYGE) is a charity which develops talented young classical guitarists in the UK by offering them world-class coaching facilities and the opportunity to play with other like minded individuals in ensembles.


As a group we had previously worked with NYGE in the TY3BP module. At the end of this module we presented them with a new campaign and brand identity. After this module was over, NYGE then approached us to ask if we could refine certain deliverables for this module in the form of a real job.

Restated brief

The brief was to create a set of illustrations for use in large scale print projects alongside an animation to be shared on social media as part of an upcoming campaign to encourage individuals to audition to join NYGE.


During our initial meeting with the client we discussed target audience of the campaign and the message that they wanted the overall campaign to create. The client had also prepared an initial storyboard for the animation. We discussed this material in depth to make sure that we all agreed this was the right direction to take the campaign in. One area of particular importance was the length of the video; as the video would primarily be shared on social media it was important to make sure that the video was not too long (no longer than one minute). Ironing all the details out in the initial meeting was extremely crucial to the success of this project due to the tight turn around that the client needed for the final deliverables.

Illustration style developed during the TY3BP module

During this meeting the client had told us that they wanted us to pursue the existing style that we had established in the TY3BP module. As seen in the above photo this style used one continuous and fluid line to create an illustration. This illustration style was decided upon because we agreed with the client that this style helps showcase the dynamic composition of classical music.

After our meeting we had a discussion with our project supervisor about our meeting. It was mentioned by our supervisor that we should look at modifying the illustrations so that they can sit on top of a black background. The reason for this was to create a more classical feel which ultimately would better reflect the type of music that is played by NYGE. Carmen then mocked up an illustration to present to the client to see if they would be happy with this approach.

The illustrations were redrawn to more accurately represent the characteristics of a classical guitar player as well as inverted so that they could sit on top of a black background.

The feedback received from the client was extremely positive and they wanted us to pursue this slight change in artistic direction. Carmen then produced more illustrations which would match with the concept of the storyboard we had. The set of illustrations use continuous line drawings to complement the dynamic composition of classical music. The fluid movement of this line can also be associated with lines used in the brand identity which work as a reminder of the guitar’s strings.  The colours used in the illustrations were taken from our secondary colour palette. The background of the illustrations was made black in order for colours and the outlines to stand out.

These illustrations would form the basic skeleton of the animation which would be produced by Cecilia. Once the illustrations were approved we started the animation process. As the illustrations are all done following a single line style, they were animated in order to give the impression of a moving line creating different shapes and figures. This made the video very dynamic and active, captivating the audience with curiosity of what the line will create next.  

This continuous line effect also resembles the strings of a guitar. This process was made on Adobe After Effects, which allowed us to control and set the timings for the actions in order to give the viewer enough time to read the information displayed and appreciate the story the video tells.

The client had also requested that they would like the illustrations to be vectorised and made print ready so that they could easily be produced in large scale formats (A1 and larger). As the software used by Carmen could only produce RGB bitmap images it meant that the illustrations had to be converted into a vectorised CMYK file in order to be print ready. To do this Joseph had to trace over each illustration in Adobe Illustrator using the pen tool and convert the RGB colours to their closest CMYK match. Three versions of each illustration were created within the illustrator file:  

  • One version featured the original drawings as a set of strokes with the pen tool. This was needed so that the client could tweak the illustrations in future if necessary
  • One version with expanded strokes and no colour. By expanding the strokes in illustrator the client now had a set of illustrations which would maintain the correct stroke width when resized.
  • One version with expanded strokes and added in colour
Illustration recreated with Adobe Illustrator shown in outline mode.

With the deliverables nearing completion we presented the work to the client. The client was extremely happy with what had been produced however some slight tweaks were needed to both the illustrations and the video (such as small copy changes).

Final Outcome

Below you can see the final video and illustrations that were produced and handed over to the client.

The final animation

One of the final illustrations


As a group we feel confident about the outcomes of this project and we believe it was a success. We received extremely positive feedback and they were extremely happy with the end result.

The quick turnaround of this project also highlighted to us all the importance of communication (as a team and also with the client). To start with there was a lack of communication between causing slight confusion over the date of deliverables, however this issue was quickly sorted out. From then on we provided the client constant on updates on the project. By maintaining good communication with the client we were able to better understand their needs and advise them on different design decisions.

“I really feel that your end product is innovative, eye-catching and perfect for our target audience.” – quote from the real job client!

Group members and roles

  • Carmen Martinez-friele – Illustrator
  • Cecilia Fraticelli– Animator
  • Joseph Cooper – Artworker



UoR Internal Library Hoardings

Background information:

Over a period of 4 years the University of Reading Library is undergoing refurbishment. The marketing team required some graphics to be made to communicate important messages to the library users.

Restated Brief:

The graphics created needed to be incredibly diverse to work in a number of different situations including at large scale to cover false walls that would be put up during the redevelopment. They needed to help ensure that students, staff, and other users remain positive throughout the redevelopment process. It was also important to our client that the designs could be easily adapted throughout the development of the library in case the timeline changed. Our team set out to create a number of different possible solutions to this problem that we could present to our client.

End outcomes/objectives:

  • Designs for temporary hoardings to be used across all floors of the library.
  • Designs to help provide information and sell the development of the library to existing and potential students for the reception area.
  • Thoughts on how the designs could be extended into other elements.


Much of our research centered around looking at the types of graphics being used in other libraries analysing how they were effective in communicating important messages to their users. We also spent time looking at how large-scale wall graphics were used, particularly finding inspiration in how timelines were used in some examples that we found.

Wayfinding was also a key point of focus in this project, as areas of the library would be closed for lengths of time and collections relocated, we also looked into innovative ways of directing library users around an environment.

We also got involved with a set of focus groups to see what students across various years thought of the library development. This gave us crucial information which we could go away and build our ideas upon. It also provided us with an insight into how people perceived the library and its redevelopment and which gave us some considerations to look into when designing our outputs.

For example in one of the focus groups which was ran, all the students agreed that they would not want the colours used within the different library floors to be altered. This was because users of library tended to spend a lot of time on one specific floor and felt comforted by the surroundings – changing these colours dramatically could potentially cause unwanted effects.

Initial Ideas:

We each took the research that we had conducted and began to develop some initial ideas separately then came together as a group to discuss and build on what we had begun to put together. These are the ideas that we came up:

Pictograms and patterns

This initial concept involved using a set of pictograms. These pictograms could be built upon on top of the existing pictograms in the university brand assets. Building upon these kept branding consistent with the university and created a system which could be easily evolve throughout the period of construction. These pictograms would then be used to create a pattern for the temporary hoardings in the library. The reason for going with a pattern it that it it helped reduce distraction to those studying in the library (reduced distractions was highlighted as an area of particular importance to students during the focus groups). Within these patterns motivational quotes or information about the library could be placed.

This system could then be easily adapted to create a simple wayfinding system for students. The wayfinding system could then be used in conjunction with a set of pictograms to create a timeline for the project, giving the students an idea on when projects should be complete. Having a wayfinding system embedded into the walls also meant the that they would be easy to follow from a distance which is important when items in the library are in temporary places in which the students wouldn’t expect to find them.

This concept also played on the fact that ‘Reading’ is spelt the same as ‘reading’. By placing this visual pun in the context of the University of Reading library, we thought it would be a simple way of making people look twice to understand the meaning. We also wanted to emphasise the fact that this redevelopment would benefit everyone and was ‘for’ the student to benefit from.

When we pitched this idea to our client liked the concept of patterned pictograms but were less keen on the copywriting. They explained that they usually tried to avoiding confusion between ‘Reading’ and ‘reading’ and they did not think that this was as strong an idea as the pictogram concept.

Initial concept for one of the temporary hoardings using patterns and pictograms.


Type within Type

This idea centered around using large letters and number to draw attention to important facts and instructions. These large-scale type elements could be filled with buzz-words that relate to the redevelopment project to help create a positive atmosphere and a good attitude towards the construction work.

Overall this proved to be very adaptable concept as it would be easy to change the colour scheme if necessary. We found out that it worked well alongside photographs so a wide range of media could be used. This concept could also build on top of the existing University of Reading brand guidelines as it would be based on top of the Effra typeface.

Again the client liked the concept of this but they feared that if the concept is used everywhere it could potentially be a distraction to those studying in the library.

Initial type within type mockup



This concept aimed to make the library feel like a friendly place to be. The idea was that buzzwords could be placed inside a crossword like pattern, with a goal of creating buzz and excitement about the project. Each crossword could then build on the existing colour palettes for each floor. 

A mockup of how the crossword concept could look when placed on a window


Developed Idea:

Following the feedback and discussions from our first pitch to the University team we settled on an approach which combined the ideas of the “Pictogram and patterns concept” and “Type within Type” concept. We then worked together as a group to bring these ideas to create one unified concept and explore other potential graphic outputs.

One output that the marketing team were particularly interested in was how graphics could be used on the windows. Placing graphics on the windows meant that the distraction caused by workers moving around the outside of the library could be lessened, however it was also important to note that it was mentioned several times in the focus groups that the library should retain as much natural light as possible.

Mock-up of how the timeline for development could be presented
A mockup of how a room on the blue library floor could look with temporary hoardings

During this development we also looked at ways that this concept could work on smaller format handouts such as posters and handouts which could be left around the University campus. These handouts would go into details about the benefits of the libraries overhaul.

How the campaign could be presented on a poster

Conclusion and cancellation:

A few days after pitching our developed idea to the client we were unfortunately informed by our client that they had decided to hand this project on to the internal University design team due to a shift in the proposed deadline date. The client however did inform us that enjoyed working with us and they thought the work that we produced was brilliant.

While it is a shame that we did not get to see this project through to completion we all learnt a lot about pitching ideas to clients and designing for large-scale print projects such as hoardings. During the research stage we learnt the importance of getting insights from people who will be affected by the designed outputs through interview methods such as focus groups. These focus groups helped us create sensible graphic outputs for a campaign which would impact many people in a negative way. We also gained more experience in working with existing brand guidelines and generating numerous ideas for a project.

Team members

  • Clara Kightley
  • Jessica Davis
  • Joseph Cooper