Feedback Jam

Autumn term Feedback Jam, hosted in Week 7 of term with tutors Sara Chapman, Josefina Bravo and Geoff Wyeth was put in place to assist students with upcoming deadlines towards the end of term. A valuable Baseline Shift to obtain extra advice along with tips and tricks on how to improve before final submissions!

Part 3 Students

The session kicked off with Part 3 student, Mia, showing her Publishing Platform module work of her magazine spreads and covers for the chosen topic of surfing for women. This brief was to create spreads for three different articles, as well as interview, contents, and full sleeve cover – for a self-chosen topic. Tutors appreciated the handcrafted typography used for quotes however suggested the width of the stroke may not fit the overall aesthetic a surfing magazine might aim for. Linking to this, Mia was advised to ‘have more fun’ with layout and placements so that it doesn’t appear as linear and is more fit for surfing itself.

Mia’s main article opening spread, featuring hand-lettering.


Mia’s photography article text spread.

‘Experiment, rough it up a bit more!’ 

‘Be bold!’ 


Similarly, Part 3 student Ben presented his magazine spreads for the same project with his topic of graphic novels. Based on the layouts of graphic novels themselves, Ben’s cover incorporates this idea of how image is split to create a more interesting visual element. Both students and staff praised the connection between type and imagery, however felt the grid to feel quite forced and looking like something wanted to fill in every gap. Peers also noticed how the same character was shown in three spreads and and questioned if this was necessary. Geoff enforced the importance of production concerns when placing graphic elements over the centre of spreads which could be lost due to the binding and therefore lead to misalignment, perhaps even causing issues with how information is communicated.

Ben’s ‘Watchmen’ spread.
Ben’s Magazine cover

‘White space is so important!’

‘You want it to be serious but not the same.’ 


Part 2 Students

Second year student, Finn presented his posters for feedback working on a campaign project for sustainable development goals. Using wood type lettering, Finn was advised to consider the spacing between words, as the sentence was read differently than he intended. It showed the importance of hierarchy when placing text on a page.

Finn’s poster design which features wood-lettering , printed  with the help of Geoff.

‘Create a link between concept and message’.


Matthew also presented his work for the same project and received feedback on his image and how effective it is in communicating the message – It risked overpowering or competing with the type. Tutors also suggested the call for action could be amended to exploit the space more, and to visually match the content and what it communicates.

Matthew’s poster design.


Part 1 Students

Finally, first year Ethan showed his work for a book design project where the brief was to format text in either a modern or traditional style and compliment this with a foreword, table of contents and end matter. Discussing indents and spacing, Ethan learned about italics and how this can be used to differentiate between hierarchy of text, for example a letter in which he was presenting within the main body of text. 

Ethan’s book design, looking at formatting a letter within the book text.



It is so important to gain insight into your work from a different perspective outside the regular classes. Sometimes we can be biased towards our own design or be too hard on ourselves. Fresh insights go a long way. As a designer, we should always be willing to receive new opinions and advice to enhance our current and future projects.

’The session is so helpful!’

‘Even though I didn’t show my work, it’s always great seeing my peers and using similar advice for my own work.’

Harkiran Kalsi – The power of lettering

Week 5 of Spring term brought us Harkiran Kalsi (Harky); designer, illustrator and hand letterer who has worked with companies including The BBC, New Balance and EA Sports. Harkiran took us through the journey of her career in design and taught us the importance of determination and stepping out of your comfort zone.

Breaking into the industry

Lettering by Harkiran Kalsi

Harky was introduced to the world of Graphic Design through her Art Foundation course at Coventry University. As a Graduate she struggled to break into the London-based industry she dreamed of being a part of, interviewing for a spectrum of jobs and failing. She stressed the importance of taking failures in your stride – with every failure is another open door with different opportunities. Eventually, an opening at Comic Relief allowed her to break through.

Failure is always going to be a part of it… Embrace it!‘ – Harky

 Harky’s lettering series to on the topic of ‘gratitude’ opened her up to opportunities with companies like Footlocker and The London Marathon. Her love for running plays an important role in her networking, with her running group ‘Run Dem Crew’ introducing her to many opportunities for commissions when she would eventually become a freelancer.

Harky with her ball design for the Footlocker X NBA collaboration

Making the jump into freelance

While moving to freelance work was a big decision to make with no agency work to show, she quickly secured her first gig despite the doubt she and others had. In fact, she found she was booked constantly on a variety of projects. She has worked on website assets, social posts and documentaries in the past few years. Now, Harky has begun mural painting. She believes that, as an artist, it is her duty to spread messages she believes in and stand up for communities.

Mural by Harkiran


Harkiran’s talk was a massive dose of positivity, showing us that – no matter how dark times get – you should never give up. Step out of your comfort zone, experiment and embrace being imperfect. Her determination to make her way into the industry proved that the problems do not define you – you can achieve your goals too.


‘Loved seeing her work and her journey, I found it really inspiring.’ – Part 2 Student

‘Harky’s authentic and real talk of her struggles in design were incredibly interesting, giving a sense of the life of a designer without just presenting the good parts. It’s really great to see that the path through work isn’t perfect.’ – Part 1 Student

‘I’d definitely want Harky to speak again next year. Her outlook and honesty was hugely inspirational.’ – Part 1 Student



Practicing letter forms

I found this task was surprisingly difficult compared to how I had assumed it would be after reading the brief. I had thought that I had quite a precise hand for drawing and sketching, but the reality of the project showed me that I was not as detail orientated as I’d thought. There were details within the letters which I did not observe until they were pointed out to me.

The first task was to fill in the gaps of letter parts of the typeface ‘Skolar’. I feel that I achieved the same style across the majority of areas but on seeing the original font afterwards could see that my ‘a’ was quite far off and some areas are a different weight than to the original.

We then were tasked to replicate what we thought the letters of a different font with letters that we’d not seen would look like.  I found the rounded parts of the letters the most challenging, but focussed on creating a balanced weight across the letters. I, again, found the ‘a’ the most challenging shape to achieve but found evidence from the letters we were given to create the shapes across the other letters.

Listings for young adults

My original sketches were designed based on varying users, but the two final sketches I landed on were based on working for teenagers, couples and young adults. I chose to achieve this by having the actors, titles and times of the highest hierarchy as these are the things which appeal most to these categories without the presence of a trailer, poster or synopsis due to the familiarity of names or attention grabbing titles. I decided to highlight these elements through the use of all caps, italics, weight and varying colours. I also chose two different text alignments to style the information.

I decided to have the age rating at the bottom of each listing, but in solid black as it would not likely be as relevant for my chosen users than, say, a family or someone looking to avoid adult themes. In one of my listings (Title emphasis) , I have used grey text across the actors and directors as well as the additional contexts of the films, to further emphasise the details in black (the title, length, age rating and location and time) which are left solid black. I made this decision to help separate the listings further from one another in addition to the breaks between, but I feel that the placement above the title leaves the actors still high in the hierarchy. In this example, the title is also italic unlike the other of my layouts again to further emphasise this and put them higher in the hierarchy of information.

In the second of my layouts (Actors and title emphasis), I used black for the actors and kept them above the title but smaller in size, to have these two details similar in hierarchy. I also kept the time and date of similar style to the actors as this is likely the next most relevant piece of information for my targeted users.

Overall, I found formatting these details fairly challenging which surprised me since there are so many different combinations which achieve a multitude of effects. However, this task has taught me the impact of such tiny details such as the difference a pt size can make to the whole page. Going forward i will apply my knowledge of these details into my work in varying contexts to achieve the desired effects.

Title emphasis

Actors and title emphasis

Human analysts

One of my favourite pieces in the collections I saw today was this ‘Human Analyst’ ticket, from what I can assume came from a fairground stall, or similar environments. I was drawn to this piece particularly because of its simple format which is designed so efficiently for its purpose, in the way that the exact same design can produce a large number of readings for customers and would also provide a personal experience for the user. The use of hole punches allows a large amount of information to be communicated quickly and clearly which feels optimal for not only the user’s understanding but also business in aiding speed of work therefore enabling more customers.

The Dracula

Since I struggled the most on the first task with creating smooth edges on the cartouche, I decided to further the practice of this technique by creating a blood dripping effect from where the top line is and also to mirror the themes of the book. I also used the pencil tool to draw the rough guide of where I wanted the drip effect to run, which has resulted in a more organic appearance than if I were to use the oval tool to base the shape off of. Again, overall this task has helped me learn how different tools can be manipulated for different purposes.

70’s neutrals

70s retro theme

Initially, I started my logo thinking of mainly curved lines and neutral, warm tones. As I began to work in illustrator, I experimented with curved typefaces and settled on this chunky and organic shape font. I separated letters from my name to create a larger ‘M’ which allowed the letters to fit together better and create a more rounded appearance when alongside one another. I also decided to use a white stroke around the main name, to highlight this above the ‘designs’ below which I wanted to be secondary to the name and then closed off the negative space by using two circles and the ‘blend’ tool, to create a background reminiscent of vinyl records and in line with the curved lines I initially wanted to pull into the logo. I tweaked these variables until i found a balance i was happy with; however I would prefer to use this logo in a circular format rather than a square to eliminate some of the empty space and draw the eye back again to the centre logo.



I chose the obsession brief and decided to take a quite literal approach to the storyline. The beginning of the book appears normal, until a mouse scurries along the bottom of the page, and from here the destruction mirrored in the brief begins through the majority of the book to convey the frantic search for the mouse. This continues up until the tears in the pages reveal a growing blackness, to represent that after all of the destruction there is nothing to be found.

Lettering and the relationships with the colours surrounding them

Signs around Campus

I decided to focus on the relationships between colour of letters and the background they are presented on for this project, where I found that the majority of lettering is white or black and surrounding by a bold and eye-catching colour. When looking at the majority of signs it is evident that this design choice is made to initially capture the attention of a passer by through a large body of bright colour and then have the lettering as the secondary, despite the text being the core of the sign. I found that this technique is more effective than say, a white sign with red lettering, since there is a larger body of white which does not grab the eye as efficiently as a bold colour.