Author: Test User

Award-winning student banner design

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Congratulations to Part 1 student Emmeline Hewstone whose exhibition stand and banner designs won third place in Design Wizard’s 2015/16 competition.

Emmeline’s minimalist design concept was inspired by the Swiss typographic design she studied  in our history of graphic communication module. She says:

To appeal to prospective design students, I needed to create a consistent brand. I took inspiration from a design style that I have never experimented with before, but one that I absolutely adore – Swiss typography.

I wanted to represent the historical and educational aspects of the course, having been exposed to Swiss typography and its influential designers through lectures and seminars focusing on the history of graphic communication.

So, feeling inspired particularly by the likes of Josef Müller-Brockmann, I created a minimalist, primarily typographic design following a grid structure which is so commonly seen in Swiss typography.

We look forward to displaying Emmeline’s award-winning banner at our forthcoming open days.

Business & Domestic Website

Company and Project Background

Business & Domestic Insurance Services develop insurance products and services that protect businesses’ and consumers’ most valuable assets: their customers, health, family, home, autos and possessions.

Re-stated Brief

In the initial meeting, it was expressed that their target market is Business to Business (B2B), predominantly males aged 35-50 years. The proposed deliverables in the initial redesign phase was the development of user personas and user journeys, a sitemap, and wire-framing with a mocked up website page based on the research that was done and previous outcomes completed.

Original Deliverables

User Personas and Journeys

A set of five user personas were to be developed, outlining the user’s goals on the website, motivations for using it, pain points and frustrations, demographic data and a short bio.  This is to identify their overall character and the main objectives for using the website. This will help determine the type of user that will use the website and which user(s) should be targeted. A set of five user journeys were then to be developed, to show how the user navigates the website. The journeys to be developed include: how each step enables users to reach the next, the website’s pain points, consideration of which device is used to access the website, and benefits to the user/business. This aids the structure and design of the website to be able to create navigation that is easy for the customer to use.

Sitemap

After the development of the user personas and journeys, a sitemap is to be created to lay out all the content pages and structure of the website, and outline the relationship between certain pages and how to continue to the next stage. The navigation of the website is very important to this redesign and is the core aspect within the proposal. The sitemap enables a macro-view of the amount and type of content pages that will be on the website, and to edit accordingly.

Wire-frame

Wire-framing is a visual representation of the user interface but without any brand elements. The three outcomes from above (user persona, user journey and sitemap) all contribute to this stage in the development. This is where the look and the feel of the website is explored in terms of hierarchy of information and putting together all the research. The proposed outcome may be two website designs to demonstrate what could happen with the website when it is taken to a developer.

Website Prototype

The next two stages of prototyping and developing the website with a developer may be explored and decided upon once the proposed initial stage has been completed. There are technical and legal elements that need to be considered in deciding server space, hosting, and search engine optimization (SEO). Due to the scale of the project, there are multiple outcomes that can be decided upon: other students may be brought in to complete the project or taken over completely by someone who you appoint either in-house or outside recruitment. There are many options of which can be considered once the initial proposed outcomes are complete.

Development

The initial meeting with the client proved confusing and took me a long time to process what they were looking for. This was the first of many frustrations. The deliverables above were agreed to in November and due for delivery end of January/beginning of February. There were several problems in the beginning, the biggest one being that I did not understand what I needed to do. I decided to continue and create user personas and user journeys that were not based on real people. These were detailed and well thought through, but lacked real data as discussed below.

Original User personas + journeys
These were the original user personas and journeys (only two examples are shown).

Basing the user personas on a fake person would have had no impact on the design and would be missing a crucial process in designing a website. It was only after completing the website project as part of PRA (Reading Buses) that I had an idea and understanding of the steps I needed to take to create a successful design. I realised I needed to start again and talk to real users that used Business & Domestic if I wanted to correctly learn the process that we had been taught. This was after the original deadline had already passed, as the Reading Buses project started the middle of January. Additionally, the client had not been pushing me for the deadline and I was unable to get feedback from my supervisor in time due to a miscalculation, leading to a further delay in the process. I take full responsibility for this delay.

The proposed sitemap had been completed before starting the process again and was used as a basis for the design of the wire-frames. The sitemap was complicated as Business & Domestic had a lot of products under multiple categories and one of the main purposes of the re-design was to simplify the navigation. The client was unsure at some points what they wanted to include on the website as they were reshuffling the focus of their products at the time.

Sitemap for Business & Domestic
Sitemap for Business & Domestic

Around the end of March , I decided to start again after meeting with the client and assuring them that the turn-around time would be quicker. It was also around this time that I swapped supervisors from Jeanne Louise to James and acquired Hannah Smith (alumni) who works at Asos to help me with the re-design. In the beginning the client was confusing about what they were expecting from me. It was incredibly helpful to have Hannah help me and guide me in this process as at times I misunderstood what the client wanted.

I reached the breaking point around the end of March when I had to explain to my client I couldn’t fulfil what they wanted. I had a meeting with my client not long after discussing with Hannah and James which route I should take. The meeting proved beneficial as I had not seen my client since the first meeting back in November and things had been at a standstill since. The meeting went well and I came out of it fully understanding what they wanted and the steps I needed to take in order to achieve a successful outcome. They were apologetic in letting it slip to the side and not pushing me on it, which taught me a valuable lesson about the need to continually follow-up with non-responsive clients. That said, I take full responsibility for letting myself fall to the side due to not being pushed.

I quickly began collecting real data with the help of my client and talking to their employees and current partners. I created four user personas and four user journeys that highlighted real pain points that they brought up. The personas that were presented to my client are below. One of the frustrations was not being able to find things that they were looking for on the current website, such as to download sample policy wordings. This was taken into account when sketching and wire-framing started.

User Personas and journeys for Business & Domestic
The user personas and journeys based on real people.

Sketches

The sketches is where a lot of my wire-framing is done to understand the different hierarchies and how the user would interact with the website. This can be seen in some of the examples of my sketches for this website re-design. I took these sketches and started working with the ideas in Sketch. I found Sketch was easier to use than Photoshop and more realistic to the web industry than using InDesign. From discussing with the client in the last meeting and feedback from Hannah I was able to start strong with the wire-frame.

sketches
Sketches for Business & Domestic Website

High-Quality Wire-frame (greyscale)

The wire-frame that I presented to the client included their brand and all elements including text and photographs in greyscale. This was because I had to as fully as possible what the end website would look like. However, I did strip the colour back for them to focus on the hierarchy and how the user would interact with the website. The feedback that I received from the client and the staff was focused on the copy and text. I had reiterated on multiple occasions that the only copy I had to use was from the current website, which clearly had some issues that needed to be worked on. The client was aware that the copy needed to be worked on by a professional and that I would try and put it together as best as I could. There were no comments on the design, which was both good and bad. It was great because I had no amendments to make to the website and could continue to the full-scale prototype, which would include colour. The drawback was that I was unsure how to improve the design without feedback. This was when I decided to gather a couple users that had no awareness of Business & Domestic or what they did and conduct a small test. This test was to gather information and data based on this wire-frame whether they understood what Business & Domestic represented and what they could do for the user. From the feedback, it was clear what Business & Domestic did and how they could access products that they were interested in. I asked the users to perform certain tasks and it showed that some of the buttons and labelling were misleading. This helped in improving the user experience and to add this adjustment into the final round of revisions.

Desktop2
Lifestyle Protection – Product page wire-frame
Desktop3
Homepage – Wire-frame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deliverable – Full Colour Website

The full colour prototype that can be viewed on Invision can be seen below. To access the website online: here. The next round of feedback from my client was about copy again, but they did like the design of the website and had no feedback in that respect. They were pleased with the outcome of the website and I was glad to fulfil what they had wanted from the beginning: to showcase who they were and what they did. This was where I went wrong in the beginning. I thought they wanted me to design a website to be able to provide quotes and multiple product pages. Once it was simplified and I understood, I needed to design a ‘storefront’ in a way for them to be seen online: “This is who Business & Domestic are and here are our products”. The products that Business & Domestic supply are clearly stated at the first point on the website homepage to direct the user to where they need to go. It was also important to have information regarding who Business & Domestic were in the banner at the top.

Homepage Lifestyle Protection Home Protection

The prototype is on-going but will be finished in less than a week once I finish the last edit. The files supplied to my client will be pngs and a link to the live prototype. Due to the complicated nature of coding a website, as a department and myself, we are unable to continue the design till full completion (making the website go live.)

About Us Contact Us

Reflection

It was a slow beginning and I should have pushed and asked for more information in order to understand what needed to be done. It is not down to the client to push me but for me to push myself. I went into the job unsure of how to design a website and purely on the basis of wanting to see if digital design was more suited towards me. I did push myself in terms of learning the process quickly of how to design a website on a professional level and that enabled me to create a successful outcome that the client is pleased with. I have learnt to gather as much information as possible from the client in the first meeting in order to minimise what happened this time.

Changing supervisors and having Hannah Smith as the additional advisor helped immensely in completing this real job in a short period. Hannah’s feedback was invaluable as her job involves website design and user experience on a daily basis. She was always willing to help me and if I was unsure about something she was able to help. I should have asked for more help from my supervisor earlier on in the process and this was my fault. In the future, I would begin to recognise the signs if I didn’t understand something and ask for help, whether that was from the client or someone unrelated.

The design of the website was a pleasant experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Using Sketch is now my go-to for designing websites. I developed the skills during the Reading Buses project and was able to quickly mock-up the website in the short time I had. One thing that I did not account for in the beginning is the turn-around time in getting a supervisor to see it. This was more of a problem in the beginning than in the end and it was my fault in underestimating the time it took. This meant that on some occasions I was late to the deadline that I had set myself and for the client to receive the outcome. My client was understanding from the beginning which was hugely helpful for when I decided to start from the beginning because I knew that if I had continued it would not be the same result that the client liked so much.

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome of the design because it fulfils the purpose that my client wanted. Following the process from start to finish was hugely valuable experience that I will remember for when I start to apply for digital designer positions. This real job cemented to me that I enjoy the process of creating digital design and specifically website design. While this was my only real job for third year (and having been in Australia for most of second) I learnt a lot in which I might not have learnt if I had not taken on a complicated job. The mistakes and failures I made in this real job will help me if I decide to take on freelance work and for when I enter the design industry.

 

Chaplaincy poster and HTML email

Background of Chaplaincy at Reading
The Chaplaincy is base in the center of University of Reading and they are the ones who offer support to students and also the staff in whatever their religious belief.

Their aim

  • be a reflective, praying, God-centred faith community, respectful of and enriched by our distinct traditions
  • resource a space in which students and staff are accepted, nutured, and can find confidence, healing and spiritual growth
  • be a Christian witness affirming all that is good, promoting justice and peace, and respect and care for God’s Creation
  • facilitate dialogue between people of all faiths and viewpoints in an environment of trust

Restated Brief
The task for this project was to create a create poster that advertised about Café Theologique which is a series of talks that are held in a town centre bar and also a e-newsletter that could circulate through emails amongst their team and people who are interested in those talks. They have requested the poster to be a simple one that allows them to do the editing on their own whenever the talks change every term so it will be done as a template and also the use of Mailchimp for the e-newsletter.

Research and initial ideas
Since they have requested for a template for the poster where they can edit easily without having to use different software, I have decided to use Microsoft Word that is a software that the client has. I find that Microsoft Word will be en easier choice for them as compared to Acrobat as I have tried it myself and I feel its much more complicated for them to understand how it works. They might not have the software as well.

The client had also mentioned and requested to have something related to café and science or café and theology. It could also have a spiritual context of God. The client had given me a few ideas that he wanted like for example an imagery with a perspective but at the same time giving off a high impact that could attract people to the talk or lectures. With that in mind, I went on researching on how I could combine café and science or theology together. A few keywords came to mind like coffee, molecules, chemistry and bible. With these few keywords, various research and experimentation, I came up with a few ideas that revolve around café and science or theology.

draft 2.1 draft 2.12 draft 2.13

draft 2.14 draft 2.15

Work in Progress
Spoke to David, my supervisor for this task and he said to try something more spiritual and biblical to show impact and different perspective it. I was not very good with Photoshop so I went around searching for tutorials on how I could do digital imaging that could make images looked like there were various perspective and exposure to it. With many trial and errors and exploration of the software and images, I manage to come out with a few ideas that showed different perspective and are quite impactful.

draft 2.16 draft 2.17 draft 2.18

After receiving feedback from the client regarding those ideas above, he said it was rather to strong and he feels that some people may feel a little intimidated by the images. That was something he was not looking for. He was going towards something that is softer and friendlier because it was like a coffee and talk session. He showed me a few samples that he found that he liked and requested to work around it. With his further explanations of what he actually wanted, I manage to fully understand better of it. The client also provided an image that he wanted to implement in the poster. With that, I manage to move on to something softer and more engaging poster where I feel that it is not intimidating and also would attract non-believers of Christ.

draft 2.19

Final design
After getting to the final design, typography was taken into consideration as there was quite a bit of text on the poster. A level of hierarchy was needed, as there were many different information. The font had to be taken into consideration as well as I may have the font and the client did not have it. So we had discussion regarding the fonts and had settled down with Arial as he didn’t had the font that I used. This was because he didn’t had Microsoft Word in the computer that is in the office.

draft 2.110

Difficulty with the client
I didn’t have many meetings with the client as we communicated through emails. The only difficulty that I have met was that the communication was pretty slow when it comes to email. I had to send out various reminders regarding the design of poster and typography wise. There were times that the client doesn’t reply to emails and I had no idea how to move forward with the poster. The email to the client was then forwarded to another person who also works in the Chaplaincy when it was talking about the e-newsletter. There was no notice or anything about a change in whoever is in charge as well. This made me quite confuse as I thought I was sending emails to the wrong person.

In regards to the e-newsletter, they have decided to work on it themselves after setting up an account for them on Mailchimp. This was because there were privacy issues that they were concern about and they are having second thoughts about using Mailchimp. I suggested using PDF but I could understand the reason to the idea of doing up an e-newsletter. But the main concern was they did not want to disclose any personal details on the website because of the security.

Reflection
Overall, the project went well though it took longer than expected due to slow communication. Besides, I have managed to learn a new way using of Photoshop that I wasn’t good at. I have also learnt how to go about meeting the client without a supervisor, which had taught me how to deal with the client independently. The client, himself, is satisfied with the poster that I did. But one thing that I regret not able to do was the e-newsletter. Though I am unsure about how HTML works, I really wanted to try it out and see how it works because I believe that it would be of good use and also a bonus in the near future when I start working.

Typography in Beijing

TDC opening

Soon after the conclusion of a successful visit by students from CAFA to Typography in 2015, we commenced working on a reciprocal visit to Beijing. As it happened, several strands of activity came together to make this an exceptionally productive visit. A short report follows below; the local organisers, led by CAFA teacher Liu Zhao, recorded all presentations for translation and reposting on the Chinese social networks, and microblogged almost every minute of the trip to a jaw-droppingly numerous online audience.

Opening the visit with a more formal occasion, Gerry Leonidas and José Scaglione (Reading alumnus and ATypI president) took part in the judging of the 8th Founder Type Design Competition. The event, held every two years, included for the first time Latin typefaces by Chinese designers. The next day, the winners were announced in the National Centre of the Performing Arts (the “Egg”), together with the opening of the TDC61 exhibition, the Chinese leg of the global tour of the annual design competition; and the opening of the “Chinese Type Modern 1919–1955” exhibition with material from the archives of Founder Electronics on the transition of Chinese type-making across technologies – with clear influence by Reading’s TDi 2015 course, in which Founder staff participated in.

Font Forum line-up

Font Forum conference

The exhibition and competition awards served as the opening events for the two-day Font Forum, a conference on typeface design with speakers from China, Japan, and Europe, to packed auditoria. At the end of each day lively panel discussions demonstrated the interest of the student and professional audience, and the desire for stronger engagement with the international typographic community. (In the sidelines of the conference, plans were hatched to coordinate a BA module on typeface design between Reading and CAFA in 2016–17.)

workshop at CAFA

CAFA workshop

The main part of the visit was taken over by a workshop on typeface design at CAFA. The interest in Latin typeface design is considerable, and the skills of many students impressive. This is a sign of the gradual globalisation of Chinese design education, and the demands by the local professional employers for skills that can serve markets across language and script regions. Although the workshop was primarily focused on typeface design, there was great interest in typographic design, and especially for mobile platforms.

at Founder

Centre for Chinese Font Design and Research

Two visits at the Centre for Chinese Font Design and Research, hosted in the offices of Founder Electronics, focused on design issues in fonts for Chinese, design  tools and processes, and professional training for multi-script design. The second of the visits had very concrete aims, with Gerry orchestrating the localisation of Glyphs (the key font design application) into Simplified Chinese, to enable designers in China to experiment with new workflows.

CITIC publisher agreement

Starting in TDi 2015, Gerry Leonidas guided Liu Zhao to compile a list of books on typography and typeface design in English to be translated into Chinese by CITIC, one of the most prominent publishers in the country. The project is progressing well with many rights already secured, and schedules for the translations and launches in place. Gerry’s involvement in the curation of the series provides the opportunity for the University’s approach to typographic scholarship to be transplanted in a new market in a unique manner. This is part of a wider collaboration between the University, CITIC, and CAFA, with the aim of building up typeface design education in China.

Dongdao Design

Dongdao Design

Despite the timing on a Sunday evening, over 140 designers from Dongdao, one of the largest design agencies in China, turned up to listen to José and Gerry talk about typeface design solutions and studies. The presentations were followed by Q&A sessions and interviews, which will be posted on Chinese social media with subtitles.

p.s. ATypI in Beijing?

Seeing in person the typographically maturing environment in Beijing and particularly the concretely supportive attitude in CAFA convinced José and Gerry (president and vice-president of ATypI respectively) of the importance and timeliness of bringing the annual conference of the type design community to mainland China. They outlined the key parameters of a proposal with Dean Wang Min and Liu Zhao, and explored timing options. Look for announcements through ATypI!

Song of Crow

Background and Restated Brief

Song of Crow is a tale illustrating creation’s struggle against mankind, the species that has fallen out of love with its own habitat and creativity. Although the message is dark, the performance is contrasted by the way it is told; with wit, humour and vibrancy. Multimedia is a key aspect of the play, script, sound, video, music and dancers are all combined to add to the energy and drama of the piece. The play aims to activate a sleepy community through an unorthodox public presentation that attempts to break all boundaries as far as possible.

Song of Crow will be staged in Reading in February/March 2016 with two or three evening performances. There may also be an opportunity for the play to be taken to Edinburgh.
Deliverables
The productions requires complete branding that should reflect the themes of the play. Printed leaflets, posters (only for display on screen), a website banner and a logo will need to be produced. All deliverables should be visually coherent and reinforce the themes of the performance. In addition, a rebranding to the current website may be necessary to mirror the promotional materials created.

 

Early Ideas

The initial meeting had confirmed that an illustrative approach would be most suitable to for the genre and style of the play. Both I and the client were very happy with the initial meeting and we were both excited to see the direction the project would take. We set an initial target of mid-January for the design to be completed.

After the meeting, the client sent me a full copy of the draft script – I read this through while taking notes of imagery, themes and concepts that could lend themselves to the design. To generate ideas and get a sense of an appropriate style I looked at existing illustrations on Behance, Dribble and other creative sites. I focussed on designs that related to the natural world and maintained an unusual and striking appearance.

I sketched out a few pages of thumbnail designs, these were then scanned and shown to the client and discussed over Skype. We decided that a more abstract approach to the poster would be the most appropriate, too literal and it would not let the play speak for itself. The client wanted the design to enhance the mystery and meaning of the play. Two of the initial ideas were then selected for further development. I went through a few stages of refinement before presenting them. The first was based on the character of ‘Crow’, being at one with nature and its creator this was set against a landscape. The second, was an eye made from rock, wood, trees and grass. This was imagined to be a cropped in section of ‘Crow’ or a god however the ambiguity of the design allowed for many possible interpretations.

scan 2.jpegFig. 1 Developed Sketch 1

 

scan

Fig. 2 Developed sketch 2

Feedback from the client confirmed that I would take the eye design to be further developed, she was pleased with its abstract concept while including the main themes and subject matter. Details were discussed about having the pupil as a black hole mass or the earth with water as the iris swirling around in a whirlpool or a wave. Jennifer also specified that there could be a red highlight with in the design, she used the term “flash of red” to illustrate her thinking. We also talked about how the illustration would work with typography, that it could be interesting to integrate it within the illustration in a hand drawn format, although it was later decided upon that contrasting typography would make the design more striking.

Song of crow final scan 001

Fig. 3 Final sketch

After decision on the final concept we discussed that a logo for the promotional materials was not necessary. We felt that the illustrations should be strong enough to provide enough visual link and as her production company (Outrider Anthems) already had a logo, another new one would be redundant.
Design Process

I began the final illustration by developing the design further for a few more iterations, until a final neat copy had been sketched. I made sure in my sketching method this would be easily transferable to Adobe Illustrator. I also kept in mind that the illustration had to work well with text, so an asymmetric appearance was implemented to allow the illustration to visually balance on the page with the title. While developing I took reference from an illustration by Paul Douard for the style and the sort of textures/ finish I was aiming for.

PDFig. 4 Vegetal Mask by Paul DOUARD

Once the image was scanned into illustrator, I then proceeded to outline all the sections with a black brush tool using a graphics tablet, remembering to divide each section of the illustration onto separate layers. I then built up some more strokes to add finer detail to each and to give the sense of texture. Finally I added lighting effects with the appearance panel and adjusting the filter type and layer opacity, I also added a radial gradient for the background. After a bit of tidying up and colour adjustments I presented the illustration to the client over a Skype call as a meeting could not be scheduled. The client was very pleased with the illustration, however she asked me to send her a number of colour variants. Initially she wanted the whole thing to be more vibrant to give it more ‘pop’, however, we later agreed that the more moody colour palate of the initial design was more fitting to the theme of the play but with the inclusion of brighter lighting effects.

illust process

Fig. 5 Illustration layers and development process

The next step in the process was to select a typefaces and to start putting together the layout. Once the title typeface was selected, the website banner could be completed and sent to the client, this would allow promotion to get under way and give a small preview of what the poster would look like. Numerous samples of type were sent to the client with the illustration.  The client’s initial ideas of the typography was that it should complement the illustration, so we went for more script fonts. However it was later decided that a more contrasting approach would make the text stand out. The final font chosen was ParadoxX, I thought that although the font gives the impression of it being hand- drawn that fits with the illustration well, it also provides enough contrast that it stands out. The typeface also gives connotations of ancient runes or cave drawings that link back to the themes of creation and man slowly destroying the earth.

banner processFig. 7 Banner and title development

final bannerFig. 6 Final Banner

 

I started designing for the A3 version of the poster, the initial ideas had the illustration much smaller in the centre, until it was agreed upon that the illustration needed to take more of the centre stage to create more impact. At this stage revisions were sent back and forth between myself and the client to reach the ideal due date of mid-January, many text, layout and colour changes were made during the process, with the addition of logos added to the poster.
final poster

Fig. 8 Final poster

After the layout of the A3 version was completed, this was then transferred to A2, A4 and A5 versions with adjustments on each one for the text sixe to ensure legibility. The client later added that they would like A5 and A1 copies of the files too.

 

Outcome

The client expressed that she was very satisfied with the deliverables, being a contributing factor for it getting high number of attendees and selling out on one of the dates. I am very pleased with the overall poster, particularly the illustration. I think it worked well to be eye catching and, after watching the play, portrayed the main themes, energy and message of the piece without being too literal. I also like how the illustration works with the typography, I think they both stand out and complement each other. As the client specified they wanted to use a printers outside of the university, I could not proof check the colours as much as I would have liked to. This has resulted in the final poster being slightly too dark. I also feel that the main body of the typography could be a lot stronger, I found this most difficult due to the shape of the illustration, trying to fit the text around it has meant that the spacing seems uneven in places.

I have learnt a great deal while carrying out this project. I have technically progressed a great deal on Adobe Illustrator, learning many new methods and tools that will help me in future work I create. Perhaps where I have learnt the most was in working with a client. It has made me understand that the more communication maintained with the client and the more feedback received, the higher the likelihood that they will be happy with the outcome. I’ve learnt that in some cases, challenging what the client wants can be beneficial as what they think they want and what they actually want, which will help better fulfil the brief may be two different things, I need to remember that the client is not a designer. I also learnt a lot about preparing files for print and how files must be constructed to ensure they will come out as expected. I found that organising files was a lot more important than I expected and makes things a lot easier when it comes to keeping track of your files and sending them to the client.

 

Reflection

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of the project and felt that I could really engage with it as it was on a theme I feel strongly about. I think both myself and the client worked very well together, which made it more enjoyable, successful and efficient. The numerous skype calls and constant sending of files helped her to stay ‘in the loop’ and understand the route the project was taking. We did not however meet the mid-January deadline, although this was due to delays in the conformation of the copy and obtaining high quality images of the Logos. The finals ended up being sent off to print for the 26th January. The client has also said that they would be keen to work with me again on future projects they have.

 

Bibliography

Douard, P. (2015). Vegetal Mask – Step by step – Illustrator CC.Available: https://www.behance.net/gallery/30936877/Vegetal-Mask-Step-by-step-Illustrator-CC. Last accessed 26/03/16

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

Making an impression: printing presses, type and colour

 

This workshop, based around the printing press collection in Typography, attracted postgraduate students, academic staff, museum and library professionals, and members of the public interested in the materiality of text, books and ephemeral documents.

Participants used the presses under craft supervision, and had a go at casting metal type.

They printed a page from the Gutenberg bible on a reconstructed one-pull wooden press that Gutenberg would have used, as well as 19th century woodblocks on another.

Alan May demonstrated printing of a Fust and Schoeffer 2-colour initial.

The workshop culminated in a fascinating talk by Dr Elizabeth Savage (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Material Texts & Research Fellow, History of Art,Cambridge University) ‘Deciphering the First Colour-Printed Images in England: The Book of St Albans, 1486’

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Typography alumni inspire the next generation

Five talented design graduates, five talks, and five very different approaches. Last week, our Graphic Communication BAs got an incredible insight into the range of career paths that might await them when they graduate.

Hannah Smith gets nostalgic for the Class of 2012
Hannah Smith gets nostalgic for the Class of 2012

As part of #UoREnhancementWeek, we asked some of our alums to come back to the Department and give 20 minute talks about their experiences since graduation. With such an open brief we knew we’d see a range responses, but the diversity of what the students experienced couldn’t have been more marked. Our speakers covered such a range of visual approaches, client bases, budgets and presentational styles that it was hard to keep up. It was a great reminder that personal expression is at the core of what a designer has to offer, even if most their work is constrained (perhaps quite rightly) by client needs and practical realities.

I found the alumni talks really useful. It was great to see what people are doing now and how they got to where they are.

Sarah Carrington. Part 3 BA Graphic Communication

In offering advice and encouragement to the next generation of designers, the themes that emerged from the day were:

  • Hard work and persistence pay off
  • Play up a your genuine specialism in typography, it’s not that common in the industry.
  • Make the most of the Real Jobs scheme, it’s your USP at interviews
  • Think about what kind of specialism, sector, scale and working environment will really bring satisfaction at work (and at home).
Will Hicks gets animated explaining how to keep his portfolio of Property clients happy (they’re always more interested in work you’ve done OUTSIDE their sector)
Will Hicks gets animated explaining how to keep his portfolio of Property clients happy (they’re always more interested in work you’ve done OUTSIDE their sector)

Will Hicks spoke about his transition from practising designer (at Penguin, DK and, later, his own firm, Graphicks) to sales director. He’s still passionate about design, but hasn’t touched Adobe software for year. By embracing delegation, playing to the strength of his team and taking on a stream of recent Reading grads, he’s found a balance that keeps his staff satisfied and his clients coming back for more.

Hannah stuck around to give advice on some current projects, too
Hannah stuck around to give advice on some current projects, too

Hannah Smith felt like a designer in full swing, relishing the constant revolution in technology that changes both what we design and how we design it. With no meme left untouched, she raced through an introduction to cutting edge UX design overloaded with practical tips (get feedback all the time, ditch Photoshop for Sketch, usepanda.com, mobile first!) and really focussed examples that explored the minutiae and impact of good design (look out for the new checkout at asos.com soon, UI design with an exceptionally clear goal). It felt like a distillation of a whole years’ thinking in one 30 minute chunk. Amazing.

Rob Coomber find the right place to talk signage
Rob Coomber find the right place to talk signage

Rob Coomber managed to land his dream job as a wayfinder at Applied immediately after graduating, and he’s stayed there ever since. Rather than showing breadth in terms of graphic style or different kinds of design problem, Rob’s presentation demonstrated the breadth of experiences and scales that a wayfinding designer can enjoy. He’s pounded the rainy streets of the West End for the Legible London project, and sweltered in the heat of Dubai in the summer. In all instances, he’s looking at genuine user-focussed scenarios to identify and solve pinch points for tourists and locals alike. Rob is also an exemplar of the kind of calm, methodical, slightly droll approach that is often needed for success in this field.

Rebecca Kirby works in house as a senior designer for Scott Brownrigg, a large firm of architects. She painted a vivid picture of the kind of challenges that exist in convincing colleagues in a large organisation of the value of good design. By building great relationships and sticking to her guns on typographic detailing, she’s been able to ramp up the value that the firm places on graphic design. Taking on external commissions gives her the variety to counteract the brand consistency that flows through her standard project work (mainly proposals) and reaching out into environmental graphics has helped strengthen a connection with the studio’s architects.

Tom Derrett got the students moving around the Department in fresh ways
Tom Derrett got the students moving around the Department in fresh ways

Our final speaker, Tom Derrett , co-founder of daughter.is, stunned the group with a practical demonstration of the notion that a leader is defined by whether or not anyone actually follows them. He tore around the department with students in train, captivating the group with a real heart-on-sleeve tale of what it means to run your own studio, and which sacrifices are actually worth it in the long run (short answer, not your integrity). Tom’s visceral way of presenting ideas is something we remembered from his student days and it was a brilliant lesson in how to command an audience, without hiding behind a PowerPoint. Our course has a real focus on presentation skills these days, but Tom brought something that can’t really be taught. It just needs to be experienced.

By the time Tom returned us all to the studio, he’d gained everyone’s respect and attention
By the time Tom returned us all to the studio, he’d gained everyone’s respect and attention

Although we happen to be graphic communicators, we are, first and foremost, just communicators. Hearing this group of designers discuss how they found their feet in the industry was inspiring as much for the stories they told as for the work they shared.