On this week's Baseline Shift, the University of Reading’s Different by Design team, currently consisting of Lamar Kaki and Minh Nguyen, joined us to give a talk about what it means to be inclusive in design.
This online event on 27 January at 5pm is free and open to all. Search 'Experimental publishing reading 2022' for details
Rob Banham and Mattew Lickiss joined us in one of our feedback sessions. Our feedback sessions are dedicated to helping students get additional feedback from tutors on a particular project of theirs. We had part 3 students sharing their work on their magazine designs as well as their packaging.
This week, the Baseline Shift team welcomed Katarina Duvjnak for a talk about her career in motion and branding for Sky sports, and her experiences after graduating from our department.
After graduating in 2012, Katarina decided to study abroad for a semester in Australia. She went to Monash University, Melbourne, to study illustration. Shortly after that, through networking and successfully nailing the interview for Sky sports, she got into motion and branding design at Sky, even though she had little to no experience in using motion software at the time.
From these early steps as a graduate to an invigorating career as a senior designer at Sky Sports, Katarina learnt that developing multiple skills in different sectors was helpful in making her work visually captivating and different. With her experience in illustration at … university and her graphic communications degree from Reading, she has since landed multiple successful projects for Sky, such as the royal wedding of Megan Markle and Prince Harry, the Brexit countdown campaign and the Madeline McCann documentary tracing back to the early moments of the investigation.
The department’s Real Job scheme is an opportunity to do this searching of news skills during our studies at the department; the scheme offers an introduction into different areas of design– through the wide array of different opportunities and clients and working on different projects with different deliverable requirements. Real Jobs are a good way to test out multiple avenues, develop new skills and have a better idea of what we like and dislike. But there is so much more out there that we can explore; looking into different avenues outside of the department is part of the journey of being a successful designer. Trying to study design in a different country for instance could be a potential way for self and creative development!
Learning doesn’t stop at university
From the start of our studies at Reading to our first job interviews as graduates from the department, we will acquire a decent amount of technical and design skills, as well as relatively good knowledge of design theory. Even though Katarina had successfully graduated from the department and had acquired experience in Australia, her expectations of the interview with Sky were those that we’ll all get to experience at least once. Stressed, feeling like she was on trial for something and being blinded by the need to impress an employer. Feeling unworthy of a good professional opportunity is a trap we’re likely to fall into, especially as young designers who have just entered the industry.
However, Katarina’s talk was incredibly encouraging in that prospect; as designers, we have all the base knowledge we need to manage landing a good job. If we have a good design process and can show that we can solve design problems, we are very much able to get a job.
‘If you can sell an idea and you can show the research behind it, you’ve got a winner’
While Katarina started off at Sky with no knowledge of the motion software, she learned everything while being on the job, learning from senior designers, her team, through mistakes and being determined to keep going.
‘Always aim high and love what you do.’
As students, we still have a lot to learn. The course and doing real jobs are motivators in getting ourselves out there, finding out what we like and practising our skills in the real world. But Katarina’s experience shows us that learning doesn’t stop at university; we could travel, do something entirely different to graphic design, and still have so much more to learn once we land our first jobs. The journey to becoming a successful designer is through exposure, talking to peers, making friends, doing things that we love and showing how we got there.
“The talk was very interesting and exciting. Seeing designers who move to work in different disciplines is very helpful” – Part 3 student
“The way Katarina explained her design choices and reasoning helped me understand her thought process. As I have been watching Sky for years it was interesting to see the depth behind her design work and look past the end product. I also found her experience of studying abroad in Australia interesting and it has encouraged me to look into doing that later in my studies.” – Part 1 student
This week, the baseline shift team organised another Alumni Talk session. This week, we welcomed Jonathan Saunders and Luke Carter. Jonathan and Luke had plenty of well-meaning advice to give us during the session; from looking at the intricacies of studying a user problem, to the preservation of one’s health as a designer and knowing how to set boundaries.
With a fresh start to the academic year, Baseline Shift hosted its first session of the year online to welcome Arjun Khara, PHD student and design researcher at the University of Reading. Arjun presents key philosophies in regards to design, all discovered through his years as an academic within the design field, a businessman as well as a student of Life and its shortcomings.
Top 10 tips from Ivalo Nedkov, a co-owner of Studio FourPlus, which is located in Sofia, Bulgaria. The studio specialises in branding and motion design.
In week 10 Baseline Shift welcomed back some graduates from the department who talked to us about their journey after graduation and current positions. Lined up we had book designer and art director Nikki Ellis, award-winning designer Anne Brady and 3D and 2D motion designer – Ed Hendry.
‘It was fascinating and challenging, the books I worked on were varied.’ – Nikki Ellis
Nikki Ellis graduated in 2007 from a four year undergraduate master MDes course which was then offered by the department. When she graduated Nikki also managed to get a job as a result of the degree show at the end of her fourth year. ! The company was called Quadrille and it was a small publishing company which worked on books on food and drinks. She worked in Quadrille as a senior designer for 13 years. Nikki started as a design assistant, learning the ropes of book design in style sheets and layout. She designed cookbooks which she says were remarkably ‘challenging’ but interesting in their specific typography and text hierarchy. Nikki shared with us a few fantastic examples.
This is a Chinese cooking book menu by Jeremy Pank; he wanted to make Chinese cooking accessible for everybody. There were lots of bullet points used in this book and icons, as the example above shows.
Another example was a book called ‘Porridge’, which allowed Nikki to experience being part of the photo shoot and also help out with it, which in her words was ‘amazing!’ Annie, the author of the book, wanted to have her book include her ‘art’, in the form of the porridge bowls she created like the one shown in the example above.
Niki’s experience in designing cookbooks made her better at typography, layout and page formatting, and the examples she brought in show her ambition in these aspects of design.
Nikki encourages designers not to force themselves to work within a set of rules and constraints but to have their creativity and ambitions go beyond limits and discover what their work without regulations and restrictions could be. An example of a principle Nikki uses within her work in designing books is making use of the colour black for fonts. Nikki also discussed another example: the line length in the text, which she tries to limit to no more than 13 words across, to suit comfortable reading. Some other things she looks out for are running feet, folios, subheadings, etc.
However, Nikki has to comply with some rules, as the cookbooks are almost always distributed internationally, so there is a need to design in a way that is suitable for translation, and thus for different text extents.
Nikki’s main challenge when designing cookbooks is how to arrange content (images, recipe, commentary, notes) to create balance on the page to make it a user friendly reading experience.
Space can be used to both separate and connect elements in a design, Nikki explained. Wider spaces separate elements from each other and narrower spaces connect elements to reveal relationships between them. The meaning of space is more critical than some consistent lining up for the sake of rigidity. Nikki has a stage for starting points, as in headings and subtitles but does not like to have a sense of constraint in her work. Therefore this is why she makes her own set of rules when designing a master page layout.
‘Textured materiality.’ – Nikki Eliss
Cover design is also part of Nikki’s work. The example below shows a textured book cover with a background of a debossed grey rusty grain that Nikki designed, creating a debossed finish in the title.
These are some of the examples she showed in the session …
‘I took a slightly different approach from Nikki.’ – Anne Brady
Anne graduated from the department in 1994, describing her experience at Reading as invaluable. Throughout her career, there have been a lot of changes in the design world and she says she has been trying to blend and merge her work into the digital world and has become much more interested in the dynamics of what digital delivery allows. Still, she says it was a great privilege to come from the printing background of the letterpress studios in Reading and understanding how typography (and technology) have developed over the last thousand years gave her a great headstart in her career.
Hired at the degree show by a studio called Jeffrey Design which only employed graduates of Typography and Graphic Communication, she considered herself ‘very lucky’ . She also said she learned and experienced the outside world of graphics through the Real Jobs she completed while at the department. Therefore, Anne suggested it is essential for us all to put ourselves into opportunities and collaborate in real work experiences while overcoming the challenges that will stop us achieving.
Through the studio she worked on a job at Cambridge University, with her boss back then – Sally. They designed the press sheet for ‘Cyclopedia Cambridge’. ‘It’s hard to imagine’, as Anne explained, ‘it was a 4000-page book which was separated into a series of editions.’ ‘It was an excellent piece of typographic design.’
After working with Sally for a few years, Anne was moved on to a job at the Museum of London, designing all of the marketing material including all of their publications and sometimes even organizing exhibitions. Her main task was to create exhibition designs and promote them. Anne enjoyed this experience and learnt a lot from the challenges.
‘As designers, we all have different skills.’ – Anne Brady
Anne returned to Dublin around 1998 and began working in a very corporate company – a design agency which worked on short films and TV shows. Anne was happy working there for about a year managing a team of 12 people. After that she decided to go solo and created her own design studio, called Vermillion, which is her focus to this day. It was hard at first when starting out but through the years she and her team started finding more and more clients and gaining their trust. Twenty-two years later, Anne’s team is still going strong, currently working on a chair exhibition for the National Museum of Ireland, working with the Department of foreign affairs and trade–designing lots of materials in 17 languages for 80 embassies around the world, which is fascinating. They are now also working on a book for the National Gallery of Ireland, which showcases all the paintings and artworks acquired by the Gallery over the last 15 years.
Anne shared this image (shown above) with us and with great pleasure and respect explained each person’s role in the team. Anne and her colleagues have worked as a team for ten years, creating a good collaboration, which is a very important aspect in the field of graphic communication. They are all different in terms of skills and abilities but working together makes a great team.
Anne’s ability was to always bring typography within a project but she also has some essential skills working with multimedia.
The National Library was one of their more significant clients as they have an incredible collection (National Library of Wales) Anne described the museum as one of the world’s leading museums of Islamic, Western and Eastern manuscripts.
Anne also talked about her experience in exhibition design. She shared with us that it is quite difficult to work with a living artist and design a cover for their exhibition. She and her team had an interesting experience when they put type on one of the artworks to create a poster for the exhibition and they had to design around 80 different variants of the poster before they got approved and published because a lot of Anne’s team’s designs were intruding too heavily with the artwork. As we all know, prototyping is always the key to success before launching. The National Gallery of Ireland was essential and one of the main clients they operated with, which made them have a good relationship with the studio.
Anne’s team also worked on designing Dublin’s zoo map, as you can see in the image shown below. It was an exciting project the team worked on because most of the design decision were sensible, so they had to design the map and fix some of the icon errors.
These are examples of Anne’s team’s incredible work!
‘I have designed over 85 books for national and international publishing houses.’ – Anne Brady.
Ed’ presentation was interesting since he has taken a very different, and more digital, career path. He now lives in Berlin and works as a senior motion designer at Delivery Hero. His work at the company mainly centres around creating motion designs and other types of promotion videos. However, what keeps Ed going is his obsession with music and 3D motion design. He has worked a lot with games and other animation projects for friends and colleagues who also work in the music industry. Ed shared his experiences and passion for his work and his motivations, which were astonishing to hear. The majority of Ed’s work in and out of his workplace is focused on 3D and motion design, including animations.
Here is are examples of Ed’s 3D motion work: Ed Hendry – Motion Designer
‘I found out that I could push myself to go into different directions.’ – Ed Hendry
Ed started his presentation explaining his experiences and flashbacks when he was at Reading University, which gave our students good ideas on how to use their time while studying.
Ed had the chance to go out and discover what drives his creativity and what pushes him out of his limits. One of his interests he discovered was motion design, which has a connection to 3D design. Motion design combines animation and motion typography and other types of fascinating video styles. After graduating, Ed managed to get an idea of what he likes and dislikes, which helped him get into the platform he is in.
Living in Berlin, Ed now works for an international company called Delivery Hero – one of the leading global online food delivery marketplaces. You can find more about them here: Delivery hero
Ed also had the opportunity to promote the company and design a new identity , using his skills and inspiration in 3D design and motion design.
‘This was a huge project that took me three months!’ Ed Hendry
Ed also worked on a very interesting personalised animation project which he spent months on! Ed Hendry – Motion Design Reel 2020
As we all know, every project goes into our portfolio. This builds our recognition and progression from project to project.
However, unfortunately, it was not published by the his company due to technical problems. Still, Ed is very proud of his success in creating this type of motion design. The students learned a lot from his presentation including to even put work in their portfolios that did not get to be published. Certainly, this is for the sake of building your portfolio to show success ambition.
Ed is currently pushing his 3D work in slightly new directions, revisiting lettering, focusing on music and planning to get into VR sculpting!
These are some of Ed’s examples of 3D sculpting design.
Nikki, Anne and Ed all inspire us to continue working and exploring what fascinates us – this will guide our way forwards! They suggested we all focus on building our social networks throughout our course, and seek internships and work experience wherever we can. We can also gain advantages by completing Real Jobs and getting a true insight into the industry of Graphic design, and especially client relationships.These things can empower us to develop a solid portfolio and be ready for full-time jobs.
Sometimes, students may not specifically know what interests them or what they want to do when they graduate, and that’s normal! If you have a dominant interest, you might aim to prototype your work project towards them during your experience on the course But it’s not expected that everyone recognises their destiny within the field. Research and explore, talk with our amazing tutors about your interests. By doing so, you will truly find your way.
‘Was really interesting to hear about different options for careers and the things past graduates have achieved!’ – Part 3 student
‘So many facets of design were covered, and it was so interesting to hear both the highs and lows of their projects. Just a nice reminder that even the big professionals have things go wrong sometimes!’ – Robin, Part 3 student
‘I really enjoyed learning about the guest speakers work and some of it was really inspiring.’ – Adam Powell, part 1 student
Flaminia Rossi and Samantha Whetton, owners of Design Print Bind talked to us about running a small studio, what it's like as a freelancer and the communities they are a part of.
In week 5 of the Spring term, Baseline Shift welcomed Typography & Graphic Communication graduate Seniz Husseyin who talked to the students about her experience within the Department and how it shaped her into wanting to work for social change in the third sector. In June of last year Seniz started working with a charity in Reading called Launchpad and she also shared some of her experiences from there.
University and beyond
Seniz started her degree in 2017 and graduated in 2020. In the beginning she was nervous and doubting her capabilities, however she decided to ignore that and not let it get in the way.
Trying to get the best out of her university experience, Seniz joined the Department’s diversity team in her first year when it was first proposed and each year, along with the increasing opportunities from the team, her confidence and passion to continue working for good social causes grew. That really changed her perspective as a designer and shaped her future career choices. It was no surprise for her when she found out that the designer industry is mostly populated by white males and a lot of the history that is taught reflects the same. Learning about the cultures and ideas within design outside of the western canon was an opportunity she couldn’t miss.
For the years she was part of the diversity team, the team was able to help change the curriculum by incorporating more opportunities for diversity and inclusion to be taught such as the Design for Change module. The diversity team has since given presentations at the RUSU Partnership in Teaching and Learning Showcase and Baseline Shift. Being part of the team also allowed Seniz to meet people from all year groups and other departments, conduct two workshops at Tate Modern and create an annual diversity zine.
Seniz believes that these major parts of her university experience have shaped her into the designer she is today and built up her desire to work on projects for good causes or that will help bring change.
‘I am now more conscious of the companies I want to work for or who I apply for.’
The inclusive experience Seniz had at university and her newly formed mindset towards work led her to apply for a marketing internship for the homeless charity at Launchpad Reading.
Seniz describes Launchpad as Reading’s leading homeless prevention charity. She said they provide information and support for individuals, couples and families who don’t have a stable place to live or are at risk of losing their home. They also provide temporary and permanent homes and rebuild lives through activities, supportive education, training and employment. Seniz was also pleased to find out that it was actually founded as a soup kitchen in 1979 by students at the University of Reading.
Wanting to be involved working for a charity, she thought that having new marketing experience would be really beneficial for her design work. Seniz found the internship through the Reading Internship Scheme, which she highly recommends for finding internships or even voluntary work since experience is extremely beneficial and can set one apart, especially at a time when employers are looking for staff with experience.
In the beginning of her career at Launchpad, she also completed a digital marketing and advertising online course because she wanted to make sure she had basic training while working with the Marketing Team.
Seniz initially started at Launchpad as a marketing intern through the Reading Internship Scheme but after three months of working with them she was offered a Marketing Assistant role.
Even though it was marketing, she was hired because of her design background which provided a huge overlap between both industries. Being able to get this marketing experience really helped Seniz improve as a designer too. Seniz was the first designer employed at the small charity and working with them she helped with their website, fundraising campaigns, social media, email newsletters, video editing and other tasks. Even though her title was Marketing Assistant, she did feel more like an in-house designer. If you are a designer, looking to become more business savvy, Seniz suggests learning some marketing knowledge.
‘Design and Marketing are two sides of the same coin, and what binds them together is the primary focus of understanding and appreciating the user or target consumer.’ Design So Journ, ‘The relationship between design and marketing‘ in designsojourn.com, 2010.
Big Sleep Out
The Big Sleep Out is Launchpad’s annual fundraising event and one of the major projects Seniz has worked on within the charity.
The event takes place on world homeless day – 7 October and 2020 was the fifteenth year the charity was running the event. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the event was made virtual but this was a daunting new challenge for everyone in the team to adapt to a virtual event.
However, because of that, Seniz felt that she was learning and contributing as much as everyone else on the team and created new digital materials that were specific to what people could use in their homes and plan new strategies. The 2020 event saw a big turnout of people from Berkshire which raised a total of over £50,000 that would go towards preventing homelessness in Reading. The sum was actually double their initial target. When creating the items for the event, Seniz worked with a logo created by an external designer to create all other materials for the event. Part of the promotion for the event was getting the word out to the public, so Seniz had to create large scale work with a visible call to action.
Other materials she designed include the event programme booklet, flyer design and social media banners, all of which were vital. She made sure the text in these was easy and visible to read while keeping engagement throughout.
Seniz aimed to make all of these consistent whilst also adjusting to the specifications. She also designed downloadable content that participants could use to create more recognition and support for the charity, such as the event pack.
Working through a pandemic
A big part for Seniz within this role was working through a pandemic. While new, it did come with some advantages. Knowing that everyone is going through it together for the first time actually made staff grow as a team. They learned new skills such as how to adapt in constant changing circumstances and within unknown times. Working from home also meant she had to do less travelling.
Some challenges included having most of the charity’s events cancelled, and when adapting to the new online way of doing things, there wasn’t enough time to plan it out properly. Starting a new job this way did feel overwhelming but Seniz never felt left out.
Seniz is no longer working for Launchpad but some of her last projects for the charity included designing some of the external and internal signage at a new Life and Skill centre called Launchpad 135.
Another thing she was also working on was the charity’s brand refresh which included all publication materials. Overall she hopes to continue her career in the sector.
Seniz said if there is anything she would want us to take away from her presentation it would be to make use of everything the Department offers and pursue our interests in designing for good causes. Being able to see first hand how her work helped people through feedback and client stories was so motivating and she certainly didn’t have this mindset in first year but the Department really did help introduce her into this lane through certain modules and projects. Her advice is to grab all the different opportunities we have because they can open many doors and she definitely recommends being a part of these even if it is out of our comfort zone.