Category: Real Jobs

Monsters exhibition catalogue


Andrew Mangham and Emma Aston from the Classics department at the University of Reading anranged for an exhibition presented in the Madjeski Gallery at the Reading Museum, showcasing works of painter Paul Reid and sculptor Eleanor Crook. This exhibition looks at the ‘the biological and artistic meaning of diversity and difference, and the vital role that history plays in our understandings of the dynamic working of natural history’.

Restated brief

The brief was to design a catalogue entitled In the Company of Monsters: New Visions, Ancient Myths for the exhibition presented in the Madjeski Gallery at the Reading Museum and to design and send this to print in time for their exhibition by the 25th August 2023 (dated decided on towards the end of the project). The catalogue will showcase feature short essays from experts in ancient history, literature, fine art, and gaming  as well as images of paintings and sculptures by artists, Paul Reid and Eleanor Crook.

  • Design of front/spine/back cover
    • Identify images by Paul Reid to create a front cover with presence.
  • Design of front matter including:
      • Title page
      • Table of contents
      • Acknowledgements
      • Foreword
      • Layout of 6 x 1000 word essays including provided

      • Illustrations for decoration and for essays as
        requested/suggested by client

      • Layout of catalogue of artworks on display, exact
        number of artworks and images thereof to be

        provided. Details are: title/date/medium

Design process


In our initial meeting with the client we found that the aim of the catalogue was to create a catalogue that will effectively showcase the the paintings and short essays. The layout should assist the reader in way-finding in the exhibition.We began by looking at Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing,  a previous exhibition book as our client said they would like the catalogue to have a similar design and format. 

Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Exhibition Catalogue
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Cover art
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Exhibition Catalogue
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Inside page
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Exhibition Catalogue
Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing Catalogue pages


inside pages

We began by researching what similar catalogue books had done for their page composition. After looking at  ‘Rubens to Sickert: The Study of Drawing’ we kept our book in a square format as well and kept some of the same composition like keeping all text on the left with a wide margin for references. 

Basic catalogue layout

After meeting with our client we learnt that would like to have the painintg ‘The Cyclops’ by artist Paul Reid who is an artist featured in the catalogue and the exhibition.

The Cyclops, 2021
Digital Painting

We designed two possible cover ideas, proposal 1 following the themes of the inside pages where it used the same typefaces and alignment and proposal two was a little more experimental using a a more gothic typeface to link more with the topic of the catalogue. After the meeting the feedback was:

  • Proposal 1:
    Likes the serif typeface as it gives a professional quality to catalogue
Proposal 1
  • Proposal 2:
    Likes that the original image wasn’t edited and kept to the correct brightness
Proposal 2









  • Overall:
    Wants the cover to match the seriousness of the pages inside the catalogue.

We decided to continue with proposal one as it was the most liked by the client as it still kept elements from the inside of the book and seemed like it was all part of the same catalogue.

Design development


Meta Pro
Arno Pro


At this stage, Richard had graduated and left and I worked on continuing with this project. I had continued with proposal one but following feedback, the typography and alignment of the inside pages had changed and so I changed the text on the cover to match the inside pages.

Developed cover

Inside pages – Essay

Following feedback, I worked on  two different page compositions for the essay portion of the catalogue. Layout one still continued with the long text block on the right side of the page with a wide margin and with the facing page image left aligned. This layout  had a lot of white space and made the pages look asymmetrical and a little empty.  Layout two used the margin space for the essay author’s biography which helped to fill the space and had a reduced line length for the body copy. The facing page image was now smaller and aligned with the author name on the following page. This layout had better flow and so I chose to continue working on this design.

Layout one
Layout two

Inside pages – Catalogue images

I received the images towards the end of the project but as I had a basic page layout plan, I placed the imaged according to it. I quickly realised my planned layout wouldn’t work as my layout had squared images. I changed my layout so that bigger images would have their own page and grouped smaller images where I could so that the images weren’t too spread out.  I felt that layout two had better flow to the pages and continued with designing this version.

Layout one
Layout two

Final stages

I received an unexpected and sudden deadline of a week left to complete the catalogue. During this week, I had to work on completing the catalogue images section. This was a little difficult as I didn’t have all the images till halfway through the week but once receiving them I was able to place them into my planned layout. Through this week I also worked on finalised the cover of the catalogue and carried the decisions I made on the cover through to the title page.

Final cover

Final essay pages

Final catalogue pages


We regularly communicated with a clients through teams calls once every fortnight and  received relatively quick responses which was helpful during the designing stage as we weren’t waiting on the clients response. However, we had been brought into the project long before we were needed as when we had joined in March, the client didn’t have finalised copy until September and the images for the catalogue images till towards the end of the project.  We received a lot of positive feedback after the catalogue was printed and it was well received.

Locus Lodi Exhibition


The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology in the University of Reading had held the exhibition Locus Ludi: Anyone can play! from 5th September – 30th November, showcasing the games played in the ancient world and understanding the educational, societal, and integrative role of play in the past, which is important to understand the present and widen the debate on high tech toys and new forms of sociability. The exhibition’s aim was to show everyone that people of all demographics can engage in playing games and this will be showcased through the exhibition of objects related to various games, ranging from childhood to adulthood. The exhibition aimed to teach the audience about the different games played during the Ludic culture and engage in the interactive activities included in the exhibition and send out the message that everyone enjoys engaging in various games, no matter what age. The exhibition was targeted towards everyone of all demographics as the objects on display range from childbirth to adulthood, as well as including objects related to after death.

Restated Brief

The brief was to design the physical materials for the Locus Ludi: Anyone can play! Exhibition. This included display panels, promotional banner, an online exhibition booklet and educational outreach materials, all of which would be displayed during the exhibition, with the booklet being available online. Most of the details of the deliverables were undecided at this point of the brief and was subject to change during the process of this project, however, having visited the exhibition space in person, it was ready to go forward with drafting ideas.


After discussion with the client on what would work best for each of the deliverables, this is what was decided on:

  • Display panels:
    • To be placed in each display space to inform audience of the collections, an overall summary of the exhibition space.
  • 2 promotional banners promoting the exhibition:
    • First one would be a roll up banner, which would be placed in the corridor of the building for promotion.
    • The second one would be at the front entrance of the exhibition room.
  • Information booklet:
    • An interactive PDF file in A4 format.
  • Educational outreach materials:
    • Including information about the games on display

All of the deliverables mentioned above would be submitted to the client in PDF format but was subject to change if needed.


As there was a lack of resources provided during the research stages, there was little research conducted. However, the client had kindly provided us with their house style in terms of typefaces and brand colour, which helped with developing initial ideas for the deliverables. Furthermore, having also paid a visit to the exhibition space to find out the measurements for the display cases, helped with designing the display panels, which would work as supporting materials for the exhibition display items. Research was also limited due to not gaining enough information from the client and poor communication from both sides, leading to months of no work being done from both ends.

display case for where the museum items were to be displayed
display case for where the second half of museum items were to be displayed

Colour palette

Brand colour chosen for the exhibition

To match the museum’s branding, the client had decided on the colour Purpurrot as the brand colour of the exhibition, as it complimented well with the museum’s branding. Both the HEX code (#691B23) and Pantone code (491 C) was provided, which then helped with developing the deliverables and implementing the branding onto them.


Typefaces used for body text, headings and logo

According to the Museum’s house style, Parisine was chosen as the typeface for body text within the family, the regular, italic, bold and bold italic weights were to be used for body and label texts. The bold weight was also to be used for titles and subtitles.




For listings and item numbers on labels, the client had requested that Parisine Clair was to be used and had also provided an example how all of the styles combined would look like when used in designing the panels and banners.

Example of the house style for text copy
The Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology logo

The museum logo was already provided; therefore, it wasn’t needed to create anything new for that, but nonetheless, the client had provided us with the typeface name used in their logo, in case it was needed.

Other important things to consider was that the terms BC and AD when mentioning years were to be used in small caps and that hanging numbers were to be used in body text but lining numbers to be used in object numbers and case numbers. Their house style also indicated that they preferred Italics over quotes for use-mention distinction and use open punctuation for label text.

Design process

Starting off with designing the display panels first, there was three concepts in total. For the first concept, to keep it simple, the brand colour was used for the headings of each section with lines both on top and bottom of the heading. For the text, the house style’s typeface Parisine was applied. Furthermore, images were added on the display panels to support the body copy within them, with added captions to assist readers in understanding the references used throughout, as well as when they walk around in the exhibition space.

For the second concept, the same layout was kept, except for changing the background to black to try and make the display panels fit into the aesthetics of the display items. The third concept reflected more of the brand colour of the museum with a gradient background of dark red fading into black. All three of these concepts were also applied onto the introductory panels that were to be used in the exhibition space.

Concept 1
Concept 2


Concept 3
Introductory panel concept 1
Introductory panel concept 2
Introductory panel concept 3

The design for the banner was kept similar to the banner that was on display during the duration of the existing exhibition and therefore the same layout was used. Modifications for the banner were made based on feedback from my supervisor, including a layout idea suggested by my supervisor himself. The main focus of the banner was information about the exhibition itself, so I tried to emphasise that by using different typesizes and weights to create hierarchy between the sets of information on the banner and balance it out with images related to the exhibition.

Version 1
Version 2
Version 3
Version 4
Layout suggestion by supervisor
Banner of the exhibition that was open during the process of this Real Job

























The design suggested by my supervisor focused on using one image to bring impact to the banner. He suggested making the Ure Museum of Greek Archaelogy logo smaller to avoid attention to it. The aim of this layout was to make the title more. As mentioned in one of his feedbacks: “In general the design lacks impact. Partly because nothing is really big, and partly because there isn’t a lot of space. You can achieve this by making more of the good image and dropping the other one. If not and it has to be small, you could try making Locus Ludi bigger – it could be across two lines in caps.”

For the educational outreach materials, nothing much was done for it as the client had requested it to be a typical A4 sheet of paper of game rules and instructions and therefore, I only designed A4 sheets containing the game rules and added illustrations, which were provided and then refined by me, onto the document, using different typesizes, weights and spacing to make it presentable

Duodecim Scripta game rules sheet
Ludus Latrunculorum game rules sheet
Pente Grammai game rules sheet



Final product

During the final stage, due to poor communication, most of the deliverables were not delivered to the clients on time and as a result, the design ideas for each deliverable did not progress further. However, the client was still willing for me to work on the educational outreach materials and therefore over the next week, progress was made on the materials.

In the mid process of refining the materials, the client had requested to submit the educational outreach materials as it was and after making quick adjustments to the files, thet were all submitted to the client.

Duodecim Scripta Game Rules

Ludus Latrunculorum Game Rules

Pente Grammai Game Rules


As this was my first real job, it was a challenge to tackle, with communication being one of the biggest challenges during the whole process. However, the support from the Real Jobs tutors and my supervisor helped me with progressing further with this, despite the final results not being what was expected or desired. Having started off this Real Job as a two person job meant that the responsibilities would have essentially been divided between me and my partner, however, by the end of this Real Job, things had changed and it became a one person job, however, I took this as an opportunity to challenge myself and get as much done as possible. Overall, this was an interesting project to work on as it allowed me to look at the behind the scenes of setting up an exhibition and the thoughts and efforts that go into the whole process. All the skills I had developed and learnt during this project are valuable and I hope to implement them in my future works as well.

Connectedness reports

What are the Connectedness reports?

A set of three reports summarising past conferences taking place at Manchester University that will be given out at the June 2023 conference, Connectivity and Inclusivity in HEIs – A solution-based approach. The first report focuses on creativity and inclusivity in higher education and women in environmental science, followed by a smaller booklet that summarises key outcomes from the Women in Science report.

The Creativity and Inclusivity in Higher Education report showcases engaging and accessible resources which convey the methods, processes, and outcomes to key audiences and stakeholders. While also addressing the need for equality, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) initiatives to recognise lived experiences as essential to knowledge sharing and to directly inform practice.

The Women in Environmental Science report focuses on the way that the climate crisis will impact women, how we can bring women together with diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, ethnicities, and disciplines, to promote inclusiveness, widen participation and foster discussion, help to inspire women to engage with their environment and environmental sciences. Focusing on the key themes of Women’s rights and issues that comes with this, climate change, sustainability, leadership, community, relationships, and communication.


The brief was to create three reports that would be printed and handed out at the next conference, we also had to create interactive PDFs for each report that would be showcased on the website. While also combining elements from the different stakeholders, Manchester University, and the co-brand Engaging Environments.

Our goal was to create an interactive and engaging set of reports containing a strong super-graphic and illustrations throughout to capture the reader’s attention as the content was very text-heavy. The super-graphic we created needed to represent ‘connectedness’ as it was used throughout the documents, tying them together visually.

Design x3 documents that will be hosted as PDFs with a limited print run.
PDFs and limited print runs of:
• Women in Environmental Science report (A4)
• Women in Environmental Science Toolkit (A5 Booklet)
• Creativity and Inclusive in Higher Education report (A4)
• Super-graphic


For the branding of the reports, we needed to use both Manchester University and Engaging Sciences branding. We were given guidelines from both brands which showed us the appropriate usage of logos and typography.


Looking into the audience and stakeholders was an important part of the process of coming up with a visual identity. Looking at past events from Manchester University which was provided by a video from our client allowed us to create a list of potential users for each report:

Women in Environmental Science

  • Women working in or with an interest in environmental sciences.
  • Equality, Diversity, Inclusivity & Accessibility (EDIA) practitioners
  • Higher education professionals
  • Policymakers in environmental science
  • Students
  • Early career researchers

Creativity and Inclusivity in Higher Education

  • EDIA practitioners
  • Academics staff
  • Students
  • Researchers from the UoM comprising diverse ages, ethnicities, and career stages.
  • Friends and community partners of UoM
  • Communities and participants from all parts of the UK

After researching and speaking with our client we came up with a list to cater our work to the specific audience. The client was very open with what he wanted the design to be but put emphasis on using bright colours whilst avoiding gender stereotypes. The client also wanted bold and assertive graphics throughout as opposed to illustrations that could be seen as passive. Our main goal was to create a design is visually appealing, assessable, clear headings, navigation and easily understood data.

Finding a creative direction

After understanding the content of the reports and the target audience we began creating some mood boards and investigated some existing reports. Showing our client our mood boards allowed us to make sure we were heading in the right direction while also being able to ensure the client was on board with our aesthetic approach before designing.

Mood board
Mood board

Design development

As we had a lot of creative control over this project, we began with some initial sketches based on the mood boards. Overall, the client was excited about these initial ideas but commented how they wanted the front covers to focus less on science and more on hearing different people’s voices while showcasing diversity.

Initial sketches
Initial sketches
Front cover sketches

We then went on to develop some front cover sketches based on the client’s feedback by incorporating different women and avoiding science or gender stereotypes.

Developed sketches
Developed sketches

Feedback from our supervisor, we decided it would be better for the pages to be landscape as the content was text-heavy and contained multiple graphs and tables. After further feedback, our client liked concept three as it included a vibrant colour palette and the text in four columns made it legible.

Concept 1
Concept 2
Concept 3


Our client wanted a logo/super-graphic that would be used to tie all three reports together. The three examples shown were given to us for inspiration, and we then began to create some sketches focusing on “connectiveness and community linking to the natural world element. Nature and ecology”. After speaking to both our client and supervisor, we decided to take a different approach and create something a bit simpler that could be spread across each of the pages as well as shown on the front covers.

Super-graphic sketches

The final super-graphic shows connectedness through two circles overlapping each other, this also helps add visual interest and break up the text-heavy pages.

Final supergraphic
Supergraphic in use

Women in Environmental Science Report (WIES)

For the WiES report, we wanted to use bright colours and powerful illustrations that would be relevant and helpful alongside the text. Finding an illustration style was something we found quite difficult at first due to the content being very text-heavy there would therefore be lots of illustrations throughout. To help with this we came up with another mood board to help with some visual directions.

These two images show two different illustration styles that we experimented with showing the use of block colours and female empowerment.

Illustration style 1
Illustration style 2

Here are the illustration styles that we implemented throughout the reports. Showcasing women in different relevant elements of the report. We decided on this style as it is simplistic and easy to replicate in many forms while still being visually interesting.

The inside pages consisted of us using different colours for each of the different sections. This worked well in separating each section and carries through in the titles and super-graphics of each page. Through making this report we worked hard in creating visual interest in each page through different illustrations and images. We aimed to keep the pages different and not too text-heavy as this would bore the reader. This visual interest was upheld using speech bubbles are boxes to emphasise the standout information in the report.

A challenge that we faced was coming up with a way to show clear information in a table.  Below shows an initial table where we used different shades and lines to separate the information. However, this wasn’t a viable option as it is difficult to read with the line width being too small and not engaging for the reader. In the end, we had to think of a new way to display this information and decided to scrap the table idea and take the information out into its own sections. As you can see this way of displaying information works a lot better as the reader can take a glance and understand the text through the strong visual hierarchy that has been used.

Table development
Final table layout

Creativity and Inclusivity in Higher Education Report (C&I)

The client wanted us to focus this report more on nature and humans connecting with the environment. To do so we used blue, green and earth tones for the different sections as well as incorporating illustrations of trees, water, and rivers throughout. Although the two reports have different themes and content, we kept the same structure and illustration style as the WIES report.

C&I page examples

Lessons from Women in Environmental Science (The WiES toolkit)

This report is a summary of the main WiES report but follows a different structure of an A5 landscape booklet. As this report is a summary it has a lot less text but still contains elements of visual interest with a clear structure.

WiES toolkit page examples

Front covers

For the front covers we wanted them to reflect the content inside while also appealing to the reader. We began experimenting with different front covers the first being using an image that spread across the whole page and the other being more of an illustrative approach.

Front cover experiments
Front cover experiments

However, we decided that both of these didn’t fit and also didn’t give the reader an insight into what the report was about. The final cover designs that we came up with use typography and illustrations in a fun and engaging way that makes it clear what each report is about and follows the design inside.


Feedback from are client was very positive. “Both of you worked extremely well on the Real Jobs project for Engaging Environments and our partner University of Manchester earlier in 2023. You absorbed a lot of complex information contained within the reports and on our calls regarding the project to produce designed outputs that were of a really high standard and reflected the themes of the work. Our partner was extremely happy with the reports, to the extent that they would like to produce a final report on Pt 3 of the C&I workshop in the same style, and the materials were also very well-received by the intended audiences at the event where these were shared.

You also worked to very tight deadlines, which was impressive given the size and scale of the reports that needed to be produced, and the commitment you showed to the projects throughout was very much appreciated.

I wouldn’t have any negative comments, I thought you both did a great job.”

Overall, this project has taught us many things with the main thing being time management and prioritisation. As it was such a big project with just over two months to complete three printed reports and three interactive PDF’s we needed to be realistic with what we could achieve in this time frame and didn’t have months of planning and sketching time like other projects would traditionally have. We were able to split the project up well to showcase both of our strengths while also allowing us to stay efficient in work production.

After this project we can both say that we have gained a lot more experience in editorial design as well as interacting with a client. We worked on our project management skills making sure the reports were ready for the event. We learnt to take on board feedback from both our clients and supervisors and create different revisions based on our feedback. Worked with branding guidelines, making sure that all the logos were placed correctly and maintained brand consistency. We learnt to address design challenges creatively and find solutions that met our client’s objectives.

Where to find the reports

All three reports can be found on Manchester University’s website under the WiES sections.

Reports used at confrence


Student-led guides to university

Student-led guides to university is a collaboration of guides with Reading Student Union (RSU) containing personalised advice and guidance to underrepresented and marginalised new students. This is so all students regardless of background or circumstance can feel supported, represented, and empowered during welcome week. Each guide is written by students and designed by students. This ensures the provided insights, diverse viewpoints, and understanding of campus life is more accessible to new students as they feel like they have been understood, creating a sense of community and connection.


We were tasked with creating two guides: Commuter Students’ Guide to University and First-Generation Guide to University. The goal was to create a coherent visual design across the two deliverables that also had the ability to expand for future editions. The guides need to provide an engaging way to relay key tips and contact information to students. We were provided with the copy, images, QR code and RSU branding but our clients gave us to have lots of freedom with the design of the booklets.


  • 2 print-ready, a5 multi-page guides for commuter and first-generation students
  • 2 interactive PDF, a5 multi-page guides for commuter and first-generation students


In terms of aligning our design with current branding, we had a relative amount of freedom as the clients wanted to push the idea that the guide was made by students, and therefore steering the design away from the University’s branding helped us achieve this. We were directed away from using the University branding, colours, and recognisable climate stripes. However, we did have to include the Reading Student Union logo.


We identified our target audience to be new undergraduate and postgraduate students. This meant we had an advantage when designing as we were once the intended audience. We kept in mind that these guides were specifically aimed towards commuting and first-generation students, however we decided that it would be appropriate to design for all types of students so everyone could consume it easily. Understanding our audience was important in portraying an appropriate visual route so we carried out a range of document research aimed at students.

Research and ideation

When approaching this project, we decided it would be beneficial to research existing university guides. Although there were no existing ones that explicitly pushed the idea of being created by students, this process was still useful to recognise the norms of student guides, as well as highlighting areas of improvement so we could compete in the current market successfully. The main things we found out that we wanted to take forward were that coloured backgrounds are a useful tool in visually dividing sections, images can help to make the guide engaging, and icons are helpful in giving a quick overview of what is to come. We also researched varying forms of editorial design so we could understand how different layouts work for portraying different types of content.

University guides examples
University guides examples
Editorial layout mood board

Creative direction

After understanding the content of the guides, the target audience and investigating some existing guides, we began creating mood boards. We discussed ideas and showed the mood boards to our clients to make sure we were heading in the right direction whilst also ensuring the clients were on board with our visual approach. From this, we learnt they were not keen on the corporate style and wanted a more fun and approachable feel with lots of bright colours. The images we were provided with by the clients gave a corporate feel which we needed to steer away from. Therefore, we decided upon an illustration route to ensure our guide would stand out and was known that it was made by students, demonstrated in the fun illustration style.

Visual treatment mood board

Design development

After understanding the visual route, we needed to take, we created some initial sketches for the inside pages and front covers. Our clients gave us the feedback that they wanted a more fun and approachable design.

Initial sketches

We then moved on to develop more sketches which took a more fun and colourful approach. The ideas that were liked the most by our clients and supervisor were concept two but with the line drawing style of concept one. These designs showcase university in a fun and inviting light making new students feel welcomed and accepted by the different communities.

Developed sketches
Developed sketches

These are the further developed sketches for both the commuter and first-generation guides. We developed them further by looking into different illustration styles and deciding which ones worked best for these guides. One comment from our clients was that the green could span across the whole page so that the speech bubbles weren’t cut in half. This meant we changed our half colour approach throughout. An element that we struggled with was coming up with a way to make the university services page more exciting and less text heavy. A solution to this was to include icons as well as relevant illustrations to the different points talked about.

Developed sketches for first generation guide
Developed sketches for first commuter guide

Colour and typography

We experimented with typography looking at clear typefaces that would work well with the style of guides. We decided on using the typeface that the university use, Effra. This typeface works as it is very legible, versatile, and most importantly is accessible with clear letterforms and balanced spacing, making it easy for all students to read.

Colour and typeface exploration

Picking the colour pallet was difficult as we wanted to have a different colour for each of the sections. We decided that a bright colour pallet worked best and found 6 colours that both contrasted and complimented each other.

Final colour pallet

Content page

We did lots of experiments in order to come up with an interesting and easy way to use the contents page. We ended up using the colours from each of the sections to make navigating the document easier. This content page works well as it gives the reader an insight of what is to come whilst sticking to the theme of our guides.

Content page development
Content page development
Final Content page layout


Our tips

This section’s main goal was to clearly differentiate the five tips. Using big numbers and highlighting the topics of each tip was a successful way in doing this. Changing the colour of the text halfway through proved to be distracting and broke up the flow of reading so we removed the colour from behind the writing. We decided the short introduction provided by the clients would work better as an additional tip so we changed this, which once again enhanced the reading experience as it gave the spread a better flow. A general change we applied to the whole guide was making the section titles sentence case so they were less harsh. Another change that was made throughout was the illustration style. This developed into a more interesting style that had varying line weights and the highlights were less prominent.

Our tips development
Final out tips layout

Frequently asked questions

For this section we wanted to separate each question with speech bubbles. We at first kept it simple by having the question and answer inside the speech bubble. Then we were asked to include some images that related to each question. However, after showing this to our client and supervisor we decided that pictures were not appropriate in this guide as we were limited to the student union’s image bank which weren’t relevant to these guides and looked too much like stock images. To ensure we had some visual interest for each question, we continued down the illustration route, creating a relevant illustration for each question. This broke the section up nicely, gives context to each question and tied in with the theme of illustrations throughout the rest of the guide.

FAQ development
FAQ development
Final FAQ layout

University services

This section brought some challenges as it included a lot of important copy which did not allow for experimental design as it needed to be quickly and easily understood by the reader. Some tools we used as a way of bringing visual interest to the pages were colour, illustrations, icons and typographic hierarchy. We created icons to represent “website”, “email” and “phone” as this emphasises the information rather than the descriptive words. Once we moved away from the half colour spreads, we drew this landscape illustration to break up the text so it did not look so heavy. We knew this orientation of illustration would work because the guides were being bound by staples so it could open out flat.

University services development
Final university services layout







Once again, this section is very text heavy so we had to ensure we created a design that would make it easy to read and highlight that there is loads of help available, avoiding creating an overwhelming scenario for the new students. We started off by using a rule to divide each definition, but this was deemed as too harsh. We then adapted our design to reflect a dictionary which was effective as it helped with navigation of the section, but it created too much white space and made the glossary too long. To develop it further, we stripped it back to just typography but used space and typographic differentiation to create an interesting but accessible design.

Glossary development
Glossary development
Final Glossary layout


The union page was a page that was introduced later in the project. We created and illustration of a band playing at the student union as well as the outside of the union building. As each guide had different amounts of copy for this section, we adjusted to this by moving the band illustration down to allow for some more room.

Final union layout
Final union layout


Our approach to the covers was to reflect what could be seen on the inside, illustrations and coloured pages. We went through many iterations in order to find a suitable combination of elements that sat nicely together on the page, as well as act as a tool in attracting people to pick up and read the guide. We introduced this blue colour as it is bright, fresh and positive which is a nice message to put across to new students. The illustrations had to represent the overall theme of each guide, first-generation students being relatively difficult to sum up but we decided that an image of students together and supporting each other was the appropriate message to put across.

We experimented with the placement of the blue block with the illustration on top and were advised to ensure there was a white section on the cover where the text could sit as we have kept typography on white backgrounds as a general rule. There was a stage in the process of designing the covers where we proposed the tagline of ‘for students, by students’. We thought this would be a useful way of emphasising the fact that these new students will be getting first-hand advice from current students. Our clients and supervisor were very fond of this tagline and we were suggested to create a sticker motif. However, after experimentation this did not work with our design as apart from the illustrations, we do not have any rounded graphic elements within the guides. The last major change we made was changing the text from all caps to sentence case. This made a huge difference in how approachable the guide felt as before it could have been portrayed as harsh, especially as the title was seen in a heavy weight of the typeface.

The RSU was requested to be added to the covers much later on in the project. This further solidified our choice of where to have the blue section as generally, logos are found in the top right corner of documents.

As for the back covers, we chose to reflect the design from the front cover, just with illustrations that appeared as those you were looking at the ones used on the front covers from the back.

Cover development
Cover development
Final cover layout


Interactive pdf

As part of our brief, we needed to make interactive pdfs for each guide that will be hosted on the university website. To adapt our design to this function, we made buttons for the top right corners taking you back to the content, enhancing navigation throughout the document. We also made sure that all the links were clickable making it easier for our users to get the help they need.

Final Interactive pdf layout

Our own reflection

Overall, this project has taught me many things, number one being how to interact and communicate with our clients on a weekly basis. We learnt to address design challenges creatively and find solutions that met our client’s objectives. To meet our deadlines, we needed to have good time management skills sticking to our schedules. After completing this project, I feel more confident working on real briefs and look forward to working on more. – Daisy

I have learnt and improved on lots of skills throughout this project which I will be able to take forward and build on in future projects. We learnt to collaborate effectively by identifying each other’s strengths ad using them to our advantage to efficiently create these guides. This job brought about my first experience dealing with clients, but it was a very positive one as we worked well with them due to frequent contact and honesty from both clients and designers. Another skill I have had the opportunity to improve is file management and how to present work in a professional manner to the clients. We did this by creating annotated documents of our work so when we couldn’t show them a printed prototype of the guides and verbally go through the reasonings behind design decisions, the clients could understand the justification and edits we made in order to give us relevant feedback. Additionally, regarding file management, we had a shared folder that contained everything we created and needed for the project which ensured for a coherent experience when designing collaboratively. It helped that us as designers were often communicating with one another as well. One thing we could have improved on was proofreading the copy. Although we were assured that this had been done, we ultimately should have read through it thoroughly ourselves to ensure no mistakes were made. – Jasmine

The feedback we received was positive from both our clients. “We quickly built a friendly working relationship with you that enabled us all to synergise well as a team. I was very satisfied with the level of communication and the quality of the product. You were always both highly professional. Jasmine, you impressed us with your client management skills and struck a diplomatic balance between incorporating our suggestions and pushing back on them where necessary – I appreciated that. Daisy, you impressed us with your illustration and design talent, lending a unique hand-drawn style that enhanced the aesthetic and appeal of the design.”- Matt

Universal Voices: Singing Communities eBook


Universal Voices is a free community choir for children aged 7-12 at the Institute of Education (IoE), run by Dr Rebecca Berkley and a volunteer student team. Singing Communities is a project funded by the UoR Communities fund. It is an inter-generational song sharing project, where the children in Universal Voices ask an elder member of their family (grandma, granddad, aunt, uncle, friend) to teach them a chant, singing game or song that they knew when they were children. Through this community, Rebecca aims to highlight the different cultural backgrounds of the students. Through the eBook, she aims to also disseminate it  to the local primary schools, to allow them to teach their students and also spread multicultural values to the students. Therefore, our aim as desginers, were to create an eBook that would allow users to both learn and engage in various cultures through the joy of music.

Restated Brief

As mentioned previously, based on the client’s goals, our brief was to create an eBook that celebrated the different cultures through songs collected by the children through their family members, with both front and back covers. This meant creating an identity that was playful and innocent, to reflect the contribution of the children, but at the same time informational, to reflect the educational value of the songs. All three of these elements needed to be balanced as Rebecca had mentioned that she aimed to distribute and use the eBook as an educational material for teachers to use, therefore, we had to make sure that it would be accessible and easy to navigate and understand.

The client had also requested us to design the eBook on Canva, with them also kindly providing us with the Pro version of this website to use during the designing of the eBook. This was so that it would allow them to make changes or add more songs in the eBook in the future. This was a new challenge for both me and my partner, Zainab, as we have never used this app before for editorial design, but nonetheless, was excited to start on this, as this meant that it will allow us with new skills and experience.

Furthermore, after further discussion, we had also agreed to refine their existing logo to allow them to have better formats of the logo for their future use as well as improve the clarity and quality of the logo.


After the initial meeting with Rebecca, and going over multiple options, we opted for an eBook that would be interactive, where each song will contain:

  • Supporting music score
  • Embedded video and audio links
  • Lyrics, along with phonetic pronunciation and translation (if applicable)
  • Description about the origin of the song.

For the book covers, the client’s vision was to make an inclusive and interesting cover but was open to discussion with us and therefore we were given the creative freedom to work on this.

For the logos, we agreed that we will provide the client with two sets of files, containing the appropriate file format, depending on whether it would be used in printing or on screens. The formats decided were:

  • EPS, PDF, and TIFF files for print use
  • SVG, PNG, and JPEG files for screen use


When discussing the work with the client, she had mentioned that she was inspired by Nordic Sounds, an online e-book containing ‘pedagogical collection of traditional music, dance, songs, games, rhymes and lullabies from the Nordic countries: Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden’ (taken from the description used in the website) and although the website uses illustrations to support the songs, for this project, the client had decided not to include any illustrations as all the songs are from different cultures and would have no correlation between each other.


To help with developing our ideas and visualising the theme we aimed to design, we also collated a series of moodboard to help with this. Each moodboard contained ideas and pictures of a singular theme and using each of them helped us during the design process.

Moodbooard to visual the general ‘feeling’ of the eBook
Moodboard for typefaces, colour and shapes
Moodboard for cover design



Colour palette

The client requested that we somehow incorporate the colour palette used by the Nordic Sounds website onto the eBook and therefore we tried doing that through taking the colours from their wordmark logo in the home page. However, she wanted them in pastel tones as they believed that the colours used in the Nordic Sounds website are quite bright. The choir consisted of children who are really young so therefore she wanted pastel colours to be used to make it soft and easy to read, instead of it being distracting with the bright, bold colours. They had also asked us to use a light beige colour for the background as this was what they use for their backgrounds in presentations.

Colour palette derived from the Nordic Sounds wordmark logo


For typefaces, we mainly went for the theme of childness and innocence, and therefore, focused on typefaces that resembled children’s writing or overall appeared handwritten. At the same time, we tried choosing typefaces that were legible and had a range of different weights for flexibility, however this was limited, as we had to choose from the list of typefaces available at Canva only and most typefaces had limited weights or had none at all.

List of typefaces explored



















After going through a range of typefaces and showing it both our supervisor and our client, we decided on Children One for the headings, and Childos Arabic for the body text. The different weights within Childos Arabic allowed us to create hierarchy within the body copy and also separate the song lyrics from the translation and phonetics. As some of the songs had lyrics in its native language, we had to find typefaces similar to Childos Arabic to accommodate. The combination of Children One and Childos Arabic worked well, as Children One highlighted the childlike appearance of the book and also reflected the contents of the book with its uneven letters, and it was well balanced by Childos Arabic, a Sans Serif, with its roundedness and flaired descenders.

Chosen typefaces

Kids’ drawings

Since the children of Universal Voices were involved in the collecting and recording of the songs, we also wanted to reflect that on the eBook visually, and therefore we decided to do this on the front and back covers of the eBook. In order to do this, we paid a visit to the children during one of their rehearsals, where we got to talk to them about what they love and think about Universal Voices.

First time visiting Universal Voices
Example of one of the slides presented during the visit to the Universal Voices rehearsal














After gaining some insight from the children themselves, we had also prepared an activity for them which involved them drawing out what they had told us regarding Universal Voices. This proved to be very productive, both for us and the kids, as this kept them engaged and also allowed us to have a good collection of drawings to select from when making the covers.

Example 1 of some of the children’s drawing
Example 2 of some of the children’s drawing




Design process


To start off, with the advice of our supervisor, we sketched out layout ideas, focusing on clear and concise layout, as the goal was to make the pages be as much easy to navigate as possible and some of the layouts, we considered were having text on one side with all the images based elements to be the other side and vice versa. We also sketched out layouts where we made use of separating the content into top and bottom halves.

Layout sketch 1
Layout sketch 2
Layout sketch 3
Layout sketch 4
Layout sketch 5
Layout sketch 6

Initial layout

In our initial layouts, we wireframed some quick layouts to show to our supervisor and after getting feedback on how to create better layouts, as we had initially lacked the creativity in our design ideas, we went back on track and started using colour and different combinations of typefaces to create layouts, allowing us to better understand what worked well.

Some of the layout ideas we tried out involved colour coding each section of the spread, or by blocking each section in colours, as well as having a coloured background and playing around with placements of the score sheets and the video and audio links.

Layout idea 1
Layout idea 2
Layout idea 3
Layout idea 4
Layout idea 5

Reflecting the song’s origins

To make the eBook more educational and make it engaging for the readers, we brought up to implement another way kids can learn more about the origin of the song with a more visual approach, instead of only having a written section at the bottom of each page. Therefore, we suggested to add the flag of the country that the specific song originated for. In one of our suggested layout designs, the client had really loved the idea of the pages having a coloured border, which reflected the colours of the representative flag and therefore, to keep them consistent, we added those borders onto the prelim pages of the eBook as well, but instead used a combination of two colours from the main colour palette.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

Refining logo

Since the logo only required refinement, the only thing done was redrawing the main element of the logo and vectorise it in illustrator. The original logo was used as a reference to redraw and for the typeface used on the logo, Futura was used as it resembled the closed to the original. The logo was drawn in three different colours: black, white, and red, with red being the brand colour, as the children in Universal voices wear a red t-shirt while performing in events and we wanted to reflect that on their logo as well.

Original logo
Refined logo (in black)
Refined logo (in white with red background)
Refined logo (in red)


As previously mentioned, we wanted to reflect the kid’s contribution to the making of the eBook and decided to do so through the covers. Having collected their drawings during the visit to one of their rehearsals, all of them were scanned and using both Canva and photoshop, the covers were made. Using Canva, I added in the selected drawings and created a collage. I specifically chose drawings that reflected very clearly what Universal Voices meant to the kids, as well as using hand drawn lettering done by one of the children as the title of the eBook, to highlight the innocence and enjoyment of the children and also reflect what the eBook was about. A crumpled paper texture effect was added onto the background of the covers to once again, reflect the childish nature of the eBook.

Front cover
Back cover

Final product

Combining different elements from each layout idea, we made our final design where each section was colour coded, and it was specifically emphasised for the video and audio links where the colour coding stayed consistent throughout the pages and this was useful as it allowed users to know which link referred to the audio or video as some songs only contained either one of them.

It was a great success, as we managed to deliver the eBook to the client on time. we also had the opportunity to present our work on the launch day of the eBook in front of all the kids and their families.

“At the launch of the e-book in November 2023, Jaf and Zainab came and presented to the audience explaining the work that they had done. Their presentation was clear and interesting, and they both spoke very well.”

– Rebecca Berkley, Artistic Director of Universal Voices

Attending the launch event of the Universal Voices eBook












Furthermore, the client was very impressed with our work and loved the use of borders in the book and keeping a clear layout as mentioned below:

“They communicated regularly with me presenting draught ideas for the layouts for each page and the overall design of the book. They were very good at taking my ideas and turning them into reality. I was particularly impressed at how careful they were to make sure that their rendering of my ideas matched my vision. They were always cheerful, helpful, accurate and delivered on time. They made several suggestions about the layout which also improved the content of the book. Their communications were always professional and they delivered the product to the agreed timeframes. When we had to make an adaptation to the deadlines or the content, they were always very helpful in accommodating that. The overall design of the book was delightful. They created a visual style for the book which had a primary school feel to it, using bright colours and a clear layout. They matched the borders of each page to the colours of the national flag of the language of each song, which was a lovely detail in the design.”

– Rebecca Berkley, Artistic Director of Universal Voices


Having the children involved within the designing of the book was a very lovely experience, as I got to see their creativity and apply that onto my own as well, and seeing their lovely work really inspired me to work on this eBook more efficiently. Knowing that the children liked the cover of the eBook was very heart-warming to me and made my experience working on this eBook very valuable.

“Jaflenur and Zainab came and worked with the children in Universal Voices to create artwork for the front and back covers of the book. They asked the children to draw pictures and write sentences about what the choir meant to them, and then copied the children’s art work and made a collage for the front and back covers. The children really loved seeing their art work in the e-Book. It was particularly popular with the children, because every child could see their artwork in the book and it made the book very special to the children. I have found working with both of them fantastic. Their credit to their department, and a really good example of what a great programme Real Jobs is.”

– Rebecca Berkley, Artistic Director of Universal Voices