Category: Real Jobs

Bethan Miskell Artist Logo and Branding


The client Bethan Miskell does press flower artwork and wants to sell her artwork online. Bethan had not started the business and she wanted to set up a brand to promote her artwork and her message. As her business was in the beginning stage, she did not have ideas for a particular style yet, but she mentioned some preferences she would like us to follow on the design in our first meeting.

The client’s press flower artwork

Restated brief

Bethan wanted to use her artwork to emphasise and celebrate the importance of plants or weeds that may be overlooked or not seen as typically ‘pretty’ but were increasingly considered to be ‘hero’ plants and essential for biodiversity. We needed to create a unique brand to convey Bethan’s intended message.

The three deliverables are a logo, a business card, and a ‘thank you for your purchasing’ card. The brand logo will be used across all platforms like Bethan’s website and social media. Also, it will be applied to the cards. Our client also mentioned she did not need a physical mock-up of the cards, so we only need to create them digitally.

The target audience for Bethan’s business is people who are interested in floral decoration and the preservation of nature. These people tend to be women around the age of 50 and above. The effectiveness of the deliverables was measured by receiving customer feedback from a set of questions, and by frequently reviewing the brief to ensure the items meet the client’s requirements.

Research and ideation

Example of wordmarks
Example of logo sets

First, we explored different kinds of logo designs like monograms, wordmarks, symbols and lettermarks and explained to Bethan about their characteristics. Bethan did not like the lettermark. We thought wordmark could work best for introducing Bethan’s business as she wants to use her full name as the brand name. It is simple and recognisable to combine words with images.

We found that businesses usually have some logo variations so that they can fit on different platforms more flexibly. For example, logos with a longer width can be used on website banners. However, it is not suitable for an Instagram circle icon, so they need a more abstract one. We therefore decided to create a primary logo, a secondary logo, and one for social media.

The client’s moodboard







Competitor Jam Jar Edit’s logo for website
Competitor Press Floral’s logo for website

We also did research based on the keywords that Bethan used to describe her business which were ‘biodiversity’, ‘botanical’, ‘organic’, and ‘wildlife’. She created a moodboard with mainly plants and a layout of logos she liked and wanted us to get inspiration from. Besides her moodboard, we studied other competitor websites and their social media which are related to botanic for inspiration like Jam Jar Edits, Pressed Floral, and Refined Studio.

Heidi Clover’s logo
Initial sketches







Bethan especially mentioned that she liked the style of Heidi Clover’s logo, so we knew that she wanted simpler illustrations and typefaces. It helped us to develop some suitable initial sketches for her.

Design development


Typeface options






Fern illustration ideas

Bethan did not like the handwriting style or rounded and curvy fonts, but she wanted bolder spaced-out typography. Based on her requirements, we found a range of simple and neat san serifs for her to choose from for example, Josefin sans, Articulat CF, Serenity, and Quasimoda. We also experimented with different weights of the same fonts, but we could not make a decision before combining them with the illustration to see how they balance. I personally did not like Josefin with the sharp ascenders as it did not look friendly and Serenity because the bold soft strokes looked weird on Bethan’s business. We suggested she choose Quasimoda which looked fresh with a thinner width and a normal x-height.

For the illustration, at the beginning, we tried to combine illustrations of plants into Bethan’s name and showed them to her. Bethan liked fern more because she thought fern could represent the ‘hero’ plant. Therefore, we carried on designing different styles of ferns for the symbol. For example, the line illustration, without or with strokes and details, and the shape of leaves. Bethan and my team chose the thinner fern between her name for the primary logo because the other looked more decorative and heavier.

Secondary logo options with filled symbols
Secondary logo options with not filled symbols




Other secondary logo illustration options







The secondary logo is based on the primary logo but just changed the layout to make it narrower and could be used on other suitable platforms. Our supervisor suggested we show three options to Bethan for both with and without filling. They were with or without dots surrounding the fern, the horizontal ferns between Bethan’s name, and the vertical fern next to her name. We all liked the filled option and the vertical fern placed next to Bethan’s name. It incorporates the primary logo better as both of the ferns are vertical. The fern with dots option was not suitable because it was too complex for Bethan’s style.

Social logo options

For the social one, we provided four plant options and two different layouts for Bethan to choose from. Because she chose the primary logo with the fern, we suggested using the same plant across all the logos to make them consistent and the brand identity could stand out more. She liked the idea of placing the plant in between the two letters to make the logo look balanced. In the end, we created the logo sets in both white and black so Bethan could use them according to her needs more easily.

Final version of the logo set

Business card

The business card is 85mm in width and 55mm in height. For the front, we considered two concepts mainly. One was used illustration that was connected to the logo. Another one was to use Bethan’s artwork. We asked Bethan if we could borrow one of her artworks and scan it for the press flower elements. She liked the idea of including her artwork’s elements on the card as a mini version of her artwork. It can promote her business more effectively because people can immediately understand her style instead of spending more time to search her artwork.

Experiments on colours and layouts of the business card

We explored different layouts with the press flower elements placed partly on the bottom, in the centre or close to the edges. At the same time, we changed the black background that Bethan usually uses to some natural colours based on the keywords Bethan mentioned like, beige, brown, mint, teal, and dark blue. We found that dark blue worked the best because it balanced the style of Bethan’s original artwork with a formal business card style.

Further developed business card idea

Our supervisor thought the idea which had a dark blue block in the middle with a press flower could be further developed. Rather than the one with flowers surrounding the block, she commented that keeping the format from Bethan’s artwork would be better. To make it look more interesting and livelier, our supervisor also suggested we extend the flower outside of the block.

Final version of the business card (front)








Final version of the business card (back)







We tried to use illustrations to decorate the card at the back, but we were given feedback from our supervisor that it was not consistent with the front design. So, we continued the press flower block. The icons that represent different contact methods look minimal, so it does not make Bethan’s artwork ‘overshadowed’. We used the ‘Lexend deca’ light typeface which is balanced with the icon’s weights and Bethan’s requirements on typefaces.

‘Thank you for your purchasing’ card

Example of ‘Thank you for your purchase’ card ideas

For the ‘Thank you for your purchasing card, we decided to continue a similar style and layout with the business card. It was the same size as Bethan’s business card. We kept the continuity by using the press flower from Bethan’s artwork instead of creating a new illustration. We showed a range of options to our supervisor for feedback.












Further developed ‘Thank you for your purchase’ card ideas

In the beginning, we experimented with a block in the centre surrounded with flowers, it just looked like the business card with another format. Therefore, we did not keep the idea. To show the consistency of the two cards while making them distinguishable, we chose another geometric shape, a circle. We placed a similar group of press flowers from the business card into the circle, so they looked similar in style. We chose the typeface ‘Montserrat’ for the text from a range of San serifs because we liked the clean and elegant strokes. The size contrast of ‘Thank you’ with ‘for your purchase’ emphasised the sincerity.

Final version of the ‘Thank you for your purchase’ card

For the final version, we wanted to show the consistency of the two cards while making them distinguishable with different geometric shapes. We placed a similar group of press flowers from the business card into the circle. We used the social logo for Bethan’s brand instead of the other two because the card is sent with the customer-purchased items. The customers must already know about Bethan’s brand so this logo is used like a sign so we did not want it to look too extra.


We expected that the project would be completed in December, but our deadline was extended until January. Even though it was agreed by the client, I think we could manage the time better. We spent too much time exploring the logo design at the beginning which made us not have enough time for the cards by the end of the expected deadline. We can show more variations to the client at the same time so she can pick one that she liked earlier.

The thing I learnt from this project was to always ask for more details to ensure what you are making is what the client likes. The client may not have an idea of how they want the design to be presented sometimes because they are not professional designers, but they have their preferences and thoughts. We should not be afraid to contact the clients often to check if they have any updates or further requirements during the design process.

Also, this project improved my confidence in communication. I feared expressing my concepts and showing opposite thoughts to others, but I feel comfortable communicating with my teammate as we respect each other’s ideas, and the client is supportive of our work.



Manuel Bravo Project  


The client for this project was the Manuel Bravo Project, a free legal representation for asylum seekers and refugees based in Leeds. The organisation recently had a rebrand of their logos and letterheads, causing them to look for new physical outputs to help enhance the new branding. There are two different branches of the Manuel Bravo Project – In-house and Outreach. They are aiming to look for ways to appeal directly to these different target audiences.  

Restated brief 
The client originally requested two leaflets to appeal to their separate target audience; In-house and Outreach. However, we suggested to help raise further brand awareness, therefore by having a physical banner, it would be a useful output for the organisation can use at charity events to help draw in new support and clients.   

Due to the organisation’s two branches, our client wanted us to incorporate the different brand colours within the leaflets, to ensure the correct information is being received. With their green colour symbolising the Outreach audience, and red for the In-house casework audience. Our client has distinct target audiences – clients who are often new to the country with limited English, corporate/funder audiences who need to know a bit more about our background, and volunteers/partners who we recruit to help them with their work.  

Final deliverables:  

  • 2 A5 2pp leaflets   
  • 2m portrait banner for physical use   



The first stage of the project began with research to understand the Manuel Bravo Project. We used information provided by the client as well as their website to gain a thorough understanding of the charity’s background and its mission, vision and core values. We identified that our main target audience was those who spoke minimal English and therefore knew our designs needed to cater to this. However, we also recognised a secondary audience such as volunteers and donators, so we wanted to make sure our design resonated with both demographics.  

During the research process, we analysed various charity leaflets for inspiration. We noted that many of them tended to be overcrowded with information, potentially overwhelming for the readers. This was something we needed to avoid especially with our primary target audience. We aimed to structure the leaflets in a way that prioritised clarity and ease of understanding, by focusing on hierarchy and simple messaging.  

We commenced the design process by experimenting with various leaflet styles through sketches, considering different layouts. After visualising each exploration, we opted for a simple double-sided A5 leaflet design. We felt this choice was best suited for its intended target audience, as there was no complexity of what pages of the leaflet were to be read first. Our client agreed with this decision and during a feedback meeting with him, we further discussed his favoured options for text and image placement.  

On the front of both leaflets, we highlighted the charity’s mission, vision, and approach as well as a concise overview description. For the back of the leaflets, we tailored the content more specifically to each branch of the organisation – In-house representation and Outreach services.   

Furthermore, to address the main target audience, we thought it would be useful to enhance the accessibility of the leaflets for those whose first language isn’t English. We proposed the idea of a scannable QR code translator on both leaflets for users to access relevant information and resources in their chosen language.  

Figure 1: Leaflet sketch 1


Figure 2: Leaflet sketch 2


Figure 3: Banner sketch 1 & 2

The banner was designed after the leaflets were finalised. Initially, we struggled with how to represent Manuel Bravo in a banner format. The real jobs meeting was extra helpful during this stage of the design process as tutors and peers helped us refine our banner design. We focused on maintaining consistency with the leaflet designs by carrying over key design elements such as typography and illustration style. One of our illustrations was adjusted to sit perfectly on the banner and it was able to fill in white space that we initially struggled with.   

Meetings with the client and the real jobs team helped us guide our design decisions to create the most effective designs. The client was helpful in providing minor tweaks for us to change throughout the project.  

We created engaging and unique illustrations to present on the front and back of the leaflets. The illustrations allowed us to depict diverse characters. The characters on each leaflet wear the corresponding colour attire to reinforce the differentiation between the different branches of the organisation and to maintain brand consistency.   

We opted for illustrations over photography, as the organisation wanted to move away from the photography direction. Having previously used images of Manuel Bravo himself in promotional materials, it felt inappropriate to them to plaster his image all over their outputs and social media. Our illustrations provided a more respectful alternative and maintained privacy and sensitivity.   

Figure 4: Initial line drawing illustration


Figure 5: In-house front page illustration


Figure 6: Back illustration for both leaflets in the In-house colour palette


Figure 7: Outreach front page illustration


While specific body copy was not provided to us by the client, we took the initiative to select words that we felt best represented the Manuel Bravo Project’s ethos. Drawing from our research and understanding of the organisation, we chose messaging that we felt was most important to display and we are confident that our banner design will help Manuel Bravo Project raise awareness and gain additional support.

Figure 8: Leaflet version 1


Figure 9: Leaflet version 2


Figure 10: Leaflet version 3


Final outputs

Due to the client being based in Leeds, we weren’t able to see the deliverables go to print. To reduce printing costs we, sent our client print-ready PDFs of each of our deliverables. To help the client we also provided them with rough estimates of the print production costs from CPS. To help the client visualise our leaflets and banner designs, we provided him with mock-ups to showcase the final deliverables in their potential environment.   

Figure 11: Mock up of finalised leaflets (front)


Figure 12: Mock up of finalised Outreach leaflet


Figure 13: Mock up of finalised leaflets (back)


Figure 14: Mock up of final banner



Although the designs of this real job are simple, we wanted to ensure each of the deliverables were easily accessible and understandable for the client’s target audience. Therefore, by providing the client with the option of having a QR translation code, it gave the client’s target audience a quick and efficient understanding of what their organisation does.  

 The job did come with its challenges, with the client’s recent rebrand, and no printed documents prior to our deliverables, the client had only been provided with RGB-coloured logos. This meant that when the documents were to be printed the colours would come out slightly different. To prevent this, we decided to create a CMYK colour conversion for the client to use in future output designs to ensure all future printed materials match our deliverables. This will ensure their branding remains consistent.   

Additionally, due to the client’s excitement about their rebranding and utilising their new logos, it caused a delay when providing us with other materials that we needed such as the body copy. They initially weren’t sure on the copy for these deliverables, which created some delays as we struggled to format the leaflets with the missing text. 

Another problem faced was incorporating their new logos. The client sent us versions of the logo that weren’t useable in our outputs as they hadn’t been sent in a high enough quality. Eventually, the main In-house logo was sent to us in a high-quality format, but the client couldn’t seem to provide the same with for the Outreach logo. This meant we had to use the In-house logo he sent to recreate the Outreach logo. At the end of the project, we sent this new logo for them to use in all future designs.  

Figure 15: Initial Outreach logo provided by client


Figure 16: Final Outreach logo created by us

Creating leaflets and banners was a new experience for both of us. This real job was invaluable and helped us develop new skills that we can take forward in similar future projects. We also got to experience real challenges that we may face in the industry.  

Student-led Department Instagram 2023/4


This real job involved creating weekly posts of the departments events and students’ projects throughout the year. This year we wanted to change the perception and aim of the Instagram, by broadening the design content for prospective, current and alumni students. Previously, the account has focused on events and design-based posts, however this year we wanted to boost engagement through trending posts, such as; Spotify and Barbie, as well as informative posts, such as; tutorial reels and Adobe shortcuts.  

Our goals 
The main goal we wanted to achieve when taking over the department’s Instagram was to create a broader design community. We felt it was important to broaden our online community, as it would help boost our engagement and further the creativity of account. Additionally, we also wanted to showcase the department to prospective students by creating a more engaging feed. To do this, we created a wider variety of content ranging from  informative posts and  current Instagram trends.  


Updating the account  

We decided that the Instagram would benefit from a small rebrand. This is because we felt this would help the feed look more consistent and part of one identity, as we had a varied number of design posts. We also changed the profile picture to the TGC logo, adapting it to each season or holiday e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Easter theme. This is because we felt this better represented the department than the previous profile picture of the yellow doors that no longer exist, and would be potentially confusing to prospective students.  

Profile picture
Within this rebrand we were able to improve our feed layout, as our feed looked very one dimensional due to only showed design-based posts and the occasional photos of the department. As a team, we wanted a more varied and personal feed and to achieve this, we began to post more ‘in class’ posts of student’s progress work and final deliverables, to help the account feel more connected to the people in the department. We also introduced posts that gave tips such as the Adobe shortcuts series as we wanted to create the sense of community, as well as posting digital mockups of final work. The improvement of these posts has helped increased our engagement.

Figure 1: Seasonal profile pictures


Posting schedule 
One of our goals was to continue posting consistently and to post more varied content. To do this, we created a schedule each month on an excel spreadsheet which allocated a post to each team member. We found this strategy was successful as it helped us be organized and make sure that we weren’t posting similar types of content. One problem we faced with this strategy was that sometimes team members would forget to post their allocated content. A solution we found to this, was to schedule the posts earlier on Instagram so that the post would still go up in time.  


New content

To increase our post insights and better our follower engagement, we researched into current Instagram trends and related them to typography and graphic design. Examples of this include; creating a yearly ‘Spotify Wrapped post’, a ‘Barbie post’ and conducting interviews with our lecturers to find out ‘designers icks’. Out of these three posts, the post that was the most successful was Spotify Wrapped which earned over 130 likes, reached 1,351 accounts, 188 non-follower accounts and 3 comments.  

We also introduced more informational posts to our feed. This is because in our research we found that informational posts help followers feel like they are part of a community. We felt that these posts would be helpful for current students, designers and people who are interested in graphic design and typography.  

The informational posts we introduced are:

  • Tutorial reels
    Tutorial reels were one of our posts with the highest level of engagement, as it reached over 1000 non-followers, with a total watch time of 5 hours and 18 minutes. These posts consisted of quick design demonstrations on  different Adobe software’s that can benefit our followers’ future projects. The tutorials were aimed at current student followers, and aspiring designers.  
  • Adobe shortcuts
    This is a post that showcased some basic shortcuts for Adobe software’s. This post had a high level of engagement as it reached 89% of non-followers to our account and had many impressions, meaning it was accessed through home, profile and hashtags 2086 times. The reach is the number of accounts that have seen the post. These posts were aimed at current students as well as designers within the industry.  
Figure 2: Adobe shortcut posts


Reading list 
The idea behind this post was to share what we felt were important design books that all designers should have a look at. This post also had a high level of engagement, with 198 account interactions through likes, saves and shares.  

Figure 3, 4, 5: Examples of reading list post


Q&A stories
These posts on our story brought a sense of community as it allowed us to talk to people. Although these posts did not have the highest level of engagement, it was still rewarding to be able to talk to people and answer their questions about design, the department and our course. 

Figure 6 & 7: Example of Q&A stories


Engagement and following  

The most successful posts have been the reels we introduced, providing the audience with short, informative illustrator tutorials, with the ‘how to merge type and shapes in illustrator’ reaching nearly 2,000 accounts. This shows that reels were incredibly successful in boosting the Instagram accounts engagement, due to the wider accessibility Instagram gives to reels throughout the platform. This accessibility has enabled the Instagram account to reach 69% of non-followers, helping to boost the accounts audience reach. Further to this, since December 2023, the reels have boosted the interactions by 320%. Further to this, the following has grown by 70% over the last 3 months. 

Figure 8 & 9: Accounts engagement between December 2023 – March 2024


Our thoughts  

Being part of the department’s Instagram team has enabled us to get experience with understanding what makes a post engaging. We learnt that reels were the most engaging type of posts for non-followers due to Instagrams pre-existing algorithm. Whereas, the most engaging post for the current followers were the regular posts. By creating a consistent balance between the two types of posts, we were able to boost the accounts interactions and engagement levels.

As well as this, we consistently posted and maintained a monthly posting schedule which allowed us to introduce new types of posts. We felt this was important as before we took over, the posts were mostly submission/process posts and we felt it was important to offer informational posts that would help designers and students. Including informational posts has helped create a more varied feed and increased engagement with our followers.  

What we learnt
This experience of running the department’s Instagram account has taught us how to effectively work together to run a design team, the importance of group collaborations on new design ideas and problem solving, and lastly it improved our time management skills as we created a posting schedule for when the account would gain the most follower interaction.  

Pixel Party

Students enjoying the game, in preparation for the event on the 4 October 2023


Working as part of the Baseline Shift team prior to this job, we knew we wanted to connect more with the guests we have and understand more about their career and experiences to allow ourselves the best insight into future design paths. We knew we wanted to take on board the Pixel Party job as not only did it link to Baseline Shift and build on the communication element but would also allow us to experiment with the deliverables that would help build our portfolios, for example Mia working on motion graphics and Habibah on branding. The freedom of this job would enable us both to incorporate our current strengths within design as well as build on those we are interested in.


Toshi Omagari giving his talk for students and staff


Week 2 of the Autumn Term kicked off with a whole day with Toshi Omagari returning to the department! The day consisted of an afternoon and evening full of typography fun starting with a Baseline Shift Talk also hosted and organised by ourselves followed by a Post-it note and Lego letterpress workshop, ending the day with a department party including food, drink, music and most importantly games.

Toshi Omagari is a typeface designer specialising in arcade game typography and alumni of the MA Typeface Design course at the University of Reading. His book, ‘Arcade Typography, focusses on pixel-fonts used in arcade games between the 70­s and 90s and is available in the department. His passion for games is truly inspiring and the work he does within this field is profound.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the original set date for the event was rescheduled from February to October. This gave us more time to work on furthering our deliverables and added a Post-it note storage system to our outputs.


Toshi’s talk

We started the day with Toshi’s Baseline Shift session, exploring his career in type design to both undergraduates, postgraduates as well as staff here in the department. He presented his in-depth research on arcade game typography and how they have developed over the years, specifically focussing on the characteristics of glyphs. It was very interesting to see the evolution of arcade typography from black and white to colour to the introduction of elements such as drop shadows and gradients. He also spoke about life after Reading and different fields in which he explored initially before finding his current passion. The very inspirational talk left many students feeling motivated with Part 1 student Ethan saying:

“It was an enthralling talk that really showed the lineage of digital fonts throughout video games – One of the best talks!”  


Students and staff engaging in the Q&A session of the Baseline Shift talk



Following the talk, Toshi  hosted a Master’s session on type design, and then assisted us in hosting a Pixel Post-It note and Lego Letterpress workshop for the students. This session consisted of creating glyphs using both Post-Its and Lego using colours to create depth and shadows, much like arcade typography.


Toshi during his master’s session.


The Post-it note workshop decided to work as a group to create an entire alphabet of pixel font letters. The posters used an 8×8 grid to format the letters, which students created based on fonts in the Arcade Typography book, however one student: Emma from Part 1 was recognised and awarded with a prize for the best designed letter!


Students in action for the Post-it note workshop.


The Lego letterpress workshop invited students to design 8×8 Lego plates to print their letters. As the only colours available were green, blue, purple and pink, some students chose to layer the available four inks to create a dynamic printed letter.


Lego letterpress productions.


These letters were then handed over to Toshi during the evening to announce a winner, Lydia from Part 3 taking the trophy home and saying:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the pixel font workshop, not only was it an interesting challenge, it was a perfect excuse to use the letterpress equipment! A massive thank you to those who organised it!”


Arcade evening

 To round out the day, we hosted an arcade themed department social attended by students of the BA, MA and PHD design courses, as well as staff and friends. The attendees enjoyed the carefully curated arcade theme playlist, as well as the games, food, and drinks.

The event was a great opportunity to bring the department together and welcome the new Part 1 students of the BA course. We’d like to thank Toshi and everyone who attended for the awesome turnout!


Toshi enjoying the dance mat

Post-it notes storage unit

With the additional deliverable added as the deadline extended, we created prototypes to accommodate the hundreds of Post-it’s the departments holds. This began by measuring and counting stock and finding a way that we could display this in an aesthetic way.


Cardboard prototype

We chose to create a box, with 8×8 slots joining to create boxes for individual colours and found this worked well, so proceeded with materials involving acrylic and designing this complimenting existing branding. Experimenting with placement, we decided that organising the colours by hue and shade would be the best option for easy recognition and access of different variations.


Prototyped storage unit, created using the laser printer


Considering feedback and testing, we opted to order external acrylic boxes to house our grid in. Doing so allowed for a more stable unit, which is entirely square and the edges are flush. One issue we had building this using the laser printer was having to use multiple sheets of acrylic to build the base, which felt unstable. The glue used to attach elements also broke away after use, which showed we needed a stronger frame to hold the Post-it notes.

We chose to use a black acrylic for the external elements as it contrasted the colours of the paper and fit the branding of the event. This created a sleek appearance, which we decided did not need additional branding or decoration.

We made an additional unit for department displays and activities, recycling materials where possible from the prototypes. These units are stronger, and have handles to hold the weight more comfortably and manoeuvre more easily.


The completed Post-it note storage units


We designed the posters using relevant typography and decided on a black background with the colours of yellow, cyan, and pink. We based the design off of classic arcade games, and used Pac Man to attract students who were not overly familiar with arcade gaming. The box Pac Man follows groups the core information, with the main event title and decorative pixels aiming to show movement on the ‘screen’.


Poster design, printed and displayed around the department.


The animation featured on the department Instagram and Facebook. Social Media posts which are motion tend to increase engagement, which we wanted to take advantage of in promoting the event. The glitch and bounce mimic the movement of arcade games and served as a punchy teaser to build anticipation before the event.

View the animation here



The main screen at the department featured the 8X8 logo, to remind students and staff of the upcoming event.


Department static screen


Social posts

Social media was the primary method of marketing, as the department Instagram is the most frequented point of contact for the BA students. These were shared on Instagram and our Facebook groups, as well as a daily countdown on the stories to further build anticipation and act as a reminder. Social media and email marketed the sign-up form for the workshops, which were fully booked for the day of the event. You can see the day unfold on our department Instagram story, where we documented the events @uortypography where the highlights are still available.


Example story countdown post


Researching into arcade inspired music and games using ‘chip-tunes’, we carefully curated a playlist representative of this to be played throughout the night during the department social. As well as this, we additionally added some songs popular in the noughties party scene to cater for our young audience and create a livelier atmosphere.

Here is a link to have a listen!

Food and drink

We concluded that the food served throughout the party should reflect the theme so bought things served as shapes such as circles or squares and involving colour. Our shopping list involved pizza, marshmallows, and brightly coloured drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic as well as many more.


Food and drinks being enjoyed by the attendees


Games Organisation

The games were a popular feature, with dance mats and arcade video games within two of the largest rooms in the department. To frame the iMac screens, we designed a foam board consisting of instructions on how to operate the controller and promote the branding for the vent further.


MA student enjoying the game, with the frame surround


Games room ready for the start of the event



Finally, the last part of planning was organising decoration to revamp our standard department to something special for the night. We did this with paper chains and balloons representative of our colour scheme as well as lanterns, LED and fairy lights to create a arcade vibe.

The decoration for the rooms.



We both had a lot of fun planning this and seeing our ideas come to life with an amazing turnout. After overcoming organisational obstacles, it was all worthwhile and we thoroughly enjoyed connecting with everyone in the department more. As team leaders for Baseline Shift, it was valuable to take on another role more closely linked with the people we host, to build connections, network and prepare us for the future. It not only taught us event and time management, but how to collaborate with different people as well as develop our design skills along the way. We each were able to apply our existing knowledge in areas we were confident in (Habibah, branding and Mia motion graphics) and were open to learning new things, making the whole process a lot smoother.

For events like this in the future, we would find a longer run-up to the event useful. Unfortunately with only 2 weeks to promote, we felt numbers could have been higher but overall the turnout was good considering this. We would have also liked to encourage attendance across the year groups face-to-face or using printed material ourselves . Our supervisor helped us get the attention of the whole course through emails and verbal promotion, which we believe encouraged Part 1s to be particularly involved and present.

We struggled with time dedication and motivation to produce our storage deliverable. Without experience in product design, the novelty of this process was often challenging and tedious. Despite this, we did eventually find it rewarding to have a physical item alongside the iMac frames to show our hard work.

Thank you for everyone who attended, and we hope you have been inspired by the events of the day. Another massive thank you to Toshi, for doing this. It wouldn’t have been possible without you!


– Habibah Begum and Mia Bryan, 2024


*There is no Trello Board for this Real Job as advised by our supervisor*

Baseline Shift


Taking over Baseline Shift for the 23/24 calendar, myself, Habibah, and Ben had new ideas from our experience on the previous year. As with the previous year, we wanted to provide a more diverse range of speakers – whether this be in the sense of design sector, backgrounds, race, gender etc… We also knew we wanted to make Baseline Shift feel more approachable and interactive for students: we noticed the way our own year group felt about Baseline Shift was not aligned with our goals: some students attended, but most did not interact with the sessions or speakers, which is what we felt the sessions are all about.

This year, our goals were to bring the students into an environment which was more laid back and encourage them to get involved. This meant:

  • Making ourselves known as members of the team
  • Interacting with students and talking about the weekly speakers
  • Starting relaxed conversations with speakers
  • Encouraging in-person sessions over online sessions

Having been on the team for a year, we were aware of distaste towards the branding for the project and is something we also wished to consider. Unfortunately, due to the team’s availability over the summer, this took a backseat and we were restricted with our time to completely rebrand. Instead, we adapted the previous branding to feel more simple. We wanted to involve the new team members in this process and took on creative director roles, assisting the new team in creating the branding.

We wanted the team to feel excited about our calendar in hopes to pass this enthusiasm onto the students. We invited speakers whose work we found inspiring ourselves (such as Jake Paul, Kieran Mistry, Katarina Duvnjak) as well as designers and professionals who we felt offered important messages. We wanted to do our best to create a calendar which aligned with the projects running. As a result, the Autumn term was heavily print related to align with the Part 3 magazine project, while Spring Term had a digital focus to work alongside various UX, UI and motion graphics projects. From our end of year feedback, students left the following comments about the selection of speakers and design sectors covered.

‘Hearing from less traditional speakers (motion graphics etc) was really useful as it’s something we don’t get much experience of in the course.’ – Part 3

‘Good variation, but would have been nice to have had more people from a print background’ – Part 1

‘There was an excellent range of speakers from several disciplines/career paths.’ – Part 1

Overall, it appears that students still enjoy hearing about print work. Despite our Autumn term calendar being nearly exclusively print speakers, it could have been beneficial to hear from a wider range within this sector – our calendar focussed largely on magazine work to support Part 3, but we could have incorporated poster design, exhibition design etc to have a more varied schedule. It does seem however, the introduction of other specialities was appreciated and raised new areas of interest for many.

We also noticed a vocal preference for in person sessions, which we did our best to encourage with our speakers. This naturally is not possible for everyone, and due to the rising costs of public transport it is very understandable for speakers to present online. Technical issues occurred in video presentations, which was not optimum, however for the most part speakers were able to present their sessions smoothly. Interactions between student and speaker were lower in these online sessions, which was a challenge to change. People were far more inclined to network with guests when face to face or in private. Despite the challenges of online sessions the team has been pleased to hear of students contacting speakers after sessions. For these reasons, the online sessions have still been of great value in assisting networking within the Department even if we do not see this first hand.

Team roles

To run the calendar smoothly we maintained weekly blogs, promotional posts, and emails. To manage this, we divided the roles with myself as team and promotional leader, Ben leading blog posts and Habibah leading the hosting. Considering their specific areas of interest and preferences, we agreed with Tilly to assistant host sessions and Amber to assist promotion. We also ensured to rotate the roles across all team members. This way, the new team members could learn how they would run the roles themselves in the future and avoid boredom among the team.

As team organiser, I have been responsible for ensuring the team was comfortable, happy, and meeting their weekly responsibilities. In attempt to automate some of this, we created a schedule sheet denoting the team weekly roles and the expected criteria/deadlines. Despite this, we struggled with members of the team not engaging with their roles and responsibilities. This affected the team and meant others were carrying more of the weight than others, but also meant that the distant team members would not benefit from the connections the rest of us were making.

I approached this sensitively through politely reminding and correcting as needed. As time progressed, deadlines were consistently not met on time or to a suitable standard. To maintain a positive relationship across the group, I ended up correcting or taking on extra roles to keep the schedule running properly. In hindsight, the co-leaders of Baseline Shift and I could have been more assertive to the situation. We tried handing more autonomy of the roles over to the new members of the team, but this still resulted in last minute cancellations, late, and poorly executed deliverables.

Working with this team member and managing the issues which came as a result was difficult: being sensitive to all members of the team and distributing roles equally resulted in hurried outputs, which was noticed by students. A Part 1 student said, ‘There was slight issue some weeks with a lack of clarification if the session was in person or on Blackboard.’, which came as a result of last-minute information because of these inconsistencies. We noticed lower attendance in weeks where this was an issue, and it highlighted the importance of consistent and reliable information.

Weekly feedback and highlights

Through contacting speakers and attending the sessions, I feel connected with individuals and design companies as well as being more prepared for the realities with the industry. Many speakers this year highlighted the importance of ai, which we had not heard much about before. The industry insight on ai from speakers including Aanand Tank and Sam Asplen was refreshingly positive – these two speakers both explained that ai is a tool and not a threat so long as we learn to adapt and develop parallel to it.

Greg Bunbury and Geri Reid provided great sessions about design approaches and professional relationships. The focus on approach instead of content was beneficial across all interests and raised important questions about professional practice especially coming from people working in the field currently and adapting to changes.


This role has given me confidence in networking first and foremost, while also showing me how to manage a team under time restrictions. Working with the team as a whole has been a positive experience, especially since this is the largest and most active team project I have been a part of. Reflecting on the two years, I have found that I often extend beyond my assigned responsibilities to ensure the job is completed in a timely and good standard. Although this made the sessions run smoothly from the outside perspective, it meant that a lot of the weight landed on me when other members did not follow through on their roles. Learning to allow other people to make mistakes has been a tricky adjustment, but has allowed others to see the weight of their responsibility and consequences of their actions. We could see the attendance to sessions was lower when promotional roles were late or incomplete, and students were far more encouraged to interact with speakers when the hosting was confident and enthusiastic.

My main takings from the time on the team has been the power of networking and communicating with other designers. Particularly, our approach this year has encouraged relationships between different years more so than in past years. Our roles on the team have made us known to students and professionals, which we are hopeful will benefit us in our careers and professional relationships to come.

The team joined by Aanand Tank, for his session on Diversity in Design



Baseline Shift


Baseline Shift is a student led weekly talk, held every Wednesday, between 11am to 1pm during autumn and spring term. Available to attend by both undergraduates and masters’ students of the Typography and Graphic Communication department as well as members of staff, the sessions host former alumni of the University and well-established designers in the industry. These talks are in place to not only inspire but provide insight into career and networking opportunities to prepare students for the future. With James Lloyd as the client and supervisor, the student team are required to plan, promote, blog and host the sessions, through contacting speakers, creating timetables, and publishing digital and print material.


I was recruited to join the team at the end of my first year on the Graphic Communication course, for the beginning of the next academic term. As a confident speaker looking to develop communication and branding skills, this felt like the perfect job for me. Initially attending meetings in the summer break before hand with then team leaders Adam Powell and Sara Noguiera Perez, we discussed other suitable candidates to form a larger team. These positions were then filled with Mia Bryan and Ben Brown, two other Part Twos on the course. With a complete group of five, the team leaders gave us a debrief on expectations and tasks in place to carry out the job, and then allocated roles based on our existing skills and preferences. I was the designated lead host alongside Sara, introducing and contacting speakers, presenting the sessions whether it be online or in person. Ben and Adam coordinated the blogs, writing and editing after each session with Mia on socials, printing posters and publishing announcements across Facebook, Instagram and Slack. With the decision to slowly move over all roles to the three of us in Part Two and Adam and Sara taking a step back, it was important to have a few weeks each to complete another role to experience everything to run a team of our own the following year.

With the new team, and autumn term fast approaching, we still had a lot to do, including deciding on speakers, contacting them and fitting into a calendar, in order to begin the promotion. We each researched into designers in different fields of design and bought the names forward, using a carefully designed template to email them providing potential dates to talk. There were a few complications with doing so, such as availability, however after a few rearrangements and shifting, we were able to accommodate everyone, with the audience’s interest at heart, separating topics with different ones as well as having a mixture of both online and in-person talks. Based on experience, attending the talks as a student, I valued the in-person talks more as they felt more engaging than sitting behind a screen. We then tried to implement this where possible, which initially proved quite difficult returning from a COVID affected year, where majority of sessions were online. However, we aimed to fix this through even splits of online and in-person, so not too many sessions of the same location were bundled together.

We collectively decided the previous branding could be improved and updated, in terms of colour, type and logo. Due to different locations over the holiday period and busy schedules, it was difficult to arrange times to meet in order to progress. We solved this by individually designing elements. I chose the typography, whilst Mia focussed on colour and Ben logo. We each contributed to these to select the best options. Coming back to campus, the different parts could be pieced together to publish a term calendar as well as weekly graphics.

Baseline Shift 2021/2022 calendar
New Baseline Shift 2022/2023 calendar

With the initial session being year tutor briefing, the first experience I had hosting was alongside Sara, introducing Malcolm Garrett. Following this, we each took turns hosting the likes of James Hunter, Rob Waller, Nick Sexton, David Pearson as well as previous alumni and staff for the Time Management and Feedback Jam sessions. Not being experienced in talking in front of such a large audience before, this was a learning curve. Understanding new word patterns and how to introduce speakers in an engaging way to prompt questions later on from the audience. With some people missing sessions or wanting to revisit, we saw the value that recording could be, so began doing so, later available to our students and staff.

Baseline Shift 2022/2023 team with David Pearson

Doing the social media, using a formatted template, made the process of designing weekly graphics a lot easier. Changing names, dates and titles as well as short description to match the session and the publishing these both around the departments as well as across social media; Slack, Facebook and Instagram. Whilst Mia was predominantly in charge of this, I spent the majority of Spring term controlling the socials as we swapped roles.

Completing blog posts meant having to note take during the sessions to write up an informational summary with pictures, quotes and a run-down of what the speaker said.

All blogs for Baseline Shift can be accessed at

Though the plan was to hand over roles gradually, it felt quite rapid, and Mia, Ben and I were left with the majority of tasks to complete ourselves and had to then adapt quickly to the changes. From this, we learnt a lot of things that we could take away as well as develop from to lead a team of our own.


The Real Job was again advertised by our supervisor to recruit two new people to join the team as the three of us had become team leaders. These spots were filled with Tilly Dobson and Amber Jones. Again, because this was during summer, we had to arrange calls accordingly to everyone’s schedules, with some working, travelling or busy to not only introduce Mia, Ben and I but also begin planning for the fast-approaching Autumn term. This often meant we third years felt responsible so resulted in us redesigning the calendar ourselves involving talks from Toshi Omagari, Steve Watson and Jake Paul as well as many others. We initially did want to create branding changes, however, ultimately ran out of time. To compensate, we made minor edits to elevate the existing brand, in terms of colour as well as pattern. We chose a more refined palette as well as discarding the use of texture. We found this made information more legible. Establishing both Tilly and Ambers preferences, we could distribute roles much to everyone’s liking, this led to myself and Tilly hosting, Mia on socials and Ben and Amber on blogs as well as having alternating weeks for everyone.

Taking on board advice and feedback, we found first years were not using Facebook like the second and third years were, therefore would miss out on notifications and reminders about the sessions. We then requested to become moderators on Blackboard where we could send out emails to the whole course. This taught us new ways of communicating, however as a new addition, we did find ourselves forgetting to do this in the first few weeks. Becoming moderators, also reduced the amount of technical difficulties we would having during online sessions as we could fix these juxtaposed to the lack of control we had in our first year, where James had to be present.

Baseline Shift 2023/2024 calendar
David Pearson Instagram story promotion example

From our experience in the first year, we noticed how the team were not well known through the department. This is something we wanted to change. We wanted to feel approachable by everyone, to understand new inputs and insights to not only improve but connect and network on a deeper level. We did this by introducing ourselves and the new team members instantly whilst also remaining good relationships with both students and staff as well as being vocal about sessions. This resulted in many keen first years as well as masters giving their feedback and notifying their interest to join the team for the next year, with staff thanking us for the work we do repetitively.

Kickstarting the term, we showed the new recruits how to complete tasks straight away, including the recording of sessions and upload of blogs and slides as well as contacting, as this is something we felt we did not learn enough about during our time as second years. We took the lead during the first three sessions, where Tilly and Amber could assist, to letting them do their own sessions the following weeks, this enabled them to build confidence and understand how things work from an early stage, preparing them for the future.

However, not everything ran as smoothly as mentioned. Quickly, after term started, we noticed, not all members were attending nor were blog posts being published on time and the social media and posters were delayed in publication. We as well as our supervisor saw that from the rotation of roles between the second and third years were not consistent and the high-quality deliverables produced were lacking.

After becoming aware that team members had other commitments, we organised a spreadsheet where we could write roles to accommodate the days where people are available. This meant for myself and Mia taking on extra roles where necessary, which became more frequent than anticipated. I often had to make socials edits and send reminders to those on duty that week, often feeling like I was being pushy or bossy. However, understanding how team members work, we overcame this by creating schedules for publications of posts, posters and blogs for everyone to understand their responsibilities. Though this was created, it was not stuck to as we continued to see the drop in blog uploads. Another factor affecting this, was failing to remind our supervisor when blogs were complete, therefore leading to a backlog in publishing.

We found that during our first year on the job, people would get confused for in person sessions and where they would be hosted. Especially for first years, the campus is fairly confusing, so many students would get lost or arrive in the wrong place. This was resolved by having the same room for all in person sessions in the Agriculture building, a short walk from our department. When in person, the only files which could be presented were PDF’s in order to be recorded successfully, however where this had not been communicated with the speaker, they came with Keynote, where they would display motion graphics, This unfortunately led to no recordings being produced for the sessions and people missing out. However, this encouraged more people to come and promoted this way where we saw attendance dropping towards the end, due to submissions. These became compulsory for first years, with second and third years only having to attend a proportion maintaining a steady amount of numbers throughout the year.

Other technical issues we had when hosting the sessions include, team members forgetting to remind the speaker of their talk resulting in them to join late, where they couldn’t test if their material works whilst screen sharing, or having internet issues. This resulted in myself having to briefly explain the Blackboard tools to the speaker as well as take over hosting to ensure the rest of the session runs smoothly. Where James was not present to moderate, like he was in previous years, we felt responsible for the mistakes and told the speakers to join 15 minutes prior to the start time to test everything out. This taught us how to overcome issues and have accountability. One instance where a team member forgot to contact the speakers and send reminders resulted in only having one alumnus for our Alumni Talks session instead of between three to four. Though sending out frequent reminders to the team, to contact people as we all had different roles, this fell through. However, through previous networking, we were able to find someone short notice to fill in a space, so the session would not be too short further highlighting the power of connections within the industry.

Another issue we had was the miscommunication between both staff and students regarding strikes. Unaware of the strikes due to take place, the Baseline Shift sessions were still expected to happen, until a few days before, where we had to then explain the cancellations and let down many that were excited to attend. This taught us how to communicate in an empathetic way whilst also remaining professional. Similarly, we had unexpected change of plans where we had to reschedule sessions, due the speakers’ circumstances. Though under pressure, this taught us a lot about time management, trying to book these sessions back into the calendar, in hopes to accommodate everyone.

Baseline Shift 2023/2024 team with Aanand Tank as the last in person session for Mia, Ben and I


Being a team leader for Baseline Shift has been both one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences. From opportunities such as networking, to organising a team, communication was the most essential tool. Understanding how to communicate, tone of voice and delivery of message was crucial to ensure the efficiency of the team as well as building relationships with fellow students and staff. By making ourselves known, we became friendly faces throughout the department, easily approachable by many. By sending out a feedback link at the end of every session, we could gather insight for the speakers as well as how we did as a team, however by sending out another survey, more team based, we could understand how we were as leaders, and how to improve team organisational skills as a tool for the future.

Overall, we received a 4.5 out of 5 for the diversity of speakers and topics, with follow up responses being how it was valuable to hear from people in different design careers compared to previous years. This is something we wanted to do as even we as viewers felt, we were mainly seeing people from the same field, often getting repetitive. We wanted to have more people of colour as well as more females, in which we successfully did. This feeds on to respondent’s comments of how these sessions have impacted them, with students mainly saying about networking opportunities and the power of Linked In. We were glad to see this, as not only do we feel connected to speakers through organising but everyone else also has points of contacts within the industry. The additional comments in the survey thanked us with one comment from a Part One sticking out in particular for me,

‘Most of the team have made themselves visible to the rest of the students, which is hugely important as they feel approachable (important for something like Baseline Shift which involves everyone). Everyone on the team came across professional and passionate when introducing speakers, and Habibah went a step further to reach out personally asking for feedback, and just having general extended conversation about Baseline Shift, helping to spread the enthusiasm. Well done to everyone involved!’

It feels very rewarding knowing that we have made an impact in the design course and our organisation is inspiring for others to join the team.

Upon reflection, I find myself to enjoy competing tasks immediately and gain satisfaction when things are according to deadlines. However, working in a group with a range of demographics, I have learned to become mindful of this and how to work around other peoples commitments to ensure fairness and an efficient team. When leading a team in the future, I aim to be more sensitive to create a cooperative group encouraging discussions and to foster collaboration.

Having hosted over 40 sessions, taking the lead on the last 22, we have learned how to organise, plan, promote and lead a small team and understand how to rise from issues and struggles we faced along the way. This job has been extremely beneficial in adopting key skills and values needed for the world of design and management such as;

  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Networking
  • Public speaking
  • Social media management
  • Blog writing
  • Contacting professionals
  • Event planning
  • Technical skills
  • Flexibility

I now have new skills and contacts in the design industry which wouldn’t have been possible without completing this. It was a pleasure being a leader for this team and wish the next group the best of luck!


*There is no Trello Board for this Real Job as advised by our supervisor

Student Centred: Education, Freedom and the Idea of Audience


Neil Cocks is an English Professor for the University of Reading. He had previously published a textbook called Student Centred: Eucation Freedom and the Idea of Audience and was looking to publish a second updated version. The new version would include new chapters and changes to the previous text. Aswell as a completely new design for all pages and both the front and back cover. 

The book is a look into different essays and passages of text into methods of teaching and is a critical engagement with arguments of different views on teaching, broken into three parts. It is written in continuous prose including footnotes, quotes and inserts from other texts. 

Restated Brief

The Audience

The target audience is quite small and niche with only 20-30 copies being printed. They will be professionals, masters and PhD students specifically looking into this topic area, which the book will be recommended by Neil himself. They are presumably already highly knowledgeable into the practises of education and learning. It opposes the PGCE designs and ideas which the audience will already be aware about.


Something that was important for the client from the beginning of the project was that the design of the book had to mirror the themes throughout the book. The text itself is an argument into the strict parameters children and young adults face with the current schooling system. With that in mind, there are certain styles which were discussed to avoid to prevent a basic ‘handbook’ type feel of design. An example of this would be ‘The Routledge Education Studies Textbook’ design. The book was not meant to feel like a guide that teachers or students would just drop in and out from, rather a academic text that took a deeper more critical approach to understanding the topic.

With that, the client also wanted to show the more radical and anti-establishment approach on the cover, by having a design that goes against the grain with traditional text books about teaching. Punk revival and graffiti where just some of the original terms used to describe the feeling the client wished to infer with the front and back cover. 


A 300+ page second edition text book with multiple chapters, footnotes, contents, bibliography and index.

A back and front cover design that accuratly portrays the themes inside of the book.

Research and Ideation

The client and I spent a lot of time going back and forth with ideas and moodboards over the whole project so that we had a really clear picture as to what he wanted out of this project. A lot of the ideation focused around the book cover, however I would use this to inform the layout of the inside pages. Figure 1 shows the orginial document the client had sent me when we started discussing where we wanted the project to go.

Figure 1: The clients moodboard on what he liked and disliked regarding academic books.

Inside Text Development

Body Text and Chapter Openers

From the extensive research and talking to my client, I knew going into the text page design roughly what kind of  outcome he was looking for. I first provided three different documents of about 10 pages each with a different treatment of chapter openers and footnotes, ranging from a more tradition (Figures 2 and 3) style to contemporary (Figures 4 and 5). We agree to land somewhere in the middle with a two column footnote approach a right aligned headings. Something that client picked out in this first round of feedback was that he liked the large number spanning 3 lines for the chapter opening.


Figure 2: Version 1 (traditional) of chapter 1 opener.
Figure 3: Version 1 (traditional) of chapter 1 text
Figure 4: Version 2 (contemporary) of chapter 1 opener
Figure 5: Version 1 (contemporary) of chapter 1 text
Figure 6: Version 1 (middle) of chapter 1 opener
Figure 7: Version 1 (middle) of chapter 1 text

One big issue we had with this stage of development was that through every revision, there was things in the text and footnotes that needed correcting such as spelling mistakes and adding new sentences (Figure 8 shows an example of some of the changes the client wanted). One thing I would do differently would be to check that the first word document I was given with text was the final edit of the content before starting to typeset the text. It definitely prolonged the timeline of the project, as not only was myself and the client needing to re-read every section but also when a footnote was added or removed, it would shift the layout of the whole book. So I would have to go back to the beginning and adjust column sizes and other attributes to make sure all the footnotes were on the correct corresponding pages.

Figure 8: A screenshot showing the type of feedback to the client from one of the iterations of changes

Part Openers

This book was split into three sections: Liberal, Radical, and Reactionary, each with their own chapters and authors. This meant that on a hierarchal level, there were lots of elements to the structure of the book that each had to have the appropriate level of prominence. To meet these needs, I gave the opening sections their own double spread.  Another requirement for these pages was that they were in black and white along with the rest of the text to keep printing costs low.

The design of the part opening pages was actually completed after the cover design was agreed upon. This was because the client and myself agreed we wanted to bring aspects that were on the front cover of the book to the inside pages. It was after the graffiti and ‘messy’ style of the front cover that I produced these 4 different approaches. As we can see, some of these were a lot explicit in the graffiti to match the cover approach than others. Immediately the client like the full black bleed style (Figure 12) as he felt this would be a nice break to the white pages. It also worked nicely carrying the black background across the entire spread to further show the different hierarchal section of the book.

Figure 9: Version 1 of the ‘Liberal’ opening section
Figure 10: Version 2 of the ‘Liberal’ opening section
Figure 11: Version 3 of the ‘Liberal’ opening section
Figure 12: Version 4 of the ‘Liberal’ opening section

Prelims and End matter

Another aspect the client wanted to include was an illustration of Charles Dickens. We were unsure where this was going to be used within the book but after sending some initial ideas on how this could be used (Figure 13) I advised the client that this would be best suited on the half-title page. This was because the illustration was a nod to the clients nickname between his colleagues, and it served little purpose as to what the book itself was about.

Figure 13: Different mockups sent to the client on how the Charles Dickens illustration could be used.
Figure 14: The original JPEG illustration of Charles Dickens (Left) next to my reworked illustration (Right)

I also had to rework this illustration as the original image sent to me was a a poor quality JPEG so could not be used in printing (see Figure 14). Although a small element to change, it was a fun task for me to complete as it allowed me to develop my illustration skills whilst trying to keep the image as close to the original as possible. I sent my reworked art to the client and he was very happy with the outcome, the only thing he mentioned was that he preferred using the full image with the background instead of having just Charles Dickens himself.

Front Cover Development

The first round of covers (Figure 15 and 16) I completed was not quite what the client was looking for and looking back at them now, I can see how they followed the conventional academic look of textbooks, using illustrations of stationary and other commonly used imagery in school, like speech bubbles. Although this was going in the wrong direction, there was some positive feedback from my client on specific elements of some covers such as the roughness of the illustration styles and the typography on the books, so I tried to focus on this and carry this forward.

Figure 15: 4 out of 7 of the different concepts of covers that I first sent to the client
Figure 16: 3 out of 7 of the different concepts of covers that I first sent to the client

To help with moving onto the next step of the cover development, I spent a lot of time at this stage going back to square one and having detailed meetings with the client about what he was specifically after. Tis is where we moved on the idea of anti-establishment and graffiti. I then spent time crafting different moodboards (Figures 17, 18, 19 and 20) with different artistic styles and concepts which I also discussed with the client in detail. he was very happy with this direction and thought that all the images in the moodboards were very strong representations of what he wanted to portray on is cover.

After discussing with my supervisor where to go from here, I decided to take a different approach with my covers. I started to have more fun and be experimental with what I could add to the cover. I purchased spray paint to see what types of marks I could create. I also spent a lot of time experimenting with scanning and layering different things such as ripped textbooks, pages, stationary and printed type. Figure 21 is a collage of just a small section of some of the scanning and spray painting I did during this period. I feel as though this was really showing the punk and ‘anti-school’ approach the client was after.

Figure 17: First moodboard showing a punk/ anti-establishment style approach
Figure 18: Second moodboard showing a imagery of protesting
Figure 19: Third moodboard showing a graffiti style of art
Figure 20: Fourth moodboard showing ideas of school/concepts that could fit the theme

On top of this it also incorporated a type physicality and depth of concept that the previous approach to the covers was not. With both myself and my supervisor happy with how this was developing, I took all my scans and images into photoshop to further work on the layout and balance of these ‘graffiti’ style covers, including how I can then incorporate the typography of the title into this approach. I ended up with 6 solid covers to show my client shown in Figures 22, 23 and 24.

Figure 21: A collage showing a handful of the layered scans I attempted
Figure 22: Versions 1 and 2 of the final cover concepts sent to my client
Figure 23: Versions 3 and 4 of the final cover concepts sent to my client
Figure 24: Versions 5 and 6 of the final cover concepts sent to my client

The feedback on this round of covers was really positive as he replied “These are all fantastic, Amy. My pick maybe is v1? But any of these would be fantastic – I do please choose the one you think works best. ” Since I also though V6 was also really strong we decided to go forward with both of these designs so he could see the full mock up of both with the back cover and spines.

Finally, this lead us to two final mock up versions shown in Figures 24 and 25.

The response to these two mockups was as follows:

‘Hi Amy, they both look AMAZING – it’s almost impossible to choose between them!
Is it OK if I take the weekend, show both to some trusted friends and colleagues, and come back to you with a final decision first thing Monday?
just to say – so well done on this  – these really are perfect for the book”
Personally it was amazing to hear such good feedback to the point where he could not choose between the two. After having a small set with the first round of covers, I felt like I really had developed my understanding of how to listen to the clients needs and produce something that showed off both my creative skills and communication with the client.  After getting feedback from his colleagues he decided to go with V6 of the cover.

Final Cover Design

Figure 25: The final PDF covers and spine sent to the printers

Reflection and Improvements

Upon completing the project, there are a few things I would do differently next time One of the main ones being the initial concept ideas for the cover. Although I went into detail with the client on what he wanted the cover to look like, it wasn’t until after showing initials designs that he was more confident in saying what he liked vs what he did not. To rectify this, I would come to the first few meetings with a greater variation of moodboards and cover examples to discuss so he could specifically pick out what was working concept wise and what was not.

Finally I would also communicate better with the client in terms of what I need from him at the start. The delay in getting a full edited version of the text cause the project to be pushed back a few weeks. By having the final text at the beginning would have prevented having to go back and constantly change/add new paragraphs into the already set text.

Overall I am very happy with how this project developed and the final outcome. Working on this project alone as my first real job brought many challenges however I am grateful to have worked with a client who wanted as much involvement as possible. Although the project went past the original deadline we had set, I felt as though the extra time and energy I put into crafting this book really paid off in the end.

Canvas Online Arts Magazine: Issue Three


The Canvas Magazine is a student led University arts publication. The client was looking to build on the existing website to enhance reading experience, add new functionality, support more types of content, and give a fresh visual appearance. The result is a new ‘issue’ of the magazine. The third issue follows a similar layout as the previous to create a consistent feel to the magazine however applying small changes such as typefaces and colour will allow the issue to stand out as its own creation too.

The Audience

The magazine is the accumulation of art, poetry and written pieces of work from English and Art students at the University. The audience therefore is all students and staff across all departments at the University. The website is accessed online meaning people from outside the University can also read it, such as family and friends of the people who have submitted work.


  • To add a new third issue of the magazine with new content.
  • To improve functionality of the website using UX/UI design.
  • To improve/change the layout from previous issues to support new types of content such as video and image files.


  • A new third issue uploaded to the website.
  • The issues will contain a table of contents and approx. 30 pieces of creative writing/poems aswell as new image and video files.


My first task of the project was to produce an Instagram post that would be used to promote the new issue of the magazine and to encourage the submission of new art works (shown in Figure 2). I used the main image from the title page of the website as I felt this was the most recognisable for the website. This task was relatively easy and I had to just make small adjustments, mainly to the typography, such as left aligning text and using a typeface that was consistent with the typeface used on the website.

Figure 1: Version one of the Instagram post encouraging new submissions
Figure 2: Version two of the Instagram post encouraging new submissions

When I started this project, I had very basic coding and html knowledge. This meant I have to spend some time watching tutorials and doing extra HTML practice to build on what I already knew. By doing so I was able to better build the new issue of the website and improve UX and UI aspects. One of the first things I decided to change from the previous issue was the balance of the columns throughout the issue. In the previous issues there was an even 50/50 split between the navigational column and that of the text column containing all the poetry (Figure 3). I felt as though this didn’t give accurate prominence to the pieces of art and poetry which is what the user is there to read. So I managed to code the layout so it was rather a 30/70 divide with more space given to the content of the issue (Figure 4).

Figure 3: The previous issue 2, showing the layout of the two column grid being 50% for each
Figure 4: My design for issue three showing the layout of the two column grid giving more weight to the navigational menu.

To also improve the user experience I changed the format of the navigational menu. The previous issues had all pieces of both poetry and prose in one long list for the user to click through. I instead wanted the user to be able to differentiate between the two categories so that, if for example, they first wanted to only look at pieces of poetry, they could do so. My first attempt at this was to imbed headings onto the navigational column which would divide the content into the categories (shown in Figure 5). I also produced a version whereby the I added a previous webpage that more clearly separated the three catagories which the user could click through (shown in Figure 6). After altering them slightly with my supervisor, I showed both examples to the student editors that I was working with, and the both like how version two (Figure 6) acted as a welcome page for the users when they first clicked onto the issue. This would also work with having the ‘Meet the editors and designers’ introduction which would then be separated from the rest of the submitted content for the issue. One downfall of this was that from a UX viewpoint, it meant that the user would have to click back to access different parts of the magazine instead of being able to read it fully as of before.

Figure 5: My first attempt at designing the navigation menu whereby the headings of each category where on the same page.
Figure 6: My final design of the navigational menu that introduced a new welcome page before being split into the three categories of Poetry, Prose and Art.

To develop this going forward I included not only the option to click backwards to the ‘Issue 3 Contents’ but to also click forward to the next section in the magazine when you reached the last piece (shown in figure ). This created a seamless flow through the website which would get the user from point a (being the first entry page onto the issue) through even submission to end at point be (the last piece of content of the issue) in as few clicks as possible.

Figure 7: A page from my issue three design. Circled in red are the two buttons the user can click to either navigate to the next section of the magazine or click back to the homepage.

Something else that was new in this issue was the submission of both a video and audio file of art and spoken poetry. As the site was originally built in the cargo site maker, it was relatively easy to import this files onto the website. What became difficult was designing these specific pages to follow the pattern of the other pages in the issues. For example, the video file would input onto the page as a really small thumbnail and the user did not have any control in playing or pausing the video. This was another aspect I learnt how to code as I felt it was important with it being a video of an art piece, that the user could control the video so they could watch it as many times as they wanted and also pause when they desired.

Some other small changes that happened over the course of the project was changing the typefaces used and the accent colour. This was because Issue two had introduced the colour red to differentiate pages in their design, so I wanted to carry on this pattern of each issues having their own colour and type choices.

Reflections and Improvements

The main thing I found difficult in this project was balancing the communication between multiple student editors from both the art and English departments. I found that a lot of the submissions of poetry and prose were handed in last minute which meant I had a quick turnaround time to get them uploaded onto the website and formatted properly. I also found it a challenge at the start in expanding my knowledge of coding in HTML and CSS. Even though I only had a basic understanding of this at the start I do feel as though it helped push me in learning techniques in coding I wouldn’t have otherwise. Overall, although this project had tighter constraints such as deadlines and only having small parameters to change the design of the website, it taught me new skills I would not have gained otherwise. Being pushed to publish an issue of a magazine by a certain date helped me understand the importance of time management whilst also needing to chase up people and manage the timescale as a whole group.