Award-winning student banner design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alumni visit to help with data visualisation with Part 2s

We were very pleased to welcome alumni Craig Melvin to the Department during our recent Part 2 ‘Data Visualisation’ project.

Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students

Craig Melvin from TDL London giving feedback to Part 2 Students

The Part 2 brief was to create an awareness-raising poster and short animation about some aspect of either ‘Climate Change’ or ‘The Refugee Crisis’. Students presented found data using a combination of graphs, charts, diagrams, tables, maps and infographics. The challenge was to tell a story and find ways of engaging interest whilst being accurate, factual and informative.

Craig graduated from our BA course in 2014 and went to work for TDL London, a design agency founded in 2005 by MA Information Design alumni, Oliver Tomlinson. TDL London specialise in using diagrams and design methods to transform information. They use a combination of Process Charts, Explanatory Diagrams, User Journeys, Illustrated Storyboards, Maps & Locations, Data Visualisation and Interactive Diagrams. Craig spent the day giving insightful feedback to small groups of students. He also showed some of his recent work for a refugee charity (pictured below), and told students about his experience of moving on from the Department into the world of work.

RDG101_Reading Presentation_090316 (Short)-18

The typo-Reading student experience

Our final year BA Graphic Communication student Jess Lewis shared her Reading typography experience with online forum Creative Digest earlier this year. You can read her post here.

Final year typography students are busy gearing up for our 2016 degree show and you can follow them on Twitter @andreadingshow for more news and previews.

Typography alumni inspire the next generation

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

Hannah Smith gets nostalgic for the Class of 2012

Hannah Smith gets nostalgic for the Class of 2012

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

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

Sarah Carrington. Part 3 BA Graphic Communication

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

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

Will Hicks gets animated explaining how to keep his portfolio of Property clients happy (they’re always more interested in work you’ve done OUTSIDE their sector)

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

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

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

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

Rob Coomber find the right place to talk signage

Rob Coomber find the right place to talk signage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inclusive design workshops for print and digital design

This week our part 2 undergraduates participated in exciting inclusive design workshops as part of the Breaking down Barriers project. Students wore simulation gloves to discover how conditions such as arthritis may affect user experience across print and digital design. Read more about the inclusive workshops here.

Raj in gloves

Rajan Dole exploring how paper stock can influence inclusive design

Louise in gloves

Louise Lee wearing simulation gloves to experience the challenges people with arthritis experience when interacting with mobile devices

Looking at children’s reading books

A collections-based research exhibition about typography and illustration in books for teaching reading from the 1880s to the 1960s.

 

kidsex2

Monday 11 January 2016 to Friday 18 March 2016

Open from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday

Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, ToB2, Earley Gate

More information from Laura Weill l.weill@reading.ac.uk

The use of typography and illustration in reading books for children has changed during the last hundred years. There has been a gradual shift from graphic conventions determined by printing and typesetting practice for adult readers to those more appropriate for beginning and emerging readers. Illustrations have become more important and many reading schemes used known artists to create the much-loved characters who featured in the narrative.

kidsex

Heritage and creativity: new lettering for HMS Victory

The name of HMS Victory, launched in 1765, the oldest ship of the Royal Navy that is still in commission, has been repainted. The name had been painted when the vessel was refurbished in 2005 for the two-hundredth anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar, but unfortunately the style used was Trajan, the Roman inscriptional letter that was quite unknown in England in 1805. Since the ship was being repainted during 2015 in a colour that is believed to be closer to that used in 1805, the opportunity was taken to repaint the name at the stern, using the ‘English vernacular’, the bold traditional style of lettering that is believed to have been in use at that date. The model for the style was engraved lettering by George Bickham. There was also guidance from contemporary paintings, and from scale models of 18th-century warships at the National Maritime Museum.

The letters were painted by Phil Surey from drawings by Adrien Vasquez of John Morgan Studios. Advice and historical research was by James Mosley.

Victory name - 2015-10-03 1 Victory name - 2015-10-03 2 - letter R

Typography tops the bill in the REF

Typography & Graphic Communication is proud to have achieved the highest GPA score (3.51) in UoA 34 (Art and Design: History, Practice, Theory), and the best REF result at the University of Reading.

Our overall score was: 56 per cent 4*; 39 per cent 3*; 5 per cent 2*.

Typography’s research covers the history, theory and practice of ‘design for reading’, with particular emphasis on information design, typeface design and book design. Research submitted to the REF included monographs, papers in refereed journals, type design and book design practice, and exhibition design and curation: 46 per cent was given the highest grade, described as ‘world leading’, and a 46 per cent was thought to be ‘internationally excellent’.

Typography’s high-scoring impact result (70 per cent assessed as 4*) reflected Departmental strategy of developing research projects with direct input from research users or with a clear view of the potential public benefit of the research.

Enriching communities of literacy, on the design of typefaces for world scripts traced how Departmental research has been used by organisations including Adobe, Microsoft and Nokia to create access to communication for large language communities, many of which have not, previously, had access to technology using their own scripts.

Designing information for everyday reading demonstrated how wide-ranging Departmental research into the design of functional documents, both historically and in current applied contexts, provided a knowledge base for collaborative projects with government departments (National Offender Management Service, the Cabinet Office and HMRC) which influenced their practices and brought benefit to the public they serve. Public exhibition of some of the Department’s research has changed perceptions of the development and role of communication in civic society.

Typography student winner of University MA prize

We’re very pleased that Tomoko Yamamoto, who recently completed the MA in Information Design, was awarded the University’s Outstanding Taught Postgraduate Student award at her graduation on Friday.

To be eligible for the prize, a student must achieve distinction-level grades in every one of the modules they study as part of their Master’s programme. The award is then made to the student with the highest mark for their dissertation, and the highest overall weighted average mark. This year competition was fierce, with 20 students from subjects across the University achieving distinction marks in every module.

The award was presented to Tomoko by the Chancellor, Sir John Madejski. Ole Lund, programme director for Information Design, said ‘This award is a wonderful recognition of Tomoko’s hard work and we are very proud of her achievement.’ Professor Peter Miskell, Taught Postgraduate Recruitment Project Leader, commented ‘This clearly reflects well not just on Tomoko’s outstanding performance, but also on the Department more widely, and the calibre of students Typography & Graphic Communication is able to recruit.’

Tomoko, whose dissertation topic was the communication of tsunami evacuation procedures, joined the MA programme to consolidate professional experience she had gathered in medical research communication. She is planning to continue her career in information design research.

Reading presence at the New York & London Art Book Fairs

MoMA

Last week saw the annual, simultaneously programmed, Art Book Fairs at MoMA PS1 in New York and the Whitechapel Gallery in London. Contributors from the Typography Department’s Art Information symposium, first staged in April at London’s ICA, presented again in New York and organiser Ruth Blacksell was invited to talk at NYCUs Artists Institute space in Manhattan. John Morgan, who will follow on at the Artists Institute this Autumn, presented live at the London Fair with his sell-out Whitechapel event ‘I will not make any more boring books’. Amongst the plethora of conference presentations and events across locations, other highlights included AA Bronson in conversation (London), the ‘Unbinding the book’ projects (London), ‘Publishing as research and development’ featuring the web-based magazines Triple Canopy and East of Borneo (NY), Norway’s Kunstnerbøker focus (NY), David Reinfurt of Dexter Sinister on Bruno Munari (NY) and Emily McVarish from California College of the Arts on the book designs of Phil Zimmerman (NY).

NY Art Book Fair

The London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery

Xerox

Printed Matter