running words around
design education and visual communication
authored by chris m hughes

Notworking @ D&AD

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

D&AD Pointers
The D&AD party is this way. Photo by Chris Hughes.

Earlier this week I attended the D&AD Student Awards Ceremony at Old Spitalfields Market, London. As well as awarding lots of well-deserved Yellow Pencils, D&AD provided great hospitality, including a brilliant afterparty which took place at The Vibe Bar in Brick Lane, and was organised by Notworking specialists, Glug.

Check out D&AD's official photos of the event on flickr.

D&AD Nominations Gallery
Glug Notworking / D&AD Awards

The End for Grafik?

Friday, 25 June 2010

Grafik logo

The print version of Grafik Magazine is apparently no more. A message on the Grafik website reports that its publisher, Adventures in Publishing, has gone into liquidation. Grafik states that "unfortunately we are unable to print the magazine for the foreseeable future".

Grafik was published 11 times a year and was one of the best high-end design publications. It's another warning shot across the bows of the print industry, but hopefully the Grafik website will carry on.

Grafik Magazine

6 Times

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

This time last year, the National Galleries of Scotland announced that they had commissioned a new work by celebrated British artist Antony Gormley, who is probably best known for his amazing 'Angel of the North', which stands just outside Newcastle-on-Tyne.

The new work was to be called '6 Times', and would feature six life-size metal figures positioned between the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the sea.

As of this week, every piece of '6 Times' is now in position.

Powderhall Sculpture
No. 4 of '6 Times', at Powderhall, Edinburgh.

Four of the figures are sited in the Water of Leith, standing like eery sentinels and acting as gauges for the ever-changing height of the river.

One of them is located in the grounds of the Modern Art Gallery, and the sixth one stands on an abandoned pier at Ocean Terminal.

This is the first time that a work in the National Galleries collection has been permanently located across the city of Edinburgh, and Gormley estimates that through natural wear and tear, the sculptures will last for 'about 1000 years'.

Wilco as in WILCO

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

As Rolling Stone succinctly put it, Wilco are 'one of America's most consistently interesting bands'. And they're not just talking about the music.

Chicago's finest are probably most famous for their 2002 album 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot', which Warners/Reprise paid for in advance, rejected because it was 'weird', and then ironically paid for a second time over when their subsidiary indie label 'Nonesuch' acquired and released it to critical and commercial acclaim. These events were then the subject of a seminal rock documentary 'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart', directed by Sam Jones.

To date, Wilco have released seven acclaimed albums and have been the subject of two rock documentaries. Their singer/singwriter Jeff Tweedy is a modern American alt-country legend, and Wilco are uncompromising, innovative and amongst the best live rock bands on the planet. They work with talented photographers and designers, their website is superb, and their whole approach to visual communication supports their musical ethos - blending commercial acumen with genuine artistry.

Which is a long-winded way of introducing an eclectic selection of Wilco posters, all of which share one common detail - WILCO always appears in uppercase:

Wilco wiki


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Exhibitions by major graphic designers are a real rarity these days, but Ginza Graphic Gallery in Tokyo is currently exhibiting new and recent work by Neville Brody.


Brody is one of the greats of contemporary design, and his work, much of it done through his renowned agency Research Studios, is still experimental and seriously inspirational.

NB@GGG brings together Brody's commercial work for clients such as men’s fashion title Arena Homme+ with commissioned projects such as The Freedom Space, commissioned by the London Design Museum in 2009, and a wall dedicated to the upcoming Anti-Design Festival.

The Research Studios website contains more info on the event, and Neville Brody's flickr page has a bunch of great stills from the exhibition.

Ginza Graphic Gallery

Thinking is Work

Friday, 18 June 2010

Our D&AD In-Book Award winner Artur Pasiek picked up the 'Significant Achievement Award' for HND Graphic Design during the opening night of our Final Show last week at the Dovecot Gallery in Edinburgh.

But this year has been an exceptional one for Graphic Design, with a number of other superlative students.

A great example of this comes from Hannah Bloomfield, whose HND project 'Portobello Proms' received an A+ grading.

Hannah developed a campaign to rejuvenate the seaside resort of Portobello. Her solution mixed playful Victoriana with illustration, organic typography, and a range of carefully branded ephemera.

Everything was produced with industry-level digital skills, and the ideas were developed in three sketchbooks-worth of cuttings, notes and drawings, giving the finished work an effortless authenticity.

Proms Advert
Portobello Proms Advert (A4).

Portobello Proms Posters (A2).

Portobello Proms
Portobello Proms - full exhibit.

Hannah has reached a place where any course would want their graduating students to be at - on the cusp of professional readiness, with a great understanding of visual communication, confident technical skills and the ability to convert a concept into a clear, simple and workable solution.

This emphasis on solutions that fit the brief is at the centre of our HND delivery, because the course is emphatically vocational, and employers want designers who can give clients designs that work.

Our Year 2 students see this happening firsthand during their 4-week agency work placement, where they suddenly realise they aren't being paid to use Adobe CS4, they're being paid to come up with ideas. For a designer, thinking is work.

Hannah starts thinking for Edinburgh agency Multiply in July.


Joyriding in Edinburgh

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Edinburgh's Embassy Gallery, an independent gallery based at the Roxy Art House, recently commissioned a piece of installation art for its 'Annuale Festival', and they got something extraordinary from Edinburgh College of Art graduate Jake Rusby.

Rusby's 'Joyriding' features a red BMW wedged on its side between the Roxy's sandstone wall and its wrought-iron railings.

Jake Rusby w/Joyriding.

'Joyriding' has attracted lots of attention from the local press and from the public, including a few reports to the Police by passersby suspecting it to be an act of vandalism, or an excellent attempt to thwart the city's parking attendants.

Rusby needed a crane to get the car in place, but I'm guessing he didn't need a valid tax disc.

Annuale Festival 2010
Roxy Art House
Car Wedged Down Side of Building - BBC

Summer Reading - Torso


'Torso' sounds like a nice piece of design reading this summer. Published by Gestalten in August, this book examines the only permanently cool piece of clothing you will ever wear - the T-shirt.

Since the middle decades of the 20th century, the T-shirt has effortlessly provided contemporary visual coding for political, social and cultural trends, and has reflected changing styles in graphic design, illustration and fashion.

Compiled by Formatmag.com founder and editor-in-chief Daniel Eckler, the book is described as the 'definitive guide to today’s T-shirt culture'.

Title: Torso - T-Shirt Culture Exposed
Publisher: Gestalten
Price: € 35 / $ 55 / £ 32
Format: 24 × 28 cm
Features: 224 pages, full color, flexocover
ISBN: 978-3-89955-309-3

D&AD New Blood

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

As a University Network Member, I've been given a course profile page on the D&AD website.

This is a new feature which D&AD have been working on to try and give all the network members a chance to showcase their students' work. It gets the design work out there in front of agencies and industry leaders and raises the profile of the schools and institutions involved.

The site has just gone live and Edinburgh's Telford College is one of the featured institutes.

D&AD New Blood Profiles

Retro-Modernist Dutch World Cup Kit

Monday, 14 June 2010

With Scotland failing to be part of the World Cup 2010, I'm always glad to support Holland.

As well as thrilling fans with their virtuoso style of play, the Netherlands has always had a great-looking strip, and the official team kit for the 2010 Tournament, supplied by Nike, is a bona fide design classic.

In terms of functionality, the shirt incorporates Nike's Dri-Fit technology, which is light and flexible and helps to keep the wearer cooler and drier. It's also made from 100% recycled eco-friendly polyester.

As for aesthetics, Nike have gone for a crewneck retro look, harking back to the Dutch glory days of the mid-1970's, with narrow lines, black shorts and trim, plus a deft white dash down the side of the shirt. The overall impression is retro-modernist and very streamlined.

The crest, which replicates the head and mane of a lion and was designed by Amsterdam-based graphic artist Lennard Schuurmans, contains the slogan 'Oranje Leeuwen' (Orange Lions).

Holland's Rafael Van der Vaart in the group E opening game (Reuters).

And finally, the typefaces mix a light condensed Helvetica for the player name, with a rigid sans serif numbering, reminiscent of Dutch typographer Wim Crouwel's illegible but groundbreaking New Alphabet font from the late 1960's - simple grid lines with no diagonals or curves.

New Alphabet, 1967, Wim Crouwel.

Nike Netherlands World Cup 2010 Kit
Linotype : Football Jersey Fonts
FIFA World Cup 2010
Football Shirts @ blanka

New York Times leaves the Twitterverse

Friday, 11 June 2010

The New York Times announced yesterday in a memo by its standards editor Phil Corbett that it is advising its writers to abstain from all variants of the noun-verb "twitter."

The newspaper likes to avoid the use of colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon in its articles, and “tweet” - as a noun or a verb, referring to messages on twitter — is all three.

Corbett was obviously alarmed at the eighteen instances of variants on "tweet" that appeared in various NYT articles during May.

At the other end of the spectrum, Information Architects, the influential Japanese Web Agency, has just launched a new Web Trends map - Cosmic 140 - the 140 most influential people on twitter, sorted by #name #handle #category #influence #activity. The map also details when they started tweeting and what they first said :

Cosmic 140

These 140 Twitterati are arranged like stars on a celestial chart. I'm not sure just how useful Cosmic 140 is, but it's certainly clever, and laced with zeitgeist.

In the world of Visual Communication, Designers, particularly those working in Advertising and Branding, tend to rely on the way English is a language prone to evolution and fad. This keeps their work contemporary and appealing whatever audience they are tasked with communicating to.

Which is why terms like download, email, text, web, spam, hacking, blogging, podcast and twitter have all entered common parlance during the last 15 years or so. They are part of our culture, they describe what we do on a daily basis, they make sense because we need them, and they are here to stay. Until the next technologies come along and buzzwords are created to describe them.

As William S. Burroughs was fond of pointing out, language is a virus.

Which is why Mr Corbett is a bit of a twit. Can they print that?

Creating a real DIN with the Small Presses

Thursday, 3 June 2010

One of the most ambitious projects from my final year HND group comes from Icelander Gunnar Ofeigsson, who has designed (and is about to publish) a new 30-page poetry magazine.

DIN harks back to the heyday of the Scottish small presses - when titles like West Coast Magazine, Northwords, Cutting Teeth and Rebel Inc brought to critical attention writers such as Alasdair Gray, James Kelman, A.L. Kennedy, Irvine Welsh, Janice Galloway and Alan Warner.

In his own words, Gunner states that the concept for DIN emerged "with the realisation that the design of literary magazines had become so secondary to the content that the relationship between layout, image and text completely lacked any visual cohesion. There wasn't the vibrant interactive experience that contemporary readers are looking for".

Gunner describes his concept, which mixes murky black and white photography with a variety of typefaces and large tracts of whitespace, as 'apocalyptic lo-fi 1970's'.

The term is inspired by the visual power of Glasgow's urban decay, and by the themes and motifs of industrial and post-rock music.

The magazine is called DIN - a reference both to the German sans serif typeface DIN (originated by the standards institute Deutsches Institut für Normung, which gave us the A-sizings for print pages) and 'din' meaning a loud, chaotic noise.

DIN features original, previously unpublished poems by some fairly high profile Scottish poets, including Tom Pow and Joy Hendry.

The doublepage spreads shown here illustrate how well Gunnar has juxtaposed photography with type in ambitious layouts, producing an edgy, retro feel with a minimal colour palette.

One spread in particular (which I haven't shown here) is simply a doublepage of pure black. Many of the others feature typography bleeding off the page, and the poetry is presented exactly as submitted by the authors.

The whole magazine was exhibited at our recent Industry Night, and the feedback from all quarters has been fantastic. Gunnar graduates from HND this summer and has a place at Glasgow School of Art where he plans to complete a degree in Graphic Design.

Front Cover and contents

Spread 1

Spread 2

Spread 3

Spread 4
Images Copyright DIN 2010, used with kind permission.

DIN #1 is edited by Robin Matthew Jones, and will be published in July.