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Hello I am Joe

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Like a Sponge My First Projects Learning from my Elders Berlin Leaving Home


Like a Sponge As a toddler within design I am experiencing many changes with my young life. I grow at a fast speed learning more everyday from kerning to conceptual thinking. This journal will have you experiencing the growth of me, Joe Callingham within the design world. I’ll be soaking up information from different sources such as my University tutors, already existing designers such as Paula Scher, Bob Gill and Chris Banks. Talks and meetings from EdenSpeikermann, Meta Design and Pentagram. And also my experiences in locations such as Berlin, London and New York.


Paula Scher Two of my most inspirational talks have been from Paula Scher, a designer for Pentagram design. And Chris Banks, a former Hertfordshire University Student. When I visited New York in 2009 I viewed design conferences from Paula Scher, Bob Gill and Chipp Kidd. Each designer had a unique message to give. Chipp Kidd mentioned his excitement within design. With each brief he has as much as fun as possible with clients and with the work. Bob Gill spoke about his experiences within the industry, how he has seen and done everything yet still doesn’t know where he stands with design. There is such a wide variety of work and opportunities that it’s hard to decide on where you fit. Paula Scher mostly inspired me through her attitude to working. As well as Bob Gill she experiences new briefs and project which she hasn’t yet done. To make her life more interesting.

But with every project she puts in more effort than what is needed. Purely through the love of design. Once she starts a project she wants to keep solving the problem until its as good as it can be.

Chris Banks Another designer with a similar approach is former Hertfordshire University student, Chris Banks. He’s a humorous young chap with a clear passion for design. He has won 2 DNAD awards and previously worked for 300 Million (before they unfortunately called it a day). His idea’s are very cute, fun and clever. For example a project he did for a food swap. A very clear hand crafted looking piece with a cute message. He was asked to do the logo but went on to produce more work such as posters, bags purely for his enjoyment. The work he did also got made into production which added more to his portfolio and made the project a lot more interesting conceptually and visually. When viewing his talk I felt mostly inspired by the advice on what I’ll be experiencing in a couple of years.

Internships, work relationships and mental experiences. He explained how too stay in the design industry you need to put in twice as much effort to be noticed half as a much. Like all the designer’s I have met, Chris said he is in the industry because he loves design and that we are lucky to be able to do a job that we love. After viewing Chris’s talk, I went over to congratulate his presentation where he offered me his email. Recently Chris has been giving me tips on portfolio work, and more advice for whats to come after University. This has taught me that Graphic Design is as much about relationships and networking as it is about designing.


My first projects


Ever since I was little I have always had to be doing something wether it’s lego or school work. If I have nothing to do it won’t be long before I’m working on a new project. The same seems’ to apply now I am growing up. Personally I enjoy doing little projects on the side of main work. It keep’s my creative juices flowing and through past experiences, have helped out when working on bigger projects.

Over christmas I recieved a duvet cover (a bit strange for a gift but I got one) and thought I’d make it a bit more interesting with some pillows. Whilst having a look online I looked at my icons below, and thought how they were arranged, a lot like pillows on a bed. So decided to create some ‘Adobe’ icon shaped pillows.

During my first year at University I was offered to design some sign’s for ‘Hemel Snow Centre’. It was a simple brief of creating a sign to great customers as they enter the slope. We decided on having replacable images of employee’s so customers knew who to look for, for assistance. They asked for the logo to be placed on the sign so I thought of just using the logo’s iconic mountain shape as the sign. Although I am pleased to have my idea created I wasn’t too happy with the final outcome.

My original design had a more excitable typeface and the overall layout was a lot neater. I organised printing and got quotes with two seperate companies. But due to lack of communication they decided to go with a different printer and for some reason used a simpler layout. I feel it could of been because it was cheaper as they accepted my design’s and appeared to enjoy them. During this project I learnt about communication with the client and also to understand there budget.


a blank k nalb a slate etals YOUTH GROUP


+44 712 345 678

Our challenge was to propose a solution to engage 16-19 year olds with the creative arts. We created a low budget, portable youth centre called ‘A Blank Slate’. This charity would move into abandoned buildings, clean them up with local kids to give them a sense of accomplishment and self worth. The charity would then teach kids basic creative art skills and help them build a portfolio or CV for college or work. Each of the tutors would mentor they’re students onto a path to give them a new start in life.

My job in this project was to produce design work and materials e.g. Portable Window front, van, flyers. The flyer I created was used to engage the youth and also advertise the charity. The window front was designed in a similar layout but also for practicality so it was portable The van was devised of the same typeface and layout so the identity is recognizable.


The challenge was a great experience working with people who all had different ways of thinking. It gave us a great range of idea’s to start with when brainstorming. To start we looked for references to education due to the age range being in education. We found talks and articles on Ken Robinson and realized there was a huge gap in education for creative pupils. This gave us an area to focus on and a problem to solve. From our references we explored different ideas until we had almost too much, where we cut back to our top, most valuable concepts.

I found working with many people as a great advantage because idea’s where casually flying around and getting greater than if we had worked on our own. Each person has a different way of thinking which has you look at the brief from a new way. Now we had our concept we assigned each other different jobs such as accounting, visuals, budget etc. Each day we would arrive at 10am and organise what needed to be finished that day. We would work together so we could all decide on decision’s from every department.

Disadvantages to the project were that there was no leader or manager. So people were coming and going as they pleased with no strict structure. By the end of the project there was only 3 out of 8 us presenting with other’s taking credit. But with this we just kept working so we could achieve our project. The final product was more important than who was given credit.

For our final pitch we got great feedback from the clients (judges). We got positive feedback on the design work for it’s practicality and our presentation considering how little of us there was. But also that the idea had been produced in Scottland for quite a few years. Overall I feel our final product answers the brief practically and the visual identity works well to advertise and to encourage interest in the charity.


Learning from my Elders



Its Doable! One of the first thing’s I heard John say was “I have been in the industry for over 30 years.” It’s a great feeling to know you can make a living from what you love. John has worked for many different agencies such as Wolff Olins. I felt a boost of confidence , inspiration and excitment knowing that one of my tutors has experiences working for an agency I aspire to work for.

Within alembec design he has gone on to create more interesting pieces of work. Designing identities for ‘The Film Editors’, HANDSTAND and CP Plus – an ‘everyday healthcare plan’. Alembic’s design style is very neat but with some nice quirky concepts much like Martin’s ‘Melson Wingate Opticians’ design.

His wide range of work and experience within the industry from a way finding system for tower 42 to Gulf Air’s Identity has helped him produce his own buisness, alembic design. 25

He showed us the thought process he goes through when designing which was great too see. I appreciated how much effort and thought was taken to come up with a great solution. Part of his thought process was his drawings and sketches which were used to display initial idea’s. They showed the concept instantly but also as visuals they’re really interesting. Throughout John’s presenation I felt releaved and excited that I am entering an industry with so much variety of work and opportunities.


Travelling with Typography Matthias first started his presentation by explaining how he got involved in Graphic Design. He was originally a photographer with quite a successful apprentaship, but he decided it wasn’t for him. So he packed his bags and went off to the phillipines for 3 months. When he got back he started his education in Graphics the next day.

After studying in Berlin he moved over to the UK to continue his studies. Once he’d finished he went onto working for Pentagram Design. Which personally got me very motivated, knowing another of my tutors had worked for one of the top design agencies on my list.

Matthias showed us a lot of his typographical skills. Which were all very interesting. With his work he thinks alot about context, where the design will be placed and wether you can incorporate the design within the area. His Modernism piece below. A wonderful display of typography, designed clearly and creativly in context with its surroundings.With this project created an entire font incorporating this modernism, building block style.

The font looks extremelly detailed, but clearly a lot of research and effort has gone in, because due to it’s technicallity it is still readable. Through Matthias’s presentation I have learnt how typography can be a lot more than typefaces and fonts, it is a great deal in design. But also the travelling oportunities you can be offered when you’re Travelling with Typography.




The first thing I think of with the third year is my fear of my dissertation. As excited as I am to improve my design work and learn more about my profession, I am very worried about my dissertation. I feel it will improve my organisation skills though aswell as exploring something new and interesting. As I will need time management to get my dissertation at a great standard. Within my third year I am aiming to up my grade from a 2:1 average to a 1st. But mostly to gain full confidence within my practice and to feel ready to enter the big wide world. As far asthinking of specialising within design. I do have a great interest in conceptual design, so I’d love to go forward and aim to work with some agencies who like there concepts. I also have quite a great interest in advertising. Again mostly the concepts behind advertising is interesting because it seem’s anything goes. There are so many wonderful solution’s to advertising products or events and I’d love to be part of some of them. 33

Berlin 35

Berlin was a truely infuencial place to me, it was a city done properly. What I mean by this is that everything was where you wanted it to be, thing’s worked when you wanted to people treated you how you wanted to be treated. It was a wonderful place to visit. As for the architecture and design, wow! Some of the buildings were remarkable. For example central station near where we stayed at the ‘Meininger Hostel’. It was incredible, the first thing I thought was that it was a futuristic Kings Cross.

The Uberbahn went straight through the middle of the station above your head, the entire building was glass panels, the advertisment’s and signage was really lovely and clear. Such as the Giant lit up sign as you enter on the train, ‘Bombardier, Wilkommen in Berlin’.


Berlinische Gallery

The Berlinische Gallery was very much different to galleries I visited back at home. The composition and spacial awareness was a lot more considered with each piece. The space within the building was incredible. Open planned rooms for larger exhibits but also smaller room for the more detailed delicate pieces of work.

Going from room to room you really got a different feeling and atmosphere within each. You’d go from a large spaced abstract piece from floor to ceiling. To a darker, small, square, intimate little room with delicate sculptures in. The range of artwork really gave me different emotions and ideas. For example the photographs above, I thought to do a panaramic view of all three images together.



Erik was the founder of Meta Design when he moved to Berlin in 1979, and went through two iterations of the business before the most successful period when he partnered up with Hans C. Krueger, a businessman with a background in banking, and Uli Mayer-Johanssen, a graphic designer and stage designer in 1990. In 2001 he left Meta on bad terms and formed a small network of designer’s, SpiekermannPartners who then merged with Eden design & Communication from Amsterdam, which went on to form EdenSpiekermann.

Idiation, a term the designer’s at edenspiekermann_ use to explain there working process. They group together and brainstorm ideas together before coming to there best solution. This way ideas bounce around and are thoroughly explored from many different perspectives before deciding on whether they are worth using. Also everyone has a strong, clear understanding of the concept, how it was formed, what needs to be worked on throughout the project and what everyone else is working on. A great way to get true pottential from your ideas.


Meeting another Pentagram partner was truely incredible. I recieved more experience and advice from another top designer. The other being Paula Scher who taught me to put more effort in than asked. That Graphic Design is a wonderful lifestyle and career path, so enjoy it. Visiting Justus Ohler was a very relaxed and enjoyable experience. He asked us how we found our course, what we were also doing in Berlin, but also showed us his recent work with Pentagram. He gave us a few tips of pitching presentations and how he views Graphic Design.

A humurous quote he mentioned was, ‘Ameteaurs look for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work’. Which makes sence because the only way your going to produce great design is by actually working, not sitting around hoping it will appear in a dream. I enjoyed Justus’s advice on logo design. He gave us key points to designing a logo such as, getting a full understanding of what and where the logo will be. To make it adaptable, not to complicated. The greatest logo’s are usually rhe simplest. Think about materials such as stone and embroidary not just paper. But also to look at competitors logos. Looking at typefaces and key colours used.


Meta Design Image is from inside there wonderful building. MetaHaus. Originally an old factory they decided to keep parts of the machinery.

At Meta design we met one of the art directors, Sebastian. He informed us on how Meta design works when solving a problem. When designing they look into the key aspects to which the solution should have. Such as it’s value, communication, it’s services and the design. Doing this means they look at every possible outcome and idea untill they achieve the best and most suited concept.

“How did you cope with working on a project in china? Such as working with a foreign language when designing?” He replied by explaining it was all about the communication with the client. The stronger your relationship, the easier and more enjoyable the project is for everyone. He said that the most difficult thing to work with was with deadlines.

Like all other agencies I have visited, they all seem to work closely together when deciding on solutions. Sebastian explained that they have meeting’s to view eachother’s work and ideas so they can all contribute and critisize eachother’s work. I felt this was a great way of working as I have experienced this when working with a group during the entrapranural challenge.

“Over in China they work and produce extremelly quickly. I spent the previous night and day working on the final layouts and then sent the PDF’s off to the printer that evening. By the next day, on my flight back home I was offered the newspaper I designed the night before”.


Educating you To not copy an idea, unless you make it better Produce your best work, whether it’s a world wide logo or your mates CV Engage with as much design as you can Constantly self critisise your work Read a paper - how can you design for a world you don’t know anything about? Get to know other designers and people Don’t keep to yourself, learn from other’s Enjoy what you do


Leaving Home As nervous as I am to enter the big wide world of Graphic Design. I am also incredibly excited to be involved in an industry with so many opportuities, experiences and also to be doing the job I love. Creating this journal has boosted my confidence, realising how much I have learnt over a short space of time. Coming to the end of this chapter I am starting to feel like a designer. Applying my knowledge to every day thing’s, designing as much as possible and looking for work rather than waiting for it. 49


This is my journal

Hello I am Joe  

This is my Journal

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