Change is something that just happens in life and sometimes change is good. Out with the old, in with the new. And because we love the familiar, ‘Something Borrowed, Something Blue.’
– Naomi Elizabeth Grant
Tutor Talks Hearing from the Greats The Work of Two designers Exhibition Visits Hopes and Ambitions Ten Design Companies Personal Design Manifesto Ambitions for 3rd year.
Chapter One, Tutor talks
Background Jonathan Miller has worked for big names in the design world, including Wolff Olins. He has worked around the world, in different design jobs and positions. He has been a designer, a director and a managing director.
Pieces like this make me excited about typography. Why use an illustration or imagery when you can manipulate type to emphases a message? I am always studying type in day to day life. Asking questions, thinking about how I might design and arrange it differently because I think it is so important to get it correct. It is something that a lot of people that do not train as visual communicators over look. I am learning more and more that it does not just happen on its own. There are reasons why certain typefaces are chosen over others and why it is arranged in certain ways. Without attention to detail the intended message will go unnoticed, or worse not be taken seriously.
The logo type shown on the opposing page, was designed by Alembic Design for the Company Handstand Limited. I think this piece of design works and works very well because of the communication is uses. Turning some of the lettering upside down and literally demonstrating the meaning of the word ‘handstand’ allows the typography to effectively reinforce the meaning of the word. It is because of subtle changes to type like this, that the typography can act as text and be used in place of illustrations or imagery.
He believes that there are two types of designers. Those that are experts in a particular field and can create beautiful work that is exceptional, and those that like to work in all different fields. He describes himself as the latter. And this is demonstrated through the work that he has produced. He portfolio is versatile and displays a range of skills. Jonathan Miller is owner of the design company Alembic. The name of the company is interesting to note because the meaning of the word is a device that purifies or alters something by distilling. The independent communications design agency have worked on many projects. The area that his best work lies in is branding and identity. A lot of the work that he has produced through Alembic is identity work, and he does it very well.
The piece of work that stands out to me the most may not be the most exciting piece visually, but arguably could be one of the most exciting pieces conceptually.
C ON S U L T ANTS
Alembic and beyond
MIL AN L E R
Most artists and designers look to the work of like minded people for inspiration, however Jonathan has stated that he finds himself looking outside of his field at other things that he finds interesting. He looks to music and fine art as well as design that is closer to home. He says that “the further you look away from design, the more you can bring back to the project.” I find myself agreeing with the mantra that he works by because design has proved itself as this strange thing that even designers struggle to figure out and define. There are such fine lines in between different creative practices and each practice borrows from the next.
ALEM BIC D E S IGN
I find it interesting that he originally studied at St Martins doing Illustration and decided after not long that he wanted to do not only images making but also Graphics. His has said that image making has always been an important part of his personal design process. He work demonstrates that the best way for him to come up with solutions is to simply take everything out of the mind and put it on paper first. If he sees something of interest, he notes it down. It could be recalled later to inspire an award winning idea. Jonathan Miller does conduct himself as a designer, however he has been commissioned to produce 3 professional Illustration pieces during his career.
Chapter Two, Hearing from the Greats
country and then later was commissioned to produce propaganda posters instead he asked to return to the rumble of his home to find his trusty airbrush!
ABRAMGAMES.COM THETYPOGRAPHY WORKSHOP.COM I was present at two inspiring talks. One by Naomi Games, the daughter of Abram Games and the other by Alan Kitching himself.
ABRAM GAMES vs ALAN KITC HING
Games was a poster designer and artist born in 1914. The term ‘Graphic designer’ did not exist while Games was at the height of his work, but retrospectively we can see that much of his work was this way inclined. His style was simple, colourful and clever. His instrument of choice was an airbrush tool which he used to create the type and illustrations in his work. Naomi Games commented that her father treasured his airbrush more than any other tool. Even when Games was called to serve for his
Something that stuck with me was the mantra that Games lived by: “Maximum meaning, minimum means.” His work is beautiful and interesting, but is not ornate. It says what it needs to with the use of creative typography and illustration however it does not allow the issue of aesthetics to take over the meaning and function. In the 1930’s the use of posters to advertise was very important. In fact it was the main from of advertising. He worked for different companies but for the most part worked as a freelancer. He worked independently and fought hard to keep the copyrights of his work where he could.
Kitching is a highly respected Typographer and Graphic Designer. During the Q&A section of his lecture, he talked about how and why he created his career. The environment he grew up in did not call for designers, it called for labours and people that could provide a trade. The closest thing to what he wanted to do was to work in print. And this suited him just fine. It is easy to tell that this style. His style is handmade. He uses raw materials instead of computer software to create his letterforms. The type that he produces is often very expressive. This is because very early on in his career he was inspired by concrete poetry. During the question and answer section of the talk he went through some interesting topics that effect all designers and told us how he deals with them. The question that I had for him was “what problems to you run into working in the style that you do?”
He answered by saying, “I can only print to a certain size.” This is because his work is hand rendered and not rendered using computer software that could manipulate the size. To get around this he likes to work to the size it will be reproduced at.
Legacy and Influence
Abram Games work is still used and celebrated today. Even if his name isn’t attached to the image in the viewer’s mind, his work is still recognisable. This year the London underground is celebrating its 150th anniversary, and Games’s work has been featured. Kitching’s iconic letterforms and expressive arrangement have made his work famous within the design industry. I feel as if his work is used in the place of illustrations. And when you can produce such expressive and wellcrafted type, why would you use illustrations?
I like the fact I now know the names behind the works. Before attending these two talks I had seen their work and had an appreciation for it, but could not put a name to the work. So many great pieces of work have been influenced by the styles the Games and Kitching and it is a shame that this is not recognised. However I do feel like the greatness of a piece of work will have a greater legacy than the name behind it. The simplest work can be the most effective if it has a real meaning behind it. I am learning more and more that in this industry your work becomes your voice. Even if your name is not the most famous one, a powerful piece of design will always be celebrated.
Chapter Three, The work of two Designers
The Rebrand of ITV MATT RUDD & FONTSMITH
At the beginning of this year two new packages of design caught my attention.The first was the re-brand of the dependent Television network; ITV. The other was the celebration of the London Underground’s 150th anniversary and the nostalgic material that was designed for it.
ITV was launched in the UK in 1955, and has gone through many re-brands. But their latest re-brand was unveiled in January 2013 and has taken a completely different approach to its past identities. In February 2012, ITV initiated a pitch to find a partner to work with in-house team ITV Creative on a complete network re-brand. In the design write-up of the re-brand found on Rudd Studio’s website it states that ‘The mission was to reinvent the ITV brand so that people would extend the love they feel for the network’s content to the ITV brand itself.’ The new identity was produced for ITV by Rudd Studios. Lead by Matt Rudd they set to work of re-branding the network. They have work for Channel 4 in the past but never ITV so they ‘were able to approach the challenge with fresh eyes.’ Rudd Studios was invited to work alongside the network after getting to know about the brand, the channel’s contents and people’s attitudes towards the network. In July 2012 Rudd created the logo design based around ‘colour-picking’. At this point the custom type design company Fontsmith were commissioned to help create a custom typeface and finalise the design of the new ident. The general design and feel of the new ident outcome has a lot to do with the content that the channels broadcast. They had to consider ITV’s place within UK’s broadcasting. What makes them different from other broadcasters? Because of the range of content they broadcast Rudd Studios and ITV creative concluded that it brings all sorts of people together. Because of the idea of bringing people together, Rudd wanted to create an identity that would convey a human touch, something handwritten. The joining of the letterforms to one another are to express a ‘flow’ between people. What is special about this logo is it looks like a form of handwriting. It has a human element that people can relate to, but at the same time it looks like it has been
cleverly designed. It only contains elements that are needed. No more, and no less. It is simple enough to have subtle additions. For example when viewers need to distinguish between different channels, but is formed in a way that it works very well on its own and presented in basic colours and tones. From the beginning of the design process of this concept it was decided that the use of multiple colours for the main channel would be implemented to show the varied content. The main logo is made of 5 shapes that each take their colour from different parts of the colour spectrum. Any colour and its variations could be applied to the logo for the other channels, and the idea was for the designer of the piece of adverting the logo is applied can ‘colour-pick’ from the colour scheme to create the most appropriate colour set. This means the logo will be ever changing but at the same time remain the same.This application of the colours ties very nicely into the idea they were trying to create. Everyone can relate. Not everyone has given the new identity of ITV a good reception. Some feel like the handwritten style looks childish or could have another meaning. But on the other hand it has received a degree of praise. When things that should be familiar change people can become uncomfortable. We are creatures of habit and even though we like to fill our lives with thrills and excitement, we also like the way we are communicated to be easily recognisable and familiar. Although people feel like this it is vital that companies change with the times. If they don’t they will remain in the past and will be viewed at outdated and without a purpose.
The London Underground
The London Underground, in my opinion is one of the greatest achievements that England has. It has been 150 years since the first train journey took place between Paddington and Farringdon on the Metropolitan Railway. The London Underground always has and always will connect different people to different places. Life and business would not be the same without the aid of the London Underground. Since 1863 the Underground has grown and grown and now has 11 lines. Art and the Underground these days go hand in hand with expression, culture and travel being celebrated the way it should be. The London Transport Museum is celebrating with a range of events and activities throughout 2013.
Hat-trick’s set of 6
For the celebration of its 150th birthday Hat-trick have designed a set of 6 postage stamps that form stages of a timeline of the development of the London Underground. Hat-Trick’s Gareth Howat says that “Our approach was to deliberately use a mix of photography, graphic art and illustration as it’s such a rich visual subject. The only one that was commissioned was the shot of Canary Wharf, which was shot by Paul Grundy, the rest are originals, some
of which we had to enhance slightly.” At the bottom for
each postage stamp there is a banner that directs the viewer’s attention to important information about the stamp instead. The colour will refer to the colour of the line that the stamp is referring to.
Style and why it is designed the way it is.
The stamps use photography, illustration and Lithography. The majority of the artwork used of the stamps is recycled imagery. What could be better than that to try and tell a story and highlight exciting moments in history? These stamps are a perfect example of the fact that great work and originals should be celebrated.
And the rest
These stamps are a beautiful way to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. There borrow from the past while they illustrate the development of modern travel. I think using stamps to display the artwork is a fitting symbol of the success of London’s attitude to travel and communication.
STAMPS FOR THE LU’S 150TH BIRTHDAY HAT-TRICK
Chapter Four, Exhibition visits
The Light Show
The light show was a brilliant display of artwork from different artists. It had nothing to do with Graphic design or illustration but it still appealed to me because of the meanings behind the pieces and the reactions they provoked. The common thread that ties design to the exhibition was the use of colour. The exhibition demonstrated the use of colour theory and how different colours can have different meanings to different people. Parts of it were interactive, and those parts were the best parts. At times we forgot that we were in an exhibition and turned into little kids and just enjoyed the experience. And what is so wrong with that? The pieces of course have meaning, but could the meaning of the piece change from person to person? Could it simply be to entertain? There were two main pieces that stood out to me. The first was a walk-through installation by the French artist Carlos Cruz-Diez called ‘Chromosaturation’. The second was an amazing walk-in experience created by ‘The Weather project’ artist Olafur Eliasson called ‘Model for a timeless garden’. It combined the confusion of strobe lights with the continuous form of water.
I found this piece very interesting. The 3 colours that are used are Red, Blue and Green and each section of the installation used a different colour. It had nothing physical inside it. Visitors would walk in and pass though it, under the lights. Each room or section had a different atmosphere. The colours triggered different feelings and created the experience. The first room we entered was the Blue room. We were confused as to what the installation was, however I did notice that we were all calm. The second room was the Red room. This is when we got playful. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and we had fun entertaining ourselves even though the only contents of the room was Red light. All of our camera phones came out and we enjoyed taking photos of ourselves almost painted in red. The Green room, caused me to feel slightly strange and we did not spend as much time in there. The artist has explained that the colour when projected, stops acting as a colour and becomes a situation. Since the eye experiences and can understand many colours and pigments at once, having a single colour surrounding you will create a disturbance in the processing.
‘Model for a timeless garden’
Strobe lighting makes people behave in strange ways. This is true of strobe lighting in any context. When the strobe lighting is used in conjunction with the water fountains the water almost seems to freeze in mid air for seconds at a time. The mind can understand what is happening and why the water appears as it does but it is still unusual to experience. Rather than just seeing the journey the water makes from the bottom into the air, back down again, you see isolated partials for water. Because of the strobes exhibition goers and experience an ever changing landscape of forms that naturally convey movement but instead appear static in time.
The Light Show
Why the Light Show?
As mentioned in chapter 1, “the further you look away from design, the more you can bring back to the project.” With that in mind, I feel like it is important to visit an exhibition like this because each practice has an influence on the next and by looking outside of Graphic design we can create new and fresh ideas. It is also easier to have a different perspective of communication and an appreciation for other creative forms.
Just a dreamer?
My problem is I want to do everything. I don’t want to leave one stone unturned. I cant help but work hard all the time. And I hate the idea of failing. Maybe it will be my downfall, or maybe it will prove to be a strength while i try to build a career. I have always considered myself and been considered a creative soul. I always wanted to go to University and get a degree, however I didn’t always see myself going to University to study Graphic Design. I’ve been involved with performance art, and I have always had a love of fine art, which is where I thought I would end up. And ever since I remember I have loved to write. My mother was a journalist and worked for the BBC. I have always believed that I have her to thank for my creative blood. I tend to make very long term goals and short term goals. I plan everything down to the last detail. I wanted to make my way through basic schooling in order to reach University. From this point in my life my short term goal is to reach the end of my training with the best possible degree I can achieve. Why paid £3,500 per year if I’m only going to come out with an average grade?
My long term goals come in many forms. After graduating from University, I want to get into a career as soon as possible and put my skills to work. I’m learning in this industry it’s not just what you know on paper, but also who you know and the experience that you have. I want to work for a company that challenges me and churns out successful work that is talked about and celebrated. Is there a better feeling then being part of something like that? Of course I will have to start at the bottom, listen to those that know what they are talking about and continue to learn. The more I learn for the real world, the more power I will have behind my name. The more power behind my name, the more responsibility I will have and the more successful I could become in the industry. My dream job is to one day become a senior art director of a Design firm. I want to make as many connection within the design world as possible because I plan to be in it for a while.
PhD and Art Historian
I want to achieve that goal. But once I get there (fingers crossed), knowing myself I will need another goal to work towards. I still love the idea of writing. I want to work toward getting a PhD, and end up writing books as an Art Historian. I feel like writing is just another way of soaking up information and projecting it in the correct way to the correct people. It is something that I would like to revisit one day.
Next, when I’m old and Grey (if I’m still here) I would love to go right back to the start of my interest in art and open my own gallery. I’ve been to so many exhibitions and galleries and one of the things I always think when I step inside is ‘I want to make my own space one day’. I would love a space that could celebrate my achievements and the achievements of others.
And the rest
Like any other normal person, I want a family, and kids and a dog and a nice big house to keep everyone in with a white picket fence. I want to do it all.
My Hopes and Ambitions
Chapter Five, Hopes and Ambitions
Chapter Six, Ten Design Companies
Big Active D&AD
Fitch Wolff Tomato Olins The Guardian
The versatile design company that has a long client list has made a name for itself as a highly respected firm because of the brilliant forms of communication that it designs and produces. Hat-trick produces everything.You name it and they can do it. Print material, Digital work, Identity design and Campaign production. It is hard not to be inspired and influenced by all of the work. However the most impressive work has to be the Identity projects.
Ten Creative Companies
Chapter Seven, Personal Design Manifesto
I know that the 3rd year is going to be a struggle, and I will have to make sacrifices to achieve my goals. I do not just want a degree. I want to best degree I can achieve, a group of colleagues that I will be able to call life-long friends and a set of skills that can open any door and kick down a few walls. Every time I start a new project I decide that that is the specialism for me because I do enjoy learning new things. Because of this I am not sure that I would like to decide just yet. I much prefer the idea of keeping my options open and trying as many pathways as I can while I am at University. In Chapter 1, Johnathan talked about “two types of designers. Those that are experts in a particular field and can create beautiful work that is exceptional, and those that like to work in all different fields.” I think I will more than likely be the second type of designer because that is what my personality is like. I want to do it all. I want to know it all. I will say that I know my heart is in typography. It is what makes me tick. I have always had an appreciation for it and now that I understand how to use it properly, I try
to make sure that I do. Because I feel so passionately about it I think that it will feature heavily in the research and writing of my dissertation. I think a lot about communication and ways that I as a designer in training can relate to other people. The phrase ‘tone of voice’ is a phrase that I have heard so often in the last two years of training and I would like to explore this and find forms of communication that work and why.
rd Year at University
Chapter Eight, Ambitions for 3rd year