The GreaT BriTish issue 17
the great british issue
Ana Nicolau Editor http://ananicolau.com
Andrea Hooijmans Arts Sub-editor http://AndreaHooymans. jotta.com
Katia Hickmer Arts Team http://katiahickmer.co.uk
Roman Khripko Arts Team http://flickr.com/khripko
Eshe Nelson Fashion Sub-editor
Elle Jenkinson Fashion Team http://etiquettebaby. blogspot.com
Sejal Kapadia Fashion Team http://sejalkapadia. blogspot.com
Ipek Altunmaral Design Sub-editor http://ipekaltunmaral.com
Katie Smyth Design Team http://kkkkatie. wordpress.com
Rebecca Cope Online Sub-editor
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Davide Scalzo Web Developer http://pixeljam.co.uk
Katy Scott Lead Production Designer http://www.k-scott.com
Sam Dal Monte Production Designer http://negativeboy.com
Kerry Jade Squires Production Designer http://kerrysquires. tumblr.com
Vandna Cheena Jain Marketing Manager http://www.vandnajain. com/index5.html
Maria Pankova Marketing Team
Anastasia Yakhnina Marketing Team http://flickr.com/ sparkling_ladder
cover credits Model: Maria Pankova creative direction: Ana Nicolau Photography: Nara Auapinyakul firstname.lastname@example.org Hair & Make-Up: Leah Mabe email@example.com Production: eshe Nelson
Kit Friend Managing Director
We are a bunch of creative people brought together by the love for the Arts, be it in any of its forms: Fashion, Design, Theatre, Fine Arts, you name it. We don’t really make a penny out of it, apart from the fact that we love what we do. That’s fine. I get to know a lot of people who have “normal” jobs that, when they know I’m a creative, put this weird puzzled look in their faces, silently saying “Why? Why would you do that? Don’t you have to pay for your living?” I gently smile while attentively looking at their faces, most likely mirroring their own facial expression. The feeling is reciprocated in full. Why would you have a job and make a living just to pay your bills? Why? See, the thing about us creatives, is that we couldn’t have it any other way. We love what we do and that gives us a sense a freedom and happiness that no money could ever pay for. Yes, sometimes we have lifestyle induced diets, either because we are working too hard, are stressed with deadlines or lack inspiration. Who says five coffees per day and ten apples for a meal is
not healthy? Truth is we have a love/hate relationship with adrenaline. We can’t live neither with it nor without it. Yes, we are complicated. But then again, how many people do you know that, after a 12-hour work day, still manage to have a smile on their face? It´s the sense of accomplishment that makes us push forward. At Less Common More Sense, our aim is to showcase emerging talent that is now coming out or the one that has already proved itself in the real world. Because we believe that truly talented people should have a platform to show their work, here we are. Although most of the contributors are still doing a degree at the University of Arts London, the quality of their work is outstanding. Painter Rachel Cosgrave has shown her work as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s biannual exhibition Hidden Talents, see page 20; fashion designer Johan Ku won the American Gen Art Style 2009 Award, see page 11 and graphic designer Ipek Altunmaral designed a book for Penguin Publishing house, see page 28. But there is more, a lot more. We would also like to pay our respect to one of the world’s most beloved fashion designers, Alexander McQueen, whose star is now shining in the sky. Although we are from a younger generation, we know we
letter were lucky enough to have shared the same lifetime as him, witnessing fashion history being made, collection after collection, having our breath taken away every time. We know magic is happening when so many people are touched by the same exquisite expression of beauty. And for the moments the world had the privilege to witness the unravelling of a genius, we thank you Mr. McQueen. Our team worked hard to bring you a magazine that we are proud of. We hope you like it!
Ana Nicolau Editor Less Common More Sense
credits Ana Nicolau wears avant-garde knitwear scarf by fashion designer Johan Ku.
Customised Trainers: They say if the shoe ﬁts, wear it. We say dream up your own shoe.
S ROB FRANCI
CKHAM STEPHEN PE
“I decided to start customising my trainers as a way of giving them a new lease of life. It started out as an experiment to see what pens would work and how long they would last. Now, I occasionally do commissions when I have some down time between ‘real’ work.”
“The first thing that attracted me to these trainers was their garish, sticking colour. I guess I liked the idea that you could place buttons anywhere on the shoes, so they could constantly be different and individual to me and how I felt.”
What influences you?
Y JACK MURPH “Converse’s Chuck Taylor hi-tops are a classic, timeless addition to any outfit. They seem to bridge the gap between smart and casual. I settled on orange as I hadn’t seen them around and chose to customise the outside with red and yellow trimmings to continue with the colour scheme. I felt like I’d created them, they were my vision so having my name stitched to the sides seemed like a natural thing to do, just as an artist would sign their work!”
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“It would probably be some of my favourite musicians like Hayden Thorpe (Wild Beasts) and Joseph Mount (Metronomy), although I don’t dress really similar to them. I guess also my sister helps me find some nice looking garms.” “I decided to get a pair of Nike IDs simply because I couldn’t find a pair of trainers within the store, that I liked. I was after some bright colours which resembled a 1980s ski suit, and a friend recommended that I simply create them in-store. The process was fun, and I especially like the fact that you could put tags on each heel.”
LIN VIOLA CREL “I chose the primary colours but replaced pink for red to make them more girly. I wanted the amount of each colour to balance on the shoes. I put my name on them because first, I didn’t want my sister to steal them and second, it’s quite funny when you’re walking around and people are looking at the floor, they still know whose feet they are looking at!”
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Artistic License by Cyran Field PRODUCT DESIGN
Bai Daybed by Pongpakom Sarampakul FA S H I O N
Emotional Sculpture by Johan Ku words by Ying Yang F A S H I O N I L L U S T R AT I O N
Teddy Boy by Sarah Jones ARTICLE
Vanity is the beginning of self respect by Anzej Dezan FA S H I O N T E XT I L E S
Neighborhood Colour Project by Anjali Dâ€™Souza ARTICLE
Fashion Business by Skyla Loureda FA S H I O N
British & Quirky Fashion is all about fun
The Giant Olive Myth Andrea Hooijmans interviewed by Rebecca Cope
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22/ 23/ 24/ 25/
26/ 27/ 28/ 29/ 30/
PA I N T I N G
Home / His Megaphone to Rouse a Deaf World by Rachel Cosgrave PHOTO GR APHY
Where the Magic Happens by Eva Napp POETRY
A Heavy Dull Sensation Behind the Eyes by Charles Pryor PERFORMANCE
Naked in the Name of Art Sylvie Shiwei Barbier photographed by Anastasia Yakhnina words by Emma Hearle PHOTO GR APHY
Mother of Pearl by Katia Hickmer
PHOTO GR APHY
Streetscapes by Vandna Cheena Jain GR APHIC DESIGN
Penguin by Illustrators by Ipek Altunmaral ARTICLE
David Pearson talks Design by Ipek Altunmaral GR APHIC DESIGN
Shakespeare Barbican Series by Satvir Sihota INTERVIEW
Jeremy Tankard talks Typography by Ed Cornish wearelesscommon.com
Artistic license A guide to intellectual property for students in the creative industries by Cyran Field
In order to generate profit from art, creative works must generally be regarded as property that may be owned and exchanged by individuals. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is the mechanism for achieving this through various forms, many of which, most art students may have heard of but are not entirely sure which one is appropriate for them, their work and how it can be protected. Inventions, inventive ideas, discoveries, written works, performed dramatic or dance pieces, photographs and designs all attract some form of Intellectual Property Rights. Copyright, trade marks, rights in designs and patents have more than likely all come up in your conversations and, like every asset, Intellectual Property Rights is indeed a valuable one, albeit intangible property. Nevertheless IPR needs protection and security, just like you would ensure you have a lock for your bike. Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 offers protection to literary, artistic, dramatic or musical works. It is designed to prevent individuals or businesses benefiting from other creative work that is not theirs or without first gaining the owners permission. For instance, one common denominator of intellectual property is that, said work must be written or drawn on paper; dance performance piece must be recorded on video. It must also be original (not copied from elsewhere). Copyright, most of you will be surprised to know, arises automatically. In fact, UK copyright cannot be registered; there is no formal register of copyright. The law regarding Intellectual Property Rights differs in each country. However, you must be cautious of this when producing work and wish to exploit it or protect it. In the US, for example, you must register your work in order for it to be protected. You may have seen the © mark. This symbol is used to alert the reader that the work is protected by copyright and it is usually accompanied by the date and the individuals name. To protect this article or ‘literary work’ as defined in the Act, as the author, I should 8
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include [Cyran Field © 2010] at the end of this article. I will then have 70 years from the date of my death (which hopefully won’t be any time soon) to control how this article is used and to be attributed as the author. I suggest you do the same with any work, including drawings, photographs and any other literary work you have created. As copyright is an unregistered right, the onus is on you - as the creator- to prove that the work is yours, should you find that an individual or business has infringed your work. You can do this by keeping a paper trail. Many lawyers suggest that you send a copy of the final work and all relevant drafts to yourself by Recorded Delivery and keep it sealed. Do not open the envelope as this will preserve the creation date of the work. Trade marks on the other hand, which all of us come into contact with on an alarmingly frequent basis, are used to identify the origin of goods or services. Consumers look for a trade mark to differentiate between products and their competitors. Registering a trade mark requires the satisfying of extensive criteria, as the Intellectual Property Rights that is obtained as a result of acquiring a trade mark are very strong, and give the trade mark owner a “monopoly right”. There are also unregistered trade marks but there is little need or space to discuss these here as we wish to discuss the broader issues of Intellectual Property Rights. But essentially, where you see ™ the mark is unregistered, and where you see ® the mark is registered. Unlike copyright in the UK, there is a comprehensive register that can be consulted which holds details of all trade marks. However, registering a trade mark is a relatively expensive IP mechanism, as the fees involved include the fee to register with the Intellectual Property Office and will, more often than not, require the assistance of a lawyer to draft the application form for you. Trade marks play a huge part in consumer protection, as they allow the consumer to discriminate between products or services with whom they wish to do business with.
Therefore it is unlikely that as a student, you will seek to register a trade mark at this point in your career as it is not entirely appropriate at this point, although it is not unheard of. If you are selling directly to a consumer yourself and wish to invest heavily in a logo or brand, this may in fact be a good option for you. But again, this is about distinguishing your goods and services from others in the marketplace as opposed to protecting the product itself. I would presume that, even though you may not have considered your Intellectual Property Rights at this point, it is ultimately your intention to exploit your work as your tangible property. There are a variety of ways you may also exploit it with individuals or businesses, so that the work may be produced and sold. For example, you may license your Intellectual Property Rights, which enables you to retain ownership of the work and stipulate the conditions of the license to the business wishing to reproduce it, and sell the product for a specific amount of time. You can assign the IPR, which means that you sell it to the business and it becomes their property. Alternatively you may use your portfolio to gain employment with a business that requires your expertise and, under UK law, any Intellectual Property Rights that is developed in the course of employment, is the employer’s property so bear this in mind as you will have none in any work your create whilst on the job (unless your employment contract says differently of course). What is difficult is protecting your Intellectual Property Rights whilst realising its full potential. As a student, you may not have unrestricted resources at your disposal in order to instruct solicitors, or may not even be aware of the value of your Intellectual Property portfolio. However, I would urge each of you to research into how your work attracts Intellectual Property Rights, how you can evidence your ownership (since most of you will rely on unregistered rights) and how you can take steps to minimise your exposure to infringement.
BAI Extra Daybed by Pongpakorn Sarampakul http://coroflot.com/pongpakorn firstname.lastname@example.org Pongpakorn Sarampakul is a London-based Taiwanese award-winning Product Designer, having won 2nd prize in both 2006 Street & Outdoor furniture for Thainox Design Award and 2006 Thai Kitchenware Design Challenge Of TCDC. The “Extra Daybed” is the result of a project developed with the Department of Export Promotion, Ministry of Commerce Royal Thai Government in partnership with Kunakij Furniture Industry Co., Ltd.
Case study BaI extra daybed
It is likely that most works will be eligible for multiple protection and can comprise many different Intellectual Property Rights. Under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 as a product design, this work will attract Intellectual Property Rights automatically. Firstly, copyright in the form of an “artistic work” as a 2D image which is computer generated and may also constitute what is referred to as “work of artistic craftsmanship”, as it is a piece of furniture (a form of chaise longue). Secondly, it may also be eligible for protection under the same Act above, as an Unregistered Design, as well as a Registered Design under the Registered Designs Act 1949. The latter, if comparing with the characteristics of trade marks above, which are also registered, attract stronger rights but must fit a stringent criterion in order to be eligible for registration. Again, cost implications and complexity should be considered if this route is taken. Unregistered design rights, which is actually referred to as Design Right in the industry – you will be glad to hear – is attracted automatically and can provide protection to designs that fit the (strict) criteria. The design must be original, so assuming that the BAI design has not been copied or heavily influenced by another individual’s work, nor must it be commonplace in the field at the time of its creation, and is held to fit this criteria and, an individual or business were to reproduce it for commercial purposes or record the design in a design document, they would be infringing the owner’s Intellectual Property Rights of BAI. The owner can demand that they stop doing infringing acts and also demand that any profits that have been made as a result, be turned over to him (although this may require the assistance of the courts in order to succeed). If the creator of BAI wishes to enter the work into a competition, I would draw
his attention to the terms of competition. Competitions I have seen advertised online are seemingly quite fair and allow the individual to retain all Intellectual Property Rights in the work submitted. They do, however, usually state that as a condition of entry, the entrant grants the competition organiser a “royalty-free license” to reproduce the pictures, video or any media of the work entered. What this means is that the entrant permits the competition organiser to use said images in this manner and will not charge them for doing so. The issue with this is that, the duration the organiser is permitted use the images is quite often unstipulated, which could mean that year upon year, the organiser can market past competition entries which you may or may not be comfortable with. It is unlikely that competitions will state that the Intellectual Property Rights lie with the competition organisers but this is not unheard of and is quite common in writing competitions. I would strongly encourage all individuals entering competitions, to consider the rules or conditions of entry and closely assess the impact it might have on their future ability to exploit their Intellectual Property Rights as a valuable asset. As mentioned before Intellectual Property Rights IS one of the most valuable assets you own. I hope that this article has touched on some pertinent points and, at the very least, has encouraged and persuaded you to consider how valuable your work is. If the creator of BAI were to approach manufacturers regarding the reproduction of the Daybed then I would suggest he does so armed with a confidentiality or nondisclosure agreement which, when signed, binds the other party under an obligation not to disclose, reuse or reproduce their own version of the work presented to them. We are available to answer any questions you may have concerning intellectual property, as well as the opportunity to offer commercial intellectual property advice on any other work individuals may have. Please do send these to email@example.com. wearelesscommon.com
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Emotional Sculpture by Johan Ku http://www.johanku.com firstname.lastname@example.org Johan Ku is an award-winning Taiwanese Fashion Designer currently living in London. After founding his own studio in Taiwan in 2005 and showing his collections in Hong Kong Fashion Week twice in 2007, Johan Ku went to win the Award for Avant Garde in Gen Art’s Styles International Design Competition in December 2009, New York. Since then his work has graced the covers of ELLE and Vogue TAIWAN, he is partnering with Taboo from The Black Eye Peas to design trainers for JUMP, giving lectures around Taiwan and being entitled as the “Light of Taiwan” by the Asian press. Johan Ku’s unique designs are an exquisite combination of traditional knitting techniques and new aesthetics.
The award-winning “Emotional Sculpture” collection is the perfect example of the sculpture-like white silhouette, his signature style. “I can’t help creating eye-catching shapes with the simplest materials like wool tops.” Johan Ku says. “I used giant needles and my fingers to construct this collection and every piece is unique in the world and can never be reproduced, not even by myself, I swear!” Words by Ying Yang
Fashion illustration Teddy Boy by Sarah Jones http://www.girlintherain.net email@example.com
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Vanity is the beginning of self-respect Colin McDowell, the founder of renowned design competition Fashion Fringe, is one of the most influential players in fashion and one of the greatest supporters of British talent. Here he talks about the ever-changing fashion world. by Anzej Dezan
Colin McDowell´s dandyish demeanour calls for celebration of the iconic British gentleman style. When he speaks, his body language expresses the subtlety of his thoughts; poetic and earnest. Moving slowly and elegantly, he struts with the walk of a fashion connoisseur. You can easily imagine him doing the same in Soho, where he resides: “Fashion is the totally unavoidable thing. You can’t walk down Oxford Street naked, therefore it is a choice.” McDowell is the author of more than fifteen books, spanning from Galliano to the revolutionary Colin McDowell’s Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion, often referred to as the fashion’s sacred “bible”. The cult of his personality and style is just as important as his work. Always provocative and opinionated, he never fails to disappoint in stirring a crowd. When you think about it, McDowell represents what fashion is all about: having immense fun and never regretting the consequences. “Vanity is by no means to be avoided”, he claims. It is the beginning of both fashion and self-respect, which makes it just as important as any other value in our society. “The church
may say it’s a sin. I don’t think it is. Fashion is life and death for women, far more serious than sport to men.” When it comes to confronting style, McDowell thinks there is no actual fashion for men, only style. Until we pass this distinction, no real progress can be made. “Men’s fashion still needs to be born”, he says. Having lived through the evolution of both fashion and media through the years, he is one of the most experienced fashion historians and forecasters of our time, understanding the past but also transforming the future. McDowell’s predictions for magazine publishing are by no means conventional. In the next decade, he feels technology is going to influence the media even more, to the extent that glossy hard copies of all major magazines are going to become extinct. “It’s a natural evolution” he says, taking an active role in it. Having started blogging, he showed the community that technology doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age. Going online is also a statement of respecting sustainability: “We have a great duty towards the planet we live on. Can we
keep chopping down trees for pictures of Kate Moss? It’s not a responsible adult thing to do.” he says. In a time of “journalistic meltdown”, as he calls it, when standards are being dropped by unimaginative journalists, quality has to be cherished and respected. The word “sexy” seems to be used to replace a number of words, such as “panache”, “elegance” and “style”, causing the great English vocabulary to be impoverished by stupidity. “I find it distressing, lazy, to drop all these words. The uneducated opinion isn’t as important as the educated opinion, otherwise why would you go to university?” McDowell feels fashion has become very ageist in the twentieth century. “Fashion is dealing with an ever younger clientele. High street fashion is aimed at catching them young. We are all obsessed with the vitality of youth,” he acknowledges. For someone who is refusing TV make-up, because he “fought hard for his expression, why cover it up”, he seems to be moving into the future with quite a breeze and no hesitation. Fashion should never be stuck in the past.
Fashion TexTiles Neighbourhood Colour Project by Anjali Dâ€™Souza http://anjalidsouza.blogspot.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org
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Fashion business Entrepreneur and model Amber Atherton is the founder of online jewellery retail site myflashtrash.com. Created in October 2008, it sells unique handmade jewellery by a selection of handpicked independent designers. An overachiever from an early age, Amber is signed to Premier model agency and has appeared in several publications, including Tatler and LOVE magazine. Somehow, Amber also manages to fit in her busy schedule a BA Fashion Management degree at London College of Fashion, which she just started. by Skyla Loureda
skyla: You were only seventeen when you set up your website. What inspired you to start Flash Trash? Amber: I have always been an entrepreneur and I am constantly inspired to set up new businesses. I was fed up of boring generic jewellery on the high street so whilst living in Asia I started bringing back unusual pieces from Hong Kong and selling them to friends and family. Although there were some seriously cool pieces they were also mass produced in China and lacked quality on design. So I started scouting down jewellery designers who offered more unique collections. And thus myflashtrash.com was born with the intention of providing them a platform to showcase their work. s: What drew you to jewellery rather than clothing or other accessories? A: I think I must have been a raven in my past life. I have always been attracted to small shiny objects, whether it´s cocktail rings, charm bracelets or vintage lockets. Jewellery is such a wonderfully subtle display of your personality. Aside from on-trend pieces, like a statement necklace that can make an outfit, a sexy black cuff or delicate ankle bracelet is a more intimate expression of who you are than what you’re wearing.
s: starting up a brand new business can be difficult especially when you don’t have previous experience. What initial steps did you take in starting up the site? A: After deciding on the “Filthy, Gorgeous” inspired name Flash Trash, I spent about three days in front of a computer fiddling around with Wordpress templates, desperately trying to remember HTML code! The site has grown exponentially from my first featured jewellery designer Yuen to over 25 new designers. And with a fabulous new site design and logo by illustrator Pomme Chan, I’m aiming for FlashTrash to become the go-to website for jewellery. s: how does the running of the site work? A: Flash Trash works as an online platform for unique jewellery designers to sell their pieces. After getting in touch with me I work with the designer to choose pieces to sell from their collection, whilst regularly writing front page articles featuring their necklaces, bracelets and others. I have built up a close relationship with all of my designers whom I feel privileged to be collaborating with. s: The recession has made the past couple of years difficult for many retailers within
the fashion industry. how did this impact your business? A: The recession has caused relatively few problems. Sales were up over Christmas partly due to the diverse price range. With earrings starting at £7 to diamond necklaces, the amount of choice appeals to a broader customer base. Doing regular front page jewellery features related to fashion, film and music gives a humble quirkiness instead of forceful selling. s: What makes Flash Trash different from other jewellery and online retailers? A: Unlike Kabiri or Net-a-porter which are large companies, Flash Trash is a much smaller, intimate affair. I work directly with the designers, combining an equal passion for unique design with my role as a buyer. All the jewellery has the irresistible allure of fresh talent whilst the business side retains the quality and service expected of a luxury jewellery boutique. s: What advice would you give to someone looking to start up their own fashion business? A: Believe in yourself. As long as you have passion and determination, you’ll get there.
Because fa s h i o n i s a l l a b o u t h av i n g f u n photography by Chloe Orefice email@example.com hair & make up Vivi Zhou firstname.lastname@example.org fashion Ana Nicolau & Eshe Nelson
Jacket, shoes, bag & scarf: Beyond Retro Top, shorts and necklace: Topshop
Hat, red jacket & dress: vintage scarf: River Island Leather jacket: Miss Selfridge • Madonna top & flowery dress: Topshop • Grey socks: H&M • Ring: Oasis
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Lace top: PPQ • Lace dress: Urban Outfitters • Lace skirt: Zara Tights: Topshop • Belt: vintage • Ankle boots: Pinko
Denim jacket: Bitten by SJP (sleeves removed by stylist) • Blue dress: Camden market Belt: vintage Levi’s • Bag: Primark • Brogues: Office • Gold bracelet: vintage
The giant olive myth From tiny seeds do great trees grow, so the saying goes. Dutch student Andrea Hooijmans, the 21-year-old co-founder of the Giant Olive theatre company, shows how to do it in real life. by Rebecca Cope
With a budding business developing while she’s still studying Fine Art at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design, Andrea is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Striking and powerful looking in person, this modern-day Diana exudes confidence and professionalism, and has a wisdom way beyond her youth. With long blonde hair and an arty dress sense, she can easily charm you into believing in her ability to manage a company and study at university. No Bernard’s watch necessary. Rebecca: When did you move to London? Andrea: I left Holland and moved to London after secondary school two and a half years ago. I did the foundation course and now I’m on the BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design. R: When did you decide to start the Giant Olive theatre company? A: It started really weird. I always knew I wanted my own business so I worked while at school, as part of the student magazine, alternative canteen, the youth parliament – I was bored, really bored, so I was just doing stuff! Then this whole theatre thing came up and it was a wonderful opportunity. My boyfriend was an actor and he was doing a show, and while at it he was offered another 18
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show within the same company. It was a bit disorganized at the time so we started marketing it ourselves. We got the press to come and did all we could to get people in. The show was then a lot more successful than the first one so we thought, why not do it ourselves? We started one production at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre and got offered a contract, so now it’s exclusively ours and other companies pay us rent to be there, which is awesome. R: Where does the name come from? A: It’s a boyfriend story again. He was from a big Greek family and his uncle John used to say to him when he was a boy, “if you’re a good boy I will bring you to the land of the giant olives, and I will show you where the giant olive lives.” So he would always say “I’ve been a good boy, please show me.” And this story stuck. R: It resonates with the whole fantasy idea of theatre. A: Yes, it’s also about dreams. There are a lot of people in the theatre business that really want to make it – a lot of people who have hopes and dreams for the future. Nine times out of ten it comes down to luck whether or not you get the job. You have to look the part or have the right voice or be the right height. I think we like to give people a chance that
don’t get picked by the right people all the time. We pick people for who they are and the talent they have, and stick with them if they’re good. R: How long has it been going on now? Has it interfered with your university work? A: We took over the venue two years ago. We started some productions while I was doing my foundation. I directed the first few productions, which was scary because I didn’t train to be a director. I just gave it a go, got thrown in at the deep end and it just worked out. We got good reviews, four star reviews! At some point my teacher asked me, “I don’t even know if you’re on this course anymore”, so I had to stop directing which was Ok. We didn’t have enough people and the place was a mess when we got it. We had to do paint jobs, work with an ancient lighting system and beg the press to come down to see our shows. We were there 24/7. I almost got kicked off my course because I spent so much time there. During summer in 2008, I was in our venue’s black box rehearsing my plays, designing promotional material and trying to keep up with all the little things you forget need doing. I did the box office after rehearsing and used the actors’ breaks to clean the toilets. When I started my degree it really kicked off, we got people in that knew what they were doing.
r: What are the benefits of starting a business while still at university? A: It is very important. When you finish your degree there will be a thousand students with exactly the same qualifications, and maybe even a better portfolio, better references, or they know the right people. If you are serious about what you’re doing you have to get experience during university, otherwise you are only going to get ripped off doing internships. You need to have a good plan, good luck or rich parents! r: What advice do you have for other business-minded students? A: If you want to excel at something, you really need to focus. You need to experience working, writing and reading about it. The most important thing is being committed – you can’t go out three or four times a week. You have to have a certain kind of lifestyle to do this. You need to really love what you’re doing or you’ll give it up. r: So you’re pretty much self-taught? A: Yes. It is not like university sits you down and tells you how to do it. When I first started making posters I copied other people´s work first and learned it through doing it over and over again. I have made posters for 20 productions now and I’m only just starting to be comfortable. I think the most important thing are your ambitions, try and get somewhere by going step-by-step instead of reaching for it straight away. If you don’t have it by yourself, find a friend to work with who is business minded. If you have an idea at 8pm call the person immediately, don’t send them an email to set up a meeting to talk about it. Do it now, call them now, get a Blackberry! r: Do you pay close attention to reviews? A: The silly thing is that reviews are the opinion of one person and they may not be qualified to do it. They have their own style or opinion, especially with local publications as they’re not totally objective, but the rest of the world is reading it. If they see two stars on a show they won’t read the review, they won’t bother going to the show. When you’re building up a company you start with your friends and family being your public. Then you work it through Facebook, Twitter, flyers on university campus and slowly it spreads by word of mouth. If you have any reason to contact the media, you make sure you do it. You need to build your network. Be precise about what you want and be confident but not overpowering and then you build up your name and other people come in. Publicity is important – reviews get the people in.
council and the National Lottery – we just got awarded a nice little sum. When you get money from the council it’s an investment, not a donation, it comes with a little manual if you want. For a council it’s about giving back to the community, they want people to go to the theatre, get volunteering or get inspired. With the National Lottery it’s about knife crime, so we run workshops or write a play about that.
r: any pointers on where to apply to for money? A: There are lots of ways of getting money. There is a system for searching for funding schemes at the Student Support office. Never think you can’t do something, because as long as you know what you are aiming for and take realistic steps, you can do it. Do your research. r: any other advice? A: Be a workaholic. Drop some of your habits. Get up early, work until late. Love your work and only do what you love to do. Be persistent and don’t give up easily. Find something to give you energy, if work doesn’t, then you’re screwed. r: any regrets? A: That I can’t clone myself to do anything at once! Regrets slow you down; it’s a waste of energy. Maybe you miss out on certain fun things and grow up fast but that’s a sacrifice you have to make. When you’re young, you’re innocent and can make mistakes. r: What are your plans for the future? A: I want to set up a business that is solely mine – it’s a co-directorship at the moment. I want my own company for my own art, mostly photography. r: Best piece of good luck? A: We had a ballet show on once. Someone came to the theatre and was impressed so asked to put something on in this place. It was with Ballet Black who performed at the Royal Opera House, and Antonia Franceschi who was a ballerina in the original Fame. So TimeOut came and wanted an interview, just like that, and they wanted an appropriate image of Antonia Franceschi. So I got in a cab, rushed to the theatre, did a photo shoot, got back in the cab with the image, went to the TimeOut office on a Friday afternoon at half four, got to use their image editing software, and got my photo featured in TimeOut magazine. That was just luck.
Giant Olive Theatre Company at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre 42-44 Gaisford Street London NW5 2ED Kentish Town 134, 214, 393, C2 020 7284 0766 http://giantolive.com
r: how are you funded? A: When we have a company coming in we have income from that to fund losses from our own shows. We have funding from Camden wearelesscommon.com
Home by Rachel Cosgrave http://www.rachelcosgrave.com
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Speaking of her subject, Fine Art painter Rachel Cosgrave says, “Landscape has been largely unquestioned as a concept and genre of painting, and its history reflects stasis not only paradigmatically but also in the treatment of its subject matter.” The legacy of the English Romantic landscape has been the biggest challenge for the artist to overcome, with her attempt to confront what she feels was a period in art history which was purely “an expression of the self, a perceiving entity that is all encompassing of its surroundings.” Her work is instead for the viewer to inhabit, to be a space created in the moment of viewing. “My work is about mark making, and records the texture and traces of the landscape.” Unusually the artist uses oil as a material on her paintings. Feeling that it has a status as a ‘living substance’ it pays homage to her thought that landscape is not a static concept and gives her painted canvas the form in art that it possesses in actuality.
Cosgrave graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009 with first class honours in Fine Art and within a month had shown as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s biannual exhibition ‘Hidden Talents’. The artist recently re-located to the USA to spend some time painting in the Pennsylvanian countryside. Living abroad has encouraged a change in her approach, “[this] entirely alien environment has forced me into a new relationship with space, one where I see with fresh eyes and create almost in the original moment of viewing. My process has necessarily become rapid and in some cases much more insistent and bold. The work that I produce is a culmination of my attempt to engage with the present, with ideas of continuity in time and space.”
His megaphone to rouse a deaf world by Rachel Cosgrave
PhotograPhy Where the Magic Happens by Eva Napp http://www.evanapp.com/ email@example.com
In my work I am exploring the private/intimate and public/commercial aspects of sexuality and relationships. Love and relationships are hard to maintain, especially nowadays where individual fulfilment is becoming more and more important. Although sex is fundamentally an intimate thing, the boundaries between public and private are shifting, which can be seen in the over-sexualisation of today’s media. With this in my mind I decided to investigate the world of swinging and other places that are created or used for sex – such as brothels – which are not in the privacy of your home and own bedroom, and discovering places that offer frames for a fantasy world where everyone can play and live out their secrets.
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A heavy dull sensation behind my eyes by Charles Pryor firstname.lastname@example.org
My complex hardness My arranged hardness The infectious agent Pulling pulling apart Leaking steadily Reported details of thin air and the love from my rich man Five-mile street walk and a fight against disease Rated time Headless crime Scattered without this mud Finders of occupation Childhood Exceptions of boy and girl Itâ€™s the thick and deep survivor Powerless watching lines on a sun beat town Strike down a million return a billion Strokes become pressed issues Troublesome ageing Transport of workers Time wasting Northern and southern scrutinised
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Naked in the Name of Art by Sylvie Shiwei Barbier http://www.shiweiart.com/ email@example.com
photographed by Anastasia Yakhnina http://flickr.com/sparkling_ladder firstname.lastname@example.org Empowering, individual and daring, half-French half-Taiwanese Sylvie Shiwei Barbier posed topless in a French flag, in the Wells gallery at London College of Communication, in her first live performance. “I created this piece thinking that people would look from above. I wanted to do something very eye catching so more people would want to be involved, be interactive and participate”, said Sylvie. Surrounded by glasses of red and blue water she responded to passers-by, by painting herself with the colours they had chosen. The end result was the British flag, symbolising her new identity here in London. “The sense of people building the flag on me is symbolic of my new identity being constructed. The paint gave me the feeling of not being naked, it took all my insecurities away and gave me the strength to focus on my mission – to bring people the message of belonging to one world.” “I wanted to make a piece which was a visual pleasure and would be eye catching the through the aesthetic.” After the flag was formed, Sylvie peeled back the paint by what coloured drinks people were choosing. The peeling away symbolised the revealing of the human skin underneath everything, showing that behind the appearance we are all the same. “I didn’t really know what it looked like whilst I was doing it but it was something which revealed humanity – we are all human and this sense of peeling off the paint revealed humanity”, says Sylvie. The performance allowed people to interact and contribute to the art piece. “People are encouraged to take part, be active and make a change”, Sylvie commented. Words by Emma Hearle
PhotograPhy Mother of Pearl by Katia Hickmer http://katiahickmer.co.uk http://www.artbelow.org.uk Central Saint Martins BA Fine Art graduate Katia Hickmer has been making waves on the London Underground after her work ‘Mother of Pearl’ was produced as a life size poster and exhibited at Highbury and Islington tube station in London. Putting art on the underground was the brainchild of company Art Below who believe in turning ad space into art space; making artwork more accessible to the public and the audience more accessible to the emerging artist. Speaking to The Guardian, founder Ben Moore advised, “Submissions are taken online before being reviewed and approved. Work is selected on its standard and contemporary relevance and exhibitors are offered space on a site-specific basis.” Katia Hickmer’s Mother of Pearl borrows from the language of the advertisement to reconstruct the lost years of female adolescence and interpret the duality of the struggle for independence and sexual awakening as exquisite pain. Throughout Hickmer’s work the fusion of exterior/scene and interior/emotion is key as she performs dilemma and life event through a series of revealing self portraits. Her work draws from the 1970s’ Photo Therapy movement which is defined by camera-made images produced with the intention of self-healing or personal solution. For this reason the work has a relationship to narcissism in psychological terms, however the photographs are produced with the hope of, “bringing the concept of Photo Therapy into contemporary discourse and challenging the intended benefit to the artist to that which involves the viewer.” The artist is keen to avoid what theorist/artist Gil Blank describes as the ‘cliches of photography – the exquisite technique, the overly consituted moment, the conventional signs of an archetypal personality..’. This decision is consequently fundamental to Hickmer’s practice; “I examine and embrace imperfection to access the core of human relationships.”
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Streetscapes PhotograPhy by Vandna Cheena Jain http://www.vandnajain.com/index5.html email@example.com Walking around and documenting a city gives you so much insight into the character of a place. These photographs provide a small glimpse and comparison of elements of the persona of four cities: New York (1), San Francisco (2), London (3) and Outer Delhi (4). These are major urban areas that I either visit often or have lived in for a long period of time, London being the most recent due to my degree here. New York has attitude and sass. San Francisco has a mellow, laidback atmosphere. Delhi has a humility and unexpected grace despite its frenzy. And London exudes heritage and class. Documenting streetscapes reminds us of how diverse our backgrounds are, especially when we have come together in a global city like London.
Graphic DesiGn Penguin by Illustrators design by Ipek Altunmaral http://www.ipekaltunmaral.com/
Cover design by David Pearson
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David Pearson talks design by Ipek Altunmaral
ipek: When did you first realize that you wanted to work in design, and why did you choose central saint Martins for your degree? David: I wanted to be in Central Saint Martins, just because I saw it as the best design college at the time. In that rather arrogant way that young people are, I just thought I could get in. It took me 2 years but I got in. I am sort of weirdly single minded. However when I was there I found that I naturally responded best to typography. When you study, if you show interest in any area, it is sort of the best compliment you can pay your teacher. They really go to the extra mile for you I think, and I had that with Phil [Baines] and Catherine [Dixon]. I wouldn’t say I was particularly interested in books or typography before then. i: What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your degree? D: That’s an interesting question. I learned not to be so precious. When you are younger, you have a natural tendency to be defensive about your work or get emotionally bound to it, and as a result criticism is often not taken in the best way. I think I really enjoyed Central Saint Martins because of the presentations where we were given critiques and forced to hear the most horrible comments about our work. Because this happened regularly, you develop a thicker skin to it and realize that it is actually a really important process. They throw people together and you have no choice but to interact with other students and depend on them in many ways. I thought that was very clever. i: is there anything else you wish you had learned while at university? D: Yes, I was initially very critical about Central Saint Martins. A lot of people in their twenties come from a very formal education. So it is a shock to the system that all of a sudden you are given so much freedom. I think certain people expect to be spoon-fed in their education. In
my first year ten students dropped the course, which made me realise that you are there to learn from your peers as much as your teachers. Only then I started to enjoy it much more. When I came out of the college I felt that I had relatively little practical experience compared to other colleges, but then again that’s not a criticism because Central Saint Martins teaches you how to think freely. i: Did you develop your methodology while at college? D: The good thing when I was in college was that computers weren’t used quite as much. We very much created things by hand. I think that carried over to my work life. Most students now have a laptop and they take it to college and that’s great in so many ways. But it can become a crutch that you lie onto and if you use it for too long, you don’t really develop how to walk on your own. I think I am lucky that I did have to print things by hand, do letterpress, paint, photograph. i: What is the most important quality to be a good typographer or designer? D: Above all others, you need to have sensitivity to the subject that you are designing for. I have a real problem with designers that start a job with a finished aesthetic in mind. I think a designer should always strive to find the most appropriate solution. You know, it’s a problem solving industry, a communication industry. Appropriateness and sensitivity are very important. Communication needs to be accessible and typography is a recognition symbol, after all. i: Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to study Design or Typography? D: A very important piece of advice someone gave me was that there is not right or wrong typeface for any particular job, you have to make it relevant in your own way. The relevance can be a structural thing, colour or
historical reference or any number of things. People should find their own way and feel the right thing through it. i: about our issue theme, “Britishness”, how did england or your hometown inspire you? D: It’s funny, because my design heroes are not British yet they evoked Britishness through their work while working in Britain, at the time. One was Jan Tschichold and the other was Hans Schmoller, both Penguin designers. There was a method that they applied to their work which feels incredibly British. There is a sense of tradition and elegance that I feel comfortable with and reassured by. I’m sure it influences me a lot. Britain doesn’t really have or didn’t have any distinct modernist tradition you can flag up. We seemed to be much more homogenized than say, Bauhaus or Spanish modernism. i: penguin occupies a huge space in British culture. how much do you think you get inspired and influenced by penguin history? D: I have been particularly inspired by that design. Before we did Penguin by Design book, there weren’t many people in the company that knew much about it and when you work there, it looks like any other British publisher. In many cases, this book was the first time people within the company had the chance to read about the company´s history. I have been in a lucky position by being a collector beforehand. I was already much inspired by the design and when I got there I literally just wanted an excuse to get into the archive and have a good look around. Everything I saw inspired me. Even now when I´m designing, I know the idea is coming from what I´ve seen in the archive. It’s incredible, really. I don’t think I have done anything original in my life. All can be traced back to the greats, you know. wearelesscommon.com
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Shakespeare Barbican Series by Satvir Sihota http://www.satvir.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Tankard talks typography Forget the preconceived notion of the nerdy typophile who loves nothing more than a good kern on a Friday night. There are some cool type designers out there. Meet Jeremy Tankard. by Ed Cornish
Ed: How did you become a type designer? Jeremy: It’s not the first time I’ve been asked that and I always try to think of a key moment, but it was more a culmination of things really. My dad worked in publicity so a left-set catalogue and things like that were always hanging around at home. In school we were always pushed to do things. I remember doing a poster for Excalibur and the lettering for it. During Art school foundation we had to choose an artist and make a typeface based on their work. I did Roy Lichtenstein and used brush marks as a type face. I drew all these up, used ink on a CS10 board, photographed them on a massive Rostrum camera and reduced them down. You could then cut and paste them up to make words. Afterwards, I went to Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design to do the BA Graphic Design. Back in those days you used SE30s, little black and white Macs – you would use them mainly for galley setting – then you’d print them off, cut it all out and strip it all in. I later started working on a Macintosh computer always on typography; you didn’t do letterpress. I followed with an MA Graphic Design at the Royal College of Art, where I studied letterpress under Alan Kitching. During those two years, I spent some of my grant money on Bradbury Thompson’s book, The Art of Graphic Design, where I came across the alphabet Twenty Six. That’s how I got into it, by hook and crook; falling into looking at things thinking “I would like to have a go at that. I would be good at it.” E: What happened next? J: After graduating from the Royal College of Arts, I had two invites to go for meetings: 32
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one was Minale Tattersfield and the other was Addison, the Design consultants. The Minale Tattersfield person was on holiday, so I went to Addison. Originally I was coming in because they had a big project, which was a large typographic book that needed to be done. That never materialised and I ended up working on Sabena/Belgian Airlines for little more than a year. I was flying between Brussels and the UK and I was responsible for putting the lettering on the side of the planes, so it was all quite nice. E: You actually put the type on the planes? J: In those days, back in 1992, computers didn’t really talk to each other; large format didn’t really work. You designed on an Apple Mac but, of course, the outlines had to go to a cutter machine which would cut out vinyl letter forms, a two meter size, maybe less. It cut out in little pieces so you would get tiles and you would have to put them all together on the side of the plane. You mask it, and then spray, so it decals. It was quite interesting what they did in order to paint planes. You charge the plane up with a negative charge and the paint has a positive charge, so the paint just sticks to the plane. They were there with spray guns but I had to be there to make sure that the file format worked. If it didn’t work I had to try and solve it. There I was, a 23 year-old working with these guys thinking “I haven’t got a clue.” The whole thing was just weird but it was quite funny. That’s the ultimate designer’s dream, having something on the side of a plane. E: it must have been quite exciting for you so early on. J: I was a mess because I had just left college, which was an art environment. You do what
you want do, you are busy all the time; you know what it’s like. You are not necessarily always there but you’re busy and so into what you’re doing, even when you take time out to watch a film. We were in the era of Peter Greenaway, so every other day there always seemed to be another of his films to watch. Then, you end up in this place where there’s carpet on the floor, a really quiet place and there are people that don’t do design. Secretaries sit next to you, people of all ages, people who aren’t into design because they’re doing a job and you have deadlines. The first day, the lady says, “You can sit here, there’s pads over there and we’ll have a meeting at three o’clock”, and I was like “Er, what?” It was horrible. Basically, I just managed to get it down to four days a week and do one day lecturing, which was an escape. I lectured in Colchester for a long time, which worked when Addison went down and signed a contract with Wolff Olins. I continued doing one day a week lecturing. The managing director said “It’s a good thing that you do this one day a week and we’re quite happy to make up the short-fall, because obviously they won’t pay as well as we pay” to which I replied “Well actually, they pay more.” E: Have you always planned to go freelance? J: No, not necessarily. When I left Addison it was because I wanted to do other things. I was on Briton Street and Alan Kitching’s typography workshop was just around the corner. I used to stop by to see him because I knew him from university and Kelvin Smith was his assistant then, and that was good. You still saw metal, had the smell of it all, saw them doing all these amazing things and then, the other side of it,
was this horrible carpeted office. Addison did good work, they did big jobs and it was fine, but I wasn’t fulfilled. I ended up looking at Wolff Olins. I thought about publishing but then it didn’t pay. So the first thing I did for Wolff Olins was this Vauxhall advert and I was thinking “Oh my god, what am I doing?” It was a real nightmare and I ended up having my time divided between my job and other people who I would help out. At the time, I was put on the interactive team, which was very new at the time. It was pre-web, doing bespoke database systems. They grew a little interactive department and got some very clever people in: the person they got in to work on the BT video conferencing stuff was Richard Southhall, who used to lecture with Mark Twyman at Reading. There was a very famous exchange of emails over how computers should be able to design typefaces with a guy called Donald Noth in the US. In the end Southhall left Reading, went over to Stanford and set up the program,
Bliss, which was started in 1991 and released in 1996. That was a study of Edward Johnston and the British road signage typeface by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert. That was very much the British side and then there were other ideas from Frutiger and Syntax. So there were three core British types and when it was finished, I talked about having an English style. It was interesting to note that Bliss became associated with The British Museum, The British Council, anything with British in, up until the point where The Natural History Museum was redone by hat trick. They said “We are thinking of using Bliss type, has it been used anywhere else?” I stupidly said it was, at The British Museum, so they wouldn’t use it because they wouldn’t be seen using the same type. Which is silly really, because Helvetica is used everywhere and no one has a problem with that. e: do you think there is any connection between the perceived personality
Typographic sketches from Jeremy Tankard’s graphic diary.
which became the digital typography program that trained Adobe. So this guy was sat just across me and he was working on pixel based typefaces for the BT video conferencing system. The minute it was finished, the whole unit would have cost a quarter of a million to buy and then six months later out comes the web, so it died a death. When Southhall finished, he did compressed type, general type and then I expanded it with Century European, so that was a rewarding part of the experience. e: Moving onto the British theme, you have worked for The British council, heathrow express, The Fa, University of Oxford. how much influence do you think you have had on contemporary typographic identities? J: Oh God, I wouldn’t have thought any! It hasn’t ever crossed my mind to be honest. The first time I ever knowingly used the idea of Britishness was when I designed the typeface
of the english as a culture and english typography? J: Yes. But the trouble is it just goes from stylised ideas like, foreigners think we all live in thatched cottages and drink tea at four o’clock all the time, or that all we eat is roast beef. It would be hard to say because universities and the way they are structured now is so diverse in culture. To fund it they get people in from overseas who bring in their own ideas. You are never going to get a specific flow through, and it would be wrong to force and say to an American or Japanese student, “No, this is how we do it in Britain.” We want them to bring their cultures to us so we can see other ways of doing it. Maybe that’s why we are seen as such a creative hotspot, because there is so much going on. It’s not just one thing, there is so much happening and this explosion of ideas, whereas other places are happy to do what they do, but we want to see more. It would be hard to tie down.
e: do you work mainly from intuition or fact? J: For my own typefaces as opposed to any commissions, I remember Erik Spiekermann saying “I don’t wake up in the morning with a typeface coming on.” Well maybe some people do, it might not be the way he works but you can get inspiration from anywhere. You should never be afraid of where you get your inspiration from. I get a lot from films and music and the way your mind leaps and associates with different things. You can develop an idea, see where it is going and then start researching. You start by just throwing ideas in and a lot of them don’t work, so you discount them. Maybe then look at some books and see how far I can take a form, see how they gel when I’m mixing upper case and lower case together. What other things I can put into it to make it different again, more interesting for me to design and perhaps more easy for a designer to use. It is organised trial and error because you are looking and that informs something else. e: have any of your typefaces been used for anything you disagreed with, for example, Jonathan Barnbrook’s type being used on a far right national political party? J: His type has been used on porn magazines, which he was quite happy about, because obviously there is seediness about designers and tart cards. I don’t know of anything yet that has offended me. If they used it well in a dodgy situation and they paid for it then fine, if they hadn’t paid for it then I would be upset. I remember, when I was working at Addison, and a job came in from West cigarettes in Germany and people wouldn’t work on it because what they were doing was packaging cigarettes in childlike designs, for children. It was 1992, the art department said they weren’t working on it and they had to refer that to one person because the suits had got that job. It was a proper big job and we had to do it, morals aside and it was disgraceful. I was less offended about that than I should have been, but it was the nineties, thankfully things have moved on. I haven’t been offended by anything yet apart from bad use. e: Many typefaces have a historical or geographical reference. do you think that makes them inappropriate for certain jobs? J: It’s hard. There’s a danger that if you say you can only use it in a certain way then people won’t use it at all. For example, if you have got something like Bell Centennial, it’s designed for small use in phone books but people use it wearelesscommon.com
big because it looks funky big. It’s the wrong use, but why not? Once a design is out there, it is used in whatever context it is used for. Nowadays, it’s a lot harder to control people’s use of a type. In the past it was easier when it was made of metal. Monotype controlled it and it only fitted their machines. If it was metal it would be used for The Times newspaper and they had rights on it for a period of time, then it would just be used as a corporate typeface would be. It’s only with computers that things have gone into another scale because types are very portable; you can use them anywhere in any context. Rules haven’t changed though; if you designed it for screen it wouldn’t work well in high-end publishing. It’s different. I tend to work in the realm of general public use. As a side, publishers and magazines might use it. Book publishers tend not to buy new typefaces in Britain, I have noticed. Dutch publishers buy new type all the time. I sell more book type, like Kingfisher and Enigma abroad than I do in the UK. Sans Serifs go well in America and Germany. Germany is a big place to sell type. It’s interesting to see where things go. E: Unusually for a designer, you’re based out in Cambridge. Can you work anywhere or do you need a particular environment? J: When I left Wolff Olins I was working from my living room. Through the job I was doing at the time at The Partners – where I was doing Telstra typeface, the first commissioned typeface I ever did – someone told me about a studio space called Camelot, a media based studio where you had lots of indie music labels and artists using them, it had the right vibe for what I felt comfortable with. I wanted to go back to this more relaxed environment. I was in there for about six years. So that was good, it was nice being on your own playing music, doing what you want, having space and I could have all the books out and around me and go out and buy more. Cambridge is amazing. You have cows wandering round, the river, amazing views, decent restaurants, decent pubs and a lot of peculiar people because of the university. And you’re only fifty minutes from London, so it feels right. The atmosphere does influence you. E: British design education frequently comes under attack. Recently at a D&AD lecture, Neville Brody was bashing the education system in front of a room full of students. J: Well, he had a bad time at school, didn’t he? It’s one of those things you need to put 34
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Jeremy Tankard’s studio.
into context. We were at university when The Graphic Language of Neville Brody came out, The Face and everything else. It was one of those things that were needed at the time. The same with “Why Not”, they were producing nice work but no one was being challenging. I mean, I don’t know what students are fired up with now but we had Octavo magazine; Eye had just started and people weren’t meant to break rules. It was exciting to see people outside doing great things, being antiestablishment and making a living. Nowadays everybody seems to be able to do what they want, so why moan? When everyone is quite happy you need something else to come along, you need people to come along and say “Sure you can do whatever you want, but can you make the quality good?” You can make what you do better. There are loads of exciting things happening but again some of that are things you always see. You’re not privy to the linear progression of what that person who designs something has come from or been influenced by. You just see the result and think “Well that looks like such and such from 1933.” That’s unfair because I have gone through certain stages and I can see key moments in my development. I found this thing that I wanted to put in a typeface and I was amazed to find it was already in a typeface. But, as Gaudi said “The old boys stole all our best ideas.” Nothing is new. So I can’t really say to someone “I have seen that before” because whoever has done it – a student or whoever – has gone through their education and discovered things that have influenced them. So that never changes because it will always be there. You’ll look back in ten years time and realise you saw the same things when you were at college, and you’ll think “Can’t they come up with anything different?” But for them it’s the first time they’ve seen it and done it. And slowly through that tumbling, you get new ideas. It’s the natural education trail, you emulate things
to begin with, and then you move on. E: What’s your advice for today’s students? J: I always go back to: question everything and re-question everything. Never accept anything that people tell you. Something I have learnt along the way is to just fight for what you want. Try and understand within yourself what it is that turns you on in what you’re doing. Instead of thinking “I really like that” ask “Why do I really like that?” Question everything and keep looking at things in different ways. If you think “It’s not working, it’s too spiky and it’s because of this, this and this.” slowly you work harder. Nothing will ever be given to you. You get the basic set of skills at university to go out now, and you know you can do stuff but what you have to do now is to train the way you do your stuff better. And the only way you get better is through always questioning things because you’ve got no one else to question now. No one is going to hold your hand and guide you; and the only people that will are buried in between book covers. You can try to get in their head and see how they did things. I love reading biographies of various people like Morris, Gill or Johnston. You understand a bit more about their background, what made them who they were, what life experiences got them to where they were, why they did things and you think that’s really interesting. Byron, for example, why did he go off on his grand tour and never came back? The fact that he had one leg shorted than the other, odd things, bizarre stuff like Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein on Lake Geneva, you put it into context. You question all the time, find out more and more and eventually you get new stuff coming in. You look at different references and indirectly that feeds back. Be it in design or inspiration, you can never go wrong.
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the great british issue
Published on Mar 17, 2010
The 17th Issue of the award-winning student-led magazine of the Students' Union University of the Arts London (SUARTS - www.suarts.org)