The design courses blog for BA (Hons)
and HND Vis Comm at Edinburgh College

Review 2009 Photos

21 December 2009

Some great photos for our review night! Click on each pic for a larger version.

HND Year 2 looking mean and moody in black:

Helena congratulates recent graduate Gemma Rundell on her YCN Commendation:

Artur and his winning t-shirt:

Santa gives the thumbs up to Emma Hart's winning t-shirt design:

Carolann and Julie with their mentor, Ian Farmer.

No, its not a new boy band, its some of our NC students.

HND Year 1 show off their t-shirts:

HND Review 2009

17 December 2009

On Wednesday night the Design Team held its end-of-year Review in the Hub.

The event, the first of its kind, was conceived and planned by lecturer Helena Good, and featured a selection of print work by both HND Year 2 and Year 1, covering the past 15 weeks of their respective courses. Also on display was a video installation of Year 1 work, and a digital presentation of NC print work.

Students from all three years designed their own t-shirts for the event, using a word or phrase that related to their learning. The evening was a great opportunity for them to relax a little bit, let others look at their work, and reflect on their progress so far.

As well as Department Head Jeff Brown, a number of the Mentors were in attendance, along with a good selection of our former students, who were all clearly impressed by the work our current crop of students are producing.

Santa also made an unlikely appearance and assisted Helena in handing out Secret Santa presents to the 1st and 2nd years.

The next event of this kind will be the Year 2 Industry night, hopefully taking place in the middle of next Semester.

Review clip -

This is the YCN

15 December 2009

This is the YCN Annual 2009/10

The YCN Annual is a showcase of emerging creative talent, featuring work submitted by designers for specially commissioned briefs durign the previosu 12 months.

With a new name and format - and a customisable cover - YCN have set out to include as much original and specially commissioned work as possible.

As ever, the publication marks the launch of the annual YCN Student Awards; presenting 20 new live creative challenges - from the likes of Google, Castrol, Cartoon Network and VisitScotland - a selection of which we will be handiong out as class projects next semester.

A dedicated chapter also celebrates all those commended as part of last year's programme, including two of our former students (see my recent post about them).

D&AD 2010

9 December 2009

D&AD Yellow Pencils

D&AD's Yellow Pencils are recognised the world over as a symbol of true creative achievement.

D&AD has celebrated and nurtured outstanding work in design and advertising since 1962. Each year, the D&AD Annual Showcase provides an unrivalled source of creative inspiration and is a great guideline as to current trends, skills and style in contemporary visual communication. Its also a good indicator of the sort of designers that Further and Higher Education is producing.

So this year, with Edinburgh's Telford College now fully joined up to the University Network programme, we'll be looking to encourage our HND students to submit work based on the 2010 briefs.

The D&AD University Network Programme has been running now for more than twenty years, and being a member helps an institution to establish relationships with leading creative practitioners and agencies, provides teaching packs and resources incorporating the best examples of creative practice and execution and adds live industry focused elements to the curriculum.

Membership is aimed at all Higher Education courses teaching creativity including Advertising, Graphic Design, Digital Media, Film & Animation, Photography, Illustration.

One thing I am excited about this year is that D&AD are revamping their web presence to include an online showcase of each institution's entries, which should give our submissions a great deal of exposure to the right sort of audience.

Preparing Your Entries Guide
D&AD Sponsors and Supporters 2010

Typography for the Web

2 December 2009

With more print-based designers now delivering for the web, one consequence has been a huge amount of interest in web typography.

What's true for print holds true for the web - the way in which typography is controlled and presented can dramatically improve or hinder the reader. And of course when it comes to the web, maintaining the users' interest (and site visiting time) is crucial.

More print-based ideas and techniques are transferring from page to screen, and a lot of it is down to CSS and standardisation across the major browsers. CSS now provides us with styles to mimic print techniques such as kerning, tracking, leading, justification, drop-caps and so on.

HND2 are now well into their Web Unit, and one area that we will look at in detail is typography for the web. As well as an unlimited supply of great online exercises and examples, there are some useful articles on the web, many written by successful designers and aimed at everyone from novices to experts.

Key reading on typography for the web:

Noupe.com - Contrast, Techniques and Best Practice.
3point7designs - 10 Examples of Beautiful CSS Typography and How They Did It.
Aisleone.net - 8 simple ways to improve web typography.
Typographic Design and Best Practices

YCN Briefs & Commendations

10 November 2009

YCN has announced its annual collection of live creative briefs open to students and recent graduates. Now in thier 8th year, the awards identify and showcase emerging talent in design and communication. The awards are based around a collection of live creative briefs, written each year by partnering brands, charities and other organisations.

The list of clients this time around includes Google, HMV, P&O Ferries, Ted Baker, and Castrol. All of the work Commended as part of last year’s YCN Student Awards is also available to view on the site, and includes some written notes and thoughs by the designers, giving a nice insight into their working methods.

These include commendations by two of our HND students from last year, Alazne Amadov and Gemma Rundell.

The deadline is 26th March 2010. Let's hope we can pick up some more commendations!

Working with Photographers

9 November 2009

Thought this bit of info from Iain Lauder at Redpath might be useful for those of you working on the Spirit project.

"On the photography brief, the way I tell our designers to deal with any collaboration,
be it photography, illustration or copywriting is sort of the same.

It's basically about being organised, having a clear idea of what you are looking for, but also remembering that certainly in the real world, the person you have approached has a style that you like, which is why you've chosen to use them. I appreciate that here it is slightly different because you're being told who to work with but that can happen too and when this is the case, it's even more important to get the other person on your side. Make them feel that they are also there to contribute and have a wee creative brainstorm if need be. Also, the most obvious but important thing is to arrange a meet and get them to talk through their portfolio, show interest in their work like you expect/hope people to do with yours and listen. Listen to what they like doing, ask them questions, make them feel important and then steer them onto your project and what you're looking to do. Even show them the layouts, so they can see the format and space their images will work in. This will have a huge bearing on how they shoot, whether they need to keep any spaces clean for copy etc. Preparation in advance is so important. A tip is often to pull out a few examples of the style or image you're looking for and chat these through.

The final point though is to keep it upbeat and don't be too dominating, too heavy on the art direction."

This is an exciting opportunity for both Designers and Photographers. It will be a challenge for both groups but one that will hopefully be mutually beneficial.

Hand in for this project Wednesday 2nd December - watch this space!

My Song

First year students are busy working away on their type project with some great results. This brief encourages them to recreate the lyrics to their favourite song in an interesting typographical manner. This was originally set by Ian Kirby of Lewis Design as part of the Second year mentoring programme. With such a strong first year we thought we would extend the challenge to them!

As part of their final submission students must present the work digitally using the music alongside the lyrics. The challenge in this project is to engage with the lyrics and type and to look at how we can push typography in an interesting a visual manner. As part of our research we looked at some of the work featured on Fontfeed.com

We are already starting to see some great experimenting. The hand in for this project is Tuesday 17th Nov.
I am really looking forward to seeing the end product - watch this space!

Mentor Presentation - Hannah Bloomfield

4 November 2009

In a first for the mentoring project, one of our HND Year 2 students presented work from their current mentor brief to a select panel of Telford's Senior Management.

Hannah presents her concept to the panel.

Hannah Bloomfield's brief was to redesign Telford's corporate identity and bring it bang-up-to-date, enhancing the visual appeal both for students and for the college as a learning institution in the modern, competitive educational marketplace.

With acting Principal Greg Irving, Head of Marketing Alex Field, and Department Head Jeff Brown all in attendance, Hannah pitched a really clever and energetic set of design alternatives to the College's current corporate visual identity. This included some great ideas on the use of the campus' interior, as well as posters, a website layout, billboards and of course a set of very cool new logos.

The presentation produced lots of positive discussion and plenty for the College Board to consider. Hannah's mentor Iain Lauder, from the Redpath agency, was also on hand to provide some informative industry insight into the project.

Check out some examples from Hannah's work-in-progress (click each for a bigger version):

ETC Logo

Logos. Click for larger images.

ETC Logo - Books

Book Logo example.

ETC Promotional Poster

etc poster example.

ETC Prospectus

Prospectus Front Cover.

ETC logo- construction

Department Logo

Adobe @ Tidalfire

3 November 2009

Tidalfire, in conjunction with Adobe, are running an Adobe Creative Suite 4 Week during November. This is a series of events in Edinburgh and Glasgow focusing on Adobe Creative Suite 4 applications, technologies and solutions.

Amongst the presenters will be Adobe's Steve Burnard, and Design guru Harry Hemus.

Design Team members David Wilson, Chris Hughes, Richie Bisset, Stuart Aitken and Mariusz Panciewicz will all be attending, and hopefully building on their current software knowledge (and of course integrating it into delivery to the students).

For more info, check out the Tidalfire site.

Web Unit - Reading

29 October 2009

HND 2 have started their Web Unit. This is a two credit Unit that covers the major aspects of designing for the web, including converting print design for the web, developing web-based layouts, controlling web typography, and of course, CSS.

Smashing Magazine has dozens of articles worth reading to get a perspective on current issues and trends in design for the web. Here are three key ones -

Switch From Print to Web : Where To Start?
Getting Out of the Box - Creative Web Layouts with CSS
Web Design Trends for 2009

There are also 100's of online inspiration galleries you can check out (and in some cases, 'borrow' css from). A great examples is CSS Envy.

Photoshop for the iPhone

21 October 2009

Adobe has released a stripped down version of Photoshop for the iPhone. Its still only available in the US, but has already taken 1 million downloads in less than 2 weeks. Apparently it features some nice touches including:

Basics: Crop, Rotate, and Flip
Color: Exposure, Saturation, Tint, Black and White
Filters: Sketch, Soft Focus
Effects: Vibrant, Pop, Border, Vignette Blur, Warm Vintage, Rainbow, White Glow, Soft Black and White.

You can edit photos in your library and upload them to your account, but not the reverse. Once it is uploaded, you'll need to go to the Flash based Photoshop.com to continue to edit.

But we won't be seeing students (or designers in agencies) ditching their Mac's just yet.

Adobe, recognising the limitations of the app, are only too happy to provide a link to a very funny spoof, where Layers TV announce a full-blown CS3 version, complete with callcentre support:

Looking Back Looking Forward

16 October 2009

With lots of activity on the Mentoring programme, and the HND 2nd Year work placements only a few months away, a number of students have been asking about job prospects for 2010, so it's worth looking back to the early spring to see how the experts were viewing employment prospects at that time.

Back in March, Design Week published an excellent article outlining the current trends in the Graphic Design employment situation. It also included a pdf file detailing average salaries for various job roles, both in London and across the rest of the UK.

Their research showed that there has been a drop in demand for print design, but a steady increase in the need for digital skills and and web-based knowledge.

Obviously its becoming ever-more important to develop good working practices with the digital processes that are delivered during lab sessions. But remember - you still need to be able to generate good ideas, and a quick glance at some of the recent vacancies in the likes of The Drum shows that both print and web-based roles are still out there.

Resources :
The Drum

Chocolate Presentations

28 September 2009

The HND 2nd Year surprised our panel of Mentors, and themselves, by pitching five amazingly inventive and well-realised concepts for the Chocolate brief.

There was a real atmosphere in the studio (should that the the 'boardroom'? :), and thanks to Helena's excellent organisation, everything ran very smoothly. The groups delivered their ideas, visuals and concepts very professionally, with lots of nice team interplay, and every pitch put forward a convincing case for the winning idea.

The mentors took copious notes and provided some great feedback for each group, and despite a few insightful disagreements, were remarkably united in declaring 'Choc - Chocolate with Character' the winner. So congratulations to Artur, Duncan and Carolann - You're Hired!

A second Mentor brief has now been issued, and rather than one project, the class will have to take on a number of different projects, including rebranding a Fish Tackle Shop, reworking the Olympic 2012 Logo, creating a web presence for an extreme sports outlet, and developing a campaign for the 65th Anniversay Memorial of the Holocaust. Wow.

Detail from 'Choc' Packaging : (Artur, Duncan, Carolann)

Choc Box / character slips

Detail from 'White Lies' Packaging : (Hannah, Lisa and Paulina)

White Lies tagline / Box

Detail from 'Aztec Gold' Packaging : (Tania, Jonathan, Julie)

Aztec Golf Box

Detail from 'Fetish' Packaging : (Amanda, Ola and Gunnar)

Fetish Box / cheeky extras

More packaging to follow ... and the posters will all soon appear in the gallery page.

You're hired!

10 September 2009

The second years have been set a tough task as their first project. Based around the final episode of the Apprentice they must create and promote a new range of chocolates. Working in teams they have just 2 weeks to put a presentation together that will be shown to all the Mentors on the 23rd September. This evening will be the first opportunity for both Mentors and students to meet. There will be no firing though only hiring and ultimately that will be the choice of the 8 Mentors.

This year we have 4 new Mentors on the team. We are very grateful to all the designers who have offered up their time and energy to work the students throughout the year. This is a tremendous opportunity for our final year group. Next week we hope to allocate students to Mentors.

In the meantime I will be doing my 'Margaret' bit and observing how each of the teams are working - watch out for the raised eyebrows!

Now where did I put that box of chocolates......


One of the projects the first years are working on at the minute is based around the word 'perception'. The brief allows students to be both designer and curator for the National Gallery. In our first class together we spent quite a bit of time looking at the different meanings of the word. Working in teams of 2 we then transfered all our thoughts on to the 'concept wall'. This will be left up for the duration of the project and the second years were encouraged to add any thoughts they may have about the project. We discussed what we would include in the gallery and how we could use the space to challenge people's perception.

We looked at some interesting presentations on the TED talks website - one of my all time favourites- and used images from Flicker to challenge how many of our perceptions are built around a persons appearance. Some great feedback! I am looking forward to seeing how the ideas develop over the week.

Check out Natasha Tsakos multimedia theatrical adventure and Tom Wujec on the 3 ways the brain creates meaning all on ted.com

YEAR 2 : Mentor Brief

The first mentor brief for the Year 2 class cmoes from Graeme Cook from Elmwood. This is a short project which should get everyone thinking, and you are required to take the following shape/symbol, and 'make it your own'.

X vector

This is concept-based project where you are asked to do some thing amazing with the simple shape above. It's a vector file, so the solution needs to be created using vectors.

The deadline is Tuesday 15th Sept. You can email your submission to me before then, or alternatively email it direct to Graeme on Tuesday. Good luck!

Induction Project '09

9 September 2009

Working on 'Reverse'

Working on 'Reverse'

Working on 'Reverse'

Working on 'Reverse'

Day one and the first and second years were expected to rise to the challenge. Given just one word - reverse- they were asked to put a 5 minute presentation together selling whatever product the word suggested to them. This was a great opportunity for both years to mix and hopefully learn from each other. For the second years it was an opportunity to meet the first years that they are going to be Mentoring over the year. This is a new proposal and one that we hope will allow better integration between the two years.

Having just a day and a half to create the presentation, the results were really encouraging. Presentations ranged from a reverse dining experience - you got your coat when you arrived and the menu when you finished - to a game show that showed us the answers before we heard the questions.

We all voted for the winning presentation with the Game Show being the overall winner. It was great to see the different concepts and how well everyone worked as a team. It is obvious even at this early stage that we have two really strong classes. It makes the journey very exciting for all of us!

D&AD Membership

31 August 2009

For over twenty years the D&AD Student Awards have been kick-starting stellar careers in design and advertising. The work displayed on their site represents the best new creative talent in the world today. Past winners of the coveted D&AD Student Yellow Pencil have gone on to work in the best organisations around the world producing some of the most creative work.

Edinburgh's Telford College is hoping to become a member of the D&AD. The D&AD Student Awards 2010 will officially launch on September 21st. In advance of this, D&AD have already posted the first 10 briefs for tutors and students to download. These will be joined by an additional 17 briefs covering the full range of disciplines in Design and Advertising.

Some of these briefs may well find their way into the HND Project list this Semester.

'A' Award from YCN

28 August 2009

The YCN program is based around a series of live briefs, issued each year in collaboration with partnering brands. There is an annual summer exhibition of commended work and the publication of an annual book.

The 'A' is a new award, created by YCN to be presented to emerging creative talent. Industry figures and practitioners from the various design disciplines will be chosen (and surprised) with a large physical 'A', created in a relevant material or process. Those awarded an 'A' will have their own work exhibited at YCN's studio at 72 Rivington Street.

An edition of white A's are also being created for those Commended in response to the most recent YCN Live Briefs. This will include two Telford Students from the HND Graphic Design 2008/9. You'll find their names on the list on the YCN Awards page. Check out these examples of the prototype 'A' -

Designer Clara Terne with the Prototype 'A'

Prototype 'A'in production

A number of the Year 1 and Year 2 Projects for the 2009/10 session will again be drawn from the YCN Book, which is due out towards the end of 2009.

[Shafted] Final Year Class Award

24 August 2009

A new year starts and we must say goodbye to another HND Second Year, all of whom are now out in the world of work, or completing their education at Art School or University.

The outstanding final project in the HND Graphic Design class of 2008/9 came from 20-year old Lyndsey Whitefield, who took on the difficult task of developing a campaign to promote an exhibition commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Miner's Strike.

Lyndsey's client was the National Gallery of Scotland, and the brief was to give the exhibition a broad appeal that emphasised the historical importance of the events to a younger audience, but also tapped into the current 1980's nostalgia for those of us who lived through the events. And of course it had to look really sharp and energetic.

What the work shows is not only how well Lyndsey dealt with the technical aspects of designing for print, but also how strong her research efforts were, and how brilliantly she managed to capture the visual energy of the events. The finished pieces are fresh and contemporary, with a bold documentary-style look and feel.

Lyndsey now works as a Graphic Designer with the Lane Agency.

Scargill Flyer

Digital Packaging

Thatcher Doublepage Spread

See Also :
Strike 84 - Photography