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

Design Event / Toolbox Project

13 December 2011

Some images from our recent Event Night, which was a great success. Graduates, mentors, tutors and of course HND 1and HND 2 and students got together for a series of short talks and a great 1-hour project, all in celebration of their respective connections to our HND Graphic Design course.

For the project, a total of 12 teams put their creative minds together to come up with a 'graduate toolbox' which could be issued to design students as they take their first steps out into the commercial world. Our team filmed the whole event, and clips of some of the presentations will soon get posted up here. Click any image to view them all in lightbox.

design event 1

Iain Lauder talks

toolbox teamwork

toolbox project

more toolboxing

toolbox ideas

toolbox creatives

even more toolbox work

toolbox team 6

You can also check out our galleries area to view samples of work that were shown on the evening. These comprise various project pieces that HND2 have produced this semester.

Event Night, Dec 7th

5 December 2011

We are just about there with preparations for our event night on Wed Dec 7th. The festivities will take place in H001/2 (the lecture theaters just behind the Hub), and a sizeable number of former graduates have confirmed that they'll be attending.

HND 1 and 2 will be sporting our traditional white and black t-shirts, and a full catering service will be provided. The itinerary will hopefully be as follows:

From 6pm - arrival, photos, food and drink, then a schedule of short events, including a welcome from Helena Good and presentations by Iain Lauder, Redpath, and Hannah Bloomfield, Multiply.

There will then be an awesome one hour project, plus feedback, followed by presentations by Ian Kirkby, Lewis and Emma Hart, Story.

Finally, some more food, drink and photos to end the evening around about 8.30pm

Kinetic Type/MyType

30 November 2011

By popular demand - Nic Cameron's Kinetic Typography for the MyType/National Museums of Scotland project - put together using Flash.

First off, the MyType Invite (note - this version contains no audio):

and secondly, the MyType WordPlay demo (also no audio, but this one is interactive) -

The Spiller Effect

23 November 2011

A big thanks to our newest Mentor, the Line Agency's Rufus Spiller, who delivered an inspiring talk last week to our HND Year 2 class. Rufus also popped up at the D&AD event at ECA, where he spent some time with our students doing a very useful portfolio surgery. Check out the full presentation:

Museum Lates / MyType

21 November 2011

HND 2 have just finished 'MyType' - a brief to attract twentysomethings to a aeries of late night exhibitions and happenings at the National Museum of Scotland (currently running as 'RBS Museum Lates').

The mentors were involved in art direction on these projects and provided lots of useful and constructive criticism during the design process.

Samples of kinetic type and interactive apps found their way into some of the solutions, and here are a few samples from the finished projects.

Who Killed Gill Sans?
Steven Brown - guerilla ad for 'Who Killed Gill Sans?'

Kat Rebacz - A Day/Night of Type Adshel Posters

Jordan Porteous - a night of xpresn

Michael Kerr - Fairground Type

D&AD On Tour in Edinburgh

20 November 2011

D&AD is 50

D&AD will be celebrating their 50th year in 2012, and with their new project briefs hot off the presses, this is the time of year when the organisation tours the Universities and Colleges of the UK, spreading the word of its amazing Education Network, and delivering workshops, lectures and seminars to the creatives of the future.

These events are also a chance for tutors from the various institutions to meet and get talking about the issues of the day.

This year D&AD's education event was hosted by Edinburgh College of Art (ECA), where students and tutors from ECA, Edinburgh's Telford, Edinburgh Napier, Newcastle and Sunderland were present.

We took along a contingent of 20 HND students, and as well as a cool industry-led workshop and a series of portfolio surgeries, they were treated to a great lecture by Jack Renwick, the former Creative Director at The Partners, the UK's leading Branding Agency. Jack has just set up her own, as yet un-named agency, and had all sorts of advice, insights and amusing anecdotes about the world of graphic design.

As well as showing some great samples of her innovative work at The Partners, she talked about the importance of team-work, nurturing client relationships, developing creative ambition, and having fun whilst thinking for a living.

The tutor round-table meeting, chaired by D&AD's Director of Education Rhiannon James, featured Dave Ward from Realise, Edinburgh's leading digital agency, presenting 'UpGrade' - an industry/education initiative piloted in collaboration with Edinburgh's Napier.

The project gave a class of undergraduate designers a six-week placement at the agency, shadowing key figures in the organisation and developing a short digital project with a virtual budget of 50K. Realise hope to roll out this model of employer engagement to other institutions.

As usual, everything D&AD does is inspiring and this was another great event.

Our HND Year 1 and 2 students will be assigned D&AD project briefs during the first week of January 2012.

Graduate Come Back!

9 November 2011

Graduate Come Home

Our annual review night, originally scheduled for Nov 30th, has now been moved to Dec 7th. This year we've invited many of our former students back, to meet up with our current crop of student designers, and to catch up with former mentors and tutors in a celebration of our recent successes.

We've just distributed a nice poster for the event, entitled 'Graduate Come Back', designed by HND Year 2 students Kat and Viktorjia.

This year we've also issued a digital promo, 'we still love design, etc' showcasing many of our awards and achievements, all packaged up in the emerging format of the moment, HTML5.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

D&AD 2012

7 November 2011

A first batch of five D&AD Student Awards 2012 briefs have been published.

The sponsors and clients for these briefs includes Channel 4, IHG, Interbrand, and Ministry of Sound. For the first time ever, D&AD have also opened up one brief to anyone under the age of 26, and to all recent graduates. Full details and download packs are available if you log into the D&AD site.

The long-awaited 2011 D&AD Annual was also published earlier this week.

The book, published by TASCHEN, is an example of ethical and environmentally sustainable publishing. Its carbon footprint is apparently 82% less than the 2010 edition, which received some criticism for its bulk and environmental-unfriendly production methods.

D&AD Annual 2011

Sustainability expert Nat Hunter and graphic design icon Harry Pearce of Pentagram collaborated on the final product. You can read ahow the annual was designed and produced. Hopefully a few of these books will be turning up in our studio mail during the next few days.

D&AD will be in Edinburgh next Thursday, 17th November at Edinburgh College of Art, and we have 20 places reserved for HND1 and HND2 students. Not everybody will be able to get to this, but we'll announce the arrangements later this week during studio time.

Type Games

1 November 2011

Here are two great type games, guaranteed to amuse and possibly to inspire the current HND 2 Project 'MyType'.

The first one is KernType - where you can adjust the kerning on a word and receive a score out of 100. The second one is shapetype - where you can adjust a glyph by manipulating anchor points.

Call for Entries YCN

YCN have just published their Call for Entries of the 2011/12 YCN Student Awards. This year's live creative briefs include clients such as ESPN, SEGA, M&S, Heinz, The CO-OP, and the Independent.

The deadline for submissions is March 30th 2012 - and the briefs can be found here.

Write It Out!

25 October 2011

As Erik Spiekermann once observed, "a real typeface needs rhythm, needs contrast, it comes from handwriting, and that's why I can read your handwriting, you can read mine."

So as part of their Typography unit, HND Year 1 were tasked with celebrating the handwritten word with a project entitled 'Write It Out!'

With the proposed client as the National Museum of Scotland, the brief required two submissions - handwritten letters to our industry mentors, and a set of visuals creating a campaign to promote an exhibition. Two of the most engaging results came from Stefano Cocchia and Katy Johnston.

Stefano gathered together some great quotes about handwriting, and created a series of bright typographical posters and then combined them all into this funky ad -

Katy Johnston's concept began with an inventive letter to Alan Lennon of Lennon Design, in the form of a doctor's prescription, with some great copy - Junior Designer, *Intern, 1 X daily as required between 9am and 5.30pm (weekends - emergency use only).

Katy Johnston letter

Katy then developed the medical theme and came up with some great
visual ideas alongside further examples of her inventive copy -

Katy's poster1

Katy's poster2

Age UK Mentoring Project

13 October 2011

HND Year 2 presented their first mentor project of the year earlier this week, a fairly recent D&AD brief which we dusted down and reworked due to the fact that the client has just recently changed their corporate identity.

Age Concern, now Age UK, had set the task of tackling ageism and highlighting their mission to confront and eradicate it. The mentors agreed this was not the easiest of briefs, but the class still managed to come up with plenty of inventive work.

A standout solution came from Viktorjia Kravcova, whose 'Age Is Just A Number' concept produced some great combinations of typography, iconic subject matter and inventive in situ promotional visuals.

Age is 70

Age is 70 insitu

Age is 65

Age is 65 Ad

Age is insitu Omni

NC Typography

11 October 2011

Well done to NC Graphics for their terrific set of typography posters. This is just their second class project, and their first with any substantial digital work, and across both groups the results are refreshing, bold and confident.

It helps that we gave them some great subject matter to investigate - an event at the London Design Museum, focussing on a typographer (Brody, Renner, Frutiger, Gill, Bass) or a typeface (Garamond, Futura, Gill Sans, Bodoni or Frutiger).

All the posters are on display outside R310, and here is just a quick sampler:

Saul Bass poster
Andrew Palfreyman (Group B)

Neville Brody poster
Craig Nicholson (Group A)

Adrian Frutiger poster
Calum MacKinnon (Group A)

Futura poster
Emils Blums-Blumanis (Group A)

Bodoni poster
Craig Dodds (Group B)

Garamond poster
Magda Milek (Group A)

Futura poster
Iona Wright (Group B)

We Love Alliance Graphique International

6 October 2011

at AGI in Barcelona

Earlier this week, some of our HND students made the trip to Spain to attend the Alliance Graphique International (AGI) Open Conference in Barcelona.

The guys were lucky enough to see some of the world's most famous graphic designers showing their work and sharing their ideas.

With Paula Scher
Tadas, Jonny, Viktorjia and Sarah meet the one and only Paula Scher.

Pentagram illuminaries Paula Scher, Angus Hyland and Michael Bierut all presented talks, as did Marion Banjtes, and of course Stefan Sagmeister, who talked about his upcoming movie project, 'The Happy Film'. Educators and writers Steven Heller and Lars Muller were also amongst the speakers. In total there were 27 AGI members presenting their work and ideas on design.

Will this event ever make it to Edinburgh? We hope so! The 2012 conference will however be held in Hong Kong.

Our 'A'mazing YCN Winners

29 September 2011

Abbie Macpherson and Sarah Crawford, YCN winners 2010/2011

Earlier this week, YCN staged their annual Student Awards in Shoreditch Town Hall, London.

I attended along with fellow Design tutor Alex Gunn, and two of our three winners - Abbie Macpherson (White & Mackay brief) and Sarah Crawford (Boost brief). Unfortunately Gill McColl (Ted Baker brief) was unable to make the trip down, but we were still able to celebrate Edinburgh's Telford being the only Scottish College or University this year to pick up commendations.

YCN put on a great show and had guest presenters Johanna Lundberg and Elin Svensson (a.k.a. Åh), Sam Green, James Gilpin, James Chambers and Tom Judd (of Chambers Judd), Hattie Newman and Daniel Frost, presenting the commendations. Each guest also presented a short animated film about their work, in collaboration with Plastic Horse. One great example came from digital agency ChambersJudd - with their '22 ways to kill a cowboy' App -

Designer Philip Oakley presented the custom-designed 'A' award to Student of the Year Dominic Mckenzie, of Cambridge School of Art (Open University brief), and the evening was nicely finished off with an after-event party at the Strongrooms, just around the corner from YCN's HQ in Rivington Place.

A selection of photographs by Owen Richards and Elinor Jones can be viewed on the YCN website, with more to follow.

Meeting Our New Mentors

26 September 2011

mentoring portfolio surgery
Talking to the Line Agency's Rufus Spiller - our newest Mentor.

Well done to all who participated last Wednesday evening as our new Mentors for 2011-2012 came along to the Design Studio to meet HND Year 2.

Fuelled by wine and an excellent buffet, the mentors enjoyed our famous speed dating ice-breaker, and then settled down to watch Steven Brown, Zia Vest and Nic Cameron present their solutions to the 'Conspiracy' brief. A feedback and advice session followed on portfolio and project-work.

The Mentors also underwent a short filmed interview for our archive. Ian Lauder and Ian farmer were unable to make the session, so they'll have to face the cameras at a later date.

Helena gave out the first mentoring brief - a typography project to design or modify a typeface - and as part of the research gathering for the brief, the students interviewed their mentors with a set of carefully prepared questions. This project will be presented in three weeks time.

mentoring gettogether
R310's 'Design Process' mural gets the critical treatment.

A special mention must go to HND student Terry Smith, who is recovering from a serious medical operation, and managed to make the event, bringing his portfolio along on his iPad.

The Mentors for 2011/2012, in no particular order -

Ian Kirkby : Lewis Agency
Ian Lauder : Redpath
Ian Farmer : Upright Creative
Graham Neish : Neish Design
Kirsten Murray : Children 1st
Alan Lennon : Lennon Design
Veronica Ferguson : Heedi Agency
Rufus Spiller : Line Agency

Taking The Proverbial Even Further

19 September 2011

It's been a whirlwind summer for HND Graduate Gill McColl. As well as a stint at the Touch Agency, and starting up a successful freelance career, Gill's final project 'Take the Proverbial' has become real commercial success.

History ReTweets Itself

Take the proverbial images

Gill's work - a series of contemporary proverbs in retro-typographical styles - now has its own e-commerce website, and a distribution deal in a number of high profile shops and galleries, where the prints have been selling well.

Take The Proverbial recently made the pages of the Scotsman Supplement, and this week is featured on the influential Computer Arts Magazine's blog, where Rob Carney, the editor of Computer Arts, posted a great review of the work and included some nice quotes from Gill herself.

Take The Proverbial@Computer Arts Blog

Conspiracy Project

17 September 2011

HND Year 2 have just submitted their first main project of the year, 'Conspiracy'. The brief was to choose a well-known conspiracy theory and develop an integrated promotional campaign to raise its profile with the general public.

One standout example comes from Steven Brown, who chose the NASA Moon Landings, and based his idea around the strapline 'Reasonable Doubt'.

Steven mixed condensed sans serif type with some great vector images to produce a memorable set of visuals, includingposters, ambient media, packaging and a 30-second TV Ad. Steven also expanded the subject area to include a few other famous American conspiracy theories, including the shooting of JFK.




Three of these projects will be selected for presentation next week to the 2011-2012 Mentors, on their first visit of the session to the Studio, and a full project gallery of all the class work for this brief will be posted up shortly.

We Love Amazing Design Events

13 September 2011

This is a very busy time in the world of design and education.

Towards the end of this month I will be attending the annual YCN Students Awards Ceremony in London, to see two of our own (recently-graduated Sarah Crawford and current HND Year 2 Abbie Macpherson) pick up their YCN Commendations. I'll also be collecting the third award on behalf of Gill McColl.

We have just renewed our D&AD University Network membership, and D&AD are currently involved in a number of events this month in London to coincide with the London Design Festival, which runs until 25th September at the V&A.

D&AD have also announced that their annual educational tour, where they travel the country and present workshops, lectures and seminars, will include a visit to Edinburgh this year. Last year's event took place in Glasgow and was hosted by Glasgow School of Art.

The venue this time around has yet to be confirmed, but the date for your diary is Thursday November 17th.

Finally, it's typography heaven as TYPO - Europe’s most successful annual three day design conference - returns to London during October and features a bunch of A-listers from the world of typography, design, film, publishing and education. Speakers will include Neville Brody, Michael Bierut, Erik Spiekermann, and Gary Hustwit (the director of the HELVETICA documentary). Wow.

Check out more at the typolondon website.

Induction Week

2 September 2011

The Design Team brought together all the graphics classes for this years' induction, and created a schedule of short ice-breaker events to get the groups working and thinking together in the studio.

HND1 and HND2 were involved in a speed-dating session followed by a one day team-based project, both of which were led by HND2 student Michael Kerr. The teams then presented the following day to both of our new NC Graphics + Digital Design groups.

Later in the week the NC groups got their chance to get involved by teaming up with HND students on a 60-minute Guerilla brief. The task was to promote plasticine to an older audience. In seven teams, comprising between 5 and 8 members, the students armed themselves with some A2, a fistful of marker pens, a sketchbook and a packet of plasticine.

Each team then pitched their concept - presenting and talking in the studio to around 50 students and two tutors. This was a great introduction to the design process for the NC students, and a chance for everyone to contribute and have some design fun.

The winning idea came from the 'Moldy' group, who were inspired by the recent Paris post-it wars, and presented their plasticine idea on a pane of glass. Awesome.

Three merit stars in the HND project feedback.

Michael Kerr and Abbie Macpherson lead the pub quiz.

Team 'Awkward Silence' pitch their plasticine concept.

Very well done to all. A fantastic achievement, and a great start to the 2011-2012 session.

Studio Space R310

18 August 2011

Full Mural

Our graphic design students will be working in a revamped studio space in R310 this year.

The studio now boasts an awesome black and white mural, depicting the design process. The mural, which is 5.5m long and 2m in height, was created by HND Visual Communication graduate Adam MacDonald, who spent a week over the summer drawing out the characters, icons and diagrams in his own unique style.

Many thanks again to Adam, who is now working as a junior designer with Edinburgh-based advertising and design company The Covey Agency.





As well as the mural, we've made rearrangements to our archives, supplies and workspaces, and have acquired a large selection of new paper, in every A size and in a variety of weights, and including translucent, day-glo, satin and grained finishes.

In due course the team will be announcing plans for Induction week, which will commence the week starting Monday 29th August.