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


16 December 2016

Holly (l) and Niamh pick up the big cheque for their Schools Project win.

We hosted the presentations earlier this week for our Schools Project - a project about engaging more closely with Art & Design teachers in Secondary Schools across Scotland. The project was sponsored by Threebrand - an Edinburgh-based Design Agency who are involved in our mentoring programme and are strong supporters of design education and employer engagement.

The project hopes to improve information about FE and studying in the Creative Industries in particular, and also to encourage schools to look at the way they prepare school leavers for interviews, portfolios and Higher Education courses.  This collaboration between the College and Secondary Schools aims to develop a new strategy for increasing access to FE for school leavers.

Prior to the presentations we held a short reception in the Hub, where sample HND Graded Unit and HNC design projects were exhibited, and the presentations then took place in studio R310.

We had five shortlisted projects 
Liam Philp (HND)
Laurence Barber and Hazel Pike (HNC)
Chelsea Foley and Natasha Ryan (NC)
Christina Giannakou (HND)
Niamh Curran & Holly McNie (HNC)

The students pitched to a panel of High School Art & Design teachers -

Scott Hunter (SQA Graphics Principal Verifier), Stuart Longair (Stewarts Melville), Shonagh Primrose (Tynecastle High), Philippa Drummond (Drummond High) and Robert Ward (Craigroyston High)

 - who kindly came along to the Granton Campus for the evening.  They watched each presentation and then provided feedback and selected a winning project.  The top prize included becoming a College Ambassador for Edinburgh College, and receiving a funding cheque to further develop the idea into a real campaign or product.

Helena presents College Ambassador badges to Holly and Niamh.

Massive well done to Niamh Curran and Holly McNie who won the top prize with their 'creative takeover' concept.  Niamh and Holly will now look at fully developing their concept into a new promotional educational tool to be rolled out to high schools in 2017.

DMA Awards 2016

11 December 2016

HND Graphic Design students Jennifer Grieve and Sam Haynes were in London last week, with tutor Helena Good, to attend the annual DMA Awards.

Jennifer and Sam were shortlisted in the DMA Breakthrough Award - which recognises emerging creative talent from the UK's Universities and Colleges. The pair picked up the runners' up spot and did some valuable networking, raising the profile of the course and doing Edinburgh College proud.

This is the second year in a row that we've had student work shortlisted at this national-recognised industry competition.  As well as attending the awards event, Sam and Jennifer presented their design solution at the Proximity Agency for the client (The Economist).

More about the Breakthrough award here, and a full list of DMA Award winners here.

Another Breakthrough

25 November 2016

Earlier this week the shortlist for this year’s DMA Breakthrough Award, sponsored by The Economist, were announced.

Entries came from 11 different Universities and Colleges around the UK, with students studying anything from advertising and marketing to graphic design and psychology. The shortlist included two of our current HND students, Sam Haynes and Jennifer Grieve, who submitted a standout solution for the Economist's direct mail brief. The winner(s) will take home a paid internship at a top agency and a £1,000 cash prize, with second place pocketing £500 and third place receiving £250.

Last year our HND student Ayesha Islam's submission for the East of England Co-Op brief took the Breakthrough Award, and she won a month-long placement in London at Proximity.

Sam and Jennifer will be travelling to London on Dec 6th to the DMA Awards - good luck guys!

Highland Park One Week

6 November 2016

Here's the video from our recent One Week project for Highland Park (Edrington), nicely shot and edited by our resident video specialist Richie McAllister.  The agencies involved this time around were Lewis, Multiply, Neish, Teviot and Whitespace.

Two Truths & One Lie

24 October 2016

This is an annual project for the NC Graphics class. This year, they had to write three statements about their music taste and produce a typographic response.  All the work will be posted on Pinterest soon, but here are some nice examples, all pretty self-explanatory, you just have to guess which ones are true...

Ruari Smith

Lea L'Homme

Blanca Jiminez

Connor Burns

Kit Lawson

Highland Park - One Week

15 October 2016

On Friday our design teams pitched their one week projects to the panel from Edrington - Jason, Wendy and Juliet. Each team presented their project and then they had to mount their deliverables down in the college hub for exhibition, where the other teams, and some of our industry mentors, could view all the work.

For this project, we worked with design agencies Lewis, Multiply, Whitespace, Teviot and Neish. Each team consisted of up to seven students, at five different locations across Edinburgh, and in some cases with multiple mentors to a team.  The teams had four days to produce the creative work, and 30 minutes on the Friday to present it.

As well as tutor visits and agency meetings over the week, communications across teams were run through the slack App, allowing students instant feedback and crits as they went along. This also provided the tutors with a running commentary on how the week was progressing.

Edrington's Jason Craig announced the winning work, with Team Lewis just pipping Team Teviot to the top prize. Team Lewis will now get to work with Edrington on the Highland Park brand.  The other teams all received Highland Park goodies and a great deal of praise.  As it turned out, all five teams were separated by only a handful of points, based on Edrington's judging criteria (i.e. based on exactly whats covered in the brief). Having worked with our students before (on Cutty Sark in 2013), they had a good idea of the kind of work to expect, but were really blown away by the quality and depth of ideas the students managed to produce in less than a week.

This was our ninth project of this kind, and the client and the agencies were again impressed with the professionalism and creative energy of all the students - the opportunity for this level of employer engagement is central to the curriculum offering on the course.  I'll post up samples from all the work soon, and there some examples here -

Jason Craig gives some insightful feedback to Team Neish.

Team Lewis #vikingconquerors

Team Lewis #vikingconquerors

Team Lewis #vikingconquerors

Team Teviot #vikingsoul

Team Teviot #vikingsoul

One Week No.9

13 October 2016

Our 9th One Week project finishes tomorrow, when HNC and Final Year students, working alongside 5 agencies - Teviot, Multiply, Lewis, Neish and Whitespace - will pitch their work to the client, Edrington's Highland Park brand. This is the second time that we've been lucky enough to work on a live brief with Edrington (we did a one week for Cutty Sark back in 2013).  Samples of all the work, plus the winning idea, will be posted once the winners have been announced.

The Client and the Brief


Team Multiply at Multiply.

Team Whitespace, at Whitespace.

Team Neish (with Graham Neish) at Creative Exchange.

Team Teviot - at Codebase, Granton Campus.

Team Lewis at Creative Exchange.

All images by Derek Anderson.

Commercial Types

7 October 2016

Our HNC graphics class have just finished their first major project of the year, 'Commercial Types'. The brief was to create an identity, promotional material, and exhibit samples for an exhibition aimed at introducing five important typographers - Matthew Carter, Bruno Maag, Tobias Frere-Jones, Carol Twombly and Erik Spiekermann - to a broader, non-design audience. The class were paired in creative teams for this project,a nd had the opportunity to discuss the work with our group of 'Design Buddies' at last week's Mentor Evening in the college.

Here are some samples from two of the final results. You can see samples from all of the projects on our Pinterest boards.

Renee Simonini and Julia Martins - 'Un-familiar Faces'

Hazel Pike and Lena Sakura - 'Typogravity'

Class of 2016

3 October 2016

Magfest 2016

20 September 2016

Magfest is Scotland's largest festival dedicated to magazine publishing and is held annually in Edinburgh. This is its fifth year, and was the biggest yet, with more than 300 delegates and a great city-centre location at the Central Hall, Tollcross.  The theme for 2016 was 'fight for your audience', and all of the talks loosely addressed the state of the sector and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Magfest attracts publishers, illustrators, journalists, photographers and designers (professionals and students), and of course educators. The format consists of keynote speakers on the main stage, broken up by short panel discussions, breakout workshops in other parts of the venue, and short talks by up-and-coming magazine publishers.

This year the list of speakers was exceptional, the pitches by new magazine publishers was a minor revelation, and the general organisation, promotion and networking opportunities of the event were all first rate.  I attended the morning sessions and some of the afternoon talks - a group of our HND Graphic Design students spent the whole day and had a great experience.

My program copy, beautifully typeset by Eric Campbell.

The morning highlights included the opening speaker, Vanessa Kingori MBE from GQ Magazine, who set the tone for the whole event by looking at the challenges facing the publishing industry, and the opportunities of new technologies and superior content. It was immediately clear after a few minutes that we were all in for an absorbing day, especially when Vanessa played a cool clip of David Bowie in 1999 predicting that the internet would alter how we communicate in ways which "we can't yet even imagine".

Also up in the morning was the CEO of News UK (and former editor at the Scottish Sun), David Dinsmore, who described the huge operation the group runs across the nation, and the many successes of Scotland's best-selling tabloid newspaper.

Next up was Holland's Ernst-Jan Pfauth from De Correspondant - a Dutch-language digital magazine of crowd-sourced journalists which is ad-free and uses a disruptive strategy to operate outside of the commercial constraints normally associated with magazines.  Original content, beautiful design, and an inspired subscription model have been key to this title's rapid success. For me this was the highlight of the day, and with hindsight, a talk like this about publishing would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

We also had an interesting diversion into modern Scottish politics with Angela Haggerty, editor of CommonSpace, talking about the vacuum this news platform has filled in terms of balanced journalism in post-indyref Scotland. Angela also talked about a social media platform funded by Common Weal, called 'CommonSocial'.

Lunch (in a metal box) is served.

The early afternoon talks included Terri White, Editor-In-Chief of Empire Magazine (and a former editor of Time Out New York), who discussed current trends in film magazines and the risks publishers need to take - which she duly demonstrated by playing a hilarious x-rated Empire infomercial delivered by Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool - google it.

In between these keynotes I really enjoyed the short pitches from all the new publishers, in particular the titles She is Fierce, Counterpoint, and Nutmeg stood out.  It's a pity I missed Astrid Stavro and Primate's Espen Brunborg, who talked about editorial design and web design respectively, but I'm reliably informed by our students that these two talks were superb.

And with workshops on comics, infographics and etc, there was something for everyone at Magfest. The free (and rather excellent) lunch, a set of great freelance stalls, and a fully stocked shop of Scottish titles all added to the sense that Magfest is firmly established as a brilliant event for creatives and publishers, and probably doesn't need to fight for its audience next year.

Our YCN winners!

8 September 2016

Our YCN Winners Catriona Munro and Liam Philp attended the YCN Awards at the Barbican in London with tutors Chris Hughes and Alex Gunn.  The students were commended for their response to the Orchard Pig brief. This year YCN saw the biggest amount of entries in its 15 year history, with Art Schools, Colleges and Universities from all over the world submitting competition work.

This is the 13th and 14th YCN Awards our students have won since 2008.  Catriona and Liam are just entering their final year of study on our Visual Communication / Graphic Design course and have a very bright future.  Well done guys!

More photos of the evening here on the YCN website.

Adobe BC

3 September 2016

Two of our final year students, Liam Philp and Matt White, devised the 2016/2017 Induction Project, entitled  'Adobe BC'.  The guys put together an awesome opening presentation and devised an ice-breaker task, then pitched the two-day project - to name and brand a stone-age design agency, and then sell the wheel by creating a poster.

As usual, we requested that no computers could be used, so that the whole project was hands-on. This year we decided to bring our NC group into the mix, giving us a group of almost 60 students, working over two days in groups of 5 or 6, with each group led by a final year student.

On the first day, the groups named and branded their companies. Matt and Liam supplied 10 slabs of stone on which each team had to create their mark.  On the second day, the teams set about promoting the invention of the wheel.

The winning team were 'Jakulating Nutz', led by Dora Bowman (HND2) and Aga Pomaranska (HNC).  Well done guys, we loved the ideas but the copy was a bit suspect...

A Brief Student Show was like this...

16 August 2016

Our annual Industry Night & Show - A Brief Student Show - was held at the Fruitmarket Gallery back in June, and turned out to be our biggest and most successful yet. More than 200 industry practitioners, designers, graduates and employers assembled to view our students' work and celebrate design education.

With the new term just a week or so away, we thought it might be nice to look back at the show with this short film of the event, when some of our mentors gave their impressions of the work this year.

You can also go to our flickr stream and see photos from the event, taken by our resident photographer Derek Anderson.

Showing Off More Winners

12 June 2016

On the back of A Brief Student Show, our hugely successful one night exhibition last week at the Fruitmarket Gallery, we've had a flurry of award wins for our design students, across all three study years - NC, HNC and HND.

In the NC year (our introductory foundation year), Aga Pomaranska won both the Richard Demarco Award and the Creative Student of the Year Awards at the College's internal prize-giving event - a first for our courses. One of the most influential figures in the Scottish arts world, Demarco is a co-founder of the Traverse Theatre and founder of the Richard Demarco Gallery. As a Trustee of the College, his award is given each year for outstanding achievement in Art & Design at the College. Aga will be continuing her studies next year on the HND Graphic Design course.

Aga Pomaranska with her Awards

In the HNC year, Catriona Munro and Liam Philp both won a YCN Commendation for the Orchard Pig brief. YCN is an important award, with thousands of entries from UK and international Universities and Art Schools, and these wins represent our 13th and 14th Commendations since 2008. The guys can now look forward to an exciting visit to London in September for the YCN Awards.

Finally, HND student Charlie Law had to leave the our final show early to get to Edinburgh's Corn exchange for the Marketing Society Awards, where he had been shortlisted for the Star Creative Student.

Charlie with presenter Laura Whitmore and Star Awards Chair, Paul Condron.

Charlie fought off competition from nominees at DJCAD and ECA to pick up our 4th win in 5 years at Scotland's showcase celebration in the Marketing sector.  Charlie starts a placement at Digitaslbi this week and will be the toast of the agency. Well done to all!

Marketing Society Scotland 2016 Award Winners
YCN 2016 Student Commendations
HND Exhibition Sampler from A Brief Student Show

National Galleries One Week

6 June 2016

As part of our annual end-of-year event at the Fruitmarket Gallery on 9th June, we'll be exhibiting our most recent One Week project, where our students took on a live brief from the National Galleries of Scotland, in collaboration with their mentors in design agencies Whitespace, Multiply, Realise, Teviot, and Blonde. Check out our short film of the project -

Part of the Edinburgh College Glow Festival, 'A Brief Student Show' is on at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, June 9th from 6-9PM.  If you are planning to come along but haven't let us know yet, you can register at www.etcshow.net

Moving Week

29 May 2016

This is 'moving week' - the last college week before our end-of-year show. Our final year students will be busy tweaking their Graded Unit projects and preparing them to go to print. Once all the projects are finalised, samples will be posted to our pinterest boards. The range of work this year is really eclectic and features print and digital work across editorial design, mobile, web, corporate identity, advertising, exhibitions, digital publishing, packaging and book design.

Edinburgh Copyshop are producing our A0 boards for the show, and also the collateral for the show campaign  - 'A Brief Student Show' - designed by 2015 graduate Simon Griffiths, from blueroom collective.

G.F. Smith are again sponsoring the show by supplying the paper for our invites (including their fabulous Munken Kristall Smooth 120gsm envelopes). The invite mailshot goes out this week to more than 60 agencies, studios and organisations in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Part of the Edinburgh College Glow Festival, 'A Brief Student Show' is on at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, June 9th from 6-9PM.  If you are planning to come along but haven't let us know yet, you can register at www.etcshow.net

In / Out

27 May 2016

We love topical projects. This one by HNC student Liam Phillp, for his Graded Unit, deals with the EU Referendum. The brief - In/Out - was to present an alternative to the recent Government publication outlining why we should vote Remain on June 23rd.

Liam's concept is 'the breakup', and blends an ironic play on personal relationships with crisp editorial design and a fresh typographic approach.  It's surprisingly informative, and far more memorable than any of the official information that's currently out there.