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

YOYP Xmas Alphabet

18 December 2018

We had Whitespace in a couple of weeks ago to run a guerilla day for their Year of Young People project. Whitespace briefed 60 students (also including a class from Napier University) to each take a letter and create a festive themed alphabet. Chris Brohl and Niamh Curran came in to R310 and  over the course of the day the students put together a set of creative letters.  Everything was top secret, given that the results were goign to be used on real Christmas cards.

The resulting alphabet was used to send out letters to Whitespace's clients, friends and supporters. You can check out the results of the project, and read more about it here.

Pure Joy

HND Graphic Design student Joy Mooney took the Breakthrough Award at the DMA awards recently in London. The DMA Breakthrough Awards runs in partnership with the DMA Awards and GRT.

This year, Direct Line supplied the brief, which was to re-position Direct Line to a younger target audience for new car insurance by building awareness of the brand and increasing understanding of 'black box' insurance. We managed to produce all three finalists with Joy being joined by Natasha Ryan and Blanca Jiminez.

All three travelled down to London with tutor Helena Good to pitch their ideas to the judging panel, ahead of attending the Awards.  Joy took the top prize but Natasha and Blanca shared the joint Silver prize - a huge achievement all round for our student creatives.

DMA Breakthrough Finalists

25 November 2018

Huge congratulations to Blanca Jiminez, Natasha Ryan and Joy Mooney who have all been announced as finalists for the DMA Breakthrough Award for their work on the Direct Line brief.

The three final year students will be travelling down to London during the first week in December, along with tutor Helena Good, to pitch their idea to the DMA panel, and then attend the awards night on Dec 4th!

Into Orbit

HND Year 2 recently finished a short poster project set by former graduates Kyle McPartlin and Kiera Winfield, both designers at Edinburgh agency Orbit.

They set a brief to explore the word 'collaboration', and the class were tasked with each designing a single A3 poster using the risograph process. We exhibited the work in the hub and also invited along Johnny Gailey, who runs Out of the Blueprint studio in Leith, and specialise in riso printing and facilitated the production of the work.

Kyle and Kiera are due to announce a winner of the project next week, and that will guarantee one talented student a placement at Orbit.  Some sample risos from the project -

Class of 2018

24 October 2018

Lovely film by 2018 graduate Natkritta Chanmee, which she filmed over the course of her final year at Edinburgh College.

YCN At The Barbican

19 September 2018

Earlier this week we attended the YCN Awards in London to see five Edinburgh College students (four from Graphic  Design and one from User Experience Design) receive YCN Commendations.

YCN has been going now since 2001,  and we have been regularly attending the awards since 2008. This year Director Nick Defty introduced the ceremony at the Barbican with a nice summary of the YCN ethos, its aims and achievements since its inception. He talked about some of the challenges currently faced by the Creative Industries, and also the opportunities encouraged by YCN, things like collaboration, fresh ideas and inclusion.

This year there were three guest speakers - Ciara Phelan and Dorcas Brown from Grand Matter,  Anna Carpen, Creative Director at And Rising, and James Greenfield, the co-founder of Koto.  As always these speakers were tasked with providing words of wisdom and advice to the YCN Commendees, and their efforts were insightful, amusing and hugely appreciated.  James Greenfield in particular stuck a great note when he advised all creative students to try and eliminate worry from their work, and just get on which developing great ideas.

HND Graphics students Iain Waugh, Kit Lawson and Kryz Wajand produced winning entries for Dogs Trust, Art Fund and British Gymnastics respectively, with Natasha Ryan and Sophie McKinlay (from the HND UXD course) commended for the Action on Hearing Loss brief. All received a wonderful YCN wooden block this year, designed by Tom Forsyth.

Since 2009 the HN Graphics course has amassed no less that 19 YCNs, a formidable feat competing against Art Schools and Universities across the UK and Europe.

Its become a tradition on these visits to the YCN Awards to catch up with any former graduates who are now working in London, and this year we met up with 2015 Graduate Olga Kominek, who went on to study Graphic Design at Glasgow School of Art, graduating this year with a 1st BA(Hons). Olga is now working as an intern with design and fashion magazine Wallpaper*. You can check out her work over on behance.

Kryz, Kit and Natasha at the YCN reception.

Iain Waugh, Natasha Ryan, and Tutor Alex Gunn

YCN solid wooden blocks

Kit Lawson gets on stage at the Barbican.

Another Big Star

22 June 2018

Niamh picks up her award from Union's Creative Director Sheryl Thompson (right) and host Danni Menzies.

To round off a bumper year, the course is celebrating another win at the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards, with HND student Niamh Curran picking up Star Creative Student accolade for her work on the STV brief, sponsored by the Union.

This project is unique on the course because the initial response is a written submission, and the shortlisted candidates then pitch their developed idea to the judging panel. Niamh held off competition from talented creative students at Robert Gordon's and DJCAD, and our students have now won this award in no less than six times in the last seven years.

An extra bonus this year was that 2017 graduate Christina Giannakou, now a designer at AlwaysBeContent, was shortlisted in the Rising Creative Star category, a great achievement so early in her career.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Star Awards brings together the largest gathering of the marketing and advertising community outside of London.  This year, some 500 practitioners, clients and creatives celebrated at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.  The full list of winners can be found here.

Samples from Niamh's submission -

Four Commendations

20 June 2018

YCN have announced the commendations for their annual student awards, with our HND Graphics course picking up no less than four of them. This is the most commendations we've had in a single year (the course chalked up three commendations in both 2011 and 2015). This year Iain Waugh, Kit Lawson and Kryz Wajand produced winning entries for Dogs Trust, Art Fund and British Gymnastics.

YCN had a late announcement for the Action on Hearing Loss brief, with Natasha Ryan achieving a commendation for her submission.  Our sister course HND Interactive Design also secured a commendation for this brief for Sophie McKinlay, meaning that five students for the HN Visual Communication area will be travelling to London in September to the YCN Awards.

Samples from the Commendations -

Iain Waugh - Dogs Trust

Natasha Ryan - Dogs Trust

Krys Wajand - British Gymnastics

Kit Lawson - Art Fund

More : Full list of 2018 Commendations

Showing Off At Show 2018

6 June 2018

Great short film of our recent Industry Night & Show at the Dovecot in central Edinburgh.

Good Work : BIMA100

13 May 2018

Great news earlier this month for Graphic Design lecturer Helena Good who was named in the annual BIMA 100.  Helena was listed in the Talent Champion category for her pioneering work on the Engaging Schools project 'Daydream Believers'.

Helena attended the BIMA ceremony in London, and also bumped into one of our mentors, Gregor Matheson, who made the list in the Rising Stars category for his work as Design Director at Tayburn.
BIMA - the British Interactive Media Association - is a not-for-profit industry body representing the digital industry across the UK. The BIMA 100 list celebrates the people who are shaping the British digital industry.

Check the full list of BIMA 100 2018 and rad this BIMA blogpost about Daydream Believers.

Real Life

Andy telling it as it is in Design Lab A111 at Granton Campus.

We had a recent visit from designer and mentor Andy Jamieson, who talked to the HNC and HND classes about his career. Andy has five years' experience both in-house and agency, and described how he came into Graphic Design through the HND route and described securing a junior position at Teviot.  Andy showed some examples of his work on various projects and for a wide range of clients, then talked about his recent redundancy from award-winning Glasgow agency Front Page and how he has since tackled moving into freelance.

Andy also recently collaborated with two of our other mentors, Kirsten Murray and Kat Summers, on their new magazine 'Aye', and contributed some great photos for the first issue of former HND graduates Liam Philp and Catriona Munro, who feature in the magazine. Check out some of Andy's work here - http://andyjamieson.co.uk and his work for Aye.

Along the way Andy had some great pieces of advice on self-belief, making contacts and developing skills.  Inspirational stuff.

Star Creative Shortlist 2018

18 April 2018

We're celebrating good news from the Marketing Society Scotland, who have announced their annual shortlist of six students for the Star Creative Award 2018. Our HND final year student Niamh Curran has made the shortlist, alongside students from Robert Gordon's, DJCAD and Dundee University.

The award is in the Development category, sponsored by Union Direct, and requires students from Universities and Colleges in Scotland to submit a written proposal to a brief set by a high-profile client.  This year, the client was STV Creative, and the brief was to devise a campaign to expand STV's reach with younger audiences across Scotland.

The shortlisted students will all pitch their developed ideas to the judging panel at the Union Agency, and the winner will be announced at the Marketing Society Star Awards, the annual celebration of Scotland's world-class marketing community, in June at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.  You can find out more about the awards, including the shortlists across all the professional categories, at the Star Awards 2018 website.

Over the course of the last few years our course has produced five winners of this award, including the winning student in each of the past four years.

Sprint Friday in Berlin

12 February 2018

Traditionally as part of our annual Berlin study trip in February we arrange a studio visit. In past years this has included the generosity of Saatchi, TLGG and Eden Spiekermann. This year we were lucky enough to visit Axel Springer, one of the world's largest publishers, on the Wednesday (which we'll report on in a separate post) and AJ&Smart, one of the foremost exponents of the 'Design Sprint' ethos in modern visual communication, on the Friday.

The AJ&Smart studio is located in East Berlin, close to the East Side Gallery (one of the few intact parts of the Berlin Wall). The studio was founded by Aussie Michael Smart and Irishman Jonathan Courtney, and includes employees from the UK, Finland, Brazil, Russia, Poland, and of course Germany.  We were lucky enough to meet Michael when our group - all 40 students - arrived just before 4pm on Friday.

Huge glyphs on a wall right opposite the AJ&Smart office on Kopernicker Strasse.

Our students are all set to hear from the lovely folks at AJ&Smart

Venla Hakunti and Rob Hamblen, both wearing some cosy-looking AJ&Smart slippers, put together a great welcome and a fantastic presentation to the students.  The presentation focussed on the company's 4-day sprint process, itself based on the original 5-day model devised by Jake Knapp, a design partner at Google Ventures and the author of the best-selling book 'Sprint'.

Rob introduced some of AJ&Smart's clients - who have included Air BNB, Slack, and Europe's biggest retailer MOVMNT - and talked about their approach to design thinking and how the studio selects and manages its projects.  He then explained the typical sprint process at AJ&Smart - ideation, sketching/storyboarding, prototyping and testing - then demo'd some awesome sprint products, including a really cool mobile app for Red Bull and a (prototype) real bar of chocolate.

Something AJ&Smart build up plenty of during a Design Sprint

Rob explaining the four day sprint model.

As well as reeling off too many great quotes to list here, Rob, himself an HND graduate in Graphic Design, then gave a great Q&A, and our students asked some really sharp questions about generating ideas, dealing with clients, planning, timescales and process.

The AJ&Smart experience also included some nice refreshments and a general natter at the very end, and all of our students were clearly buzzing after the talk. It's always amazing when busy organisations take the time to host talks to students, and everyone agreed this was a big highlight of the 2018 Berlin trip.  Massive thanks to Venla, Rob and also to Danny Holtschke for making this all happen.  Hopefully we will visit again next year!

We left AJ&Smart a heartfelt message.

They even do Design Sprints in the AJ&Smart toilet!

Leith Cycle Co - Rebrand

5 February 2018

Our NC Graphics class have just completed a new brand communication project. The brief was to rebrand the Leith Cycle Co. - a small independent cycle shop based in Leith, self-labelled as the 'small shop with a big heart'.  For this project the class had to extract five core values from their research of the client, and then develop a new logo. A second requirement was for them to choose suitable typography and create a new colour palette, and then design sample pieces including direct mail, a website landing page and outdoor.

Here are three interesting examples of the process development from the first part of the project - to design the new mark.

Marta Winogrodzka - 

Ida Bukantyte - 

Zoe Leung -