Term 1 | Session 2015/16
1st Year Department of Communication Design
London Study Trip
Image / Steven Gribben, Yr1 ComDes
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A long time ago (only week 12 of Term 1) there was once a poor group of Year 1 Communication Design students from The Glasgow School of Art. They lived in a little village known as Glasgow. They often heard stories about a far away place called London where everybody was rich and the streets were paved with gold. Then came a great storm but the students were determined to go there and dig up some cool practitioners to share thoughts and inspiration. When they reached the big city, they found their own accommodation, navigated hundreds of people on the underground, arrived at all visits on time and asked relevant and insightful questions.
Here is the list of noble practitioners who entertained us /
Tuesday 08 December
35 Tileyard Studios, Tileyard Road, London N7 9AH
U Caledonian Road
Contact / Giulia Vaccari
t 020 7278 7976
Big thanks to the Scriberia team who have a unique offering of visual communication, illustration and animation. Kamilla wrote the following piece /
Blood, Sweat and Tea(rs)- offers the neon sign above Scriberia’s kitchen area cheerfully-
There is a certain welcoming and inspiring, yet very busy atmosphere at Scriberia, permeating the whole illustration studio as we step in from outside, placing our jackets (all soaked up with rain) on the sofa. Scribellings and sketches on the walls, freshly served tea on the table, bookshelves packed up with all kinds of illustrated publications – all these – enthralling for our “young delegation” of ComDes students.
After the first attempts to get back to Earth from this ecstatic visual state, we are then invited to a round-table discussion about the company and the role of being an illustrator nowadays.
Chris shows us some of their recent projects, tells us the company’s creative approach, and gives us some advice on future illustration work while we listen to him mesmerised.
The discussion is cheerful, the studio is well-equipped and with this joyful first impression of a “bit of creative London” we are then heading off in high spirits, bearing the secret thought in mind that it would be indeed very nice to work in an inspiring environment like this.
Kamilla Hu-Yang, Yr1 ComDes
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Wednesday 09 December
The Royal College of Art
1 Hester Road
U South Kensington and a lovely walk
Fran gave the students a tour of the impressive printmaking facilities in the Dyson Building (very shiny and new). She has started the first of two years at the RCA and is loving the freedom to make images. The course is full on and she is loving the new challenges that come with being completely self motivated. Fran was kind enough to show the students some of her sketch books which were considered and quietly powerful. Very interested to see how her work develops when she travels to Canada in 2016. Thanks Fran.
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FUEL Design & Publishing
33 Fournier Street, London E1 6QE
U Aldgate East
Contact / Damon Murray and Stephen Sorrell
t 020 7377 2697
Fantastic studio in the historic quarter of Spitalfields (just off Brick Lane). Stephen and Damon were chatting away with the students when I arrived (took a wrong turning). Gilbert and George opposite and Tracey Emin just along the road. FUEL were founded in 1991 and are famous for their work in print (see Russian Criminal Tattoo series). They have also produced and directed short films, identities, film titles and TV commercials (see Levis twisted to fit). Great insight into a working process that relies on discussion (very few scribbles) – it has to sound right before they commit to visuals. Working with Tracey Emin presented its own challenges in that she does not like the design to detract from her work – design elements have to complement in a clean and understated way. Engaging, humble at times, generous and warm.
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Thursday 10 December
HEART Illustration Agency
Top Floor, 100 De Beauvoir Road, London N1 4EN
U Dalston Kingsland
Contact / Darrel Rees
t 020 7254 5558
An illustrious list of names on the door buzzer raised the anticipation for this visit. Up a flight of stairs to an open plan loft studio including Eye Magazine and a number of notable creatives. Darrel met us at the top of the stairs and chatted to us at a large table in the middle of the studio. A lovely space with just the right amount of activity going on in the background to create a murmur, not a distraction. Valuable knowledge from the professional world of illustration – where commissions come from, how to put together a portfolio that resonates, how to keep busy when the phone doesn’t ring, managing workflow and the advantages of having an agent. I like the way Heart operates like an extended family with social events organised to bring all the illustrators on their books together to chat and share. Darrel has the overview, ensuring cohesion between illustrator and client. The printed samples provided were a mixture of promotional pieces and publications – The Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge being a beautifully printed example (look out for other examples of Beat produced by Heart Illustration Agency). Darrel sent me an email a few days after the visit — “Hi Michael, Just wanted to say it was a pleasure to meet you (again) and your very nice bunch of students. I really hope the visit was of some interest/help to them, even if it’s just seeing inspiring work.”
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FITZROY & FINN
Studio 1, Albion Buildings, 1 Back Hill, London EC1R 5HT
met at Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL
Contacts / Paul Finn and Alistair Hall
t 020 7833 4110
An outstanding hour of chat (starting off in the Betsey Trottwood) with Paul Finn (of Fitzroy & Finn) and Alistair Hall (of We Made This Ltd) then moving across the road to their bijou studio. They share the space with David Pearson the absurdly talented book designer who was out on business unfortunately (David designed the audacious Penguin cover for Nineteen Eighty-Four, you know the one? — the title is cleverly redacted). As I glanced around the studio I could see D&AD annuals (hot off the press), other classic Penguin Books, design guidelines for the BBC website, A Practice For Everyday Life‘s “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy”, a book about Brazilian concrete poets — all lovely stuff. It turned into a quality double act with Paul and Alistair trading stories about their work and philosophy. The best bit was a 5min, 4min, 3min, 2min, 1min countdown of their greatest hits described in a brilliant non-stop duologue. Heartening to see that with a bit of passion and skill, small can still be beautiful.
See the Yr1 typographic safari HERE
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The bicycle, an amazing tool for change. Activists and cities all over the world are moving towards a new system. But will the economic powers allow it? Bikes vs Cars, a new film project from BANANAS!* and Big Boys Gone Bananas!* director Fredrik Gertten, looks into and investigates the daily global drama in traffic around the world.
Mining Poems or Odes, a short documentary made by Glasgow based filmmaker Callum Rice has been selected to screen in competition at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival, USA. This follows Callum’s recent success at the Scottish BAFTAS in November, where the film picked up the award for Best Short Film.
Callum is a graduate of Communication Design at GSA.
I thought I’d sign off from gsavis.com with some loose associations and three greatest hits. And a big thank-you to Lizzie, Sam and Brian for helping to set this up in the first place, Michael for his always entertaining contributions, and the lovely Spam-bots. Please keep in touch here, here, and, if you really must, here. X
If you’re in London, consider the Evening Class. Brought to you via viscomdes person Gareth Lindsay and friends of viscomdes Europa.
On Wed 21st October, Studio 223 at SWG3 will host a very informal Feral Studio / Make Works event, with Open Work presenting some ideas they’ve been developing using Make Works databases of makers and manufacturers. It’s a 5-way collab. The best kind of collab.
The second part of the evening might involve a making and manufacturing Pecha Kucha Roulette, featuring some of Glasgow’s hottest designers and makers (if we can get it together).
6 for 6.30pm start.
Ruth Ewan’s Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World is a CD jukebox, sitting between digital and analogue technologies, which contains a growing collection of songs addressing a spectrum of social issues, some directly political in motive, some vaguely utopian and some chronicling specific historic events. The songs could all be described as progressive in subject matter. The archive currently contains over 2,000 tracks, with no more than two by the same artist, which are ordered into over seventy categories such as feminism, land ownership, poverty, civil rights and ecology.
Source: A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World | Projects | Ruth Ewan (thanks James Greig for the link).
Over a year ago, I went to this. It was fantastic – in both the quality of work showcased and the intellectual reach of the events. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to write up my notes, but you can follow the general goings on here. If you prefer to experience things through the medium of ambient field recordings, you can access that below.
Earlier this year I attended a Lunch Bytes conference at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. (HKW generally puts on fantastic conferences at reasonable costs, and as such, is worth checking out). Also at the conference were vis-com-des people Sophie Dyer and Solveig Suess. The conference was a summary of other various symposia that have taken place under the Lunch Bytes banner (an initiative of the Goethe Institute) on the topic of Post-Internet Art. This is a highly contested term, and rather than try to write up what everyone said, (you can see the videos of the presentations here), I asked if Sophie and Solveig would be interested in exchanging questions and answers from the conference. They generously agreed, and that exchange can be read below.
Studio 223 are excited to announce their second resident in The Press, Gareth Lindsay, who will be discussing some of his work and his intentions for the residency during an informal chat at Studio 223 in SWG3. Gareth graduated from Communication Design at GSA in 2013 and lives in London. He is a freelance designer working with Europa, The Wire and most recently Housmans radical bookshop in Kings X. Through these various roles, Gareth works on books, booklets & leaflets, signing and shopfronts, exhibition design, magazine layout, various printed ephemera and even websites. More marginal activities include amateur cabinet making, sporadic lettering and minimal amounts of writing. Guests are welcome to join us after Gareth’s talk for a Pizza Party and Talks from the artists and designers who work in the studios at SWG3.
Tyler Brûlé hosts a special live magazine discussion with some of the industry’s most revered figures. Gert Jonkers of ‘Fantastic Man’, editor of ‘Paris Match’ Olivier Royant, media strategist Ian Birch and world-renowned graphic designer Erik Spiekermann all appear before a studio audience.
Interesting discussion on magazines here.
The Institute of Network Cultures has had a site refresh, and it’s a good excuse, if any were needed, to look through their amazing resources for anyone with a critical interest in the internet and digital networked technologies. Many of the books are available as download.
Congratulation to ADCAN 2015 first place winners – Nichamon Kittisimanont and Finn Arschavir, Y4 Illustration and Graphics, with The Rucksack Project.
Launch: September 18, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm — Free
The Sex in the Women’s Library season culminates with the launch of a new sexology themed publication Sex Between the Covers. Designed by GSA viscomdes person Kirsty McBride, Kirsty undertook this project as part of a designer in residence role at Glasgow Womens Library.
The launch is open to all.