Archive for the 'Advertising' Category

Yr1 ComDes London Study Trip 07-10 December 2015

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

VISIT 10.00am


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

VISIT 10.30am

Fran Gordon

The Royal College of Art

Dyson Building

1 Hester Road


SW11 4AN

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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VISIT 2.30pm

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

VISIT 10.30am

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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VISIT 4.00pm


Studio 1, Albion Buildings, 1 Back Hill, London EC1R 5HT

met at Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL

U Farringdon

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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Yr1 ComDes London Study Trip 28-31 January 2013


VISIT / 10.00am
NOBROW / Sam Arthur
– An informal insight into London’s leading independent book publisher for contemporary illustration. They started in 2008 and work with illustrators across Europe that inspire. Their publications use a striking palette of colours and are printed on carefully chosen paper stocks. We were all envious of their screen printing area tucked away in the basement underneath the shop. Sam was really enthusiastic and gave the students great advice on self promotion.

VISIT / 12noon
PURPOSE / Amie Herriott
– Award winning design agency with slick presentation giving us an insight into the nature of branding. They organised a large selection of printed work on their board room table for us to browse. Interesting thoughts on how branding has to work across many platforms, their work hinted at “simplifying the complex”.

VISIT / 4.30pm
– Andy spent 90 minutes with us giving us a tour of his favourite projects. He studied in Leeds before going to the Royal College. It was there that he embraced collaboration across the design disciplines. The anti-aesthetic of GTF’s work still resonates. The importance of building relationships with clients opens up the idea generation, often delivering the process that drives the work. Andy remains a guru.


VISIT / 10.00am
SEA DESIGN / Danny McNeil
– Compact studio on street level with elegant meeting area upstairs. Masterful design work presented with style and a quiet confidence. We were all reassured when Danny said that they start working on projects “without an idea”. He then showed us where they look for inspiration. Danny emailed us after the visit “It was a pleasure. A very nice group of students to present to. Let me know next time you are in town and I will do the same when I’m in Glasgow.”

VISIT / 12noon
ITN WORKS / Alex Bec
– Alex inspired us with an introduction to his team (lots of beards) and a journey through his favourite work. ITN Works have a idiosyncratic business model based on a simple premise – great ideas and making them happen. Six years out of college, and they are working for Nike. They are facilitators who use a network of talented thinkers and doers.

VISIT / 4.30pm
KK OUTLET / Dave Bell
– Dave took us through the dynamics of a communications agency, gallery and bookshop. They host exhibitions and collaborations on a monthly basis. KK Outlet was set up by the Amsterdam based communications agency KesselsKramer. Well known work includes the famous low budget Hans Brinker Budget Hotel. Dave is originally from Edinburgh and followed a circuitous route to becoming a Managing Director. It is his writing skills and an ability to identify talent to collaborate with, that continues to motivated him.


Stumbled across this project that is being curated by Graphical House.

I thought it held quite a bit of relevance in subject matter and continued on from the LUST feral studio workshop that some of us attended, which certainly threw up some interesting opinions and work on the same subject.

and this somehow seems relevant

Copyright (Part 1 and 2 of 2), or, ‘Oh Brother!’

Part 1

Its been all round twitter for a few days now, so you’ve probably heard that one of the latest incidences of advertisings liberal ‘borrowing’ (for which, in this case, we can probably use the word ‘copying’) of ideas from other people and places, involves GSA vis com person James Houston.

It’s not the first time that this work has been emulated, but previously its been in a completely different context. We wish Jim well with whatever action he might need to take, and imagine that we’d hopefully see, via the internet and social media, a fairly swift re-dressing of this creative liberty.

There is in addition a more complex back story to this, about Jim’s dealings with the company that used the idea. You can pick up on that in the other online discussions.

In the interests of journalistic balance, Brother have already posted this comment to the youtube video;

“Brother is a business that operates to high ethical principles, and we are therefore concerned to read some of the comments expressed here.
This film is part of a campaign that we commissioned from an external advertising agency. We have asked them to investigate the points being raised and to reassure us about the creative process behind it.”
Antony Peart, European Marketing and Communications Manager, BrotherEU

Make of that what you will.

Part 2

My own personal views on the rights and wrongs of copyright law are mixed. As a law, it is fairly arcane, and what seems worse is that in situations such as this, it appears to do little to support the (often smaller, less wealthy) originator of the work. As an issue, it has come up in other degree shows, with other people accusing students of using music etc in pieces that they have made, without proper permission. I would argue that this is a completely different set of circumstances, differentiated primarily by the lack of commercial gain or motivation in the latter cases.

I also think that, in a broader context, a free flow of materials and ideas is a good way to recognise and celebrate the fact that nothing is dreamt up in a vacuum, and that ideas come about from combinations of influences. But this is completely different to lifting and replicating an idea wholesale for purely financial gain. An important foundation of this is the acknowledgement of sources and influences – again, something the Brother incident fails to do. People may disagree with this, and we would be happy to extend this discussion in the studio. It might form a useful starting point for some of the professional and ethical discussions we plan to instigate in the second term. More on that later. In terms of further reading in this area, I think this and these are good starting points.

Dear VisComDes blog….

Summer is usually a good time to sort out and update bits and pieces on the VisComDes blog, but for some reason that has evaded me this year, along with the long list of interesting ‘things’ off the ‘internet’ that I’ve been meaning to post for a while. This neglect will have to last a bit longer, as I’m working on a project alongside the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Continuing this deft piece of double-action excuse-making and self promotional bullshit, the URL is Travelling, Out With Moving if you want to follow it, the twitter name is @TOMveni.

Once that’s done, the VisComDes blog will receive a lot more attention. Watch out for news of upcoming talks, workshops etc, and a reminder of what the first day back of term is, once I’ve figured it out.

New Gio Compario campaign features hand rendered type

This advertisement really works for me. Spotted on the southside of Glasgow 29.06.2012.

Look out! Look out! Yr1 are about!

Good weather, good humour and an ability to challenge assumptions, brought the Yr1 ComDes students out into the streets of Glasgow recently. Working in groups of five, the students took some risks to make places in Glasgow famous.

We had: commemorative plaques dedicated to singer songwriter Darius, sheltering walkers in Kelvingrove Park under a canopy made from a matrix of umbrellas, turning the Duke of Wellington statue into Dukearoo! (his equestrian pal had a unicorn horn) and a forgotten underpass near to SkyPark brought to life with an installation made from woolen thread (see below).

The group of Sarah Jones, Isaac Neviazsky, Chelsea Frew, Lois Langmead and Louisa Reyce gilded a crack in the pavement with Tunnock’s Tea Cake wrappers. The students approached our national institution and got permission to use the iconic design and make something beautiful. Enjoy…

Riots by Design: Blaming the London Olympics

An interesting article on the Design Altruism blog by Daniel Drenan on the role designers and design education could play in helping communities to resist Gentrification and the numerous negative affects Mega-events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games have on their host cities.

Amongst many interesting observations the article gives an account of a series of workshops that happened in a college in Beirut in which students were given four groups to research in terms of particular Olympic games cities and their communicated messages: The Olympic Committee itself, the host city government, the design firm responsible for the corporate identity, and any protesters they could find. The article then goes on to discuss the information gathered by the students research and the work that was created in response to it.

For up to date  information on the London Olympics the Gamesmonitor site is worth a visit.  I would also thoroughly recommend watching Five Ring Circus a film about the Vancouver Winter Olympics available to watch free online and Olympicfield a film found in the year 2015 near the London Olympics site.

in 2015 near the London Olympics site

I Don’t Know Where I’m Going

Highlights symposium I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I Want To Be There from Graphic Design Museum on Vimeo.

I was planning to write up my trip to the ‘I don’t know where I’m going’ conference, but find myself in the strange, (but not unsurprising if I thought about it), situation where the whole thing has been recorded and documented online in great depth. Therefore what I think I’ll do is a personal travel diary, with some vimeo clips in the middle to represent the proceedings on the day. This may or may not work.

5.45am, Glasgow Airport: The plane boards, only 1/4 full as most flights back out of Schipol are cancelled due to yesterday’s snow. Wonder if I’ll make it back tomorrow, but I’m doing this for Vis Com, and plough on regardless.

A 45 minute delay to take off, they’re spraying de-icer on the wings. Worried, I wonder why the illuminated ‘no smoking’ and ‘seatbelts fastened’ signs look so similar from a distance. I wonder If anyone else wonders this.

Take off.

The strange but strangely enjoyable sandwiches (egg and cheese) are brought round with a cup of tea, a tiny spoon and a paper napkin faked up to look like a gingham tablecloth.

Mid-flight the guy next to me gets out to go to the toilet, stopping to do up his hiking boot laces. They were presumably unfastened to get them off going through security, but have inadvertently created a terrorism-related mise en scène, as he bends down in the aisle and starts fiddling about with his shoes, somewhere over the North Sea.

As we head east, the sun is coming up in front of us, more coffee and tiny spoons appear.

Amsterdam, a light southerly breeze, -5, snow.

We arrive slightly late at the conference, having completely misjudged the distance from the station to the venue. The talks proceed as follows, and you can pick up most you need to know from the following link.

Lunch, improbably long queue in bagel bar next door. In a moment of serendipity for any terminal name-dropper, we stand next to Danny van den Dungen from Experimental Jetset while we wait. Sure he’s written a similar post about how he stood next to me and Lizzie.

Afternoon highlight (for me) is Metahaven’s Wikileaks talk, and the ideas of ‘image economies’ (as relates to someone’s or something’s identity in a digital networked environment) and ‘agency’, doing only what needs to be done, and being prepared to do, or design, nothing.

Daniel van der Velden – Metahaven | Symposium I Don’t Know Where I’m Going But I Want To Be There from Graphic Design Museum on Vimeo.

Post-conference beers, shop/gallery opening, pizza, freezing, good deviating conversation. Hometime. Semi-drunk late-night check-in at a hotel where the room is approximate 30cm2 bigger than the bed that’s in it.

Return via Schipol airport. A modern Bosch-esque scene of travel infrastructure overload, make the gate with 5 minutes to spare, this is how I like to operate.

Descargar, Download

(This blog post should be read aloud whilst listening to this).

This weekend I was looking through the highly impressive Ubuweb and stumbled upon this film, Production of Meaning, by Adbusters. I’m interested in this because while I broadly agree with the sentiment, I was really struck by how outdated and simplistic the analysis seemed to be. I used to buy and read Adbusters and have been away from it for a while, but wonder whether post Naomi Klein and No Logo, the arguments need to be more subversive and more sophisticated in equal measure.

The second benefit of roaming Ubuweb was that I came across a link to this download of the entire Ken Nordine album ‘Colors’, which wholeheartedly satisfied my jazz/colour analysis needs.

Yellow Pencil


Congratulations to Abdi Adam and Fang Zhou who won the coveted Student Yellow Pencil at the annual D&AD Student Awards in London’s Old Spitalfields Market. Abdi and Zhou won in the Animation category for their short film ‘Design Intervention’ (see below), in response to a brief set by the Design Council’s Alliance Against Crime. Their work will be published in the D&AD Student Awards Annual along with their fellow winners.

Our Hero!

Just picking up on Neil’s Augmented Reality theme.
Sorry foggy. You can create your own hero here. This promo is  for the Swedish Broadcaster RadioJånst to encourage the internet generation to pay their licence fee. You can view it full screen here.

The Zimbabwean Trillion Dollar Flyer


TBWA created a campaign for The Zimbabwean Newspaper which had been forced out of the country for criticising Mugabe and enforced a 55% tax on the newspaper as a luxury tax. The campaign uses the currency as a symbol for regime’s policies bankrupting the country by printing the campaign on Zimbabwean Trillion Dollar notes. Flyers were also printed on the notes as below.zimbabwe-flyers

19th Century Trikewriter vs Nike Chalkbot


From a Bicycle as Outdoor Printing Press to tweeted and texted chalk road writing (and cringy promo video).

Rethink Scholarship

Rethink Scholarship at Langara 2010 Call for Entries from Rory O’Sullivan and Simon Bruyn on Vimeo.
If you are interested there is a scholarship competition to study for 2 years at Langara college in Vancouver. It also includes a placement at Rethink Studio in Vancouver as well.
If you like the pop up book format of the video you might like this video by shit disco produced a few years ago by illustration grad Jan Lun Lee.

“Things that aren’t designed look all ramshackle…”

Pringle is a new advertising video by GSA alumnus David Shrigley.

Thanks to Kate Hollands for the link.

Art & Copy

Here’s a trailer for a new documentary about the glamourous/sinister world of advertising:

‘Best Crafted Commercial of the Year’

sarah still - floor grimace

Bare Films – BTAA Craft Award Winners

Sarah\’s Story: Motor Neurone Disease Association

A Brand for London

Causing a lot of furore over the past few weeks has been the pitching process for a new ‘brand’ for London. One of the most noticeable pitches (which didn’t get through) was A Brand for London by Moving Brands. Effectively throwing the doors of design open to the great british (and worldwide) general public, this could be seen as either a) a brave attempt to grapple with citizen design in a public project using the web, or b) a cynical attempt to appear ‘now’, ‘switched on’ and ‘web 2.0 savvy’ for a high profile public pitch. The language is suspect (“As this is a fully democratic pitch”…etc) where in reality there is little co-design or democracy happening, through debate or discussion — rather a lot of very mediocre/awful designs (see bus above) being pushed out into a big internet-shaped hole, and the ensuing single line criticism or praise that follows. A very in-depth and opinion-led analysis of the whole process can be found on the Johnson Banks blog.

The geeks shall inherit the earth

There’s something toe-curlingly geeky about this presentation of some of the latest augmented reality technology heading for a mobile device near you. But this technology in particular seems to be ripe for some imaginative and creative applications—see artvertiser project below.

The Artvertiser: Augmented Billboards. from Julian Oliver on Vimeo.

Another advertising use can be found here and the source code and flash toolkit, should you want to start tampering with it, can be found here