Archive for the 'Design' Category

TALK: Ian Anderson & Kim Coleman 6.30 Weds 4th May


Please join us for talks by Ian Anderson and Kim Coleman. Ian is a graphic designer and founder of ‘The Designers Republic’, the Sheffield based design studio. Kim is an artist and a designer of live stage shows for bands.

Comm Des Talks are a series of talks and workshop events organised by the Communication Design department at GSA.

Sign up here for tickets:

Weaving Type


Com Des 2015 graduate Ruth Kirkby will be showing new work produced as part of her residency at The Caseroom SWG3 on the theme of weaving and typography. The show is at the new Glasgow Society opening 7pm Thurs 24 March.


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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Straight Outta Comdes

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 15.47.20

I thought I’d sign off from 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

Evening Class

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 13.35.38
If you’re in London, consider the Evening Class. Brought to you via viscomdes person Gareth Lindsay and friends of viscomdes Europa.

Make Work Data Work


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.

Source: Make Work Data Work – A Feral Studio

26th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno 2014


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.

Lunch Bytes

DSC_0447 DSC_0452

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.

Continue reading ‘Lunch Bytes’

Universal credits for OFFF Moscow

OFFF Moscow / Film Titles from Universal Everything on Vimeo.

Vital Resource

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.

ADCAN winners

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 16.55.08

Congratulation to ADCAN 2015 first place winners – Nichamon Kittisimanont and Finn Arschavir, Y4 Illustration and Graphics, with The Rucksack Project.

Sexology Launch

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.

Act Now

Four days of exhibition, workshops, lectures, artist talks, panel discussions, performances, and screenings. Bringing together leading Asian and international talent to share, collaborate, and inspire. More: / Site and identity by Moniker (check it out).

Everything is Super

Super-Community (and Conversations) are two new interesting platforms (with interesting content) from e-flux.


PRINTSHOP! is open to the public from 12-5pm Tuesday – Sunday for people to get creative and make and display prints, and will also play host to a series of exciting free weekend workshops focused on screen printing, letterpress and book binding all devised and led by a host of different artists makers and designers. As part of the exhibition, a collaborative artwork produced by Edwin Pickstone and Ciara Phillips will also be on show. Printshop! Workshops All workshops are free and are on a drop-in basis. No booking is required, if sessions are busy places will be given on a first come, first served basis.

Sat 15 & Sun 16 August – Letterpress print workshop with Edwin Pickstone

Sat 22 & Sun 23 August – Screen Printing workshop with Zephyr Liddell & Ben Ashton

Sat 29 & Sun 30 August – Book Binding workshop with Cristina Garriga of My Bookcase

Source: Printshop!

The Bind

Celebrate the launch of William Goldsmith’s latest book The Bind at Glasgow School of Art, Reid Building 6-8pm Thursday 13th August 2015. There will be drinks provided and a chance to see original artwork from the book in The Caseroom.

William Goldsmith is a writer and illustrator based in Glasgow. His first graphic novel Vignettes of Ystov, was nominated for the Newton First Book Award at Edinburgh International Book Festival. It told the stories of the interlocking lives of ‘Ystov’ inhabitants – an Eastern European city of the imagination. His second book The Bind is a book about books. It centres around the tale of two brothers Victor and Guy Egret, and explores the rise and fall of there family business – the once prestigious London bookbinders Egret Bindings.

Random House says ‘In 1910 brothers Guy and Victor Egret take on an ambitious commission: a deluxe, jewelled binding of a collection of poems, A Moonless Land. It proves to be a moment of hubris. The work triggers their ruin, watched by the disapproving spirit of their father, Garrison Egret. A darkly humorous tale of sibling rivalry and creative one-upmanship, The Bind shows once again that William Goldsmith is an incomparable storyteller and a marvellously inventive artist.’

Common Senses

Common Senses_3

I made an enjoyable discovery when dusting off some old work files last week. Common Senses, Number One, March 84 was published when I was in my First year at The School of Art. I recognise Jimmy Cosgrove (the master puppeteer on the back cover), Danny Ferguson (formidable looking but insightful and encouraging), John Cunningham (who used to tie his tweed jacket together at the front with a bit of twine), Conrad McKenna and Peter Sumsion (who had a snazzy line in corduroy suits). The zine was put together by students for students and is packed with nostalgic goodies – current stuff, interviews (including Steven Campbell and Ken Currie), poetry, recipes (including cheese nut burgers), book, exhibition and film reviews.

My favourite articles included /
Juke box survey in Pubs in Central Area by Catherine Bisson

oceans eleven


“Bet you never thought of walking into this pub. It doesn’t look very hot from the outside and it’s not exactly all cushions and carpet on the inside. However from my point of view it’s got something that’ll make me go back. They’re video Jukebox. Not only can you hear your favourite songs, you can watch the video too. It’s fifty pence for two songs and you can choose from a wide variety of material. They’ve got quite a few very up to date ones; The Killing Moon – Echo and the Bunnymen; Love is a wonderful colour – The Icicle Works,; The Colourfield – The Colourfield, to name a few. They have Relax by Frankie goes to Hollywood but I’m afraid the video is very tame. They have some pretty obscure things, for example; Don’t Box Me In – Stewart Copeland and Rumble Fish; Aerobics – The California Girls and Que te Quiero by Katrina and The Waves, whoever they may be. They’ve got quite a few classics as well – Independence Day by the Comsat Angels; I only want to be with you by the Tourists and Stand by your man by Tammy Wynette. There’s also a whole load more, some I’ve never heard off, and some I don’t think worth mentioning: The video picture is good and the music is loud but not offensive.”

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* Pigeons are the only birds capable of sucking. The rest make do with sipping and swallowing

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“So you think you’re an Art Student” quiz including /

Question 4 — Do you go home to:-
a) See your family, b) get Mum to do your washing, c) get fed and pissed

Question 5 — How many times are you heard saying “frustration” or ”depressed” in one day?
a) never, b) 10 or less, c) at least 5,000

Question 7 — How many times a day do you go for a tea break?
a) 5 or less, b) 10-15, c) my whole day’s a tea break

Question 15 — When a tutor slags your work do you:-
a) Go into a four months sulk, b) Ask to look at her/his recent work, c) Tell her/him to ********** off

If you answered mostly c) you proved to the world that as an art student at The School of Art you were the coolest, hippiest thing to be seen walking along Sauchiehall Street. I needed a d) option for each question to accurately reflect my non posering experience in Yr1. The dodgy anorak without a hood, polyveldt shoes and home knitted sweaters didn’t help. The Mary Chain changed all that …



There were some lovely memories from this year’s Singapore Immersion Programme. Our 70 Singapore guests shared knowledge and cultural differences in the Haldane for three (almost sunny) weeks in June. One of the aims this year was to explore a variety of expressive processes and ask the students redefine them visually and verbally. The students adopted a sense of ‘openness’ and desire to experiment with a variety of media and techniques – they entered into workshop activities with a positive and energetic spirit. Adding to the atmosphere of knowledge transfer were the GSA student ambassadors who exchanged information in whatever way they proposed – discussion, debate, playful activity, performance, drawing and writing. Big thanks to Ryan, Trudi, Laura, Penuel, Jack, Peter, Juliette, Emőke and Rachele.

An important breakthrough moment for one Singapore student was articulated during an interim crit. The student had produced a triptych of drawings of an elderly person climbing a steep street in Glasgow. The drawings were characterful and full of energy. When asked if this was a method of drawing they were familiar with, they replied no. They were using an expressive approach picked up from earlier workshop activity that inspired a new way of looking at the world.

The following piece is from green group b — Fayth Foo, Poh Jing Yi, Tiffanie Sng and Nigel Tan. An animation which examined the remaining structures of an old mill on the Kelvin Walkway. Through their observations, they measured time through repetitive habits and behaviours that portrayed the possible ‘degrading’ of the mill’s history, forgotten both in the physical and psychologically aspect.

Flint mill_1


Google Vol. 1

A volume containing the entire dictionary represented by the first image result returned by Google images for each word. Review by Daniel Bennewith Gray.

On Colour

Fascinating stuff, as usual, on bldgblog.