Archive for the 'Magazines/Editorial' Category

Yr1 ComDes London Study Trip 08-11 December 2014

Tuesday 09 December

VISIT 10.30am


93 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BX

U Borough

Contact / Alex Swatridge

t 020 7620 0272

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Within easy walking distance from Borough – a mixture of large and small scale projects – Royal Mail stamps for the Olympic Games versus hoardings for big property developers – print examples on the glass board room table to peruse – exaggerated book format for Centre Point – 60s inspired textures and patterns beautifully printed – architectural images from Paul Grundy – clean sleek studio – small team of one director (Gareth Howat, co-founder) and five designers – they like to keep themselves busy and currently have 45 projects in progress – a selection of lovely print samples and awards placed around the boardroom – they have been very successful in ‘tickling’ our minds




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VISIT 12.30pm


1st Floor, 5 Back Hill, London EC1R 5EN

U Chancery Lane

Contact / Mike Radcliffe

t 020 7278 7272

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Much talked about agent with excellent portfolio advice for students – shop front leads into neat office with receptionist, gallery space and funky seating area (we all squashed in) – pared back PDF presentation with top tips — try and build up a number of internships for the experience (it will be hard as some companies do not pay students on work placements) – this will help build a rapport and a chemistry – “keep your portfolio simple” – “be proud of what you do” – be well presented, polite and on time if you have an interview – Mike noted that attitude is more important than skill level (things have moved on from five years ago) – try to develop your people skills (warmer skills) – avoid the wet kipper handshake – Mike is open and engaging – he is keen to make links with The School of Art – nice cup of tea


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VISIT 12.30pm


54-58 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PH

U London Bridge

Contact / Gareth White

t 020 7403 0417

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New Future Graphic: a vibrant meeting room and studio space, we were greeted by Gareth White and his energetic studio dog who gave us lots of advice and honest insight into their growing business. The studio grew from the early days producing all the illustration in-house to now commissioning photography and illustration for the project (currently they are the worldwide creative agency for Clarks shoes). They also collaborate with clients and suppliers to bring new products to the market (by bringing together a printer and tailor) which challenges their role as designer and client. There were also lots of practical tips for students and graduates (use mail chimp to monitor your own self promotion) and valuable lessons learned along the way (assumption is the mother of fuckumption). All delivered effortlessly while multi-tasking playing fetch with the dog. Lovely. — Emma Keogh



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VISIT 4.00pm


11 Needham Road, London W11 2RP

U Notting Hill

Contact / Rhian Edwards and Angus Hyland

t 020 7229 3477

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We were welcomed into the big meeting space to the left of reception – I wonder who has sat around this table since 1972? – Angus presented his “show and tell” PDF that he had shared with the other Pentagram partners that week – hushed cathedral atmosphere – the presentation was chatty and engaging – content included branding work for Mulberry, ambitious new publishing project ‘Monarchs’ for Penguin (this included the options rejected by the client – all lovely) – crafted typography, carefully commissioned illustration (including Marion Deuchars etc.) and crisp gold foil blocking – he also showed some of his own geometric compositions used as backgrounds for Cass Art packaging (Glasgow shop is located on Queen Street) – when asked about the difference between American and UK design (“Le Style Anglais”), Angus suggested it was more about attitude (look at the work of New York partner Paula Scher for comparison) – when speaking at The School of Art recently, Paula said “fake your way through something three times, you become an expert”


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Wednesday 10 December

VISIT 10.00am


6 Brewhouse Yard, London EC1V 4DG

U Barbican

Contact / Clare Styles

t 020 7559 7000

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Clare met us in reception and was super friendly (I detected a hint of a north of England accent) – amazing contemporary offices – selection of 2000 era songs floating across large open plan studio (was that “A Song For The Lovers” Richard Ashcroft?) – lively, young, vibrant – lots of ‘break out’ booths with meetings going on – floor space is divided into five teams with Clare heading up one of them – confident and relaxed presentation in mezzanine meeting area – she took us through their Euro 2020 pitch which had been unsuccessful – daunting to think that her team worked solidly for around two weeks in addition to the fee paying work to produce three slick solutions – the cutting room floor often gives you the best insight into the level of creativity – despite losing the pitch, Clare was satisfied with the quality of the thinking and the attitude behind the work – a great studio for a first work placement – big thanks to our friend Lynne Devine for setting up the visit – wow!



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VISIT 12.45pm


107 Great Western Studios, 65 Alfred Road, London W2 5EU

U Royal Oak

Contacts / Fernando Gutiérrez  and Michael Gibb

t 020 3214 3277

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An exciting ‘hub’ juxtaposed under a motorway flyover (in a good way) – GSA graduate Michael Gibb met us at the front door and led us through a collection of busy studios – lots of activity and a happy buzz about the atrium – this looks like a good place to work – Fernando greeted us and guided us through a selection of images – some were philosophical, some were metaphors and then backed them up with highlights from his portfolio – it was a masterful presentation giving us insight into his passion for research and simple ideas that communicate – his work for the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid combines clever picture research with touches of classical and contemporary typography – Michael is a natural at Studio Gutiérrez, overseeing budgets and coordinating work with a range of international clients – great stuff!

Fernando GutiérrezV25_COVER295x400

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VISIT 4.00pm


Studio 1.8, 1–5 Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

U Bethnal Green

Contact / Peter Hellicar

t 020 8983 3829

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Compact studio in the increasingly fashionable Bethnal Green (not far from A Practice for Everyday Life) – Joel and Pete greeted us and then took us on a journey of the things they have done, the things they would like to do and the things that inspire – what a double act – they dance around each other offering insight with attitude – two unconventional paths synthesised – Joel has a Mathematics and Computer Science degree from Imperial and then went to the RCA – Pete was riding skateboards for 25 years – GSA alumni Kieran Startup was doing his thing in the background – was that an elegant piece of interactive type on his Mac? – Pete showed us ‘stuff’ that he had made in the past and highlighted the value of drawing as a tangible way to express ideas – he showed us a book on rock music photography from the 60s and 70s emphasising the quality and creativity of pre digital images – hey, these guys love the play between analogue and digital – best thing to ask a client, “what did I do wrong?” – there is no lack of enthusiasm here, big thanks.

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Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 22.24.39

I haven’t urged anyone to do anything in a while, so I urge you to read New Practice – an urgent, (in the political sense), final-year project by Thom Swann, a student at Kingston University.

Splash One






By the mid eighties, Glasgow had an ‘anorak music scene’. Groups like The Pastels (original member, Annabel Wright), The Shop Assistants, Primal Scream, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Boy Hairdressers, The Vaselines (loved by Kurt Cobain), BMX Bandits and The Soup Dragons (original drummer was GSA’s Ross Sinclair). Bobby Gillespie (who was often seen on the door taking tickets wearing a striped t-shirt and dark glasses) and others started a club called Splash One which played host to most of these bands plus many ‘seminal’ bands, including an early appearance from Sonic Youth, a reunion gig from Wire, 23 Skidoo and the best ever riotous 15 minute gig from The Jesus and Mary Chain. Splash One was held occasionally in a nightclub called Daddy Warbucks (West George Street) so you had to look out for the fly posters around the centre of Glasgow. I found three of them recently and enjoyed the playful fanzine aesthetic (inspired by Sniffin’ Glue). I also discovered some fanzines from around 1986 which illustrate the sense of a ‘scene’ that superceded Postcard Records. I was somewhere in the background of this original video recording by Jim Lambie.


One of my favourite journals – Open! – which recently ceased in its print form due to funding cuts by the Dutch government, has only gone and reimagined itself in amazing website form.

Issue 1: Beijing

Concrete Flux 流泥 is a multi-media, multi-disciplinary online journal, (edited by Solveig Suess, Vis-com-des person), which takes as its subject matter China’s hyper-fast emerging urban spaces, their meaning and one’s everyday experiences of them. They believe that a new configuration of space through urbanisation will lead to a new configuration of society. Their aim, then, is to contribute to some understanding of or gain insight into what these spaces, which seem to emerge faster than our minds can log and assess, may mean. Issue 1: Beijing is now live.

Graphic Narrative

This event (14.08.13) at the Edinburgh International Book Festival*, with Joe Sacco (no relation to Michael, at least as far as I know) and Chris Ware, should be well worth attending, if you can still get tickets. I found out about it via the Skinny, which vis-com-des person Emer did the cover for.

*If you really like festivals, Edinburgh would be a good place to hang out about now. There are at least fifty different festivals on the go, most of which have their own festival fringe, which is like a version of the festival but run by people who think that they can do it better. You can also go to the Festival Festival, or the Festival Fringe Fringe, or get a Military Tattoo. (Think that’s enough about festivals – Ed.)

Addendum: Actually, while I am on about Festivals, Momus says “These Self-Matsuri events are great fun; totally non-commercial, they connect weirdos, art students and artists with some of Osaka’s poorest residents in a spirit of “anything goes”, “the more the merrier” and “dress up crazy”. Check out this earlier one. Entry, by the way, is free.”

Image above: Joe Sacco

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.

The Spirit of Revolt exhibition

As a possibly very interesting source/archive, an interesting exhibition, and, via the video above, an unintended assault on any of the conventions of video-making, The Spirit of Revolt exhibition, presenting one hundred years of Radical Presses Clydeside, and protest literature, photography and recordings at the Mitchell Library this week, might be worth a look.

Beyond Interesting

I can’t remember if I’ve previously flagged up the brilliant things magazine. It is beyond the usual internet interesting.


Really into space? Can’t get enough of Stars and Planets? Has the Mars mission turned you on?

We are looking for talented creative people to submit illustrations, drawings, photos, written work, whatever you fancy really for our second issue of ZineZine. This time round the theme is SPACE so it could be anything from a funny comic, melancholic story, academic analysis, meme-play to a butt ugly drawing. Whatever it is, we want it! The best work will be printed by our handsome copy shop man Stefan and everyone who submits will get a limited edition sent to them. There’s also an exhibition and launch party being held in October for everyone to dance their socks off.

All the details can be found on our blog. You can also check out the last issue that was all about CATS.

Deadline September 24th

Vis Com 12 Degree Show

Vis Com 12 is the website of this years graduating 4th year students. And representing as it does, a fantastically diverse body of works, has the most tags of any post on the vis-com blog ever.

Little Libraries

Little Libraries and Tactical Urbanism on Design Observer is a really interesting article mulling over the recent past of small independent ‘library’ initiatives, the library as institution, and the varying roles these play in ‘information culture’.

“Libraries are about much more, of course; they exist not simply to store and provide access to information. Advocates argue that libraries continue to serve crucial civic and social functions, and their tenacious faith is reinforced by a flurry of recent street-level library activity. The last few years have seen the emergence of myriad mini, pop-up, guerilla and ad-hoc libraries, which are part of the phenomenon that Mimi Zeiger, in her Interventionist’s Toolkit series for this journal, calls “provisional, opportunistic, ubiquitous, and odd tactics in guerilla and DIY practice and urbanism” — to which I might add, librarianship.”

Image: Reanimation Library, Brooklyn.

Team Girl Comic

Masters student Kat Sicard brought this project to our attention, which is looking for future collaborators, and also supporters/funders through a new kickstarter initiative they’ve set up:

“Team Girl Comic is an indie all-women comics anthology. We support and encourage women at all levels of experience to create and publish comics. A lot of our creators are new to comics in general. We love bringing new people to the medium and letting them discover their voice. It’s been great to see the number of contributes grow with every issue. So far, we’ve published 4 issues under our own steam, but want to be able to grow and become more sustainable. Right now, we’re running a kickstarter to fund our 5th issue. “

via Team Girl Comic Kickstarter | GSA Postgrad Comic Books Elective.


Undercurrents is a collection of current 4th years dissertations, edited and compiled by Christopher MacInnes with layout and cover design by Seb Howell (vis-com-des person). All profits go back into future productions.

Yr1 ComDes Study Trip to London

Tuesday 24th January

APFEL (A Practice for Everyday Life)
Contact / Emma Thomas  t 020 7739 9975

Former RCA students producing intelligent graphic design from a small but perfectly formed studio in Bethnal Green. Best quote of the week “We would never want to get too big that we wouldn’t be able to sit around one table”. Check out an article about them in Elephant Magazine Issue 9 (available from Analogue Books ).
APFEL can be found HERE
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Contact / Gail Armstrong  t 020 8291 9153

Busy former GSA student producing intricate paper illustrations for a varied London and American client base. A great example of how to maintain a thriving creative life, be a mother and a Photoshop guru.
Check out Gail’s work HERE
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Contact / Ulla  t 020 7739 7765

Great to catch up with Dan Williams and a few old friends at this vibrant illustration studio. Great advice and insight from Paul Davis who let us see a sample of his published work. Former GSA student Emma Houlston was also generous with her advice for shaping a career after graduating.
See Emma’s work HERE
Check out Paul Davis HERE
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Wednesday 25th January

Contact / David Bennett  t 020 7729 6295

Multi award winning design agency welcomed GSA for an hour of shared thoughts and ideas. Pleased to see that they fill a wall in their board room with inspiration (Post-it notes, ephemera, colour printouts, drawings and scribbles) to assist idea generation for each project. Their philosophy is to involve the client as early as possible in the design process – a blend of inspiring and interrogating them – asking who, what, why and when.
Check out some of their studio work HERE
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Contact / Alex Woolley or Jess Harvey  t 020 7689 4625

Alex and Jess are younger designers at The Partners and took us on a creative journey through their favourite projects. Each team works with an ideas book or sketchbook before any refinement of a concept on the Mac. This approach means that the designers are less precious about the work and allows them to reflect on the qualities of communication and meaning.
Check out the award winning work HERE
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Little White Lies Magazine
Contact / Matt Bochenski  t 020 7729 3675

Thanks to Matt, Willo and Adam who gave us a unique insight into the ‘architecture’ of LWLies covering every aspect of its production. For students in the first year of a four year progression, this was invaluable. It was useful to see how they constructed their typefaces, the programmes used and where the inspiration comes from. Read some more HERE
GSA students might be interested in a LWLies creative brief HERE – great opportunity to work on a ‘real’ project.
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The Serving Library Media Archive

“You are sat in a pitch-black room. Your head is gently buzzed with whisky. Out of the darkness you hear a recording of my voice.”

Some interesting podcasts, via The Serving Library.

Present Ideas

This BBC Imagine programme – Books – The Last Chapter? – is available to view until Wed, 28 Dec (at 12:39 to be ultra precise about it). Highly recommended as an overview of a pertinent topic which is also covered here (Form of the Book Book) and here (The Unbound Book), and the subject of this book and this book which were recommended to me by Edwin. And also relates, if you’re really really interested, to the ramblings of an armchair enthusiast.

And as it’s nearly Christmas, if you’re looking for books to spend book tokens on, a quick reminder that the book of the week archive is here, for perusal.

Cover Looks (Strangely Familiar)

The latest print incarnation of the Serving Library is out.

Communicate & Circulate

Good Press (at Mono, Kings Court) are about to stage; An exhibition dedicated to print and publishing in the independent arts. On show and for sale are a collection of zines, posters and original works made newly available from self-publishers and small press producers from around the world.


Good Press

Good Press is a new outlet, based in Mono (temporarily, while they find a permanent space), from this Friday the 7th October, starting with the first exhibition, The Family Show.

The Family Show will be exhibiting 30 UK and International artists (two of which; Oliver Pitt and Jess Copsey, are recent GSA graduates) who mostly work with illustration and painting. It’s also a fundraiser for their permanent space, with all the original works being available for £30 for those who may wish to buy them!

In the bookshop there will be a large variation of different independent & self-published books, zines and other printed and handmade things. All Com Des people are invited to attend, more background info here. If you’re interested in selling zines etc, they’ve asked interested parties to get in touch directly, just via that web link, that one, back there.