Archive for the 'Travel' 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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Glasgow seen through Singaporean eyes

The following selection of Glasgow observations featured in the research journals produced by Singapore students. They were asked to document and reflect on the ideas they had been working with during the Overseas Immersion Programme.

Postcards from India #2

“All the boys are feeling a bit wobbly today, just left Ross hugging a bucket in the hotel room, the intrepid Lydia and Beth are off filming somewhere and me and Callum are just catching up on emails. (Having a good time for the most part, but being a voyeur on slum life can be a bit unsettling). Here is a video of one of our many chauffeurs.”

See more.

Postcards from India #1

A small group of students and staff are currently visiting the NID in India. This is the first in an occasional series of digital postcards.

We’ve had constant sunshine since we got here, 🙂
hope all is well back up north.

(Film by Lydia)

Last Minute

We are running a pop up shop in the Skypark Refectory this Thursday selling various things which have yet to be made, loosely based around a theme of 20.

There will also be a raffle for one of Edwin’s ‘1 gram of black ink posters’ with all the proceeds going to a yet-to-be-confirmed charity.

Pretty vague, but come along and see our plight/final outcome.

A vocation

Jill Calder cover illustration

Jill Calder drawings

I had the pleasure of working with illustrator Jill Calder (former graduate) recently. I was asked by Turning Point Scotland to design a publication that tells the story of a service user with Asperger’s Syndrome. Nigel (a pseudonym to protect anonymity) always wanted to travel on a Boeing 747 and was keen to visit a place where the main language was English. With the help of his support worker and a Turning Point Scotland team, he decided to go to New York.

I was nervous about presenting design work to Nigel as it was a first for me. Usually I present to executives in a formal environment but this was refreshingly different. I didn’t have to dress up my language or make great claims about the benefits of justified typesetting. Nigel was relaxed and full of anticipation about seeing his words come to life. I took him through each spread of the publication to make sure the design was complimenting his content. He was very happy with it and articulated his ideas on how to promote it by organising a book launch and giving seminars about his journey.

Jill’s work was perfect for this subject matter and she embraced the project with great enthusiasm. Her style is vibrant and yet sensitive, working best when complementing the text written by Nigel. Being able to work in an area incongruous to an unforgiving commercial world, and with a great talent, delivered a very rewarding process.

See the great work of Jill Calder here

Turning Point Scotland is a charity providing person centred support to adults with a range of complex needs in our society.

See the work that they do here

A Week of Thanks

A vote of thanks is due to Lizzie, Thomas, Dimitri and all at Lust, and Susana and Kai at Atelier Carvalho Bernau for being such welcoming and informative hosts when we descended in (possibly greater than expected) numbers last week during a field trip to the Netherlands. By friday, and back in Glasgow, thanks were also due to Momus for delivering a fantastic lecture called 27 Lies about the Mackintosh Building, a ‘delirious’ and distinctly non-pragmatic detour of the mind into many parallel worlds.

A more detailed post to follow about the Amsterdam trip.

Tenuous (Hyper)Links #173

Documenta 13 is the latest incarnation of the renowned art festival, which has now become, as many art festivals have, a “county fair for intellectuals“. Manifesta is a more itinerant version of its sound-a-like  equivalent. Unitednationsplaza is what happened when the Greek/Cypriot government cancelled Manifesta in 2006, its video archive is now online. UNP was organised by (amongst others) Anton Vidokle. Open 16 investigates the phenomena of the art biennial, with some fascinating and critical writing.


Made it to Amsterdam this weekend, and this is the trip-in-a-gif, a more detailed write-up to follow.

Come Design With Me

Loch Lomond Y2 field trip, Oct 2010.

When Ikea Self-Assembly Goes Wrong


(image ©: Melanie Bonajo)

Some recent trips, rounded up:

Berlin, hosted by baxpax kreuzberg:

The moral of the story is don’t take pictures at 5 in the morning. The motto of the story is a very good bookshop, making an exhibition of itself, and Yale. Do you read me ?! You might now be too late to visit the kiosk, but we also visited Node, Berlin Haushoch and Carolin Kurz. Many thanks to them for their generous hospitality. The Bauhaus isn’t open on tuesdays it transpires, (but it is on wednesdays).

The thing linking Rotterdam and Berlin is that they’re both full of Kunst.

A compelling if slightly strange city, permanently grey and very modern/corporate/industrial. The biggest port in Europe by a long stretch, Portscapes was an exhibition at museum boijmans van beuningen, reflecting on this expansion, featuring Glasgow artist Ilana Halperin amongst others. Fucking Good Art. Another great exhibition and venue: Quickscan at the Dutch National Photographic Museum. Diverse and exhilarating. Included Melanie Bonajo (image above), Club Donny and many more. Track down the accompanying publication if you can (or lend it from me).

And Max, this is because I feel bad about putting that video up, even though you do rock the shop:


Visual Communication, Class of ’03, Rotterdam 2010 (biker names, left to right: Joomla, Dreamweaver, Firefox, Drupal, Flash)

4646km of beard [b]logging

4646km beard blog

EasyJet over Snowy Germany

The picture says it all really. A much more detailed link-laden post to follow based on recent travels. This post is just a mental note to do it. More on EasyJet here. A few more pictures here.