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Computer Arts - May 2018

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A A R D M A N E XC LU S I V E !
B E H I N D T H E S C E N ES AT T H E I C O N I C ST U D I O
DESIGN MASTERCLASS
ISSUE
278
MAY 2018
‘%((“DB %((
PRINTED IN
C74D:
HOW TO CRAFT
BETTER BRANDING
Defineanauthenticvisualidentity
usinghandmadetypography
ELEVATE
YOUR
PORTFOLIO
WITH OUR
EXPERT
ADVICE
WITHPROINSIGHTFROM
PENTAGRAM
BMB
JOHNSON BANKS
SUPERUNION
C O V E R A RTI S T
MAY 2018
Making
the cover
The unique nature of our cover feature – expert
insights into crafting a killer portfolio from
industry experts – was diicult to execute as an
instantly readable cover image. So we recruited
illustrator Thomas Burden to make an image that
communicated the idea of a portfolio, allowing
readers to instantly recognise the theme.
At first, Thomas experimented with abstract
models of 2D icons and some interesting geometric
shapes, but in the name of clarity we gradually
honed down the essential elements of the piece
for a quieter, simpler image that would let the
beauty of the render shine.
There was some extensive back-and-forth with
the ever-patient Thomas as we jiggled with iPad
pens and portfolios and debated the merit of plastic
cups vs. cups with handles (steam, or no steam?).
Our operations editor Rosie then had a light bulb
moment — almost literally — when she suggested
we render the word ‘transform’ in neon. This
provided a welcome flourish of fun, plus a more
legible coverline that really stands out on the page.
You can check out more of Thomas’ amazing
work at www.handsomefrank.com.
Describing the cover as
“a fairly simple piece,”
Thomas skipped the
sketching stage and built
up a rough composition
with basic shapes in
Cinema 4D. Once we
had signed off the
composition, he modelled
the finer details and
added the textures and
lighting with V-Ray.
The final rendered image
was then touched up in
Photoshop, with minor
lighting and colour
adjustments.
THOMAS BURDEN
Thomas is fast becoming a CA favourite;
he rendered the beautiful neon illustration for
Quit Your Job in CA 275. His client list includes
The New Yorker, Esquire and Facebook.
PORTFOLIOS 2016
With a quirky cover
by London-based
illustrator Michael
Driver, issue 251
challenged timestrapped readers
to put a killer folio
together quickly
and effectively.
PORTFOLIOS 2017
Last year’s
portfolio issue
(CA 265) focused
on standing out
from the crowd.
The cover featured
a blind emboss,
silver foil and soft
touch finish.
C O MPUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
-3-
PORTFOLIOS 2018
This year’s cover is
all about elevating
your portfolio, with
Thomas Burden’s
render taking
centre stage.
A metallic gold
Pantone adds to
the elegant feel.
W EL C OM E
MAY 2018
Editor’s letter
FEATURING
Authenticity. It’s at the heart of everything we do. And it’s
a theme that runs through this issue from start to finish.
It’s a key starting point, for example, in Emily Gosling’s
article on how to use hand-lettering in branding. She notes
how some huge companies have harnessed the handcrafted trend to present themselves as local and artisanal
when they’re actually anything but. Yet in practice,
consumers are not so easily fooled. Authenticity may not
be something you can measure or even consciously identify,
but when it’s absent, your work just won’t connect with
people in the way you want it to. Emily’s special report
is full of insider knowledge about the right way to do it.
There are different ways of achieving authenticity, but
increasingly we’re seeing studios build it into the design
process from the very start. You’ll find a great example
on page 82, where Superunion describes how, as The
Partners, it took a deep dive into the history of London’s
Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The team then drew heavily
on this research to create a new visual identity that roots
itself in past and present, in fascinating and unusual ways.
Of course, the need for authenticity isn’t just about client
work; it applies to your ‘personal brand’ too. For our cover
feature on page 42, we spoke to four industry leaders about
what they want to see from your design portfolio — and
they were all keen to impress on us one thing. Whether
you’re a junior, midweight or senior designer, recruiters
want to see ‘the real you’ shine through your portfolio; not
a fake version you want others to believe in. Their advice on
how to achieve this in practice is truly invaluable.
Finally, a reminder that our Brand Impact Awards are
still open for entries. We’re keen for a diverse range of work
to be represented in the Awards, but you’ve got to be in it
to win it, as they say. So please submit your best branding
now at www.brandimpactawards.com – good luck!
KATIE CADWALLADER
Katie is a designer at Supple Studio in
Bath, and received the Rising Star Award
at last year’s Design Week Awards. On
page 23, she explains what she’s learned
from plunging into cinematic history.
www.katiecad.design
MATTHEW TWEDDLE
Matthew is the co-founder and creative
director of Manchester branding
agency Only. On page 20, he argues that
redefining what success means to you is
key to a better work-life balance.
www.onlystudio.co.uk
EMILY GOSLING
Emily is a London-based art and design
journalist. She is a senior editor at AIGA’s
Eye on Design and editor of Type Notes.
On page 58, she explains how to craft an
authentic brand using bespoke type.
www.emilygosling.com
DAVID BICKNELL
David is the co-founder of Brown&co,
a ‘new kind of design agency’ launched
in 2017. On page 98, he describes how his
passion for a 1975 Kawasaki motorcycle
has inspired his work in branding.
www.brownandco.co
ANNA HIGGIE
An Australian illustrator living in Bristol,
Anna regularly illustrates the headshots
for the Insight section of this magazine.
On page 88, she shares her process for
turning photographs into portraits.
www.annahiggie.co.uk
TOM MAY
Acting editor
journo.tommay@gmail.com
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH…
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@computerarts
/computerartsmag
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
-4-
MAY 2018
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ROSIE HILDER
OPERATIONS EDITOR
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KEY CONTRIBUTORS
CONTRIBUTIONS
The AOP, David Bicknell, Thomas Burden,
Katie Cadwallader, Nick Carson, Emily
Gosling, Anna Higgie, Tom May, Julia Sagar,
Matthew Tweddle
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26 April 2018
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CONTENT STRATEGIST AND COPYWRITER
Although he misses the office banter, Nick has been
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also still heading up CA’s Brand Impact Awards.
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COM PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
-6-
CONTENTS
ISSUE 2 7 8
M AY 20 18
CULTURE
INSIGHT
20
HOW TO BALANCE LIFE AND WORK
Only’s Matthew Tweddle explains
why he’s redefined success
22
DESIGN MATTERS
What’s the worst portfolio mistake
you’ve ever made?
23
THE MAGIC OF MOVIES
Supple Studio’s Katie Cadwallader
discusses her new film project
24
10
TRENDS
How beauty brands are using new technologies
to provide bespoke, personalised services
14
MY DESIGN SPACE
Minnesotan artist and designer Ashley Mary on
how her bright modern studio reflects her work
15
NEW VENTURES
Three designers explain how they founded new
studio Treble after their previous employer closed
16
EVENTS
Julia Sagar is caught up in a drive for change at
this year’s Design Indaba in Cape Town
18
INSPIRATION FEED
Tad Carpenter takes us through his Instagram feed
PROJECTS
BRISTOL OLD VIC REBRAND
Three perspectives on Eureka!’s new
identity for Bristol Old Vic theatre
SHOWCASE
26
GOING FOR GOLD
Hot new work, including an identity
for a speedskating Olympic team
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
-8-
76
VIDEO INSIGHT
How Aardman Interactive
translates its creative vision into
fun projects that people will love
82
REBRANDING THE GLOBE
The Partners on how it created
a new visual and brand identity
for Shakespeare’s Globe
88
MASTER DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION
Anna Higgie shares her process
for turning photos into portraits
92
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
The Beautiful Meme explains how it
3D-printed a microscopic headline
for a new science exhibition
C O N TE N TS
SPECIAL REPORT
INDUSTRY ISSUES
58 CRAFT BETTER
BRANDING WITH TYPE
Emily Gosling explains how to define
a brand using bespoke lettering
BACK TO BASICS
42 INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PORTFOLIOS
What are top design execs looking for in a portfolio? Four of the biggest names
in the business reveal how you can tweak your portolio to impress them
IN CONVERSATION WITH
50 SAIMAN
CHOW
How the Hong Kong
born, LA-based
creative relies
on his gut instincts
to create colourful
animations and
illustrations
70
WHY DESIGNERS NEED CODING
In the third of our series on digital
skills, we examine how learning basic
coding can further your design career
REGUL ARS
96
PHOTOGRAPHY MEETS DESIGN
Our AOP series continues with a look
at licensing, usage and contracts
98
DESIGN INSPIRATION
David Bicknell reveals his obsession
with an iconic 1970s motorbike
SUBSCRIBE AND SAVE UP TO 55 %
Never miss an issue of Computer Arts. Subscribe today for pro advice and practical
insight every month, and save up to 55%! See page 40 for more details
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
-9-
MAY 2018
C ULT U R E
CULTURE
TRENDS
PEOPLE
EVENTS
INSPIRATION
Each month, our Trends section is curated by experienced
creative consultancy FranklinTill www.franklintill.com
HIMIRROR
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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T R E NDS
MAY 2018
TRE N D S
THE BEAUTY
REVOLUTION
From skin analysis to haircare, beauty brands are
using new technologies to provide a bespoke,
personalised service for customers
uying the right beauty products has traditionally required
a lot of time and efort; for example, painstakingly trying out
lots of diferent foundations to find the one that best matches
your skin tone. Even then, consumers are not always happy.
According to a 2016 study by Olay, for instance, 28% of women in
the UK are confused about which skincare products to buy.
But now that's all changing. The beauty industry is developing
technology and apps that will help consumers find the right products to
match their needs, quickly and efortlessly.
Take HelloAVA, a beauty personalisation chatbot that's been created
in collaboration with dermatologists. It asks you a series of questions to
determine your skin type, then analyses the answers in order to give
product recommendations.
Or there's the MiLi Moisture Meter by Mili and H2O+ Beauty. This
physical device measures your skin moisture levels and tracks their
results daily via an app. As your levels rise or fall, you can adapt your
daily moisturising regime to suit accordingly.
An even simpler solution lies in the HiMirror, a ’smart mirror’ that you
just have to look into to get an in-depth analysis of your complexion,
including wrinkles, fine lines, complexion, dark circles, dark spots, red
spots, and pores, and an efective care plan based on the results.
And this tech personalisation trend is not just about skincare
products. Similar advances are emerging in other areas of the beauty
industry, such as hair care.
The Kérastase Hair Coach, to take one example, claims to be the
world’s first smart hairbrush. It was developed in collaboration with
L’Oréal’s research and innovation technology incubator, and aims to
help you improve your hair care routine over time.
Sensors on the smart hairbrush feed data about frizziness, dryness,
split ends and breakage, as well as brushing patterns, pressure applied
and brush stroke counts to an app, which also assesses external factors
such as humidity, temperature, sunlight and wind. Based on all this data,
users are then given a personalised hair 'diagnosis' consisting of advice
and product recommendations.
Today’s consumers are increasingly looking for personalised services
that are able to evolve in real time with their needs. By harnessing the
latest technologies and enabling people to carry out analysis at home,
beauty brands are efectively responding to this desire.
B
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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CU LT U R E
MAY 2018
MILI MOISTURE METER BY
MILI AND H2O+ BEAUTY
FRANKLINTILL STUDIO
Design Futures / Material Futures / Colour Futures
KÉRASTASE
HAIR COACH
HELLOAVA
FranklinTill Studio is a forecasting agency and creative consultancy that
works with lifestyle brands across the disciplinary spectrum to provide
research-based insights that drive creative innovations in materials,
colour and design. It creates reports, publications, exhibitions and events
with the aim of making its research both accessible and inspiring. It also
edits and produces two magazines, published by View Publications,
which you can buy from www.viewpoint-magazine.com.
VIEWPOINT DESIGN
Viewpoint delivers visual, editorial and statistical information to brands,
designers, agencies and consumer insight teams determined to create
lifestyle products, campaigns and environments that anticipate consumer
demand. Written by professionals in the branding and design business,
each issue explores how a significant trend will impact consumer
behaviour and the global design landscape.
VIEWPOINT COLOUR
Launched December 2016, Viewpoint Colour ofers visual inspiration,
design direction and a global perspective on colour. The inaugural
issue provides an in-depth analysis of the personality traits of emerging
colour stories, explaining why they are relevant now and how they are
currently being applied.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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CU LT U R E
MAY 2018
Ashley Mary is an artist, designer, illustrator and
prop stylist working in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
She is inspired by vintage treasures, interior
design and the natural world.
ashleymary.com
PHOTOGRAPHY: Above, 1, 2, 4 – Kelsey Lee; 3 – Ashley Mary; 5 – Max Spooner
MY DES IGN S PA C E IS . . .
ENERGETIC AND COLOURFUL
Artist and designer Ashley Mary explains how her bright modern studio reflects her work
shley Mary’s studio is just
one of over 200 studios
and businesses housed in
an old seed processing building
from the 1990s in the art district of
Northeast, Minneapolis.
“My studio is very similar in vibe
to my art,” says the designer. “It’s
partly minimal, modern and
colourful but more importantly it
leaves you with a feeling of energy
and curiosity. You can’t help but
want to snoop around the
bookshelf, peek above the desk or
A
rifle through the unfinished pieces
that are always on my table.”
One of the objects on her
bookshelf is her ‘boob mug’ (1).
“The maker, Gopi Shah, had all of
her girlfriends send her illustrations
of their boobs and made a cup out
of it. It’s brilliant,” says Mary. Another colourful addition are
her ‘spirit rocks’ (2), made by a
friend who has a studio down the
hall, Louisa of Shop Amano. “The
purpose of the spirit rocks is to
make you happy. Louisa’s even
started to teach classes on how to
make them. I’ve taken two now
because they’re so relaxing, you get
lost in the tiny motions of forming
and painting them,” she enthuses.
When looking for a space to
store bubble wrap and cardboard,
Mary came across this barrel (3) on
Craigslist. “It was only after it arrived
that I realised it was a giant Chiquita
banana barrel that used to hold
banana puree,” she says, describing
the find as a “total score as it’s both
quirky and functional”.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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The banana theme continues in
the form of a felt banana (4), which
Mary got from an exhibition by
Lucy Sparrow in New York.
“She created an entire convenience
store stocked with replicas of
standard bodega items but all made
out of felt.... I loved the magic of it
and hope that rubs of in my space.”
When looking through a vintage
children’s encyclopedia, Mary found
this quote (5). “It struck me right in
the heart,” she says. “It’s my
work-life mantra a bit.”
P E OP LE
MAY 2018
1
(L-R): Mathew Lucas,
Alastair Stewart
and Alex Hillel.
N E W VE N TU RE S
OUT OF THE ASHES
2
When three designers learned their employer was closing down, they
turned it to their advantage by founding new Manchester studio Treble
ack in issue 274, we talked to
the founders of Manchester
agency The Neighbourhood
about why they’d decided to call it a day
after 10 years. Alastair Stewart, Mathew
Lucas and Alex Hillel were all employed at
The Neighbourhood, but saw the agency
closing as an opportunity to open their own
studio, Treble. We found out more...
B
3
How did you react when you discovered the
studio you worked for was closing?
Alex Hillel: It was scary for obvious reasons,
but also exciting as we had been working
together as a team, so it just made sense to
carry on and try something for ourselves.
This was something we had talked about
a few times before, but now we had the
opportunity to make it a reality.
.
4
5
Did Jon and Ben from The Neighbourhood
give you any advice on setting up a studio? Alastair Stewart: So much great advice. They
have been fantastic, meeting regularly with
us to check in and help any way they can.
What’s your ethos and how will this afect
the way you work with clients?
Mathew Lucas: Our ethos is simple, not
to create work for the sake of work, but to
create something meaningful and beautifully
crafted that works hard for our clients.
When clients come to us, they don’t
only want a solution to a specific brief. They
are also looking for insight on creative and
technical trends, education, a fresh outlook
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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on their brand and above all, a relationship
with like-minded creatives. We struggle with
understanding the larger agency model in
the current economic climate and we think
our clients do too. There needs to be a good
amount of flexibility in a creative process
with clients being able to talk directly with
the creative team.
What are the benefits of owning a studio?
AH: The ability to have more freedom
and the ability to make strong decisions
quickly. Of course, with this freedom also
lies challenges – you are responsible for all
aspects of the studio, not just the output.
What have been the challenges in setting
up Treble? Do you have your own space?
AS: The biggest learning curves for us have
been around learning the business side
of things. Luckily this was something we
expected. Trying to find a place for Treble
to live also had its challenges but thankfully
we found the perfect spot in M1 Studios in
the centre of Manchester that ticked all the
boxes. We’ve even got our own fridge!
What sort of briefs excite you?
AS: We want briefs that are going to
challenge us and the industry in which
we work. We’re innovators and have a
real drive to weave this into the work we
do. If businesses are looking to market
themselves diferently and explore digital
experiences like mixed reality as well as
other future-facing tech, get in touch.
CU LT U R E
MAY 2018
E V E NT RE P O RT: D E SI G N I N D AB A 20 1 8
KEY INFO:
Location
Artscape, Cape Town
www.designindaba.com
ACTIONS, NOT WORDS
Julia Sagar is caught up in a drive for change at Cape Town’s Design Indaba When
21-24 February 2018
Key speakers
Sunu Gonera, Aleksandra
Gosiewski, Mark Kamau,
Es Devlin, Neri Oxman,
Thomas Heatherwick
his year has been a
turbulent one for Cape
Town. The city started
2018 in the grip of one of the
world’s most dramatic urban water
crises. Meanwhile, new South
African president Cyril Ramaphosa
– a leader who many believe can
restore hope after the scandalplagued Jacob Zuma years –
took oice in February. It was against this social and
political backdrop that the 20th
annual Design Indaba opened its
doors. Long an advocate of creating
change through action, this year’s
conference took on a new urgency. Afrofuturist film director Sunu
Gonera captured the mood
T
immediately in his opening talk, as
he urged the Indaba audience to
find their voice. “Life is so fleeting,”
he pointed out. “What’s your voice?
What do you want to do?”
Over the following days, each
of the speakers illustrated how
they’ve used their creative voices
to initiate change. One area where
serious change is finally within
reach is biomaterials. Fashion design
graduate Aleksandra Gosiewski,
who is a co-founder of New Yorkbased biomaterials research group
AlgiKnit, entered the field after
becoming disillusioned by the linear
economy of fashion. She wants to
keep fashion products out of landfill
and reduce microplastic pollution.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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AlgiKnit has created a
sustainable alternative to manmade
textiles like polyester, in the form of
a rapidly renewing biodegradable
yarn made from kelp. The team
have not only made clothing from
the bioyarn: they’ve also created a
sneaker that rapidly degrades after
the product has finished its useful
lifetime. “When it’s worn out, or
you don’t want it, it can be broken
down by microorganism and the
nutrients reclaimed to feed the next
generation of product,” Gosiewski
told the audience. Of course, it’s all very well
having an idea, but how do you
translate it into action? One clear
piece of advice to come out of
E V E NT S
MAY 2018
Design Indaba was the need for
constant iteration. It isn’t about
creating finished products: it’s
about continually creating working
prototypes, testing them as soon
as possible and feeding the results
back into the next version.
BRCK UX design director Mark
Kamau illustrated the concept
during his talk. BRCK is an
innovative technology company
focused on connecting all of Africa
to the internet. As he explained,
there are currently three billion
people in the world who are oline;
800 million are based in Africa. One of the company’s products,
the Kio Kit, is a hardy batterypowered tablet that turns any room
into a digital classroom in minutes.
During the testing phase, Kamau’s
job was to go to remote schools –
often without electricity or a Wi-Fi
connection – and work with young
children to improve the tablets. The firm’s SupaBRCK,
meanwhile, is a waterproof, solarpowered Wi-Fi box that operates
as a 3G hotspot and of-grid server.
“We’re going to deploy and deploy
and deploy until all three billion
people are connected,” he said.
For other speakers, the concept
of iteration took the form of trial
and error. London-based product
designer Tom Dixon, for example,
talked about the importance of
practising: “The shape [of my
products] is defined by a series of
failures and a series of tests,” he
said. “Isn’t it amazing that you can
have this great idea, and turn scrap
into gold in a day?”
Inspiring set designer Es Devlin
reinforced the central message
of this year’s Design Indaba –
moving thought into word into
action – with a stunning illustration
of what can be achieved if you
have big ideas in any field. She
Clockwise
from left:
Tom Dickson;
Mark Kamau;
Aleksandra
Gosiewski;
Martha Cotton;
this giant
centrepiece for
the festival was
created by Morag
Myerscough.
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specialises in translating voices
into visual manifestations, whether
that’s through putting “the face in
the centre”, as with her large-scale
kinetic set constructions for Beyoncé
or Adele, or by translating “purpose
through objects”, such as the giant
animatronic man she designed for
Take That’s 2011 Progress Tour.
All the projects she talked
through involved iteration – and
according to Devlin, the worse her
sketches get, the better the idea they
express. She also talked about the
importance of continual practice.
“The rehearsal for your life is your
life,” she insisted.
Devlin summed up the spirit
of all of this year’s speakers,
and of Design Indaba itself, in her
closing question – and it’s one
that all creatives can ponder: “Can
you translate a thought to a word
to an action? And can you do that
quickly, please?”
CU LT U R E
MAY 2018
I N SPI R ATI O N FE E D
Tad
Carpenter
Tad Carpenter is a designer, illustrator, writer and
educator based in Kansas City. He co-runs design and
branding studio Carpenter Collective with his wife,
Jessica, and describes his work as “honest, heartfelt
and with a strong sense of whimsicality attached to it.”
Carpenter uses Instagram to post his illustrations,
logos, icons and various forms of design, though adds
that he enjoys “taking photos of people interacting
with our work,” whether that’s a space Carpenter
Collective has designed or an object it created. “How
people bring our design into their lives is the real
measure of its success,” he says.
“The best part of Instagram is the interaction with
fellow designers and creative people,” Carpenter
continues. “My feed is a range of logo and brand
identity work, illustration projects, packaging, rejected
work that has no other home and my passion project
SUNday SUNS. This is where I draw, design or make
a sun, every single Sunday.”
www.instagram.com/tadcarpenter
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The number one destination
for graphic design news,
views and how-tos
EcrApc_rgtc
@jmobgpcarrm
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Graphic design
Art
Web design
3D
www.creativebloq.com
Digital art
INSIGHT
MAY 2018
INSIGHT
ESSAY
Strong opinion and
analysis from across the
global design industry
MATTHEW TWEDDLE
CO-FOUNDER & CREATIVE
DIRECTOR, ONLY
www.onlystudio.co.uk
Matthew is co-founder and creative director of
award-winning branding agency Only, based in
Manchester. He has previously led transformative
work for Design Council, Channel 4, Printworks
London and Goldsmiths, University of London.
KATIE CADWALLADER
DESIGNER,
SUPPLE STUDIO
www.supplestudio.com
Katie is a designer and fledgling animator hailing
from Wales, and currently based in Bath. In 2017
she received the Rising Star Award at the Design
Week Awards. On page 23, she reveals how her new
film project is influencing her design practice.
DESIGN MATTERS: What’s the worst portfolio
mistake you’ve made? — page 22
PLUS: We get three perspectives on Eureka!’s
rebrand of the Bristol Old Vic theatre — page 24
Illustrations:
Anna Higgie
www.annahiggie.co.uk
How to balance
life and work
Redefining what success means to you is key
to ahieving better work-life balance, says
Only co-founder Matthew Tweddle
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M AT T H E W T W E D D L E
MAY 2018
chieving a balance between work and life is
something I’ve always struggled with. At
every stage of my career I’ve made the next
creative challenge the most important thing in my
life. But was I losing something in the process?
Last September, I went to the Brand New
conference in Chicago and heard Tosh Hall, creative
director at Jones Knowles Ritchie, speak about his
relationship with design. He talked about the need to
strike a balance — for the sake of his sanity and to the
benefit of his creative output. The message got
through and I knew it was important to make a
change… but old habits die hard.
Those habits were initially forged during my first
professional job out of university: artworking
nightclub flyers and their promotional materials.
This normally involved, at the behest of clients, using
bright neon lettering to communicate a not-to-bemissed ‘£1 a shot’ offer. It was by no means a dream
job, but I was determined to create the most elegant
cheap drinks flyer the industry had ever seen.
Ever since then, I’ve continued to throw
everything at my work, and remain convinced that
hard work is necessary to becoming a good designer.
But this is complicated by the fact that as you
progress through your career, you get less and less
time to actually focus on design.
As the creative director and co-founder of a small
branding agency, progression for me still means
carving out time to consider new challenges that
push me beyond my comfort zone. But design is
increasingly fast-paced. Very often clients don’t have
the luxury of time — to develop an idea, to allow it to
incubate, to experiment, and fail in the way that’s
necessary to create truly wonderful work.
I believe now that the key is doing all you can to
manage your time effectively. One tactic I have learnt
is to set your own achievable targets, and ways of
measuring success that are within your own control.
And that can mean taking a step back and reassessing
exactly what you consider ‘success’ to be.
It’s not as straightforward a question as it might
seem. In the creative industries, there are many ways
success can be quantified. As well as the everincreasing number of awards, there are showcase
sites and blogs, plus the constant pursuit of traction
across social media. Then there’s the other kind of
feedback; the increasingly negative commentary
from other designers surrounding the release of new
work, particularly new brand identity projects.
I now accept that there will always be other people
who enjoy greater success, who have more D&AD
A
Pencils on their shelves, who receive greater critical
acclaim, or who just have more followers on
Instagram. The nature of creativity means there’ll
always be projects that aren’t as well received, and
even those who are highly regarded will always be
open to subjective commentary and negative opinion.
Accepting this and defining your own measure of
success is essential to moving forward and remaining
focused on the things that matter most.
I’ve also learnt to rely more on those with talents
and interests different to my own. When the pressure
is on, I’m always tempted to take on too much
responsibility, in the belief that retaining control is
the only way to resolve the problem. But all too often,
that tactic falls down. As the hours get longer,
productivity starts to fall. The jobs list begins to grow,
emails go unanswered and project plans start to slip.
As a way of working it’s unsustainable, and as an
agency owner, it can stifle potential for growth.
As a small team, we now hire on the basis of
contribution and look for
people who’ll bring something
beyond the existing strengths
in the studio, and contribute
to our collaborative process.
We also spend time seeking
out creative partners who can
bring their own expertise
to the process.
Taking the time to
collaborate is essential.
Working through a problem
with a talented team is much
more rewarding, and different perspectives always
improve the solution. Crucially, it’s sustainable and
enables a far healthier work-life balance.
All of this gets muddied when you consider design
to be synonymous with life. Away from the office, my
hobbies are all closely tied to my job and my favourite
people are all in similar industries. It’s important to
remember that most people don’t get to do something
they love every day for their job.
It’s a real privilege to work as a designer with
people who trust you to help steer and define the
direction of their business. As with any other craft or
discipline, good work comes from caring about what
you do. It’s always important to keep perspective and
make sure work doesn’t completely take over. But
being completely enthralled by the work in front of
you can itself be enormously rewarding.
How do you define your creative success? Tweet your
thoughts to @ComputerArts using #DesignMatters
When the pressure is on, I’m
tempted to take on too muh
and retain control... This is
unsu
ainable and can ifle
potential for growth
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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INSIGHT
MAY 2018
DISCUSSION
What’s the worst portfolio
mistake you’ve made?
JACOB LEE
Freelance graphic designer
www.jacoblee.co.uk
MICHELE PACCIONE
Creative director, Paccione Art
www.paccioneArt.com
“The mingling of illustration work
with design work in my portfolio has
caused confusion my entire
professional life. From showing
illustration samples in a design
interview (“Do you even want this
job?”: a creative director) to showing
only illustration in my online portfolio
(“Heath, is that you?”: a colleague) to
simply describing myself (“But are you
master of none?”: a recruiter). Happily,
those are people I ended up working
with. If you too are both a designer and
an illustrator, have empathy for the
hirer: most people have an immediate
problem they need solved. Talking with
them to figure out the most relevant
work to show is probably the most
useful thing you can do.”
“My biggest mistake was a simple one:
not putting my work examples on my
portfolio homepage. To get a job in
design, you’re going to need a portfolio
of your work to get an interview. It
seems like an obvious thing now but I
spent so much time fixated on making
a jazzy website with cool graphics and
animations that I completely forgot
what the site’s purpose was. Lead
designers are sent hundreds of
portfolios to review and cut down to
a select few. They’re busy people and if
they have to spend time looking for
your work examples, it’s not going to
help them out. Learn from my mistake:
cut to the chase.”
“Having too many items in your
portfolio or on your reel has to be the
biggest mistake you can make. This
really hit home to me when a friend of
mine was having a hard time getting
hired. Then he cut half the work from
his portfolio and got a job very quickly.
That really convinced me of the power
of editing. If you’re finding you’re too
close to the work to edit it, I’d
recommend you get as many opinions
as possible. In interviews, pay careful
attention to which pieces creative
directors and recruiters gravitate
towards. Look for positive reactions. If
people consistently skip over some of
your stuff, leave it out. And don’t be
afraid to include a few spec pieces.”
HEATH HINEGARDNER
Principal and owner, Trustheath
Design and Illustration
www.trustheath.com
TWEET @COMPUTERARTS OR FIND US ON FACEBOOK
@ANDREIROBU
Switching my site info from
a personal portfolio to a
studio changed perceptions.
Less work came, because
studios won’t hire other
studios but individuals.
@JSHERIDANIII
I spelled graphic design
as graphic deign. I was
applying to be a
graphic designer.
@MARSHALLBJ1
Mistake one: Sent email
without attachment.
Mistake two: Attached a
portfolio that had been
customised with the names
of a different employer.
@CHRIS_G_DESIGNS
Leaving Lorum Ipsum in
the page header on the
opening page.
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JASON FUGH
Spelling the word fluids
wrong in my shot
breakdown; not once, but
three times. Spelled it
fulids, and had sent to four
companies before noticing.
KAT I E C A DWA LLA DE R
MAY 2018
COLUMN
The magic of movies
Katie Cadwallader of Supple Studio
explains what he’s learned from
pluning into cinematic history
ecent years have been
all about the medium
screen. But for me, 2018
is not just about the latest
Netflix series. I’ve vowed to
watch a classic film a week –
recommended by friends, family and colleagues.
Why? Partly, so I can finally contribute to studio and pub
conversations. This industry is a breeding ground for film buffs, so I’ve
sat on the outside of ‘film quote tennis’ many a time. But on a deeper
level, filmmakers are quite similar to designers. They aim to present
a world through someone else’s eyes; someone else’s perspective, or
curation, of a story. The goal is to hook the viewer and make them care.
Exactly what we hope for with our design work.
As I gathered suggestions, I was soon swept along by the passion of
the people contributing to the lists. The opinions came out in force, like
I’d been let into a party I’d felt too overwhelmed to enter. Indiana Jones,
Lock Stock, The Matrix, American Beauty, Philadelphia, The Blues
Brothers, The Big Lebowski, Boyz n The Hood, It’s a Wonderful Life...
These friends now eagerly await my review of ‘their’ film, no matter
how brutal. Having seen their enthusiasm first-hand, I’m duty bound to
give them the attention they deserve, though not obliged to sugar-coat.
I kicked off with Pulp Fiction, probably the most referenced film of
my lifetime. There’s a kind of pressure that comes with watching a film
R
like that – but it lived up to
the hype. I adored it (minus a
certain basement scene) and it
scored a killer nine out of ten.
Suddenly, all those cultural
references that had passed me
by started to make sense. Those Direct Line adverts with Harvey Keitel,
for example, which I’d been watching for years without context.
As designers, we always want to create the 1 + 1 = 3 moment. That
feeling when your work delights others, provoking them to say, ‘I wish I’d
done that!’. How exhilarating when we can make people feel an ounce of
the way I did in that final Pulp Fiction diner scene – when that moment
of realisation sets off the first, meticulously placed domino.
So what have I learned so far about the kind of films I actually enjoy?
I’m beginning to recognise that I like an underdog, arty shots, a fit
typographic title sequence, and a fantastic soundtrack.
I’ve also learned that a great film bleeds into you; each story is
becoming part of me, somehow. Some animation I did last week has
transitions eerily similar to those Pulp Fiction titles. The Hacienda
yellow seems to have snuck into my current rebrand. And I’m spending
more and more of my lunchtimes in second-hand DVD shops. All this
still with most of the year and most of my list to go.
Which classic films have influenced your design work? In what way?
Tweet your thoughts @ComputerArts using #DesignMatters
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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INSIGHT
MAY 2018
REBRAND FOCUS
Focus on: Bristol Old Vic
Iconic Bristol theatre The Old Vic turned to Eureka! to ive t a new
visual identty. Three creatives offer their crtiues...
IAN VICKERS
Owner, Eureka!
www.eureka.co.uk
“In developing our identity for the theatre
we gravitated towards an honest and simple
solution: the connection between ‘Bristol’
and ‘Old Vic’. The words have been designed
to form a tight lock-up, with a sense of depth
between them, representing the creative
connection between the city and its theatre.
To emphasise this sense of connection,
we created a series of visuals, where two
images meet together at the heart of the
mark and illustrate the dialogue between,
for example, the actor and audience, past and
present, old and young. This approach will
be developed across print materials and also
on digital media, including title sequencing.
Rather than a formal logo appearing
everywhere, the new brand is fluid; it
uses language as an integral means of
communicating with audiences, whilst being
recognisable as Bristol Old Vic.”
NEIL LITTMAN
Creative director
www.neillittman.com
“This identity incorporates elements of
‘heritage’ but says more to me about the
present and future than the past. The new
typographic logo is distinctive and bold
and has a genuine feeling of reinvention,
particularly in its application on posters and
promotional materials.
The stacking of the logo and the ‘cut
off’ between the words reminds me of the
curtain about to open on a performance. It
captures the spirit of the productions and
the excitement of performances through the
photography and the visual ‘split’ between
contrasting elements. I think this will
encourage new audiences and remind existing
ones of the presence of the Old Vic.
The only area I think the applications work
less well are on the homepage of the website,
where the logo is very small in comparison to
the rest of the site.”
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STEPHEN DAWE
Creative director,
DA Branding Inc
www.dabrandinginc.com
“Whenever I’m exposed to new branding,
I first wonder what the brief asked of the work.
In the absence of that, you have to go with
how it makes you feel, and imagine how an
audience will respond. While there may be
trends applied from previous (design) eras, it
simply works. The split wordmark commands
attention, but not at the expense of the subject.
It brings two halves together – whether that be
character and story, or actors and audience.
The gradient may pose issues in certain
applications, though, and some examples don’t
work as well as others. While the execution
might benefit from more interaction between
the background and the logo, sometimes
finessing gets in the way of eiciency. It’s a
balance. Here, the unpolished feel seems more
fitting than an overly-produced approach. All
said, the designers were proud and the clients
were thrilled – it’s hard to argue with that.”
BRISTOL OLD V I C R E B R A ND
MAY 2018
The lead typeface for
the rebrand, Knockout,
is approachable, bold
and contemporary, but
with a lineage which
can be traced back
to early letterpress.
Eureka! has also
included Amasis as a
secondary font, adding
a humanist mix to the
typographic palette.
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S HOW C AS E
SHOWCASE
Computer Arts selects the hottest new
design, illustration and motion work
from the global design scene
MAY 2018
GOING FOR GOLD
RBSF IDENTITY AND UNIFORM
by Henk Willems and Jelena Peeters
www.henkwillems.com, www.jelenapeeters.be
Unhappy with the existing identity for the Royal
Belgian Speed Skating Federation, Belgium-based
graphic designers Henk Willems and Jelena
Peeters pitched and produced a new identity for
the organisation. Passionate about ice skating,
Peeters – an Olympic skater herself – and Willems
created a powerful visual identity system that
works across every touchpoint for team members,
spectators, sponsors, officials and the media.
Following the success of the project, the
pair proposed new uniforms for the Winter
Games in PyeongChang, which were unveiled
in February. “The colours are black, red and
yellow, referring to the national flag of Belgium,”
explains Willems. “The result is a modern brand
that’s ready to inspire people to join the RBSF and
enjoy speedskating.”
He continues: “The reveal of the new Olympic
speedskating suits was one of the best moments
we could imagine. And seeing Jelena competing
at the Winter Games wearing her own designed
suit was truly one of the nicest moments a designer
could ever dream of.”
S HOW C AS E
MAY 2018
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Angled, vibrant graphics – in
the colours of the Belgium flag
– create a flexible system that
helps take speedskating to a
new audience.
The uniforms are the latest part
of the redesign project. “The
graphical language needed to
evoke the extreme power and
speed the speedskaters use in
their sport,” says Willems.
Print collateral showing the new
tagline: ‘Passion into motion’.
“The RBSF wanted to inspire
people to join their ranks and to
share their passion for speed,”
explains Willems.
The sharp, angled B monogram
represents the shape of a
speedskater, bringing texture
and movement when paired
with the organisation’s new
condensed wordmark.
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S HOW C AS E
MAY 2018
THE KEY TO DESIGN
STUDIO BRANDING
by Dmowski & Co. www.dmowski.co
Briefed to redesign the identity for a firm ofering turnkey
interior finishing services – interior designs that are ready
for immediate use – Warsaw-based graphic design studio
Dmowski & Co. looked to the company’s tagline for inspiration.
“The client was opening a new showroom and they needed
to rebrand because their identity had become a mess over
the years,” recalls Dmowski & Co.’s creative director Gustaw
Dmowski. “We wanted to create something minimalistic, and
to design a logotype with a hidden meaning,” he continues.
“The brand’s tagline is ‘turnkey interiors’, so we just needed to
find a place for a key in the logotype.”
Persuading the client to go with the minimalist key visual
was the most challenging part of the project, Dmowski admits.
“But the hidden key in the logotype and the business cards is
my favourite part,” he smiles.
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S H O WC A SE
MAY 2018
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S HOW C AS E
MAY 2018
STREET SPIRIT
FLANEUR ISSUE 07: SÃO PAULO
by Yukiko
www.y-u-k-i-k-o.com
The latest issue of independent magazine
Flaneur – which focuses on a diferent street
in the world each time – starts on Treze de
Maio, a road in São Paulo. “We invited writers,
thinkers, artists and photographers to use the
street as a canvas,” explains Johannes Conrad
of Studio Yukiko. “We initiated collaboration with
us, the designers, editors, as well as between the
artists involved, and created a magazine – or
document – that reflects the street.”
The design of issue seven reflects diferent
fragments of Treze de Maio. Yukiko grouped
the ephemera and photos into “visual moods
and ideas”, before developing the typography,
design and colour into an identity for the issue.
“We felt the themes too complex for a selection
of neat little essays and visual responses, so
that’s how our more fluid visual and editorial
structure came about,” says Conrad.
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S H O WC A SE
MAY 2018
CHOCOLATE STATE
CACAO 70 BRANDING AND PACKAGING
by In Good Company
www.weareingoodcompany.com
Tokyo brand consultancy In Good Company created a new
brand strategy and identity for Canadian chocolatier Cacao 70
after the brand – which sources its beans directly from farmers
– developed a number of new products. As well as a goingto-market strategy, Cacao 70 needed a complete revamp of
its brand, identity, packaging, collateral, staf uniforms and more.
“We saw an opportunity to be the first to democratise the
bean-to-bar movement by transforming the experience from
one that’s incomprehensible and intimidating to one that’s
a playful discovery,” explains In Good Company creative
director and founder Janie Chartier. “We wanted the experience
of tasting the chocolate to transport you – to another time,
another place, a memory. We created the State of Chocolate.”
She continues: “Timing the development of the products
– the chocolate bars, fondues, chocolate powders – with
the development of the packaging, the production and the
delivery was somewhat challenging, but in the end, it all
worked out perfectly.”
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S HOW C AS E
MAY 2018
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S H O WC A SSEE
SH
MAY 2018
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
FATBOY SLIM 20TH ANNIVERSARY
BOXSET PACKAGING
by Neel Panchal
www.neelpanchal.co.uk
To mark the 20th anniversary re-release of Fatboy
Slim’s Brit Award-winning album You’ve Come
A Long Way Baby, designer Neel Panchal, label
manager Simon Dawson and marketing manager
James Meadow turned to the iconic ‘fat boy’ on the
cover of the original release for inspiration.
Realising that delivering the album to press in a
pizza box would stay true to Fatboy Slim’s central
ethos of fun, the creatives converted the Fatboy brand
into a pizza chain, drawing on design elements from
their favourite pizza restaurants, and adding a nod to
DJ Norman Cook’s hometown of Brighton.
Ensuring the design worked as a single-colour
screenprint was tricky, admits Panchal. “Creating
the Fatboy Slim brand as ‘Fatboy’s’ pizza chain was
our favourite part,” he adds, “as well as blasting
the album in the studio.”
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MAY 2018
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S H O WC A SE
MAY 2018
NORDIC NIKE
OSLO TYPEFACE
by Oh Yeah Studio
www.ohyeahstudio.no
When Nike wanted to redesign its Oslo concept
store, it turned to Hans Christian Øren – founder
of Oh Yeah Studio and creative director at Bekk
Consulting – to create a bespoke typeface that
would capture the essence of the city. Briefed
to use Futura Bold as a reference, and to subtly
convey Nike, sports, Oslo and a Nordic vibe,
Øren found inspiration at Oslo’s Bislett Stadium.
“The characteristic lines of the running track
became decisive for the creative expression,”
he recalls. “Bislett has a central place in Oslo’s
history as an international venue for sports and
public festivals. The lines from the running track
laid the foundation for the whole style.”
Communicating Oslo in a font was
challenging, he says. “The city has had countless
diferent styles of architecture, art and culture
over the course of two thousand years. I couldn’t
find a consistent one. This assignment forced
me to get a feel for the entire city, and to reflect
upon what Oslo actually has to ofer.”
HANDS ON
ALIEN HAND
by Giant Ant
www.giantant.ca
IMAGES: Shelley Horan
Invisibilia is a science and medicine-focused
radio programme and podcast for US media
organisation NPR. For its very first animation
assignment, it asked Vancouver-based studio
Giant Ant to bring to life the story of a woman
whose hand has a mind of its own.
“Because the story is so wacky, we wanted
to present it in a style that was a little bit
loose and unpredictable,” explains Giant
Ant creative director Jay Grandin. “We also
wanted to create a contrast between our main
character, Karen, who seems a bit kooky, and
her hand, which seems more methodical and
premeditated in its actions.”
It was important to strike a balance between
respecting Karen as a person, and representing
the comedy she delivered in the radio interview.
“We love the way Karen’s personality shines
through in the interview headshots,” says
Grandin, “and how that presents a contrast to
the ‘character’ of her alien hand.”
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S HO W C AS E
MAY 2018
MARKET SPACE
SOUK IDENTITY
by Mildred & Duck
www.mildredandduck.com
“We were approached by the team behind Souk,
a new Melbourne-based bar and restaurant, to
visually interpret their modern take on Middle
Eastern food,” says Sigiriya Brown, director and
co-founder of local design studio Mildred & Duck.
Designed with maximalism in mind, the logo
– which ofers a playful interpretation of the way
Arabic is read from right to left – entirely fills its
space, paying homage to the gloriously overfilled
souks (markets) seen throughout the Middle East.
The timeline was tight, so coordinating the
production of the collateral while making sure
everything was completed to a high standard was
a challenge. “It’s great to see how our identity has
become part of the Souk space and experience,
from the neon signage, right down to the
handmade logo-stamped plates the food is served
on,” adds co-founder and director Daniel Smith.
COM PU T ER AR T S .CR E AT I V EBLO Q .COM
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I N D U S T R Y I S S UE S
MAY 2018
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 42 -
MAY 2018
T h e i n s i d e r ’s
guide to
portfolios
What are top design
execs looking for in a
portfolio, really? Here,
four of the biggest
names in the business
reveal what you need
to do to impress them
Words: Tom May
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 43 -
I N DUS T R Y I S S U E S
MAY 2018
pplying for a job in the design world
can be a frustrating business. You’re
certain in your own mind that you
could ace this role; why can’t employers just
take you at your word? But in reality, nobody
is ever going to take you on, or even invite
you in for an interview, until you’ve first
wowed them with a knock-out portfolio.
That in itself shouldn’t be a huge problem:
you’re a designer, so design. But normally
you’re used to working to a brief, and you
often know a lot about the client and
audience you’re designing for. That allows
you to put yourself in their shoes, empathise,
and figure out how to make them happy.
With a portfolio, however, you’re often
designing for an audience of one – and you
usually don’t know anything about them. Yet
it’s this one specific person who’ll make the
difference between a path to gainful
employment and a one-way trip to the bin.
Now here’s the good news. In our
experience, most seasoned design executives
think pretty similarly, and so once you’ve got
into the mind of one, you’re on your way to
understanding them all. So in this feature,
we sit down with four big names in the
design world, and uncover the nitty gritty of
what they’re looking for in a portfolio, what
make them happy, and what’s likely to arouse
their ire and dismay.
As a reader of this magazine, we’ll assume
you’re already familiar with the basics of
putting together a design portfolio (although
if you need a refresher, then there’s a good
summary here: www.bit.ly/cbportfolios).
So instead, we asked our four experts to
focus less on the things common to all good
portfolios, and more on how you can
transform yours from good to great.
A
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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P OR T FOLI O A DV I C E
MAY 2018
“Express yourself:
show me who you are”
Portfolios are becoming more and more homogenised, says Pentagram
partner Eddie Opara, so dare to be different and take a leap of faith
When you’re reviewing a portfolio, what kind
of things are you looking for?
There are some fundamental things. I’m looking for
craftsmanship. Are the fundamental aspects of craft
there, in terms of typography, composition, art
direction, and so on? And equally importantly, I’m
looking to see whether your work has solved the
challenge you were presented with.
Beyond that are the added plusses; the things that
take your work to another level. That you’ve extended
your approach in regards to that composition, in
a different way than people might have expected.
That there’s a sense of energy and dynamic to the work,
depending on what the work is and what the context
was. And from my point of view, I’m also looking for
experimentation; the idea that you’re not scared to
take a leap of faith.
I’m not looking for every portfolio I see to tick every
one of these boxes. Some designers are just ‘anchors’,
with a very degree of high craftsmanship. They may
base their principles on minimalism, simplicity,
function before form, and you really need these kind of
designers. But then you have that other kind of
designer, who can bring an entirely different aspect to
it. I believe you need a balance between the two; I call
E D D I E
O P A R A
Partner at Pentagram
www.pentagram.com
Born in London, designer Eddie Opara established his own studio,
The Map Office, in 2005, before joining Pentagram’s New York
office as partner in 2010. He recently authored a book, Color
Works, published by Rockport, and is a senior critic at the Yale
University School of Art. His work is in the permanent collection
of the Museum of Modern Art.
it the rough with the smooth. As long as I get the
balance in the end, then that’s fine.
Is there anything that’s generally lacking in the
portfolios you see?
There’s a key element that I don’t really see any more,
and that’s process. How did you come up with the
work? Did you write about it, did you query yourself,
where’s the research towards it? I was always told to
show my workings, how I plied everything together, the
rationale behind it, and you don’t get that any more. Or
at least, I haven’t seen it for quite some time.
“I want to know: what were the
failures? What were the successes?
Why did you choose this particular
approach over another one? I want
to see you’ve thought about it”
So I want to know: what were the failures? What
were the successes? Why did you choose this particular
approach over another one? I want to see that you have
really thought about these things, especially if you
struggled with it but then found a solution. That tells
me more about you than just a final piece of work.
It’s not that designers don’t think about these things,
it’s that they don’t seem to write about them in their
portfolios any more. When I actually sit down and have
a conversation with people, they usually do start
talking about process.
C O MPUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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I N D U S T R Y I S S UE S
MAY 2018
FIVE EXPERT TIPS
TO BOOST YOUR
PORTFOLIO
01
TAILOR IT TO THE READER
I can settle for that, but I’d love to see more of that
in the portfolio. I want to see the great narrative that
one can show; that graphic design is not just this
‘Instagram’ piece of work. There’s a lot of shit that went
into this. Did it instantaneously arrive there? Of course
it didn’t! So what was the process, what are the
challenges, what are the conversations you had? How
did you fundamentally get there?
“It’s vital to tailor your design portfolio (or
book, as we call it) to the company you’re sending
it to,” explains Louise Sloper, head of art at BMB.
“So you’d approach an advertising agency like mine,
for example, in a different way to a design studio.
You’re unlikely to be doing 60-page brochures here,
so it’s a waste of my time seeing that in a portfolio. It
may be lovely, but it shows you haven’t understood
the job that you’re coming for.”
02
CREDIT YOUR COLLABORATORS
03
SHOWCASE OTHER
CREATIVE SKILLS
“It’s kind of a weird thing,” says Pentagram’s
Eddie Opara. “Oen, one project in a portfolio stands
out, because it’s something one person clearly didn’t
do on their own; but there’s no acknowledgment of
the other collaborators. I don’t normally mention it,
but that doesn’t mean I don’t notice it.”
If you’re going for a design job but have a different,
related skill, there’s nothing wrong with showcasing
it in your portfolio alongside your design projects,
advises Lou Hunter, creative director at Superunion.
“Whether that’s illustration, photography, film-making,
printmaking, calligraphy or whatever, it’s good to show
examples – as long as they’re relevant to the role and
don’t dominate the portfolio.”
04
CHOOSE YOUR
WORDS CAREFULLY
Design isn’t copywriting. But working to improve the
words in your portfolio can still pay off hugely, says
Eddie Opara. “Because that’s your life, right there.
If you can generate narrative out of that, people will
listen to what your process is, and you’ll become an
individual persona that people start to connect with.”
05
SELL YOUR PORTFOLIO
It’s vital to talk through your portfolio
well at interview, stresses Sloper. “I’ve noticed that
more and more students, particularly, seem to have
a lack of confidence – as opposed to a lack of talent
– and that worries me. So I’d urge you to practise
talking through your work; the more you do so, the
beer you get.”
What about way designers present their work; the
design and layout of the portfolio itself?
What’s problematic is that everybody’s using the same
system. Where’s the fun in every portfolio having the
same look and feel? I find that to be quite upsetting. Is
there another way you can think of to show your work?
Right now, we live in a time of image. It’s a
cacophony, it’s imbued our retinas and our brains, and
to a certain degree we’re tired of it, but it keeps coming.
So I do notice the homogenisation of work that’s
occurring. I’m not the only one who’s talked about this.
If I see that in your portfolio, I worry: is this particular
designer going to constantly do that?
Is that something you might discuss at interview?
Absolutely. I might say something like: ‘Well, looking at
your work, it’s consistently set, visually. There’s no
diversity within it, and why is that?’ And the designer
might then explain the rationale. Maybe it’s because
they’re utilising the language of the previous company
they were with, or that’s what they were taught at
school. But then it’s a case of: ‘Can’t you think for
yourself?’ And that’s where the process aspect comes in.
So I’d advise people: even if it was an idea that was
rejected, show it. Show who you are rather than what
you want people to think that you are. That’s really
important. We always say that design is about solving
problems, you constantly hear this. Graphic design is
an artistic, creative profession. So use your portfolio to
express yourself. Try, anyway.
What other advice would you offer someone who’s
struggling to put together an impressive portfolio?
When I’ve done portfolio reviews at conferences, or
schools, I’ll ask: have you travelled? Have you left your
home town, county, city state, country? If so, did you go
to any studios to hang out and talk to people? If the
answer’s no, that’s one of the things that you’ve got to
do. You’ve got to stretch your mindset. It’s a diversity of
thought; that’s what makes a good designer.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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MAY 2018
“ Wo w m e
in the first
few seconds”
When it comes to curation, the old advice no longer applies, says Louise Sloper
SHOW ME THE DETAIL
Louise Sloper, head of art at ad agency BMB, wants to
see your work in as much detail as possible. “My biggest
bugbear is when portfolios are created as if they’re
presentation boards, and the pieces of work are like
thumbnails,” she sighs. “That’s crazy, because I want to
see detail. I want to know, especially if you’re a younger
designer, that you understand kerning. I want to know
that you’ve used the right logo and that’s it’s not been
pixelated or gone a bit funky. I don’t want to view a
video that’s tiny; I want to see all the craft that’s gone
into the directorship and creative direction of it.”
This principle applies to both physical and online
portfolios. “I do see a lot of physical portfolios from
students and brand new graduates, but most people are
just turning up with iPads now,” she says. “That’s not
always ideal, because sometimes it’s just too small to
see the work in enough detail. So if you do bring an
iPad, you should have your work printed out nicely as
well, or otherwise available in a way you can view it on
another screen, at large sizes.”
BRING WOW PIECES TO THE FRONT
Curation is key to a successful portfolio, says Sloper,
and that involves a certain amount of restraint.
L O U I S E
S L O P E R
Head of art at Beattie McGuinness Bungay (BMB)
www.bmbagency.com
As head of art at London advertising agency BMB, founded by
Trevor Beattie, Louise Sloper manages the design department on a
daily basis whilst overseeing the visual art direction across all clients
and platforms coming out of the agency. She’s also vice-chair of
TypoCircle, founded TC Student Sessions, and has judged a number
of awards including D&AD and Creative Circle.
“I personally don’t really care about how the portfolio is
designed, provided that it’s curated well,” she says.
“There’s that sweet spot, where you want between five
and 10 pieces of work, perhaps a few more online.”
And the order in which you feature them in your
portfolio – which is known as your ‘book’ in the ad
industry – is also crucial. “Because people are quite
busy these days, it’s good to have your best work, the
thing that just really makes you go ‘wow’, up the top,”
she believes. “That’s the case whether we’re talking
about a physical portfolio or online. There used to be a
suggestion that you should start with your best piece of
work, then have a nice variation through the middle,
“Most people are just turning up
with iPads now. That’s not always
ideal, because sometimes it’s just
too small to see the work in detail”
then end on a wow. But with reviewers being so
time-poor nowadays, they often don’t get to that stage.
So I’d personally advise designers just to wow me in the
first few seconds.”
And that might be enough in itself to get you an
interview. “I might even not look at the rest of the
work,” she says. “Because I’m so fascinated by you, I
might want to have a chat with you instead. In fact,
with most of the best people I’ve interviewed, that’s
exactly what’s happened. Over the years, you get a
feeling for people who know what they’re doing, and so
you can make a decision like that quite quickly.”
C O MPUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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I N D U S T R Y I S S UE S
“A n y t h i n g t h a t
gets in the way
of the work is
a problem”
Michael Johnson of Johnson Banks details some of his portfolio dos and don’ts
DO: AVOID DISTRACTIONS
How you should lay out your work? “For me, anything
that gets in the way of the actual work is a problem,”
says Michael Johnson, founder of London studio
Johnson Banks. “So really art-directed headers, titles,
graphic edges and suchlike are a huge turn-off. The
work should stand on its own and not need a frilly
border. Online, if the web navigation is getting in my
way or slowing the process down, that’s also very
distracting.” In short, it’s all about focusing attention
on the work alone. “For me, it’s the same every time.
Three great projects – okay. Five great projects –
interesting. Eight great projects? Hired.”
DON’T: NEGLECT SMALL DETAILS
Design is about detail, so neglect even the tiniest
thing and you’ll end up on the rejected pile. Johnson
shares some of the biggest misdemeanours he’s
witnessed: “Sending 56-page pdfs when 15 was the
stated limit. Sending 25MB files. Sending links to
Dropbox folders or WeTransfer links.” Then there are
the oh-so-irritating spelling mistakes, including:
“Spelling my name wrong: Michael is not spelt
MICHEAL, and nor is my name Michael Banks.”
M I C H A E L
Johnson’s pet hates when it comes to portfolios also
include: “Sending emails to Johnson Banks that still
say ‘Dear Wolff Olins’. Sending blanket ‘Dear Info’
emails to 50 design groups. And not looking at our
website before sending samples. For example, Johnson
Banks don’t do packaging. Yet, designers still send us
packaging projects. Why?”
DO: FILL IT WITH IDEAS
If you’re applying for a creative position, you need to
demonstrate more than just technical ability. “So your
portfolio needs to be full of great ideas, demonstrating
a lively and engaging mind, an interest in the world,
and design’s role within it,” stresses Johnson. “The best
ones are just crammed with ideas; and then at second
interview, they reveal personal work or more layers
which make me like the work even more.”
DON’T: OVERSELL YOURSELF
Your portfolio should sell your skills and vision as
a designer, but don’t push things too far, cautions
Johnson. “Being overly chippy and telling me how great
you are, just in the email, is a pet peeve. Another one is
putting work in your folder that you basically only did
the photocopying for... then forgetting to tell me that.”
DO: BE PERSONABLE
J O H N S O N
Founder and director of Johnson Banks
www.johnsonbanks.co.uk
Michael Johnson oversees the strategic and creative output of his
London design studio, Johnson Banks, but is just as likely to roll up
his sleeves and get involved in the work himself. He is a regular
speaker at the world’s design and branding conferences, including
TYPO Berlin, Kyoorius Designyatra and Brand New.
When it comes to talking an employer through your
portfolio in an interview, not everyone gets it right.
“The vast majority of people forget they are presenting
to someone else, and present to themselves, not me,”
says Johnson. “Spooky, really. Oh, and you need to be
able to justify design decisions. Saying ‘I’ve always liked
this typeface’ is not a reason.”
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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“The work is the hero”
Lou Hunter, creative director at Superunion, gives honest answers to
commonly asked questions about design portfolios
How should you approach the design of a portfolio?
The work is the hero, so you’re showcasing the projects
that you’ve done, and you want that work to sing.
But that said, you want that work to sing in a beautiful
way. If you’re applying for a design job, you want people
to feel like your portfolio has been designed, rather
than, ‘Here are some images and here’s some copy.’ You
want it to feel a bit more crafted, because that’s your
craft. You don’t want it be overdesigned, of course. The
majority of portfolios we see are fairly clean and simple,
which normally works best. But you need to pay close
attention to detail. For example, if you have a
paragraph of copy with a little widow – one word on its
own – and then you talk about having a passion for
typography, no one’s going to believe you. It’s little
things like that which make the difference.
Should you include personal work?
I think that’s a great idea, I really do. Because often
you’ll have a fantastic idea, but in the world of
commercial design sometimes it doesn’t end up the
way you first imagined it, for any number of reasons.
So, yes I think showing personal work in your portfolio
L O U
H U N T E R
Creative director at Superunion
www.superunion.com
Lou has been with Brand Union since its creation in 2008
(formerly Enterprise IG, where she also worked). With almost 20
years’ experience, she’s worked within a wide range of disciplines
from retail, environmental experiences and live events through
to visual identity systems and guidelines, internal communication
strategies and roll out, and strategic brand creation.
that demonstrates how you think about ideas, your
approach to work and so on, alongside your client
work, is a great way to show off the other things that
you can do. You don’t want it to dominate, but
including some personal pieces can be a nice way to
talk about things you enjoy, and demonstrates you’re
someone with a bit of passion.
How can you make your portfolio stand out from the
crowd and grab someone’s attention?
When I get a portfolio, I want to feel that the person
who’s sending it loves their portfolio. Because it’s
something that represents you as a person. If I look
at something and I get that sense that someone’s proud
to share that, that’s what I’m looking for, essentially,
whatever level you’re at, whether that’s at the junior
level or at the design director level.
How do you achieve that in practical terms?
I think it’s largely about putting in the time and effort.
In truth, people can tell when a designer has lavished
care and attention on a portfolio, rather than just
chucked some work in a layout and that’s it. There’s a
consideration to the length and the projects that are
included, it’s not too dense, and it’s almost like you’re
telling the story of yourself. If a portfolio has that
feeling, it definitely becomes more engaging.
How important is it to sell your portfolio at interview?
Some people love to present, some people hate to
present, but you have to learn how to cope with it,
because it’s part of your job. That said, when we meet
people, we try to keep it quite informal so it’s not an
interview as such, it’s more a conversation.
C O MPUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 49 -
I N C ONV E R S AT I ON
MAY 2018
2017
ORGANISED
CHAOS
The wildly colourful animations and
illustrations of Saiman Chow are
a byproduct of both his background and
his ADHD. Here, he discusses the value of
working alone, and relying on instinct
S A I M A N C H O W Born and raised in Hong Kong, Saiman Chow’s family moved to Los
Angeles when he was 15. Since graduating from Art Center College of Design in 2001, he’s
gone on to work for a roster of big-name clients including Apple, Adidas and Nike.
See more at www.saimanchow.com
INTERVIEW: Nick Carson WORDS: Tom May PORTRAIT: Jacqueline Harriet
C OM PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 50 -
SA I M A N C HOW
MAY 2017
2018
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 51 -
I N C ON V E R S AT I ON
Above: Looking
Thru The B-Sides
is a stop-motion
film that follows
the adventures
of a skater
named Ollie as
he embarks on
a quest to find
his missing
skateboard. What
starts off as a
casual trip to the
skatepark turns
into a strange and
surreal trip down
the rabbit hole.
MAY 2018
F
rom intricate stopmotion animations to
digital illustrations
and fine art, the work
of Saiman Chow never
ceases to astonish. This
multi-disciplinary artist,
director and designer
was born and raised in
Hong Kong, and then
emigrated to Los Angeles with his
family at the age of 15.
After graduating from Art
Center College of Design in 2001,
Chow gained early attention and
accolades for his Art of Speed
animation, commissioned by Nike.
His boundless sense of imagination
has since won him commissions
from clients including Apple, Adidas,
Adult Swim, Google, Nike, The New
York Times, Ray-Ban, Sonos, Warby
Parker and Uniqlo.
Constantly reinventing his
approach, Chow’s work spans media
and takes a constantly evolving
variety of forms. His inspirations
include a fascination with the
Chinese and English languages,
and he uses symbolism and visual
narrative as a means of story-fuelled
expression. His personal work
mainly grapples with issues around
his immigrant status, including
identity, myth and displacement.
He’s also been open about what it’s
like having ADHD (Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder).
Following an arresting talk at
Antwerp’s Us By Night festival, we
chatted to Chow about feeling like
a social outcast, the problems the
Chinese community in LA face
when it comes to integration, and
his intuitive creative process.
In your Us By Night talk, you
said were happiest on your own
at school. Are you still most
comfortable working alone?
Fortunately, these days with the new
animation capabilities in Photoshop,
I’m able to work a lot more eiciently
just doing everything on my own.
And so a lot of my projects I end up
completing entirely by myself.
It’s not that I don’t like people –
I do! But I don’t like the constraints
of being part of a system, I guess.
Because my way of working is a very
intuitive one.
So for instance, for me, the
line between animation and
image making can be blurry. But
traditionally, when you’re working
in a company environment, there is
a much more rigid pipeline that you
have to follow.
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 52 -
Working by myself, I get to spend
a lot of time going back and redoing
things. If I was working as part of
a more traditional kind of setup,
that would be harder. That’s why
I feel happier working in my own,
idiosyncratic kind of way.
In terms of your own creative
process, you said you go straight
in and start playing around with
things in the software. You don’t
storyboard, it’s quite organic.
Can you tell us more about that?
Yeah, it’s very organic. I just make
stuff. And I think the problem with
having ADHD is that, a lot of the
time, I don’t know what I want. So
my process is a little bit counterintuitive for most people. I just do
a bunch of stuff, and something
emerges out of that by process of
elimination. But most of the time, I
know what I don’t want, I just don’t
know what I like. That’s the thing.
It emerges naturally?
Yeah, and I think you just feel it in
your guts. This kind of intuitive
sense that makes you think, ‘Okay,
this is good. This feels right.’
So basically I just do a bunch of
different versions of things until
that happens.
SA I M A N C HOW
MAY 2018
Above: The Feast
draws on the
Chinese tradition
of preparing
food for a
departed spirit.
Far left: EP design
for Polographia’s
Heart Attack.
Left: What
happens when a
word no longer
carries meaning
and becomes an
abstract form?
The Kowloon
series explores
this question.
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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I N C ON V E R S AT I ON
MAY 2018
Left: Personal
drawing from the
ongoing Summer
of Love series.
Below left:
Editorial
illustration for an
article in The New
York Times, A Frog
Dies in Atlanta,
and a World
Vanishes With It.
Below right:
Pictographic
system.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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SA I M A N C HOW
MAY 2018
You moved to LA from Hong
Kong at a young age, and said you
felt like a social outcast. Do you
think your style would be different
if you’d stayed in Hong Kong?
I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m
doing now at all. My life would be
completely different. I guarantee
you, I would not be an artist.
Because there’s just no outlet for this
kind of work in Hong Kong. Nobody
is doing it. I mean, okay, there are a
few people, but it’s really few and far
between. My parents would have just
pushed me to do a traditional job
like accountant or engineer.
Did your parents choose to move to
LA for a particular reason?
Yeah, because my aunts lived there.
So we had someone to anchor us a
little bit. I was the youngest, at 15.
My brothers were 16 and 17. I can’t
imagine what it was like for my
parents. It’s so much responsibility,
to uproot your whole family to a
completely new place.
Having said that, my brother
and I have lived very different lives.
It’s very easy to live in a bubble in
LA: you don’t have to experience
anything Western or American, you
can just watch Chinese television,
hang out with your community.
And that’s what he’s done.
We’re only one year apart, but
our existence could not be more
different. He doesn’t associate
with any Americans. The idea of
assimilation is a very tricky thing,
especially in LA.
Do you think that’s unique to LA?
Yeah, definitely. I’m fortunate to
have got my break here, doing
motion graphics, and that’s helped
me to try different things. But I don’t
have a whole lot of attachment to the
city itself.
In your talk, you referred to the
self-destructive phase of your
life that led to your short film for
Adidas about a psychotic panda
(www.bit.ly/2ca278saiman).
Have other emotions and life
experiences translated into other
pieces of your work?
Yeah, I like that piece. I wasn’t really
thinking about those things at
the time: they just subconsciously
manifested in there. I don’t know
why they wanted me to make this
into a film, because it’s just so dark.
More recently, it’s been more about
political stuff and work that explores
my past as far as I can emotionally.
Maybe subconsciously these things
influence some of the other work
I do, but I don’t try to overthink it.
You’ve already mentioned your
ADHD. A lot of your work is very
bright, colourful, and chaotic.
Do you think your style is a
byproduct of your ADHD?
Oh yeah, there’s no doubt about it.
It’s a byproduct of that and I think
also the way I grew up. Hong Kong
is a visually chaotic kind of place. It’s
a mixture of a lot of different ideas.
Hong Kong doesn’t have so much of
its own identity: you can see Chinese
influences, Japanese influences – it’s
a hybrid beast. Maybe because of my
ADHD, I’m not very good at editing,
but I am starting to get better at it.
Merijn Hos, a Dutch illustrator
who also has ADHD, says that in his
studio environment everything has
to be very calm and clean, with few
visible distractions. Do you have a
similar working environment?
No! My space is chaotic, and I
don’t think there’s a specific
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Above: Editorial
illustration for an
article for
Bloomberg News,
Can Obama’s
Second Term
Unleash Power
of His First?
I N C ON V E R S AT I ON
environment I thrive in. I just
thrive on diving into my emotional
state; that’s when I feel the most
comfortable. So it doesn’t matter
what the environment is like; what’s
important is that I feel I’m ‘in the
moment’ in order to make things.
It’s that idea of just feeling lost
in my work – that’s what makes me
the most happy and excited. My
wife is the complete opposite. She’s
very organised and clean. Without
her, I’d be a mess. She likes to have
everything in order in the house,
and I think that’s really helped me
too. It’s not that I’m a total mess. But
part of my brain just doesn’t have the
capacity for that kind of thing.
You also said in your talk that
you’re not a good animator.
No.
A lot of people who admire your
style would disagree with that. But
what techniques do you currently
use? Are you keen to experiment
and explore new ways of doing it?
What I mean when I say I’m not very
good is that I don’t have patience.
Take, say, a character talking, or
taking a walk. There are 10,000
MAY 2018
people who can create these kind of
fluid character animations better
than me. But in general, I like a kind
of clunkiness in animation. Take
for example, Bruce Bickford: he’s
a stop-motion guy who does truly
amazing clay animation – but he
just does it his own way. And I have a
similar outlook. I want to do things
that are different, things you might
not have seen before. That might not
be considered to be good animation,
but I enjoy those kinds of things.
In your talk, you discussed being
organic and getting what’s inside
your head on to the screen. Do you
ever get frustrated that you can’t
visualise something?
All the time. I feel like 90 per cent
of the stuff I do is failing.
For a long time I wasn’t very
accepting about the fact that what
I was trying to achieve wasn’t
translating onto the screen. I felt like
I was going to punch the monitor
or just quit in general. Once you
develop that acceptance, though, you
start feel more at ease about your
process. You stop putting so much
weight on the times that you fail,
and you start to understand that this
is all part of the process. Tomorrow
might be better. It might be worse.
But you know you’ve got to learn
something today that you can carry
forward, to help you the next time
you do things.
It’s a process of elimination.
It’s not the best way to generally
make work when you have a tight
deadline. But fortunately for a lot of
the projects I do, my clients really
understand what my process is, and
they let me improvise and be a little
bit more organic.
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Top: Title
sequence for the
Ciclope Festival.
Above: Editorial
illustration for the
MIT Technology
Review, An AI Ally
to Combat
Bullying in
Virtual Worlds.
‰
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S P E C I AL R E P OR T
DEFINE
A BRAND
USING
MAY 2018
HAND
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HANDMADE TYPE IN BRANDING
MAY 2018
MADE
TYPE
In the first of a two-part series on crafts in
branding, Emily Gosling explains how to craft
a truly authentic brand using bespoke lettering
Now in their fih year, CA’s very own Brand
Impact Awards reward the best branding
from around the world. Find out more and
submit your best work before June
www.brandimpactawards.com
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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S P E C I AL R E P OR T
B
ack in 2013, there was public
outcry when the sort of coffee
drinkers that pride themselves on
being artisanal-inclined suddenly
tasted an extra bitterness to their
lattes. They felt duped when it
was revealed their friendly local
cafe was, in fact, part of their
perceived ‘enemy’, Tesco.
The supermarket giant had
invested in a chain of coffee shops
called Harris + Hoole, which have
all the accoutrements of cosy
little local shops; namely, black
and white chalk boards detailing
produce, and scripty hand-drawn
type adorning the windows.
Funnily enough, it was those same
windows that consumers suddenly
saw straight through: no longer
could they assume that craft-led
typography and whimsical chalk
lines equalled independent.
What can we learn from this?
Perhaps, that it really is as simple
as the typography we use – and
the impression that it was done,
by hand, by a real human – to
persuade people of a brand’s ethos
and provenance.
The Harris + Hoole hoo-hah
explains a lot about the trend
we’ve seen in recent years for such
branding, using distinctly crafty
feels and a handmade approach. It’s
not just to fool people, of course:
in most cases, this trend can only
be seen as a boon for brands,
agencies and individual lettering
practitioners. It means brands
are actively taking the time (and
budget) to invest in thoughtful
work, agencies are pushing the
boundaries of their craft skills inhouse and in their commissioning,
and individuals are seeing skills
they’ve long practised become
valuable assets.
BIG BRANDS WORKING
WITH SMALL SPECIALISTS
Three decades have passed since
Mark Josling set up his hand-sign
painting business Spectrum Signs,
which was founded in 1988 in his
parents’ garage. Now based out of
an Aladdin’s cave-like outhouse in
west London, Spectrum works for
clients ranging from local pubs to
Pret a Manger to Coca-Cola.
A lot has changed in the
industry over the past 30 years:
a couple of decades ago, handlettering seemed to be on the way
out, replaced with easily produced
and increasingly cheap vinyl
production. But around seven years
ago, the design and branding world
suddenly fell in love with handpainting again, something that’s
understandably cheered Josling.
“The whole digital and vinyl
thing went too far, I think a lot
of people – designers especially
– wanted to get away from that.
They wanted something a bit
different,” he says. “The internet
played a massive part, because
years ago the perception was that
nobody’s doing it. Now you can just
put it in a search engine and find
someone. I don’t think this is going
to go away now.”
It shows that while consumers
might see bigger chains using
hand-lettering and the like as
a duplicitous ploy to try and
dupe people, brands are actually
investing in good quality, highly
skilled design work. As designer
Kyle Wilkinson points out: “You
think Pret and those sort of
companies are trying to emulate
that personal feel on a completely
impersonal platform; they’re trying
to be something they’re not, or
trying to get over to people that
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don’t like Pret for that reason –
they’d rather go to the local café,
something similar with a more
independent feel. So it’s interesting
they’re hiring someone and not just
ripping it off, they’re funding that
sort of indie thing, which is great.”
Kate Marlow, creative partner
at Here Design, agrees that if such
a trend encourages people to learn
a skill like hand-drawn type, then
that’s a positive for the design
community. “We had to learn it in
art school, and it’s really hard. A
resurgence of a skill like that can
only be a good thing,” she says.
C A S E
S T U D Y
G R A N D
C R U
MEXICAN AGENCY PARÁMETRO EXPLAINS HOW IT CREATED BESPOKE PACKAGING FOR GRAND CRU
Monterrey-based design studio Parámetro
was approached by chocolate brand Grand
Cru’s founders to create playful branding
that playfully reflected the company’s
artisanal origins.
The team wanted to create a feeling
that emulated the world of Willy Wonka,
as well as the joy of finding that golden
ticket. The aim was to “capture all things
magic for the packaging,” explains lead
designer Debbie Kennedy.
The branding takes vintage sweet
designs as a reference point. Parámetro
worked closely with the printer to find the
perfect finish, and used spot UV to create
a glossy feel, along with colour foils and
special Pantone colours. “That’s part of
what gives the packaging this different
and fun feeling,” says Kennedy. “Those sort
of finishes help the consumer’s mind
wander, and make them feel like they’re
not just getting chocolate but a complete
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experience. The designs looked to position
the brand somewhere between premium
chocolate and something a little more
approachable,” she continues.
The process was entirely created by
Parámetro and began with hand sketching
before moving into Illustrator, with the
type based on existing typography that
was then customised “to give it the kind of
vintage candy, nostalgic feeling”, by adding
3D effects and foil detailing.
C A S E
S T U D Y
R E D L E G
HOW KYLE WILKINSON CELEBRATED THE CARIBBEAN HERITAGE OF RUM
The new designs for
RedLeg came about when
the brand wanted to
celebrate its recognition
at industry awards. The brief was to
showcase the brand’s provenance and
Caribbean spice, so was loosely
themed around a laid-back, Caribbean
beach theme. Wilkinson hand-painted
signs with a scripty brush type. “It’s
popular and on trend at the minute,
but it matched the brand and tone
they wanted to send out,” he says.
“We built the set and photographed
the type as if it had been painted on
the wood. They’re keen to capitalise on
the trend of brushy script everyone
loves; it’s ‘rough around the edges’
type, not too pristine and perfect.”
The ongoing campaign imagery
for RedLeg was created with a
mixture of the hand-made, physical
type, and digital solutions for the
faster-paced applications, such as
online campaigns.
“We went out to a timber merchant
and asked for the most knackered
pieces of wood we could find,” says
Wilkinson. “I didn’t want pretty wood
that was well presented, I wanted
stuff that had been soaked in the rain
and had a bit of weathering to it. Then
it was a mixture between painted
type and some of the type being
done digitally.”
The project was entirely created by
Wilkinson, including all typography, art
direction, photography and set build.
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HANDMADE TYPE IN BRANDING
MAY 2018
“IT’S EASY TO SEE THE WOBBLES ON
THINGS MADE BY HAND. IT MAKES FEEL
PEOPLE SOMETHING, NOSTALGIA”
O L I
H A N D - L E T T E R I N G
A R T I S T
easier to see the kind of wobbles
and mistakes and foibles with the
naked eye on things made by hand
than something that might have
taken many hours and skills but
using code. It makes people feel
something, and there’s an attached
sense of nostalgia.”
STORYTELLING IN TYPE
Frape touches on an interesting
point about the natural human
love of a story: if we can tangibly
sense the story behind something’s
creation – that it started with the
simple tools of human hands,
pencils, or brushes – there’s a more
compelling, craft-infused tale that
‘perpetuates a myth’ for a brand
than, as he puts it, “them saying ‘we
employed a graphic designer who
sat in his studio at a computer and
emailed it to us.’ They’re making an
authentic product and branding it
in a way that looks authentic.”
What makes these stories
so compelling for consumers –
consciously or not – is the sense
that a brand has actively considered
its visual output. Using specialist
craft skills is never the cheapest or
quickest option, so there’s a visual
shorthand that suggests the brand
has taken the time to really think
about what it’s putting out into the
world, and how it’s telling us about
it. In that sense, it’s the antithesis
of the kind of cookie-cutter design
that’s easily bypassed on shelves or
billboards. “It softens that attitude
and makes people invest in their
brand. It has more credibility and
meaning,” says Frape.
As US lettering artist Jessica
Hische points out, custom
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Oli Frape’s sketchy font design for Impulse.
AUTHENTIC BRANDING
The considered, handmade
aesthetic is a perfect fit for the likes
of coffee shops, food and beverage
packaging, and indeed any
company that wants consumers
to get a sense of buying something
with a smidgen of a personal touch.
The reasons why brands want
that handmade feel are many. For
most, it’s about the buzziest of
current buzzwords: ‘authenticity’.
While people might not see much
artisanal in the likes of Tesco, that
assumption can gently be tweaked
with a touch of hand-drawn
lettering here and there, whether
on packing, point of sale materials,
campaigns or adverts.
Oli Frape is a hand-lettering
artist based in Sheield, who’s
worked with brands including
Tesco, Fortnum & Mason and
Hovis. For him, commissions
from such brands are to do with
the language they want to use, “to
make copy seem a bit more human
or accessible when it perhaps isn’t”.
“Things that are mass produced,
or that seem overly digitally
produced, lack a certain humanity,”
he says, adding that even though
we’ve landed at a place where
we can make more things with
computers than ever, people still
want handmade stuff.
“The technology is incredible,
but it doesn’t have the same
connotations as something
made by the human hand or that
has visible man-hours in it,” he
continues. “That idea that humans
have spent time using skills they’ve
learnt over years and the tangibility
of that carries something. It’s
F R A P E ,
S P E C I AL R E P OR T
MAY 2018
C A S E S T U D Y
W I L L I A M S S O N O M A
HERE DESIGN DISCUSSES CREATING ARTISANAL
CHOCOLATE TINS FOR A KITCHENWARE COMPANY
Here Design was
commissioned by
American kitchenware
company Williams
Sonoma to design a seasonal
collection of tins for a new range
of artisanal chocolates. Each tin
celebrates a different traditional
artisan, such as the bourbon
distiller and the honey maker; with
each design merging influences
from vintage American packaging,
Victorian chocolate designs, and
historical typographic designs with
ornate patterns (a honeycomb
design for the Pretzel Peanut Butter
Honey Truffles, for instance) and
specialist finishes such as stamps
of approval and fine embossing.
Attention to detail allowed Here
Design to elevate the everyday, in
the same way that each product
had been crafted with a special
uplifting ingredient. All type design
was created using existing
typefaces, which were extruded by
adding textures where appropriate
and the use of drop shadows to give
a three-dimensional effect.
“The products have really good
backstories, which lent themselves
really nicely to how we might use
exuberant, flamboyant, typography,”
says creative partner Kate Marlow.
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HANDMADE TYPE IN BRANDING
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S P EC I AL R E P OR T
MAY 2018
“IMBUE YOUR BRAND AESTHETIC WITH
A CONVERSATION THROUGH BEAUTIFUL
TYPE WITH DEPTH AND COMPLEXITY”
K A T E
H E R E
lettering has always been a big part
of branding. “Very few companies
can afford to create their own
custom corporate typeface,” she
says, “and they want something
more unique than using an
existing font. I think lettering as
an industry is in a kind of weird
in-between place right now – it’s
not so big that it’s become it’s own
mega discipline like illustration
and photography, but it’s not a
small niche industry any more,”
she adds. “There are things you can
achieve through customisation and
drawing from scratch that you just
can’t with an off-the-shelf font.”
In Here Design’s sumptuous
type-led designs for Williams
Sonoma chocolate, the nostalgiainfused look and feel was the
5
T I P S
F O R
M A R L O W ,
D E S I G N
C R E A T I V E
P A R T N E R ,
perfect conduit to tell the stories
behind the variants’ artisan roots.
“No brand wants to be a one-way
path of communication any more,”
says Marlow. “So if you imbue your
brand aesthetic with a conversation
through beautiful type with depth
and complexity, that tells a story
not only about the pack to the
audience, but about the brand.
For us, type is image – or can be
image. It’s highly illustrative.”
THE LOVE OF HANDMADE
Wilkinson sees the craft lettering
trend as a natural riposte to our
increasingly digitally driven
world. He sees the vogue for
“hand-drawn, brushy feel type”
as a symptom of the disconnect
people feel with how products are
C R E A T I N G
B E S P O K E
made. “People think it’s just the
technology creating these things
or this imagery, so there’s not a
person – a designer or illustrator
– at the end of it.” But as he points
out, “there’s no ‘create button’ in
Photoshop – everything has to
be ‘made’, but people have more
understanding of hand-drawn,
rawer type and brush script.”
Wilkinson believes this love of
hand-drawn script has roots in
calligraphy. “People can connect
more with that. They think ‘I wish
I could write like that.’”
It all comes down to the
brand and its message having a
more personal feel; like the joy of
receiving a handwritten note over
a text or email. But if it’s about
sincerity and a personal touch,
L E T T E R I N G
HOW TO INCORPORATE A HANDMADE FEEL INTO YOUR BRANDING
1 USE TYPE WISELY
If hand lettering works with the
overall brand – its origins, its
ethos and its audience – great.
If not, avoid; people will see
straight through a tech giant
trying to look personable using
nothing but a scripty typeface.
“It’s got its uses, but I feel it’s
a lazy approach sometimes,”
says Kyle Wilkinson.
2 WORK WITH THE PRINTERS
Specialist typography often
requires specialist finishes:
embossing, foils, and spot
colours, for instance. So it’s
best, where possible, to work
as closely as you can when it
comes to printing the project
(preferably, be physically
present). That way, you can see
the colours, finishes and other
elements as they’re done.
3 KEEP IT BEAUTIFUL
“For a logotype to be ‘great’
it has to be beautiful – in
whatever style or font it’s in,”
says Jessica Hische. It must
also be legible. “The logo is
the first visual insight a lot of
people get into the company
– it’s an opportunity to set the
tone for how they want to be
perceived and what they want
people to think of them and
what they do,” she adds.
scratch, I’ll take my sketches
further before vectorizing.”
4 MIX TECHNIQUES
Hische works “by hand” on
an iPad Pro using Procreate.
“I work the same in that
programme as I do using
pen and pencil, but with the
added ability to colourise
my sketches when colour
is a big factor,” she says.
“If I’m tweaking an existing
logotype, I use my sketches as
a quick ideation and iteration
platform, but don’t push my
sketches beyond the loose
idea stage. If I’m working from
5 DO YOUR RESEARCH
Competition is tough,
especially in retail, “so to make
a difference you’ve really
got to know your stuff,” says
Stranger & Stranger founder
and CEO Kevin Shaw. “You’ve
got to know what works with
consumers and what doesn’t,
what others are doing and how
to stand out; how retailers
think and stock products.
You also need to know about
logistics and costs, so you can
get the most out of budgets.”
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HANDMADE TYPE IN BRANDING
MAY 2018
C A S E S T U D Y
T H E P R I S O N E R
W I N E
STRANGER & STRANGER EXPLAINS HOW IT
CREATED A WINE LABEL WITH ATTITUDE
Stranger & Stranger
is a packaging design
and branding agency
specialising in
alcoholic drinks. The majority of
the agency’s projects use
specialist craft skills when it
comes to typography, and one
stunning recent standout project
is The Prisoner’s $100 reserve,
Deranged, which uses a black
bottle with tally-like inscriptions
forming a charmingly scrappy,
edgy, and hand-created aesthetic.
“The Prisoner is a wine icon, it
has attitude and has succeeded
fantastically well despite, and
maybe because of, it not being a
traditionally researched consumer
facing brand,” says Stranger &
Stranger founder/CEO Kevin Shaw.
“The perfect brief was simply to
extend that attitude to a higher
price point, aged wine. Short briefs
are best and we spend a lot of time
crystallising the ask. If you can get
a brief down to one sentence, you
can be focused but not restricted.”
Shaw adds that the idea
perfectly visualised an aged
prisoner with time on their hands
and the finished product looks
pretty much exactly like the team’s
first visual. “It’s an expensive wine
so we added a medallion and wax
dip to add even more quality to
a very heavy bottle.”
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S P EC I AL R E P OR T
C A S E
MAY 2018
S T U D Y
M A H O N I A
V I N E Y A R D
JESSICA HISCHE ON HER WORK FOR LIMITED-EDITION WINES BY MAHONIA VINEYARD
Photograph: Kari Orvik
Jessica Hische was approached by client
Travis Henry to create something “really
special” for the limited-edition wine range,
and briefed to create designs that felt
premium, “like a high-end gift”.
The project started with two wines, a chardonnay
and a pinot noir, “and I gave myself the limitation of
designing with one foil colour plus 2c letterpress (black,
plus a secondary colour),” she explains. “The label
designs remained the same apart from the colour
change and the custom monogram I created for each
wine. I tried to have the monogram inform the tasting
notes, to have a conceptual tie in, but also tried to make
sure there was a lot of variety to each of the designs so
that they all felt unique.”
According to the designer, the brief was “fully open,
they just loved my work and wanted me to make some
fancy labels for the limited edition clonal varietals they
were releasing. I had the idea of working with their
existing branding or label layout and making a custom
monogram for each wine. The system ended up being
really fun and easy to expand upon.”
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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HANDMADE TYPE IN BRANDING
MAY 2018
“JUST BECAUSE HANDWRITTEN STUFF IS A
POPULAR THING, DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD
SHOEHORN IT IN – IT NEEDS TO STAY TRUE TO
THE VALUES AND VISUALS YOU’RE CREATING”
K Y L E
does the fact that such a style
has become a trend neutralise
that? Wilkinson says that a lot of
brands and agencies have been
“backing that one horse,” but it
won’t live forever. From the style’s
overwhelming presence on designled social media feeds, he surmises
that: “it’s surely past its peak now
and will start to fade as it’s so
overused and oversaturated”.
THE RIGHT TYPE
But the style really is an excellent,
and very fitting solution for a
number of brands; many of which
truly have the provenance and
artisanal qualities their typography
suggests. Wilkinson’s work for
RedLeg rum (see page 62), for
instance, is a fitting reflection of
the brand’s celebrated ingredients
and Caribbean heritage, while
Párametro’s work for Grand Cru
chocolate (see page 61) is similarly
inspired by its artisanal origins.
The trend for specialist
handscript isn’t just restricted to
your neighbourhood coffee shop
or food and drink packaging:
even a few luxury brands want in
– Dolce & Gabbana, for instance,
uses a mishmash of fonts online,
including a geometric sans,
transitional serif and humanist
sans alongside a chalky handscript,
and a Bodoni.
“In terms of branding, what’s
important is the little accents on
things you always remember,” says
Segolene Hutter, the founder of
luxury branding specialist Studio
Noir. “Branding is such a broad
thing, it’s not just about the logo
or the typography: think about the
W I L K I N S O N ,
purple from Aspinal, the Christian
Louboutin red soles, Tiffany blue.
It’s like a subliminal message that’s
beyond way beyond just words
and typefaces. It’s the whole brand
personality,” she explains.
THE WRONG TYPE
So when does this approach not
work? Many of the designers
we spoke to pointed to larger
corporate brands and the
mismatch with such a style.
Frape thinks that any industry
“synonymous with technological
progress” would be a mismatch.
“There’s a different aesthetic for
automotive or motor sport brands,
and it doesn’t work for the really
high tech stuff.”
However, he suggests that the
desire for craft-led typographic
styles isn’t ever totally redundant,
where it fits with a brands’ wider
strategy: “As we go forward, brand
messaging is getting increasingly
complex and nuanced, and it has to
be as we’re getting wiser and wiser
to brands’ messages – we’re like,
‘yawn, that’s not authentic’.”
Wilkinson agrees consumers are
getting wiser, and warns against
brands using the look simply to
emulate competitors. “When
corporate brands jump on that
bandwagon to try and look cool
and on the money, you see straight
though it,” he says. “It’s pretending
to be something you’re not. Just
because handwritten stuff is a
popular thing, that doesn’t mean
you should shoehorn it in – it needs
to have its own voice and stay true
to the values and visuals you’re
creating so it stands out.”
F R E E L A N C E
D E S I G N E R
COLLABORATION IS KEY
For agencies and brands looking
to collaborate with specialist craft
typographers on projects, the key
to a successful relationship lies in
trust, and a willingness to embrace
experimentation. For Wilkinson,
it was a joy when his RedLeg client
was open to him getting very
physical with the project – scouring
timber merchants for “the most
knackered pieces of wood we
could find,” and using that as the
basis for hand-drawn type to be
photographed for the campaign.
“They were all up for us going
out and finding the wood; doing
things in camera and doing things
properly is the best collaboration.”
Wilkinson adds that the same
principles apply when working
with other brands. The best
collaborations are when clients
are “open to a more experimental
approach, something completely
unique they have ownership of and
sets them apart. It’s not just ‘I’ve
seen this on Instagram and want to
do that’ – it’s ‘how can we change
it up a bit, or take it to a new level
that benefits the project and the
brand and gives us something
more individual?’”
There are always time and
budget restrictions, he concludes,
but you create your best work when
clients are open. “The best clients
put trust in you to take that step
and not just play it safe and do it
how it’s always been done.”
NEXT
MONTH
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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ILLUSTRATE FOR BRANDS
The second part of our crafts
in branding series looks at
illustration in branding.
BA CK T O B AS I C S
MAY 2018
_ D I G I TA L D E S I G N S K I L L S
WHY YOU NEED TO
LE ARN TO CODE
In the third of our series on digital skills, Tom May looks at why
graphic designers should learn to code, and how to get started
L PA R T 3
Part three looks at
why learning coding
can improve your
designs, and how you
can get started.
PAR T 4
NEX T MONTH
The fourth part of the
series examines how
to make your creations
adapt seamlessly to
different devices and
screen sizes.
earning to code might seem like an
unnecessary step, particularly if you’re
working exclusively in print design. However,
if you think you don’t need to code, consider
the following two things.
Firstly, you never truly know what you or your
studio is going to be working on a year from now.
And in an industry increasingly focused on digital,
it’s never a bad idea to future-proof your skills.
Secondly, learning to code doesn’t mean going
all-in and becoming a fully fledged developer. Even
if you end up grasping only the very basics of code,
it will still help you enormously in communicating
your visual ideas to the developers who are tasked
with implementing them.
“Learning to code is the most exciting step I’ve
made as a designer, but my original goal wasn’t to
become a developer,” says Jun Taoka, now product
designer at London consultancy Red Badger. “It’s
about being better able to appreciate the
parameters of digital design, and communicate to
your peers how your designs will function.”
CODING COURSES
But how do you start learning to code? “I’d
recommend doing a short course first: a week
intensive or a couple of evenings a week over a
period of time,” says Sari Griiths, chief design
oicer at Red Badger. “It’s great to have someone
you can ask questions, and fellow students to
motivate you. Then make sure you keep it going
using online tutorials and courses.”
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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We list three high-quality courses on page 72,
although there are many more to choose from.
Taoka favours Treehouse and General Assembly,
while his colleague, product designer Clementine
Brown, is a fan of Codecademy; other choices
include Pluralsight and SuperHi.
Whichever you opt for, Brown advises: “Stick to
HTML and CSS at the beginning; this will give
you a feel for what it’s like to bring a flat graphic to
life.” For the uninitiated, HTML defines the basic
structure of a web document, while CSS defines
how it’s presented, in terms of things like layout,
colour and fonts. Complex interactions and
animation are usually created in JavaScript, which
is more advanced, although ways are increasingly
being developed to do these tasks within CSS too.
Most importantly, don’t just take the classes,
but start getting your hands dirty by putting what
you’ve learned into practice. Play around with
code, build things, try things out: it’s the only way
you’ll really start to get your head around how all
this stuff really works.
Plus, it’s fun. “As a designer learning code for
the first time, one of the most exciting elements is
bringing your creations to life in a new medium,
accessible by billions instantly,” says Craig Frost,
product designer at Pusher, a leader in real-time
technologies based in London. “I’d advise you to
start small: focus on translating your existing
knowledge of design practice into code. Begin
with layout and spacing, understanding grids
on the web and when you need to use them.
DIG
ITA L DE SI G N SK I LLS
DIGITA
MAY 2018
PRO INSIGHT
C O L L A B O R AT I V E C O D I N G
ERIC WEBSTER, TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR AT CONNELLY PARTNERS,
EXPLAINS HOW HE HELPED HIS DESIGN TEAM GET INTO CODING
“Connelly Partners, based in
Boston, Massachusetts, is a
traditional design agency, but
then we started to get more
into digital work. A lot of our
traditional designers wanted to
make a hop over to digital design,
so I said I’d find a class we could
take together, to help them get
more familiar with it.
We took Coding for Designers,
which is a free online course
offered by Gymnasium
(thegymnasium.com). It showed
you how to make things so that
when you hand it over to the
development team, things go as
smoothly as possible.
We had a class of 16 in total.
And we had a bunch of clients
who are pro bono or low bono:
products or companies we’re
attached to that don’t have a
lot of money. We took a few of
them and assigned everybody
in the class a client. So, not only
were they going to design a new
homepage for that client, they
were going to build it.
Week by week, we got a
conference room and spent
lunchtimes going through the
class together. We paused it when
people had questions, explained
it till everybody caught up. At the
end we had a few more meetings,
where me and a couple of other
developers made ourselves
available, and people would show
us what they’d worked on.
My view is: you should never
stop learning, no matter what it
is you do. So if you just take one
class and find out it’s not your
bag, fine. But everyone should dip
their toes into everything. Try it!
You never know, you might learn
your next favourite thing.”
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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Coding for Designers
by thegymnasium.com
is a free, self-paced
introductory course
to HTML and CSS for
designers with graphic
design experience. No
prior web or coding
experience is necessary.
BA CK T O B AS I C S
MAY 2018
WEBSITE BUILD
“In my first job as a designer, at Studio
424 in Chicago, I started learning code
with free courses on Codecademy, then
took SuperHi’s foundation course. My
boss let me put what I’d learned into
practice with a landing page for cooking
tech company Ibex One. Senior designer
Zhenqi Ong designed the look, and I
built it out. The Technology section was
the trickiest part of the build: figuring
out how to align everything properly,
getting the icons to act as buttons,
and making it responsive. But in the
process, I learned that I’m capable of
more than I thought, and that I shouldn’t
be afraid to ask questions.”
HANAN SHOUBAKI
STUDIO 424
T H R E E T R A I N I N G P L AT F O R M S
C r a i g F r o s t , p r o d u c t d e s i g n e r a t P u s h e r, s u g g e s t s t h r e e
high quality providers of code training courses
“There are a myriad of platforms to help you learn coding,” says Craig Frost, product
designer at Pusher. “Take your learning deeper by building something end-to-end
using courses from world-class developers and teachers. It’s here where pieces
start to click together; where you understand the broader picture of design on the
web and the tools available to augment your design process and provide useful
constraints to your design thinking and exploration.”
_ T R E E H O U S E ( W W W .T E A M T R E E H O U S E . C O M )
Treehouse offers a seven-day free trial to its library of video based coding tutorials.
If you like it, you can sign up for a subscription (£20 per month), which allows you to
choose from thousands of hours of content covering a wide range of skills and topics,
from JavaScript to Python to iOS.
_ C O D E C A D E M Y ( W W W . C O D E C A D E M Y. C O M )
Codecademy is an interactive platform that offers free coding classes in a range of
languages including Python, JavaScript, Ruby, SQL, Sass, HTML and CSS. There’s
also a paid pro option ($19.99 per month) that gives you access to a personalised
learning plan, quizzes, realistic projects, and live help from advisors.
_ EGGHE AD ( W W W.EGGHE AD.IO)
Egghead offers a range of video tutorials by industry pros to help you learn the most
popular JavaScript tools and frameworks, including React, Angular and Vue.js.
Subscriptions cost $29 per month.
C O M PUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 72 -
Then move onto type treatments and colour;
the differences in terminology, possibility, and
lack thereof.”
One of the best ways to learn how coding
works, he adds, is in analysing and deconstructing
the work of others. “Use the browser developer
tools to inspect design work you admire, and then
work backwards to increase your understanding
of how a particular design came to be. You can use
these tools to directly manipulate the website
you’re visiting, so start changing colours, spacing,
copy; get a feel for how you’d use these same
materials to construct something of your own.
“When you get stuck, use tools like Stack
Overflow to connect with others and get help with
hard problems. And if you’re using platforms like
Codecademy or Treehouse to learn, make yourself
present in their forums to discuss your learnings
with other students.”
ASK A DEVELOPER
And if your day job involves work with developers,
why not connect with them too? “Reach out and
ask if they’ll pair with you on coding up your next
DIGITA L DE SI G N SK I LLS
MAY 2018
5 TIPS FOR
LEARNING
TO CODE
HOW YOU CAN EMBRACE THE WORLD OF
CODING AND UP YOUR DIGITAL SKILLS
1 USE CODE TO HELP
YOU GE T OUT OF A RUT
“As a recent design graduate, I felt like I was
hitting a slump after doing four internships
in a row” says Trang Minh Nguyen, a designer
working in Berlin. “Learning to code helped
me escape this toxic mindset and open up a
new realm of possibilities, especially when it
comes to generative design.”
2 MAKE SOMETHING
“Think of a project you want to do, pick a
language, and just start making,” advises
Nguyen. “Get in the habit of creating. Have
endless curiosity, look things up, read books,
watch tutorials, wake up early so you have a
fresh mind. Something will fuck up along the
way and that’s okay.”
3 ASK THE EXPERTS
I N S TA G R A M
PROJECT
“Inspired by new media artist Zach
Lieberman, I began a side project
this year where I create daily
sketches while learning Processing
(p5.js) and post them on Instagram:
@nmtrang29. The journey hasn’t
been easy but I’m really enjoying
it. As a designer and visual thinker,
I generally have an idea of what
I want to create. I then look up
tutorials to execute that idea. I’ll
try to spend 30 minutes to an hour
on a sketch whenever I find the
time, mostly before or after work.
I find I learn much faster when I
actually make something with the
knowledge I’ve picked up.”
TRANG MINH NGUYEN
@NMTRANG29
design,” suggests Frost. “Communicate about their
ideas, skills, and concerns. You’ll get a better idea
of how you can alter your design practice and
process to cater to the web, and it will strengthen
your work relationships, too. If you’re not lucky
enough to have this at your company, start
looking for meetups and workshops on meetup.
com or similar, where you can do the same thing
but outside of the oice.”
“Coding is diicult in the beginning, but it will
get better,” says Mircea Mocanu, a designer and
art director who recently built his first site – his
personal website at www.mirceamocanu.com.
“Don’t fear language: make analogies with other
things you encountered when dealing with large
amount of information. Invest, knowing it’s going
to take some time and it will often be annoying,
but ultimately you’ll be glad you put the effort in.
“Exercise your new skills on smaller stake
projects,” he continues. “Take it step-by-step and
enjoy little victories. Ask other coders how they do
it. If they are busy, ask Google. If you can’t find it,
ask others again. Don’t expect things to progress
or work if you don’t guide them.”
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 73 -
“Ask lot of questions and if someone who
knows what they are talking about offers you
their time, snap their hand off,” advises Matt
Russell, graphic and web designer at
Yorkshire marketing agency Red
International. “And keep at it: you are going to
hit speed bumps along the way but be
patient and work through it.”
4 DON’T WORRY ABOUT
KNOWING IT ALL
“It’s okay to feel lost,” says Jun Taoka of Red
Badger. “If your goal is to be a good digital
designer and not a full-stack developer, you
shouldn’t need to understand every single
thing you hear your developers say to each
other. If you can communicate to your
developers your designs and their
interactions then you’re doing enough.”
5 U S E M E TA P H O R S
If new concepts in coding confuse you, try to
think of metaphors that will make things
clearer. “A developer who helped me start
coding once told me to think of the code as if
I was building a house,” says Clementine
Brown of Red Badger. “The HTML is the frame
and bricks, and the CSS is the paint and
carpets. That really helped me understand
the relationship between the two.”
BACK ISSUES
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APRIL 2018
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ISSUE 276
MARCH 2018
ISSUE 275
FEBRUARY 2018
ISSUE 274
JANUARY 2018
ISSUE 273
DECEMBER 2017
Discover the top 25 illustrators
to work with this year, improve your
logo craft with our 10 golden rules,
and get pro portfolio advice from
agency Handsome Frank.
Have your best year ever with our
advice for conquering obstacles
and achieving your dreams in 2018.
We also look at how to use brand
guidelines effectively.
We reveal the hottest colour
palettes for 2018. Plus: how to
succeed as a designer-maker,
build a global reputation overnight
and get better at typesetting.
Create brand 'you' and learn
to harness social media in our
self-promo special. We also share
advice on conquering creative
block, and thriving without ego.
GOT AN APPLE DEVICE?
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PREFER TO READ ON ANDROID, PC OR MAC?
A digital replica of CA is also available on Google Play and Zinio, as well as Kindle, Nook, Windows 8 and more.
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P R OJ E C T S
MAY 2018
PROJECTS
Computer Arts goes behind the scenes with world-leading
designers as they reveal their working processes…
76
VIDEO
INSIGHT
HOW TO FOSTER A FUN, DIGITAL-FIRST CULTURE
The interactive team at Bristol’s Aardman Animations explain how they work together
to translate their creative vision into exciting digital experiences that people will love
82
88
92
REBRANDING THE GLOBE
MASTER DIGITAL PORTRAITS
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Designers at Superunion explain how,
as The Partners, they drew upon the
Shakespeare’s Globe’s history to create
a new visual identity for the theatre
Computer Arts’ headshot illustrator,
Anna Higgie, shares her step-by-step
process for turning photos into lifelike
digital illustrations using Procreate
The Beautiful Meme explains how
it 3D-printed a microscopic headline
to advertise a new exhibition at
London’s Francis Crick institute
NEVER MISS AN ISSUE OF COMPUTER ARTS
SUBSCRIBE TODAY FOR PRO INSIGHT AND PRACTICAL ADVICE EVERY MONTH – SEE PAGE 40
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 75 -
V I D E O I NS I G H T
MAY 2018
VIDEO INSIGHT
HOW TO FOSTER A FUN
DIGITAL-FIRST CULTURE
The interactive team at Bristol’s Aardman Animations
explain how they translate their creative vision into
digital experiences people will love
lmost 30 years ago, Wallace and
Gromit went to the moon on a
Grand Day Out that would launch
them into global fame, and earn
them a place in the hearts of the
nation. A string of hits later, and Bristol’s bestloved animation studio is still going strong.
And for the past decade, its interactive
department – which was founded off the back of
a Channel 4 online animation project, 4mations –
has grown in tandem. Aardman Interactive’s first
official employee, group creative director Daniel
Efergan, shares how it happened…
A
As Aardman Interactive’s first employee, did
you help build the concept of the department?
There was a seed that started it. A guy, Paul
Deane, who now works at the BBC – he’s like the
grandfather of interactive – pulled us all together
around the 4mations project. We delivered it, and
then it was like, ‘Okay, if we’re going to keep doing
this, what should we be?’
Even that didn’t go quickly. It felt like a startup company in the middle of Aardman; we were
just surviving for the first year.
Did you get much support from the rest of the
Aardman network at the beginning?
Everyone was supportive, but one of our
journeys was helping everyone understand what
interactivity means, and the potential of it.
Ten years ago, we were marketers. There
wasn’t a structured funding model, or ways
to make money outside of being a form of
advertising for other stuff. As the industry has
grown up, we have grown up with it to transfer
into a tangible product that has value in itself.
How do you develop a strategy for a project?
For us, it’s always about the idea. We try and
ensure that the love and care and passion comes
with it, so we fight against splitting apart the
idea creators and the people that produce the
project. Over time, you end up with people over
here going, ‘Oh, I’ve got this great idea,’ and
throwing it over this virtual fence to a load of
production people, who are then like, ‘I’ve got to
make this, and I don’t necessarily love it.’
So we make sure that the creative directors
and the producers really care about what they’re
doing. Pitch it, believe in it and deliver it all the
way through to the end. The idea itself depends
on a project-by-project basis. We are very handbuilt, which suits the culture of Aardman.
We don’t tend to lean on technical engines
or previously supplied processes over and over
again, potentially against our own benefits
of efficiency, but it means we consider each
individual idea as its own thing. Sometimes
that means getting lots of people in a room
and shaving ideas off everyone’s heads to work
out what the best thing is.
Sometimes it involves two people sat in
a quiet, dark room by themselves, talking
through something until you get the right thing.
Sometimes if it’s more open, we’ll ask lots of
people to come up with ideas, then fan the
flames of the ones that seem most interesting,
and then we’ll try to get the person that believes
in that idea to become the leader of it.
You clearly have a very passionate and driven
team. How do you maintain that?
Trying to keep our team enthralled and excited
is something I hope we do quite well. Part of that
is establishing a culture for people to step into,
which sets up how you feel as you walk in the
door in the morning, and that’s quite complex.
I have experienced cultures that feel great,
and then can pop so quickly. One of my biggest
jobs is spending time to get the most out of
people, and that’s a lot to do with setting up a
correct culture. Choosing people to bring into it is
the second part, and that’s hard to get right.
In all honesty, I am useless in job interviews.
I think people will be a certain way, and after
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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A ARDM A N I NT E R A C T I V E
MAY 2018
AARDMAN
INTERACTIVE
Founded 10 years ago off
the back of a Channel 4
animation project called
4mations, Aardman
Interactive works on
self-contained projects
for external clients,
including BBC Bitesize
and Tate Movies, as well
as internal projects to
support Aardman
Animations’ productions.
www.aardman.com
Watch the videos on our YouTube channel: www.bit.ly/ca278-aardman
C O MPUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 77 -
V I D E O I NS I G H T
MAY 2018
Left and below: Early
Man Run was developed
for the launch of
Aardman’s latest feature
film, Early Man, and
involves negotiating
various obstacles in the
film’s prehistoric world.
10 years I’m always wrong. So, I lean on other
people’s insights. We bring people in, work out
their skills and whether they can do the job, and
then bring them back in to work out what they’re
like, and if they will fit into the culture.
You used to be a programming lecturer. Any
advice for designers who want to learn coding?
First, you need to understand what we mean
by programming. There’s the sort where you
type commands into a blank text file, and for
a visually-led person it can be really bloody
frustrating when because it’s a comma rather
than a semi-colon, the whole thing doesn’t work.
But before any of that is understanding
algorithmic thinking. Breaking down problems
in a way that a computer would think about it.
That skillset – thinking about how things can
be constructed in that way – is most important,
because it allows you to design in a way that
translates nicely into programmatic systems.
Do designers from a more traditional design
background struggle with that?
Sometimes trying to get people to think in that
way is a skill, but you’ve got different kinds
of minds. I’ve found my creative directors fall
into one of two types. The metaphor I use to
communicate this, both to clients and myself, is
the puppets that we have here at Aardman.
There is usually a metal skeleton underneath,
and then there’s the flesh – the plasticine – that
makes it look like what it is. For an interactive
project to work, you need an inner structure that
is quite programmatic and pragmatic in the way
it’s constructed, and then you need the flesh, the
character and the way it looks to the world.
Some creative directors see the outside and
go, ‘I really want it to feel like that’, then work
out what skeleton they need to hold it together.
Some see straight through to the skeleton, then
work out how to colour it in later. Both get to the
same end result, but they approach it differently.
Which one are you?
I’m the skeleton. I see patterns and structures
and interconnecting ways that things work, then
translate them into the way people feel.
Finally, what advice would you give to a smaller
digital agency to stay at the cutting edge?
It’s about caring. Find something you desperately
want to bring into the world, and do that. Now,
that and money is where sometimes the conflicts
come. Most people don’t pay you just to do things
for yourself, but trying to juggle that line so that
the things you’re making, you really, really want
to exist – that’s what makes you passionate and
successful, and should see you through.
WATCH THE VIDEO NOW AT
www.bit.ly/ca278-aardman
DANIEL EFERGAN
Group creative director
Daniel oversees Aardman
Interactive’s creative team.
His past roles have included
programming lecturer
and recruitment agency
founder, but his main love
is the fertile middle ground
between coding and design
– a sweet-spot he found at
Aardman a decade ago.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 78 -
HOW TO RUN A PASSIONATE TEAM
In our first video, group creative director Daniel
Efergan shares how Aardman Interactive first
came about, gives his tips on learning coding, and
reveals how the studio’s internal culture helps
attract and retain passionate, driven individuals.
A ARDM A N I NT E R A C T I V E
MAY 2018
HOW TO GET
THINGS DONE
Senior designer Gavin Strange and
producer Hannah Jones reveal
how they keep projects moving
1. Pull together as a team
Aardman Interactive uses the waterfall
and agile styles of project management.
“Rather than the producer telling everyone
what to do, the team works together to
make decisions. It’s an open, collaborative
method,” explains producer Hannah Jones,
who has recently qualified as a Scrum
Master. The team compiles a wish-list of
features with the client, and prioritises
them. At the start of a two-week sprint they
set a plan, then review progress at the end.
“I can’t remember a time when we didn’t
work like that,” shrugs senior designer
Gavin Strange. “It feels so natural, and the
bones of it are easy to understand. Some of
the lingo can be a bit baffling, but you need
to take away the bits that work for you.”
Above and right: Food
Chain Challenge is an
educational HTML5
game developed for
BBC Bitesize, to help
teach ‘young explorers’
how food chains work
in the wild.
WATCH THE VIDEO NOW AT
www.bit.ly/ca278-aardman
HANNAH JONES
Interactive producer
GAVIN STRANGE
Senior designer
Now a producer, Hannah
joined Aardman Interactive
as a production coordinator
4.5 years ago. She works
closely with Gavin Strange,
who was one of the division’s
first hires 10 years ago.
HOW TO BALANCE WORK AND PLAY
In our second video, senior designer Gavin
Strange and interactive producer Hannah Jones
discuss how the incredible variety of projects
they work on keep them inspired, and how their
collaborative working process works in practice.
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2. Channel your excitement
“I’m always excited about different things.
I want to try a new technique, or have
forgotten I used to like this thing, so try it
again,” says Strange. “Here, there’s always
an opportunity to try different media. It’s
not just web or digital design, but motion
graphics, animation, directing, filming,
print... all sorts of creativity. And anything I
don’t do here, I go home and do because I’m
excited about it. I don’t see it as work.” While
he doesn’t have Jones to keep him in check
for his personal projects, her influence is
still felt: “I think, ‘What would Hannah do?’
She’d tell me to stop mucking around on
Twitter and get on with it.”
3. Test your ideas on kids
“We had this project where we took Gav’s
early character designs and showed them
to kids,” recalls Jones. “What was it one boy
said...?” “It looks like a carrot,” interjects
Strange. “And he ended it with, ‘I have some
more thoughts. I just have to think them up
first.’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, you are a born
creative director.’ Amazing. He was quite
insulting to a lot of my work,” he chuckles.
“If you ever need to get your ego in check,
which all the time you should, just show
your work to kids,” adds Strange. “They are
ready to tear your ideas apart.”
V I D E O I NS I G H T
MAY 2018
FIND YOUR
CREATIVE NICHE
Designers Keith Kilpin and Sarah
Matthews share how they
discovered their place at Aardman
1. Get a foot in the door
“I sent over a creative mailer made of
reclaimed wood, and I put a load of
business cards and uni work in there,”
recalls junior designer Keith Kilpin. He had
a helping hand, though: “Luckily my sister
works in HR, so she managed to give it to
the right people,” he admits.
“I made a little plasticine character, but
my sister kept that before she passed it on,
which is annoying. It was meant to be me in
a box.” But Kilpin got his foot in the door at
Aardman regardless: “I was meant to be
here for a week’s work experience, it’s now
four years later,” he smiles.
2. Grow into your role
Many of Aardman’s designers started on
similar placements. “It’s easier for people to
come in at ground level and be transformed
into the role that’s needed,” reasons Kilpin.
“Rather than trying cherry-pick one person,
they nurture talent.” Both Kilpin and fellow
designer Sarah Matthews studied
traditional graphic design, and Matthews
emphasises the value of working across
lots of different departments during work
experience to fit your niche: “I never thought
I’d go into a digital department, as I know
nothing about it – but I love it,” she grins.
“Don’t pigeonhole yourself,” agrees Kilpin.
3. Build a strong team dynamic
“We’ve got this best friend mentality where
we get an idea and everybody goes, ‘Oh
yeah, and then we could do this, and this,
and this...’ and you get the occasional
person going, ‘No, no we can’t.’ So then we
think of something else and roll with that
for while,” explains Kilpin.
“We have the ‘mums and dads’ reining us
back in a bit, but the majority of the
department goes mental,” he grins, and
Matthews agrees: “We need the people that
calm everyone down and say, ‘That is really
expensive,’ or ‘We don’t have two years to
make this,’” she adds.
Above: ‘Ronnie the
Director’ heads up an
entire cast of characters
in Aardman’s fully
interactive Tate Movie
Project, which walks you
through the process of
creating your own movie.
Right: Created to
celebrate Bristol’s year as
European Green Capital,
Sustainable Shaun is an
HTML5 game that
encourages players to
think more sustainably
as they build their own
‘green’ settlement.
WATCH THE VIDEO NOW AT
www.bit.ly/ca278-aardman
KEITH KILPIN,
SARAH MATTHEWS
Designers
Designers Keith and Sarah
both got a foot in the door at
Aardman Interactive off the
back of work experience
placements. Sarah is also an
illustrator, while Keith splits
his time between his design
responsibilities and his dual
role working in Aardman’s
Rights department.
GET A JOB IN INTERACTIVE DESIGN
Our third video sees designers Sarah Matthews
and Keith Kilpin, who both studied traditional
graphic design, discussing how they made the
move into interactive, and why the passion and
variety at Aardman keeps them motivated.
Watch the videos on our YouTube channel: www.bit.ly/ca278-aardman
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01/06/18
e n t r y
d e a d l i n e
Submit
your best
branding
Enter the Brand Impact Awards 2018:
&RPSXWHU$UWV·DQQXDOFHOHEUDWLRQRI
WKHZRUOG·VEHVWEUDQGLQJ
For a full list of categories, entry instructions and previous winners visit:
www.brandimpactawards.com
P R O J E C T DI AR Y
MAY 2018
PROJECT DIARY
IN THE ROUND: REBRANDING
SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE
Before The Partners became part of Superunion, it created a new visual
and brand identity for Shakespeare’s Globe, which is deeply rooted in the
theatre’s experimental spirit and history
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TH E PARTN ER S F OR T HE G LOB E
MAY 2018
NICK EAGLETON
Creative partner, Superunion UK
In his 18 years at he Partners, now Superunion,
Nick has worked on every possible facet of brand
development, across a huge range of clients and
industries from global brands to start-ups, big
business to the arts. He’s also a frequent judge at
creative industry awards, and has given numerous
talks on creativity and design around the world.
Since 2014 he has been teaching creative thinking on
D&AD’s professional development programme.
KATHERINA TUDBALL
Design director, Superunion UK
Katherina has over 15 years’ experience creating
brands for some of the world’s most prominent
organisations. A member of D&AD’s Board of
Trustees and regular design judge for schemes
including D&AD professional and New Blood awards,
she’s a regular visiting mentor and speaker at
Central Saint Martins, and an external examiner for
the Graphic Design and Illustration degree course at
the Cass School, London Metropolitan University.
01 The new
identity and
brand system
was designed to
give maximum
flexibility to
designers. So
on the new
brochures and
posters, for
example, the
logo has no
fixed place, but
interacts with and
is incorporated
into the images.
INITIAL BRIEF
Nick Eagleton
Following changes in its artistic direction,
Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of the
famous London theatre where the Bard’s plays
were originally performed, asked cultural
strategy specialists Morris Hargreaves McIntyre
(MHM) to create a new brand model and a
mission statement for the organisation. MHM
carried out lots of research and interviews, and
then we were brought into the process to help
develop a new brand narrative for the Globe
and evolve the visual identity accordingly.
It wasn’t clear, initially, that we’d end up
radically altering the existing identity. But
the freedom to totally re-evaluate everything
came about during the process.
Early on, we were asked to turn the new
brand narrative into words you might use in a
more public facing way. In audience testing,
the one word that resonated with everybody
was ‘Alive’. It’s the notion that going to the
Globe brings theatre to life; it’s visceral and
unpredictable. So that became our cornerstone.
EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH
Katherina Tudball
We approached the development of a new visual
identity in a quite experimental way, inspired by
the idea that the Globe itself was an experiment.
So we shared a lot of early ideas with the team.
Given the shape of the iconic building, one
theme emerged around the idea of circles, but
PROJECT FACTFILE
BRIEF: he initial brief was to develop a new brand narrative
for the Globe and evolve the visual identity; the idea of
creating a whole new identity emerged as part of the process.
STUDIO: Superunion (previously he Partners)
CLIENT: Shakespeare’s Globe
PROJECT DURATION: 12 months
LIVE DATE: January 2018
01
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P R O JE C T DI AR Y
MAY 2018
JONATHAN (JAY) BRODIE
Senior designer, Superunion UK
Jay brings a passion for ideas, typography, copywriting and intelligent
humour to a range of projects. Career highlights include the CYB tartan
being added to the official register of tartans, holding a workshop in
India for Kyoorius Designyatra Melt, and being instrumental in revising
and updating the second edition of A Smile in the Mind. He’s provided
mentoring and conducted portfolio surgeries for the New Blood
Academy and led workshops for D&AD Festivals.
that never quite felt right. Until one day, when
we realised that the building is 20-sided and not
a perfect circle. That got us excited, as it would
be quite a unique-looking symbol.
Another concept emerged around the idea of
printing. The endurance of Shakespeare’s plays
is due to the historical accident of them having
been printed and saved. Also, after spending a
lot of time visually immersed in the theatre, we
felt there should be some sort of physicality or
tactile aspect to the identity, and we liked the
idea of using wood in some way.
We asked if any wood from the actual building
might be available, and the client loved the idea.
That same day, they sent over a circular piece of
oak to our offices: the only piece remaining from
the timber used to rebuild The Globe.
We took this and made a print block out of it
in the shape of a 20-sided polygon. ‘The Wooden
O’ was actually the nickname of the original
Globe, with the phrase even appearing in the
prologue of Henry V, so this tied all these various
themes together quite nicely.
The ‘holy relic’ we’d been given was carefully
cut up by furniture maker Nathalie de Leval,
the wife of our creative director Nick Eagleton,
and then printmaker Peter Smith, of St Bride
Foundation in Fleet Street, covered it with red
ink and rubbed paper down on it. So much
wonderful granular texture was captured in
the process that when it was revealed, there
were gasps from the crowd. This print was then
scanned and converted into a digital format
to create the logo. We didn’t really correct that
much, other than create the colour suite and
identify what level it can reduce down to.
02
02-03 Based on
early workshops
with staff and
audiences, the
team developed
a moodboard.
04 A piece of oak
used to rebuild
the theatre was
used to physically
create the logo.
05 The logo
reflects the
theatre’s shape.
04
05
UNUSED IDEAS
NOT
TO BE
Katherina
Tudball explains
an idea that
didn’t make it
03
We had an idea that typographic
characters would behave like
characters within the plays,
reflecting comedy, tragedy, history
and express the full variety of the
human experience. This unused
idea ended up influencing the final
identity, where we allowed freedom
and expression in production and
event headline typography.
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TH E PARTNER S FOR T HE G LOB E
MAY 2018
BACK TO
THE BARD
Jonathan Brodie on using the First Folio
The First Folio, a published collection of
William Shakespeare’s plays dating back
to 1623, is the main reason anyone knows
about the Bard today at all. So it’s a hugely
important document to the Globe. We were
keen to examine it and look for cues that
might help give the Globe’s printed materials
a distinctive editorial approach.
We quickly realised that if you removed the
old-fashioned typeface and the decorative
elements from The First Folio and just look at
it as a layout, it’s radical and modern-feeling.
It even has an approach to imagery, both in
the included portrait of Shakespeare and also
in the decorative flourishes.
We started off by converting these to
image boxes and drop cap boxes to create a
starting point for layout. It was then a case of
steadily evolving it into something that would
work with the kind of content the Globe will
produce now and in the future. In keeping
with the overall spirit of the project - the
collision of old and new - we incorporated
many of the typographic quirks of the First
Folio, including the irregular justification
(blocks of type sit in the middle of pages) and
the indentations and margins (wider than you
might expect) into the new layout design.
The new design language is inspired by the First Folio, a 1623 edition of Shakespeare’s plays.
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P R O J E C T DI AR Y
This symbol acts as the core ‘source of the
action’ in the new identity and is integrated into
all of the designs.
MAY 2018
06
07
08
09
just let them play with it. This is in keeping with
the whole spirit of experimentation around the
project, but consistency is ensured by elements
such as the limited colour palette.
HISTORIC INSPIRATIONS
Jonathan Brodie
Other elements of the new identity are also
inspired by history. We limited our colour
palette to red, black and white as these were
the colours used in early printing. There’s also
a story – which is perhaps apocryphal – that
in Shakespeare’s time, when illiteracy was
widespread, red, black and white flags were
used to indicate what kind of play was on.
The typeface, Effra, is an updated version
of a typeface from 1816 called Caslon Junior.
As the first commercial sans serif, this was
an important family to the history of English
printing, but its simplicity means it’s also
perfect for the multimedia age. We also took
inspiration from the First Folio - the original
1623 publication of William Shakespeare’s plays
- to create the grid for the layouts of the Globe’s
brochures and other printed material (see Back
To The Bard on the previous page).
The design system is very flexible: the
philosophy is to provide a kit of simple parts with
very light guidance to any artist or designer and
LESSONS LEARNED
Katherina Tudball
What’s been so great about this project is
that we’ve had time to pause and reflect
along the way; to think carefully about how all
these different strands could come together.
We wouldn’t have arrived at any of these
thoughts if we hadn’t taken that time to do the
research, and just mess around and learn,
without being concerned about trying to make
an identity and brand system. In the end, it’s
actually turned into a very robust system, but
that wasn’t our primary goal.
The more time we’ve spent understanding
this unique organisation, the more passionate
and excited we’ve become. Ideas are surer and
stronger when they’re rooted in some sort of
authentic truth from the beginning, and so the
research on this has been fundamental to really
immersing ourselves in Shakespeare and the
history of The Globe. This project is ongoing,
and the next big stage will be the relaunch of
the website later this year.
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10
TH E PARTNER S F OR T HE G LOB E
MAY 2018
06-09 The wood
was carved into a
20-sided polygon
and then covered
in red ink, and a
print taken.
10 On launch day,
the theatre’s
Instagram
showcased the
design approach
of the new system.
11 Playful uses of
the logo on
stationery shows
just how inventive
designers can be
with the identity.
12-15 The team
developed an
unusual layout
system for printed
materials,
inspired by the
First Folio.
16 The Globe’s
new stationery
also reflects the
design principles
of the First Folio,
giving it a unique
style and feel.
11
12
13
14
15
16
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W O RK S H OP
MAY 2018
NEXT MONTH
CHILDREN’S
BOOKS
Jim Field outlines the
process of illutrating
a children’s book.
WORKSHOP
CREATE LIFELIKE DIGITAL
PORTRAITS FROM PHOTOS
CA’s headshot illustrator, Anna Higgie, shares her
process for turning photos into portraits
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M ASTER D I G I TA L P OR T R A I T S
MAY 2018
01 The original
photo Anna Higgie
used to make this
portrait.
02-03 Higgie adds
a stock photo of
an egg bap as a
separate Layer on
Procreate, then
does the same
with a napkin.
ANNA HIGGIE
Freelance illustrator
Anna is an Australian freelance illustrator living in Bristol. She
studied Painting and Fine Art at the National Art School in Sydney and
Illustration and Typography in London. Her clients include he Guardian,
Penguin Random House and Converse, and she regularly illustrates the
headshots for Computer Arts’ Insight section.
www.annahiggie.co.uk
04 Once the
composition is
ready, Higgie
flattens three
photo layers as
one and reduces
the opacity of the
new Layer.
01
GIVING IN TO DIGITAL
03
Anna Higgie
I studied fine art and painting and for a long time
was completely against the idea of going digital.
I just didn’t see the point of it until I started
working professionally as an illustrator. I then
had to start making changes to illustrations as
requested by clients. This means you have to be
quite flexible in the way you work, which makes
traditional pen and paper drawing less practical.
I very gradually transitioned to digital
drawing. Being able to work in layers is incredibly
liberating, you suddenly have so much freedom
to change things and experiment. I love the
sense that no decision you make is permanent,
everything can be undone, so it makes me a lot
less precious about my work and braver about
experimentation and play.
Now that I’m using Procreate on the iPad Pro,
I feel like I’ve come full circle – the paintbrushes
and pencil brushes feel so natural and loose,
it’s almost like I’m actually painting again.
TRACING PHOTOS
04
I used to also be quite against the idea of tracing
a photo, or advising anyone to – as I do with the
portrait in this guide. Tracing is kind of ‘cheating’,
but if you are a confident drawer to begin with,
then it can be an invaluable tool if you’re in a
hurry and need to capture an exact likeness –
when doing quick editorial jobs, for example.
First choose the photo you’re going to use.
Unless you want to create a portrait with a
dramatic chiaroscuro effect and lots of dense
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02
shading, avoid images with a lot of bright light,
dark shadow and contrast. Ideally you want one
that is well lit with gentle, natural light.
I also think it adds a really nice texture
to digital artwork if you use a natural paper
texture as a base. You could scan your own at
a high resolution and import it to Procreate,
or you can find lots on Google image search.
Type in ‘natural paper texture’ or ‘paper grunge
texture’ and find one that is high-res and legally
available to use. Then open an A3 document at
400 dpi in Procreate, import the paper texture,
and resize it so it fills the canvas in portrait
format; then import the photo you have chosen.
ADD ELEMENTS
Resize the photo so it fills the canvas. Keep
the subject fairly central but make sure you
leave enough space around them. You want the
negative space around your subject to roughly
be the same area as the size of the subject. This
creates a nice balance in the composition.
For this portrait, the client wanted the
subject to be eating some breakfast – they
suggested a bacon and egg bap. I found a stock
photo of a bap on Google, saved and imported
it, then resized it in proportion with the subject.
Then I moved the bap photo down onto the table
and used the Lasso tool to select the bap and
cut away the background.
I wanted to add a napkin under the bap,
so I repeated the process with a stock napkin
photo. Once you have all the elements of your
composition in place – you’re ready to render!
WO RK S H OP
MAY 2018
05 Higgie begins
by drawing her
subject’s face,
starting with
the eyes.
06 Keep turning
off the photo
Layers to check
the drawing
without them.
07 When drawing
folds of clothing,
make sure you
increase your
brush size.
05
05
06
WORK WITH LAYERS
Merge the three Layers (subject and additional
breakfast Layers) so they are one single Layer,
then reduce the opacity of that Layer to around
40 or 50 per cent. Next, select your pen. For this
illustration I used the Studio Pen. I also really
like Ink Bleed for portraits, the Shale brush
(under Calligraphy) and the Technical pencil.
Then select black, or another very dark colour
like grey, as your brush colour.
I always start with the most difficult thing to
capture, the face and hair. I read an interview
with Lucian Freud once where he said to ‘always
start with the eyes’, and this has always stuck
with me. I spend a long time fiddling to get them
right. I also like to have fun with the hair. Let your
mark making get really loose and flow along the
curves of the hair. Accuracy is not important
when it comes to hair. Really exaggerate the
curves of the strands and get expressive!
Throughout the process, keep turning off
the photo Layer to check how the drawing Layer
looks on the paper – you’ll see straight away if
“When it
comes to the
hair, really
exaggerate the
curves of the
strands and get
expressive”
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07
it’s looking a bit weird and wonky. Though weird
and wonky can be good sometimes!
GET EXPRESSIVE
If you do want to erase something at this stage,
I suggest taking the eraser down to 60 per cent
opacity, so you leave a faint trace of what came
before. This helps to avoid your digital drawing
looking too digital, perfect and cold, and gives
the end result a bit more movement and texture.
Keep in those imperfections!
Draw in the rest of the subject and any
objects you want to include, using the same
brush at the same weight. For this illustration
I chose to leave out the background elements.
Turn off the photo layer, have a look at what
you’ve drawn so far and check you’re happy.
Next, increase the size of your brush to draw
the clothing. I think it’s nice to have contrasting
line weights, it gives a more dynamic feel. A bit
like with the hair, accuracy is not important
when drawing the folds of the drapery. Enjoy
using squiggly fat expressive lines and don’t
M ASTER D I G I TA L P OR T R A I T S
MAY 2018
08 Higgie hints at
the wood texture
of the bench using
subtle lines.
09 On a new
Normal Layer, add
white to the eyes;
turn it down later
if it’s too much.
10 Once you’re
happy with your
piece, you can
export it ready for
editing in VSCO.
11 Higgie makes
subtle edits to
the final image’s
saturation, grain
and contrast.
09
08
worry to much about getting it perfect. I usually
do this mark making on a new Layer – and then
erase the places where the lines overlap (on 100
per cent opacity this time to keep it clean).
ADD COLOUR
Now I’m going to add colour. To do so, I select
my favourite brush for applying colour, the
Wet Acrylic brush. I open a new Multiply Layer
and apply the background colour first, in the
negative space behind the subject. Then, so that
you can easily tidy up the overlapping edges of
colour, apply colour to the rest of the illustration
on separate Multiply Layers.
I usually apply the colour quite messily with
the brush on a large setting, and then tidy up the
edges with the eraser. Zoom in and open a new
Normal Layer, and add some flecks of white on
the eyes. Reduce the opacity of the layer a bit if
it looks a bit too bright and harsh. Then export
your file as a flat jpeg, and import it into your
photo editing software or app of your choice
(I use VSCO) for some subtle adjustments.
12-13 Higgie
created this
collage (left) from
a found image
and then redrew
it (right) using
similar techniques
to those outlined.
10
12
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11
13
P R O J E C T DI AR Y
MAY 2018
PROJECT DIARY
FRANCIS CRICK:
THE TINIEST TYPE
The Beautiful Meme explains how it 3D-printed
a microscopic headline to advertise a new
exhibition at the Francis Crick Institute
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TH E B EAUTIFUL M EM E F OR T HE C R I C K
MAY 2018
01 The typography
for the poster was
designed at a
cellular level.
02 A micropatterning template
was used to create
the tiny headline.
TOM SHARP
Creative director, The Beautiful Meme
Tom Sharp is the founder and creative director of he Beautiful Meme,
makers of ‘emotive brands, bits of culture and happenings’, whose
clients include the V&A, Google, Innovate UK, Design Museum, Deloitte,
English National Ballet, D&AD and Cass Art. He is a copywriter, a poet
and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
03 Typographic
research under the
microscope.
THE DESIGN BRIEF
01
02
03
PROJECT FACTFILE
BRIEF: London’s Francis Crick Institute is Europe’s largest
biomedical research facility under one roof. he building has
a gallery space on the ground floor, which is accessible to
the public. he Beautiful Meme’s brief was to advertise a new
exhibition; a conversation between scientists and artists about
the patterns seen in biomedical science.
THE CLIENT: Francis Crick Institute, www.crick.ac.uk
STUDIO: he Beautiful Meme, www.thebeautifulmeme.com
PROJECT DURATION: hree months
LIVE DATE: February 2018
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Tom Sharp
The team at Francis Crick Institute had seen
some digital commissions we’d done for the
V&A; specifically our work for its Collecting
Europe exhibition in 2017. So they approached
us to pitch for this project, to advertise an
exhibition called Deconstructing Patterns: Art
and Science in Conversation.
Open until December 2018, this was to be the
first major public ad campaign for The Crick, and
only the second exhibition in its public gallery.
So it was an opportunity to get the brand out,
as well as draw people to the specific exhibition.
Balance of tone was important. Although we
were advertising the work of artists in a public
gallery, the creative had to reflect that The Crick
is a research facility, not a cultural destination.
The target audience for the exhibition is a good
mix of the culturally aware who want to see art,
and the insatiably curious about science (of
course, these are often the same people).
EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH
Ross Fordham
During the initial research phase, we went
behind the scenes and got a feel for how the
organisation works. We were given access to
a lot of the work that was being shown at the
exhibition and talked through what elements
of The Crick’s research had informed the
pieces. Just being in this stunning HOK and PLP
Architecture-designed building, knowing that
such future-shaping research is happening
everywhere, was an experience.
Back at the studio, we carried out an initial
session of open experiments on the brief.
We’re a small team, and work in an open space
covered in our latest ideas. The exhibition covers
quite a range of topics, so there were a lot of
themes we could draw from.
As well as exploring around 30 different
copy lines, we discussed a number of different
routes, which were mostly focused on the
pattern element. Three of our midweight
designers spent a full day experimenting; by
the end of it we had a huge wall of concepts.
Four clear routes emerged, and we shared them
all with the client, with a strong steer on the
direction we wanted to take.
P R O J E C T DI AR Y
MAY 2018
ROSS FORDHAM
Creative director, The Beautiful Meme
Ross is a creative director at he Beautiful Meme, working with a
shared belief that the spirit of art is the future of marketing. With over
10 years’ experience working both independently and with a
selection of the UK’s most-awarded agencies, his clients have
included Calvin Klein, Wallpaper*, Mount Anvil and Cass Art.
Alec suggested the idea of using microscopic
type very early on. The micro patterning
technique features in the exhibition itself, and
after our own research it seemed like using it for
typography would be technically possible. The
idea took a back seat for a while as we explored
other ideas. But when Tom suggested the line
‘The discovery of a lunch time’ and the team at
The Crick became excited about this, we brought
back the concept and began developing it.
We worked very closely and collaboratively
with Ravi Desai, who is a research scientist
at The Crick. We began by testing different
methods of creating and capturing the type. At
every stage we would experiment with design
treatments at our end, and our results would
influence the directions we went in with the type
production. All of the production processes were
new to us, so we learned a lot along the way.
04
THE VERDICT
LESSONS LEARNED
NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
Creative director Tom Sharp on collaborating with a client
BE GUIDED BY PROCESS
The scientific processes
that the Crick Institute
used to create the
microscopic type were all
new to us as an agency. So
we had to be very adaptive
to the results of the
process, and allow them
to define our approach to
some extent.
The Beautiful Meme were happy to be led through the
FIND INSPIRATION
production process by the experts at Francis Crick.
IN THE CLIENT
What’s being worked on at The Crick Institute has the potential to change,
or even save, all of our lives at some point in the future. Really, all of us
should be fascinated by the great work they are doing.
LEARN FROM EACH OTHER
By combining both artistic and scientific processes, this collaboration was
really a microcosm of the topic of the exhibition itself, and both parties
learned a lot from it. Just being in the building, knowing that such futureshaping research is happening everywhere, is an experience.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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Tom Sharp
Under laboratory conditions, the headline type
was printed with an 800 micron depth on a
Digital Light Processing (DLP) 3D Printer. This
was done using a headline template created
from a photopolymer that polymerises when
exposed to 385nm light.
This template was then flooded with
fluorescent beads. The letterforms were then
studied and photographed under a microscope
before introducing the colours used to map
patterns in cell dynamics. We did experiment
with coloured lighting in camera, but the pseudo
colour technique was more effective.
The Crick typeface is Din and we made some
minor customisations to this for the ad. We
experimented with outlined text, as well as
indented and extruded text. These were then
tested on three different microscopes, which
were all lit using different light sources.
From these experiments, we had a wide range
of different routes to choose from. The advert
finally appeared on large-scale signage outside
The Crick building. The text works very well at
this size. The advert can also be seen in spots in
Kings Cross station and is also used online.
Our agency is as enraptured by science as
much as we are by art – they are both quests to
enrich life and deepen consciousness – and so
this was a delicious project for us.
TH E B EAUTIFUL M EM E F OR T HE C R I C K
MAY 2018
04 The type was
based on a
modified version
of the Crick
typeface Din.
05 The exhibition
explores
microscopic
patterns, so the
team were keen to
incorporate this
physically into the
design process.
06 The letterforms
were flooded with
fluorescent beads.
07 The team
studied and
photographed the
letterforms under
a microscope
before introducing
colour to them.
05
08 Colour was
added using the
pseudocolour
technique, where
a range of colours
are used to denote
intensity values
in a single
channel of data.
07
06
PROBLEM SOLVED
COLOUR
STRATEGY
Ross Fordham explains
how the ad’s colour was put
under the microscope
For colour, we spent some time looking at a lot of
different techniques used by scientists to apply false
colour to microscope images. We used these, but pushed
them even further for visual and artistic impact. We tried
to replicate and emphasise the bright, RGB aesthetic
we saw in all of the images that the Crick were capturing
in their research. We based our process on a technique
called pseudocolour, where a range of colours are used to
denote intensity values in a single channel of data.
C O MPUTERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
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08
P HO T OG R AP H Y M E E T S DE SIGN
MAY 2018
The Association of Photographers (AOP) was first formed in 1968. It aims to
promote and protect the worth and standing of its members, to vigorously
defend, educate and lobby for the interests and rights of all photographers,
especially in the commercial photographic industry. www.the-aop.org
LICENCE TO SHOOT
IMAGE: © Nick Dunmur 2018. All Rights Reserved.
IMAGE: © Monty Rakusen 2018. All Rights Reserved.
In the third part of our series in association with AOP, we discuss
licensing, usage and the importance of contracts
Left: an image from a stock image site. Right: By AOP member Monty Rakusen.
W
hen you commission a
piece of photography
do you own that
finished image? Can you use
it indefinitely? What’s the
difference between intellectual
property and copyright? What do
photographers mean by licensing
an image? AOP’s legal and
business advisor Nick Dunmur
demystifies all this and more.
In the absence of anything to the
contrary, when a person makes a
piece of creative work, regardless
of whether it was commissioned
or not, that person owns the
intellectual property of that work.
This is a fundamental right and
is underpinned in the Copyright,
Designs & Patents Act 1988. The
intellectual property (or IP) may
be copyright, a patent, a design
right or a combination.
All AOP photographers and
agents are familiar with the
model and concept of licensing.
Licensing usage means that the
client does not necessarily own
the work outright but ‘hires’ it,
which in turn enables the creator
to potentially ‘hire’ it out to
someone else at a later date. If
a creator were to sell each piece
of work outright, IP and all, the
price for that work would be
much higher. Note that this is not
necessarily what is referred to as a
‘buy-out’, which is effectively one
step short of a full assignment of
copyright from the creator to the
client, but the terms ‘all rights’
and ‘buy-out’ are sometimes used
to refer to this. It makes sense
to check with everyone involved
in the commission what their
understanding of certain terms is.
Licensing also affords the
creator some control over the
usage of the image and thus
over the perception of their own
business (or brand). Licensing
inevitably involves some variables
which can be determined to
suit the commissioning client’s
needs. Usually, these variables
are: the exclusivity of the licence,
the length of time the use of the
work is required, whereabouts
the work is going to be used and
in what media the work will be
seen. Once those variables have
been discussed and agreed, it
is important to get them into
some sort of contract, which is
legally binding on both parties.
This provides clarity and security
for both sides but only if it is
all written down clearly. Most
contractual disputes arise over
misunderstanding or a lack of
clarity on what was agreed.
Library or stock imagery is
often non-exclusive and this is
reflected in the price as many
people may be using the same
image at the same time, with
potentially negative side-effects.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 96 -
The image above (left) is a
generic, stock image, available on
a non-exclusive basis to as many
clients as want to use it.
Licensing an image on an
exclusive basis affords you, as
the client, a level of certainty and
control over the use of the image
and its impact on, and connection
with, your brand.
A contract, in the form of a
licence to use, would usually be
in two parts; the actual licence
document itself which details the
aforementioned parameters, plus a
set of terms and conditions which
govern issues of confidentiality,
liability, payment terms and so on.
Both parts are vital – one cannot
work without the other.
The AOP has a business and
legal team able to advise our
members on the ins and outs of
contracts, licensing and usage and
has a useful set of FAQs online
aimed at buyers and clients.
NEXT MONTH
THE ART OF
REBRANDING
SPECIAL REPORT
Crafts in branding, part two: how bespoke
illustration can help define a brand
STUDIO INSIGHT
Bruce Mau Design on the secrets of
keeping global clients happy
Plus: the latest projects, new trends and
expert analysis from leading designers
ON SALE 26 APRIL
C OMPU TERA RTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 97 -
D E S I G N I N S P I R AT I ON
MAY 2018
David ‘Bic’ Bicknell is the co-founder of
Brown&Co, a new agency launched in 2017. He
was previously co-founder of Tin Horse and Echo
Brand Design. Here, he discusses how the iconic
design of the 1975 Kawasaki H2c inspires him.
NEED FOR SPEED
I’ve been a creative director for over 30
years and have been inspired by literally
thousands of products. But one stands
out as an ‘obsession’ because it’s been
part of my life from when I was at school
and remains, to this day, an object of
desire, commitment and continual
reward. (I have one in the garage.)
Rewind to the mid-seventies when I was
a schoolboy, immersed in a world of long
hair, platform shoes, purple spangles,
metal-flake paint, and the tenacious
influences of psychedelia. Mix that with
my blossoming passion for motorbikes
and there was, inevitably, only one object
adorning the posters of my bedroom wall.
The 1975 Kawasaki H2c.
These bikes captured the imagination
of everyone from pro racer to schoolboy
dreamer with a heady mixture of brutal
functionality, screaming noise, smoke and
glamour. They quickly gained a reputation
for hurting their owners and became
known as the ‘widow-maker’. What higher
accolade could a 15-year-old aspire to?
Each individual element of this design
exists for one reason and one reason only:
to make that machine accelerate as fast
as possible. It’s almost refreshing to look
back and see such an intense focus on
achieving a single, overriding objective.
Perhaps more products would benefit
from this approach today, instead of being
compromised by the committee-based
desire to please everyone.
It’s an exercise in minimal simplicity –
to the extent that everything that isn’t part
of this equation is, at best, rather crude
and at worst, ineffectual. Even the brakes
don’t work well. By today’s standards,
it’s unashamedly flawed. But by some
miraculous stroke of genius, the design
transcended anything that had come
out of Japan previously and its elegance,
beautiful proportions and groundbreaking
body work made it stand out in a bland
field of outdated machinery.
Combined with a constantly evolving
selection of sparkling, gaudy, metal-flake
colours and contrasting stripes that
shimmered in the sun, the H series bikes
unashamedly screamed confidence and
superiority. To own and ride one (and
survive one) gave you god-like status.
With any consumer brand, you need
more than beautiful aesthetics and
cutting-edge engineering for a product
to be a success. The physical experience
is ultimately the deciding factor, and
to actually ride one of these bikes puts
everything else in the shade.
From the moment you approach it,
breathe in the heady smell of petrol and
two-stroke oil, kick the motor into life and
recoil from the cracking, explosive exhaust
and clouds of blue smoke, you’re under a
constant multi-sensorial assault that only
increases the faster you ride.
Whenever I work on a new brand
challenge, I invariably talk about the need
to create something that’s relevant and
compelling to the consumer, that answers
a genuine functional or emotional need,
and does it in a way that forges a longterm relationship between the user and
the brand. I wish that every time I did a
project the outcome was as successful
as Kawasaki was with the H2 series.
They managed to absolutely nail it with
the right technology wrapped up in the
right package at exactly the right time. And
not only did they answer the needs of the
target consumer but also (intentionally
or otherwise) created a burning desire for
ownership across future generations of
consumers and produced a product that
rightfully has become a legend and design
icon that endures to this day.
Every day I’m inspired by this bike and
obsessed with what those designers
managed to get through into production.
If only we got the chance to do this now.
David Bicknell has been obsessed with the 1975 Kawasaki H2c motorcycle since he was a teenager in the 1970s.
C O M PUTERARTS.CREATI VEBLOQ.COM
- 98 -
Make print memorable
Celloglas is the UK’s leading specialist in decorative
print finishing. Decorative print finishes can be used
to deliver innovation and added value, increase user
interaction, demonstrate brand category leadership,
enhance sensory experience and even stimulate debate
in social media circles.
To find out how our creative finishes can make your
publication stand out on the shelf, call Steve Middleton
on 0116 263 1010 for a free consultation.
Ask us about:
- Lamination
- Foil Blocking
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- Mirri
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Reading
Leicester
Leeds
T 0118 930 3003
F 0118 932 3256
E thealefactory@celloglas.co.uk
T 0116 263 1010
F 0116 263 1111
E leicesterfactory@celloglas.co.uk
T 0113 249 0056
F 0113 235 1530
E leedsfactory@celloglas.co.uk
www.celloglas.co.uk
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