Thursday, 25 November 2010

Live online tutorials with Singapore students

Graphic Communication students have taken part in a live online tutorial with students from Lasalle College of the Arts Singapore.  Second year Graphic Communication students from both institutions have exchanged ideas and discussed their individual ways of approach to a magazine design brief. This successful, live online exchange  has enabled students to get to know each other whilst having the chance of showcasing creative solutions and swop design tips. 

This is the first of a number of live web based tutorials and collaborative projects planned by editorial design tutors Jeff Leak, Marc Austin and Jessica Glaser, working with Singapore based colleagues Joselyn Sim, Stanley Lim and Kathryn Shannon Sim.

 “This was a really great experience” said  second year graphics student Caroline Gibson “it has been so inspiring to have the chance to see the work of students from Singapore and to get to talk to them and ask questions” She continued.

Find out more about Lasalle College by visiting :

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Ed Ruscha project

First year graphic communication and illustration students are working on an exciting, collaborative project with Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Students shown here with gallery Arts Interpreter Dean, have enjoyed a thought provoking tour behind the scenes, viewing aspects of the galleries collection including Pop Art, the Northern Ireland Collection and other works that have a relevance in the context of their new project. The students task involves designing a series of typographic posters that discuss the cultural and social issues to be found in the greater Wolverhampton area. Student solutions are to be produced in response to the work of renowned, US artist Ed Ruscha.

During the early part 2011 Wolverhampton Art Gallery will be hosting a major exhibition of the work of Ed Ruscha (pronounced Roo shay). The display forms part of a relatively new public collection called Artist Rooms. Its core is made up of 725 works once owned by the art dealer Anthony d'Offay. They are now jointly owned by Tate Modern and the National Gallery of Scotland. d'Offay wants the pieces to be seen by as many people as possible, especially the young; he has also asked that each artist's work be shown together, rather than scattered through thematic displays.

Ed Ruscha is a Los Angeles based artist and has been one of the most consistently inventive American artists of the last 50 years. Ruscha’s work explores his fascination with power and, appropriately for the context of this student project, the enigma of language and culture. Many of his pieces display strong typographic messages derived from common-place objects and his life on the west coast of America. His art has many similarities with certain exhibits within the pop art collection of Wolverhampton Art Gallery, making this Artist Room exhibition, extremely well placed. The Art Gallery will be showing many of his early drawings and also some key paintings, resulting in a major retrospective of his work from the 1960’s to 2005. It is also hoped that Student designs will also find a display space alongside Ruscha's work next year. There are plans in preparation for a live web chat with the artist, in order to discuss students solutions.

Within this project students will be designing their own typographic poster that uses a carefully chosen statement to also reflect the common-place, culture and society, but this time of Wolverhampton!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Guardian sponsorship for graphics student

Enterprising graphics student, Sangita Kumari, has written and designed her own magazine, called OCD. She is now  busy looking for financial backing for her new enterprise, after  securing a circulation deal with the Guardian newspaper, who have agreed to distribute her title as a free insert within their main paper.

“Obsessive Compulsive Design Mag is an underground, alternative magazine that features the newest, up-and-coming artists from across the world; from music, art, film, design, poetry, photography, fashion and everything in between!” says Sangita.

Recent issues of OCD can be seen at
Well done Sangita

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Life after graduation - Jazz Patel

Dear Visual Communication, 
Just thought that I would give you an update on what I have been up to since gaining my graphics degree last year; that I have seen a whole new world outside of Asda and have somehow managed to see light at the end of it's green tunnel.
You already know that I was volunteering for Voice 21 while I was studying, which I continued to do for a year in total.  I was also commissioned to do a magazine for The Public art gallery in West Bromwich working in partnership with UK Youth.  Through being in the building and working with other members of staff, a position became available and I took on a part time role at The Public and in doing so moved from a green uniform to a pink one!  Whilst working part-time at the gallery I decided to take on an Internship at a digital media agency called Gas Street Works, which is based in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.  There I worked on various projects including web template designs, motion graphics, putting together marketing material and the re-branding of their logo. 
After completing five months with Gas Street Works I am now working full time for a company called Redan Publishing as a Junior Editorial Designer.  They are a main distributer of children's magazines, which include characters like Pepper Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer and Scooby Doo just to name a few, and also produce magazines for the US and Australia.  Based in Shrewsbury its about a 40 minute drive for me, but a beautiful one so I don't mind it so much.  As an Editor I must come up with page layouts for the magazine as well as the content, all materials must be challenging and have proven educational value for children.  
I also continue to work Saturday's at The Public on Saturday Art Club for kids and lead these workshops every other week.  So in other words I'm doing alright, and my 4 years in University education has not gone to waste. I would be lying if there wasn't moments when I thought I wasn't going to find graphic-related work, shortlisted on a few interviews and failing to overcome the last hurdle.  Competition was high and the economic state of the country was not on my side, but a year later I've somehow pulled through. I'd like to thank you all for making this possible! 
Kind regards
Jazz Patel 

Jazz Patel graduated in 2009 with a 2:1 in Graphic Communication.  She was a pro-active student who pursued opportunities for work experience, quickly realising that one door often opened up another.  As a graduate her tenacity has rewarded her with a job that she loves and we are very proud of her - well done Jazz!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Graphic Communication student Carpeted

Ex Graphic Communication graduate Paul Power has just been appointed as head of the design studio with responsibility for all print and online publicity at Brintons.
The Brintons family have been making carpets in Kidderminster since 1783 and are specified by the world's major interior design practices. Their carpets adorn many of the worlds most famous addresses and locations.

Previously, Paul set up Deadly Graphics using a SPEED initiative and has successfully been trading form the Science Park here in Wolverhampton until his new appointment.
Subject Leader Jeff Leak said “We all wish Paul every success in his new position”

A fishy story

Graphic Communication student Annie Miles has successfully submitted work for exhibition at Newcastle-under-Lyme Museum and Gallery. Her imaginative work was created in response to the theme of ‘The Sea’. Annie created vibrant, lively deep sea creatures and wave images, all made from recycled computer parts.
Annie’s work is in exhibition from May to July 2011 at the Gallery. Please visit their website for more information:

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Painting The Blues Exhibition, by Ben Kelly

Ben Kelly, Senior Lecturer for Illustration, exhibited his work at Manchester City’s award winning museum. Painting the Blues consists of thirty paintings created by Ben, who is an avid Manchester City football fan.
The series of paintings were created during a year-long commission at Manchester City Football Club and vividly capture the expectancy and excitement of going to a football match, and the wide range of characters that one often comes across on a match day around a football ground. 
 “The body of work produced for this collaboration with Manchester City captures single moments in time, snap shots and narratives from match days at the City of Manchester Stadium.  This ranges from the anticipation and romance of a light splashed evening game, through to quiet reflections on a rain soaked Manchester afternoon.” Ben Kelly
This exhibition, as well as the recent project ‘My first City Game’, an initiative to collate memories and experiences of people’s first Manchester City match, were both aimed at capturing the vivid colours and impressions of what it means to be a Manchester City supporter. Visitors saw a variety of images ranging from supporters’ small and personal pre match rituals to a group of ‘invisible men’ having a drink together on the concourses.
Ben says; "Manchester City allowed me to get close to the match day action and it was this close proximity that enabled me to study the fans in such detail and their reactions to the highs and lows of a football game. I was particularly interested in painting the rich detail of the crowds and trying to portray the feeling of being part of the great masses decked in sky blue".
Three paintings from Ricky Hatton ‘Homecoming’ fight were also on display as part of the exhibition as well as a slide show of Ben’s original sketches drawn at the matches themselves. All pictures will be available to purchase after they have been exhibited. It is hoped a selection of the paintings will go on show at the National Football Museum after the exhibition at Manchester City.
Ben's exhibition was part of the award-winning City Experience museum & tour, which is typically open seven days a week. 

Ben Kelly is certainly an artist on the rise; having won a massive £15,000 in December 2006 in a competition organised by the Lowry and Umbro called “One Love - The Football Art Prize”.  He beat 800 other artists from all over the country to scoop the prize when his painting “The Final Whistle” was chosen by a panel of judges, one of whom was Turner Prize winner Mark Wallinger.


Bags of Style for Graphic Communication graduate Ashley Jessiman

Graphic Communication graduate Ashley Jessiman uses her love of vintage graphics, print and 50s fashion in her own company, SodaKitsch based in Edinburgh. All their items are lovingly hand-crafted using the highest quality traditional leather, to create handbags, briefcases, satchels and accessories with a contemporary twist. Disappointed with the mass produced, poor quality leather goods found today Ashley and her business partner Ian Dunlop set out to create bags that will last a life time.
Sourcing the best possible leathers they line the bags with quality screen printed suede & fabric linings, which are printed using Eco Friendly Water-based Screen Printing Inks.

The idea all began during Ashley’s Final Year Major Project here at Wolverhampton. Her company won the Glenmorangie/National Museum of Scotland Commission and were featured as part of The List Magazine’s March Style issue, featured as "Ones to Watch".

You can catch Soda Kitsch in Manchester at The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair from 22nd-24th October 2010, or to view their work simply go online:

Monday, 8 November 2010

Illustration student National award success

A talented Illustration student has won the opportunity to exhibit his work at the Saatchi Gallery in London after reaching the final of a national art competition.
Carlton Smith, 26, from Wolverhampton, was named as one of three regional finalists in the Art of Nurture competition held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery in March. He was delighted to win £250 for himself and £250 for the University. 
Carlton, who is in the second year of a BA (Hons) in Illustration will now go through to the national final on April 13 which will see him exhibit his artwork at the famous Saatchi Gallery in London.
He will go head to head with students from across the UK in a bid to have their designs used in a high profile national advertising campaign for Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance.
Another second year Illustration student, 19-year-old Mandeep Seehra, from Newbridge, Wolverhampton, also reached the regional final of the competition.
Students were given a brief to create a design to illustrate the 2012 Olympics and its sponsorship from Lloyds TSB.
Carlton’s idea for his piece developed from looking at the consequences of investment, with his conclusion being growth. He used images of photosynthesis to illustrate his idea in relation to the 2012 Olympics. Mandeep focused on how Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance would help prepare athletes and facilities for the London Games.
Carlton said: “I’m so pleased to have got this far in the competition and I am very excited about the prospect of having my work shown in a national gallery. 
“I have gained so much valuable experience already and being able to put a commercial marketing campaign in my portfolio will look really professional.”
John Clementson, from the University’s School of Art & Design said: “The whole illustration department is thrilled with the students’ success. It is a fantastic achievement for Mandeep to be recognised regionally as and upcoming illustrator and to be shortlisted out of over a thousand entries. We will be rooting for Carlton in the final."
The national winner of the competition will receive £5,000 and £5,000 for their university, while the person in second place will get £2,000 and £1,000 for third place, plus matched amountsfor their college or university.
In addition to seeing their work used in a campaign, the three national winners will also be given the opportunity to take paid work placements.
Carlton will be joined by staff from the Illustration department at the national final.
For more information about the competition, visit

From Wolverhampton to Bath

Ben Foxall graduated from the Graphic Communication course in 2008. His studies here combined with his own grit and determination saw him land a job with the prestigious Future Publishing, based in Bath (

Ben now works as an editorial designer on the successful title, Cycling Plus.

Recently Cycling Plus was named ‘Specialist Consumer Magazine of the Year’ at the prestigious PPA Awards 2010. According to Future, more than 1,000 guests from across the magazine publishing industry gathered for the 30th anniversary of the event, which celebrates editorial and publishing excellence in the consumer and business media sector.

“Winning the PPA Award for Specialist Consumer Magazine of the Year 2010 was a huge achievement for Cycling Plus. We beat some pretty tough, more mainstream competition – Radio Times, Lonely Planet, Jamie, Learn with Peppa Pig – and that’s testament to some great work from the whole team including the art department. How a magazine looks is as important as the words within and you don’t win awards if the designers don’t do an excellent job...”
ROB SPEDDING Editor, Cycling Plus
Ben says of his time there:

“As a designer at Cycling Plus I obviously layout a lot of pages of the magazine but I also have to art direct all manner of photo shoots, from simple tools for the ‘tested’ section, all the way up to covers and features. Fortunately Cycling Plus has become one of the best selling magazines within the company and the country, which, I hope, is with a little help from me.”

Liverpool Trip

A great day was had by all Graphic Communication and Illustration students at the Liverpool Biennial (18 September - 28 November 2010)

“In a world packed with countless biennials, triennials and the rest, this madcap event in Liverpool remains distinctive and entertaining. The shows are scattered all over the city, often in pretty strange places, but the overall ambition — to introduce British audiences to up-and-coming international artists and trends — is adhered to excellently." The Times

I've also included a few images of the Gormley sculptures that we saw on Crosby Beach

Ideas Through Drawing

 Last week the first year Illustrators visited Dudley Zoo as part of the Ideas Through Drawing module . This week we will be visting the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham to see the  Kitagawa Utamaro Exhibition.
If you would like to do some Life Drawing on Monday afternoon from 2-4pm in MK112 School of Art and Design contact Howard Read or Louise Fenton
we look forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Publishing Success

The Graphic Design Exercise Book is the title of the latest book to be co-written by senior lecturer in Graphic Communication, Jessica Glaser. This book examines a series of challenging design briefs, created to reignite a designer’s creativity and enthusiasm while also imparting new skills. Each section helpfully includes a detailed methodology providing a comprehensive explanation of the design process. A range of well respected industry insiders have been interviewed by Jessica Glaser and her co-author (ex School of Art and Design senior lecturer Carolyn Knight), generously contributing their specialist knowledge to this publication.

This book also has another connection with the School of Art and Design, as it’s pages extensively feature the design work of many recent graphic communication graduates. “We are very pleased and proud to have been able to include so many high quality designs produced by staff and graduates from the University of Wolverhampton, School of Art and Design” says Jessica Glaser. “This book has been very favorably reviewed”, she continues “Many reviewers and designers alike have highly praised the work by School of Art and Design Graduates” One of the pages shown here features the work of senior lecturer in illustration, Howard Read. Other examples displayed here showcase a selection of packaging, branding, editorial design and web design projects by ex-students including Grace Oakley, Lotte Hammergren Andresen, Caroline Kruse Pettersson, Matthew Preston, Jazz Patel.
The book focuses on many graphic design genre, including logos, packaging, branding, identity, promotion, publication design, music graphics, and web design. Organized much like a recipe book, each brief lists the required materials and equipment so that designers can pick and choose. Interviews and in-progress work is included, while a number of fully realised projects illustrate possible outcomes. The Graphic Design Exercise Book has been acclaimed as a must-have addition to any designer’s bookshelf. 

Hi Jessica.

I'm not sure if you remember me? My name is Marcello Memoli and I was a student of yours on the Graphic Communication degree a few years ago. I am still very happily working as a graphic designer.
It was just a quick email really to say that I have a copy of “The Graphic Design Exercise Book’, and I must say I am intrigued and impressed. As someone who has been working commercially in the graphic design and advertising industry for about 6 years now, it is always nice to find new ways to improve my skills, be inspired, stay fresh and ultimately keep enhancing my portfolio. I found the ideas in the book and especially the student work, totally inspirational.
Regards to everybody at the University. 


Welcome to the new blog of the Visual Communication Division of the School of Art and Design at the University of Wolverhampton. We are delighted to be able to show you some of the most up to date achievements of our enthusiastic students and professional staff team.

If you would like to experience the friendly atmosphere of Visual Communication, first hand, please get in touch and we would be happy to arrange a visit to our division, as well as setting up the opportunity for you to meet staff and students from the University. Alternatively if you would like to make a comment about any of our posts, we would love to hear from you.

Details of our next University open days can be found at

We have established an informative web site that links to the work of some of our recent graduates. Take a look at the fascinating achievements of some of our ex students; view some of their designs and be surprised by the worldwide community of alumni with fond memories of their studies in Wolverhampton.

Best wishes
The Visual Communication Team