Friday, 31 October 2014

Halloween Uncovered

The history and origins of Halloween are explored and explained by Dr Louise Fenton in Halloween Uncovered on the University Expert Opinion and Insight from Academics blog. 

Louise traces the origins of All Hallows Eve from the Celtic festival of Samhain which marked the end of the summer. This was one of the most important times in the Pagan year, when people would have been well fed and the harvests stored, animals were brought in and travellers arrived home. However, there was also the negative side to this time.....
Find out more by reading Halloween Uncovered here

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Words amplified by typography - Freda Sack

An observation on the 'typographic link' between designers and their audience – illustrated by The Foundry and commissioned typefaces – with a commentary of quotes from typographic friends and heroes. Typography is our common language – that bond between the arrangement of letterforms on a page and the intended communication. All information is filtered through the medium of typography, curiously its disciplined structure allows endless variations in the expression of ideas and facts – the grid is fundamental – adhered to, or broken. 

Good design often appears effortless in the making – importantly it should be effortless in the using. As designers we need both skill and intelligence to transmit the writer’s words in such a way as to be easily, and correctly perceived. Effective design is the result of a process of simplification and refinement – essentially to make a connection, that 'bridge' or link between the reader and the writer.

Freda Sack has a passion for letterforms and enjoys ‘making things happen typographically’. She studied typography at Maidstone College of Art, School of Printing. An increasing interest in the letterforms themselves led to her career as a type designer – working for various font manufacturers and involved with groundbreaking font technology. Freda co-founded The Foundry in 1990 with David Quay to develop their own range of typefaces. From 2001–2013 with her company Foundry Types, she managed The Foundry™ library, and continued with commissioned fonts. Now The Foundry™ typeface library is licensed exclusively by Monotype. Her bespoke typefaces include: WWF, NatWest Bank, Science Museum, Cossette, Yellow Pages, Swiss Airlines, Brunel UK railways, and Lisbon Metro. Currently Freda lives and works in central London as a design consultant, education advisor and mentor. She is a UCA Board governor (University of the Creative Arts) and ISTD Board director (International Society of Typographic Designers).

6 November 2014: 1730-1930: Birmingham City University, P350 Lecture Theatre, Parkside Building, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham B4 7BD

Book a FREE ticket here

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Cities Methodologies - Howard Read

Visual Communication lecturer Howard Read is exhibiting his PhD research at Cities Methodologies the ongoing programme of events and exhibitions dedicated to presenting, sharing and experimenting with new methods of urban research. 

Each iteration takes a new form. Audiences encounter an eclectic array of approaches to the analysis of cities worldwide.
Venue UCL, Slade Research Centre. Previous shows have also travelled further afield, including Bucharest in 2010.

The exhibition opens next 28th October at the Slade Research Centre in Woburn Square, London.

The audio guide to Cities Methodologies can be found here

Monday, 27 October 2014

Craig Hancock and Katie Collins - Visual Communications Success

Following the success of a pilot project, second year visual communication students will be working on live branding projects set by Ian Hayes and David Cooper from Happy Giraffe, and the best student responses will be rewarded with paid internships.

Marc Austin, course leader for Graphic Design worked with second and third year students on sample projects from Happy Giraffe last year and is delighted with the quality of work and professional responses from participants.

“The importance of working with real clients of this calibre is not to be underestimated. We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Happy Giraffe. Their professional expertise, enthusiasm and reputation will help to create invaluable opportunities for our students. invaluable addition to the course. We are lucky to share the same professional philosophy, approach to conceptual development and commitment to promoting  design talent the Midlands.”  says Marc Austin

Originally, Happy Giraffe offered a single paid placement as a prize to students tackling the project briefs, but the quality of work submitted meant that 2 winners were given the opportunity to engage with internships at the thriving Stourbridge company - Craig Hancock (now studying on the Masters programme in Digital and Visual Communication at The University of Wolverhampton) and Katie Collins who is now in her final year of the Graphic Design course were deserving winners amidst excellent competition from their peers. 

Ian Hayes, Senior Brand Creative at Happy Giraffe said:

“We have really enjoyed the internship collaboration both Craig and Katie have been brilliant, a real credit to the University. They have worked hard and contributed to our busy studio. Katie is still with us part time for two days a week, she doesn't want to leave!”

Friday, 24 October 2014

Radio 4 - Germany Memories of a Nation

In the new BBC Radio 4 series Germany Memories of a Nation, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, explores 600 years of Germany's complex and often challenging history using objects, art, landmarks and literature.

The programme broadcast on Friday October 24th is called Bauhaus: Cradle of the Modern. The programme is 15 minutes long and focuses on the Bauhaus school of art and design, founded in 1919. Its emphasis on functional elegance is visible in our houses, furniture and typography today.

Download your free podcast here

This series also includes Gutenberg: in the Beginning was the Printer - highlighting the continued influence of the 'The Book'

Words at Play II : Tangible Typography

The relationship between writing and design is often underestimated. Writers use their creative abilities to imagine spaces and paint pictures with words in the same way that designers interpret words and contextualise meaning through aesthetics; the two disciplines should be inseparable.
"In this second year of collaboration between Creative Writing students from Manchester Met and Graphic Design specialist Visual Communication students from the University of Wolverhampton, this relationship is explored and brought to life." says Marc Austin, Course Leader for Graphic Design
"The visual responses in this small exhibition demonstrate a conceptual approach to the typographic interpretation of the written word.
Visual Communication students received, reviewed and selected poems, short stories and examples of experimental writing which were analysed in order to generate ideas relating to the concept of tangible typography - and whilst most of the resulting work is in the format of flat printed material, all of these pieces have a tactile aspect in their construction." Marc continues

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Meet Milton Glaser - in the Guardian

You're probably familiar with designer,  Milton Glaser's work, even if you don't know it. Glaser is the man responsible for creating the ubiquitous 'I love NY' logo that adorns T-shirts, coffee cups, bags and caps across the world. 

Glaser created the logo in 1976, when New York wasn't the tourist haven it is today. "The place itself had become so difficult to live in," he told the Guardian's Ana Terra Athayde.
"I wanted to say 'I'm gonna stay, I love this place, I'm not gonna be defeated, I'm going to make it better'."

Now 85, Glaser runs a studio in Manhattan and has a body of work – which includes Brooklyn Brewery logo and a poster for Bob Dylan's greatest hits album – that has made him a legend in his field.

His latest project is his most ambitious yet – in collaboration with New York's School of Visual Arts, he has launched the campaign 'It's not warming, it's dying', in a bid to raise awareness of climate change.

Ana Terra Athayde - The Guardian
Find out more here

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

STATIC Still Life Reconsidered - BMAG

26th July 2014 - 31st December 2014

STATIC Still Life Reconsidered concentrates on the common theme of still life in a broad sense, bringing together a wide range of artistic styles and mediums from the late 1800’s to the present day. 

The exhibition concentrates upon different artist’s approaches to Still Life as a common subject matter, looking at their approach to different materials and arrangements and how artists have touched upon the genre of Still Life through painting, printmaking and sculpture. The exhibition includes works from artists including Henri Fantin-Latour, William Nicholson, Girogio Morando, Mary Fedden, Patrick Caulfield and Jane Harris.

New acquisitions from contemporary renowned artists Jess Flood Paddock and Donald Rodney will be showcased as a centre piece for the exhibition. These artists have both used inanimate objects in different ways incorporating food as a subject matter, using this as either a material or as a metaphor for commenting upon issues pertinent to contemporary culture.

The Waterhall Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. Free entry.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

InkTober 2014

31 Days 31 Drawings
Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. InkTober was created in 2009 by illustrator Jake Parker, as a challenge to improve inking skills and as an aid to developing positive drawing habits. It has since grown into a worldwide endeavor with thousands of artists taking on the challenge every year.

Anyone can do InkTober, just pick up a pen and start drawing.
InkTober rules:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).

2) Post it on your blog (or tumblr, instagram, twitter, facebook, flickr, Pinterest or just pin it on your wall.)

3) Hashtag it with #inktober

4) Repeat

Note: you can do it daily, or go the half-marathon route and post every other day, or just do the 5K and post once a week. What ever you decide, just be consistent with it. INKtober is about growing and improving and forming positive habits, so the more you’re consistent the better.

Arena Collaborative Theatremakers working with visual communication students

Visual Communication Students arriving at the Arena Theatre with Marc Austin

Second year visual communication students are working with the Arena Theatre's Collaborative Theatremakers (ACT). This is a new initiative from the Wolverhampton based theatre, designed to engage theatre artists across the city and beyond. The scheme allows emerging theatremakers a live platform to present their work at the Arena, working with the theatre team to develop their practise. 

Visual Communication students are working on a range of designs bringing type and image together to highlight performances.

ACT nights begin in October 2014 and will see a number of new works performed for the first time in front of a live audience. 

21st October
Table Reading of It’s Easy To Say I Love You, Isn’t It?’ by Kristina Gavran.

5th November

Rehearsed Reading of Agent Whitewall by Lindsay Wright and Gavin Wright. A story of spies, deception and double crossing, not for the faint of heart.

25th November

Rehearsed Reading of A Shallow Brook by Amarjit Nar

Performances begin at 7.00pm and are free to anyone with an interest in performing arts.


Free Font Gentium

Most of the free fonts highlighted by this blog have tended to be sans serif - Gentium breaks this mould. Designed by SIL International it is available as a free download in eight very usefull weights. Download your free Gentium here

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Placement Creative Team - The Guardian, London

Guardian Labs launches Team Labs to help young creatives learn the art of branded content.

Following the appointment of our new Creative Director, Alistair Campbell, in July, Guardian Labs, The Guardian’s in house branded content innovation division, are announcing the launch of a new creative intern scheme - Team Labs.

Branded Content is an ever more important tool for brands. The Guardian has always excelled at creating engaging, immersive story’s about the world around us. At Guardian Labs we use the same approach to create engaging, immersive stories around brands.

Team Labs will be looking to bring in some of London’s most promising creative student teams, giving them experience within one of the UKs most progressive media companies. Creating and crafting amazing content ideas to live across the whole Guardian network. Learning as they go and hopefully teaching us a thing or two as well.

Working directly with Alistair, initially the placements will be for 1 month, with the potential to be extended up to 3 months. Teams will be paid £250 each per week while on placement.

Interested creative teams should email Alistair at:

Junior Designer - Lionhouse Creative, Bath

Lionhouse are on the hunt for a junior designer to join our fantastic creative team.

We’re after a great all rounder, someone with around one year’s studio experience who can get stuck in to all aspects of design work - from daily amends to big ideas. Being able to use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign to a high level is essential.

We work with a variety of clients, on a diverse range of projects. You’ll be involved in everything from print and branding work to digital work, including websites and social media, so a solid understanding of these is important.

About you:
• Self-motivated

• You’ll be working closely with the rest of the team, so being friendly and having strong communication skills are important.

• Enthusiastic about design

• Thoroughly immersed in the world of design, interested in keeping up to date with current trends and news (at work and in your own time), and willing to learn new skills

• An understanding of print and digital design (artworking etc)

• A strong understanding of typography, colours and layouts

• Able to work under pressure and meet deadlines

• A degree in design would be an advantage

• Having at least one year studio experience is a must (either through internships or previous employment)

• Due to our location, having a drivers’ license and a car would be essential

• A fun, interesting person to add to our collective

We’re offering a competitive salary to the right candidate, after a three month probation period, to make sure both you and ourselves are happy.

If you fit the bill, please send us an email to: with a PDF portfolio (please include your name in the PDF file name) or a link to your website.

Creative - Rumpus Room, London

We are looking for a Creative (conceptual) - broad with a digital heart. Mid level, preferably with some agency experience, and passionate about audience participation.
You’ll gain invaluable experience as a key part of our small team, working closely with our Co-Founder and Creative Director Tomas Roope.

Someone who…
• Is generous enough to want the audience to feel as cool as they are.

• Thinks about machines that can generate emotions.

• Finds technology more exciting than scary, while simultaneously cherishing historic craft.

• Is curious and excited about the nature of existing and emerging platforms.

• Has ideas that are broad enough they can turn into almost anything.

• Has ideas that are so small and pure they couldn’t be anything other than where and what they are.

At The Rumpus Room we create innovative, audience-focused digital for brands and agencies. We plan, design and build bespoke technology across mobile, web and the real world.

We’ve worked on projects with clients such as Lewis Hamilton (XIX Entertainment), Tate Britain, Selfridges, Google, Nike (W+K), Coca-Cola, Oxfam and TalkTalk (CHI).

Our work has been recognised with some of the highest accolades, by award bodies including D&AD, Cannes, One Show, Brit Insurance Design of the Year and CLIO Sports Awards.

If you like our work, fit the bill and want to help us conceptualize some amazing projects, please get in touch:

Graduate Success- Christos Symeonides

Visual Communication MA graduate Christos Symeonides is now working as a director's assistant in greek tv show "Brusco"

Congratulations Christos

Christos is also a 2012 graduate of the graphic communication course at the University of Wolverhampton.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Wolverhampton Art Gallery - Christmas Fair

Wolverhampton Art Gallery’s popular Christmas Fair returns on Saturday 22 November, 11am to 4pm.

We are now inviting applications from local and regional makers, designers and artists who would like to hold a stall at the event to sell their  design and craft. 

The event showcases the region's best contemporary and unique craft in the inspiring spaces of Wolverhampton Art Gallery. 

Selection will be based on creating a balanced exhibition of original, high-quality work that represents different media and styles. Stalls cost £20 or £15 for students.

Interested makers should apply by sending 2-3 images and a 200 word artist statement and/or CV. Applications can be sent via email or post to Kam Panesar:

Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Lichfield Street, WV1 1DU

Deadline for applications: Saturday 20 October, 5pm.

For further information: 01902 552 055 or go to

Monday, 13 October 2014

Dr Rina Arya - Abjection and Representation

The work of Visual Communication Reader Dr Rina Arya has featured on this blog previously

Her latest book 'Abjection and Representation' has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. It is a theoretical investigation of the concept of abjection as expounded by Julia Kristeva in Powers of Horror (1982) and its application in various fields, including the visual arts, film and literature.

"Rina Arya's Abjection and Representation is a clearly written and accessible introductory guide to our various social, political, psychic, corporeal, and aesthetic 'adventures of abjection' in contemporary theory, art, literature, and film. The book is long-needed and effectively has no peers." – Calvin Thomas, Georgia State University, USA

Rina Arya provides an accessible, systematic and interdisciplinary exposition of abjection in psychoanalysis, the role that it occupies in society and its resonance in different cultural fields. Drawing on the work of Georges Bataille, Mary Douglas and other theorists, the book explores the significance and continuing development of abjection as a cultural code that is of interest to contemporary artists, writers and film theorists. It promotes rigour, intelligibility and cross-disciplinary understanding.
 To find out more about 'Abjection and Representation' click here

Friday, 10 October 2014

Benjamin Schmitt MA Digital and Visual Communications

Benjamin Schmitt's work Master's project focuses on experimenting with visual digital design development, user interface design and usability in contemporary operating systems. "For my Master's project I examined the visual differences in interface design today and questioned if smartphones and the mobile interface has affected this." says Benjamin.

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Lizy de los Santos MA Digital and Visual Communications

"In our over-scheduled society people are always busy and on the go" says Lizy de los Santos . "Technology plays a key role in everyone’s life, particularly when it comes to socialising. Not only social networks, also smartphones and other inventions determine the way we communicate. The rapid pace of change and the anonymity of the internet make it harder to find likeminded people.
For my Master's project I created a new image for the children's product "Popping Candy" and made it a sophisticated fun product which brings likeminded people together. With my campaign I want people to find friends or partners through a fun but efficient way. Humans need to enjoy life and need to be surrounded by people who do the same and who have similar interests." she continues
More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Caroline Roose MA Digital and Visual Communications

"The age of meism came with the end of consumerism and its concern for community, and of socialism with its concern for society. Meism is fostered by privatization and self- responsibility... the individual is held responsible for themselves." Jean Baudrillard.

"Meism is a world-accommodating religion for secular societies." says Caroline "Its theology follows naturalist philosophy in the belief that there is nothing beyond the natural. The other ethical key component is existentialism naming the never-ending process of individualization as the reason for contemporary rituals of self-castigation, self-improvement, and self-adulation. My work presents suggestions for religious practice in Meism." she continues

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Melanie Rich MA Digital and Visual Communications

'Inspire' is a new cereal brand created by Melanie Rich. "After diverse qualitative research I came to the conclusion that a product for an independent mix of various ingredients for cereals should urgently be present in supermarkets.

With this background in mind, the slogan 'select, create and mix' was born which refers mainly to the creative process of selection of ingredients and mixing. It is exactly this process which provides an incentive for children as they can fully decide for themselves what they would like in their cereal. Based on this, it is a fun for the whole family.

In addition, I have also paid attention to sustainability and environmental friendliness which is why the packaging is made out of bio-plastic which is produced from corn. This fact provides next to recycling even varied possibilities for reuse in private households." says Melanie

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Pricing and Selling Your Work

The Artist and Gallery Agreement / Pricing and Selling Your Work / What happens at Art Fairs?

What should an artist expect from a gallery?

What does a gallery expect from an artist?

What does a Gallery/Artist Agreement include and why is a written Agreement important?

What do visual artists need to consider in pricing and selling their work?

What happens at an Art Fair?

Come and find out from Turning Point West Midland’s special guest speaker Nicholas Sharp, a solicitor based in London who was commissioned by Arts Council England to write the Gallery/Artist Agreement Guidelines.

Nicholas is also a Director of The Multiple Store. The Multiple Store specialises in commissioning limited editions by contemporary British artists and has a regular presence at major art fairs.

Nicola Shipley, Co-Director of GRAIN at the Library of Birmingham, will share her experience of UNSEEN 2014 Photo Fair, Amsterdam.

Wendy Law, Director of TPWM and formerly Collections and Sales Development Manager for the Scottish Arts Council will talk about pricing and selling work.

Thursday 9 October 2014, 6-7.30pm. Lecture room, The School of Art, Birmingham City University. B3 3BX

Turning Point West Midlands Business Suite is a new strand of TPWM's Artist Development programme designed to provide essential business advice for artists and arts organisations committed to good professional practice.

The event is free but booking is essential. Please book your place by emailing Annabel Clarke 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Harriet Leith - graduate success

Harriet Leith, Visual Communication graduate, now undertaking a graphic design internship in the Marketing & Communications Department of The University of Wolverhampton is delighted to see her designs in use throughout the university and the city.

"It's great to see the Vice-Chancellor using the materials I designed for Saturday's LGBT Wolverhampton parade through the city" says Harriet

Zagham Qadir MA Digital and Visual Communications

The aim of Zagham Qadir's Master's project is to create a source that manipulates typography using light, shade, projection and positioning. 

"I have combined various methods to establish this focus and have created a range of objects to display these ideas.

The main focus of my experiments was to manipulate words that contain other words within them. These consisted of one seven-letter word that could be stripped down, similar to layers, to reveal new words, for example ECLIPSE, CLIPS and LIP.

By combining these ideas, a range of objects have been created to display and project the design using light and typography. These vary from one another as each focus on a different concept. Although the end result is similar, different approaches are taken to create the idea.

The design of my ideas focus on creating a way type can be linked to complete, separate or create new words." says 

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

T shirt design competition - Icon Printing

If you’re a graduate designer or an illustrator,  then this is for you! 

Do you have any illustrations or graphics in your portfolio which would look great printed onto a t-shirt? Have you ever wanted to kick start a t-shirt brand and get free exposure for your designs? Icon Printing are looking for up-and-coming designers to submit one design from their portfolio to be used as a limited edition prize in a weekly competition their our readers. In return they will credit you with the design, give you exposure via their blog and social profiles, and plus, send you a softstyle t shirt with your design printed onto it using DTG Printing (which is perfect for illustrations and beautiful full colour designs). 
How to enter? Send an email to and include the following information: 

1. Your chosen artwork file (refer to the artwork guidelines below before submitting) 
2. Your selected t-shirt colour (from the options here) 
3. Your t-shirt size: S / M / L / XL / XXL 
4. Delivery address 
5. Twitter handle and/or website address 
6. A sentence or two about yourself and your work ambitions 

The deadline for submissions is October 30th. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks and you’ll receive your t-shirt when the weekly competition featuring your design ends. Artwork guidelines: - Format: PNG with a transparent background (on white tees, JPEG is suitable) - Image Size: 100% of the intended print area (max. print area W350 x H400mm) - Images should be at least 150dpi

More information can be found here

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Tim Lovatt MA Digital and Visual Communications

Tim Lovatt's work has  focused on  comic book industry as well as issues it raises in culture. These include as the affect of comic stories and their images on consumers, especially the younger reader.

"For my Master's project I am concentrating on how literature and images are illustrated in comic books. In doing so I will be producing a comic strip of 13 images using selected text from Sun Tzu's "The Art of War."

Creative literature can be a powerful tool used within society, for instance it can be used for educational purposes which is why I find great inspiration in illustrating this ancient text which has had a vast influence on the world covering management and leadership in both business and military strategies. In the hope that a historical text may yet contain lessons worth consideration by society today." says Tim

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Friday, 3 October 2014

Franziska Klenk MA Digital and Visual Communications

Franziska Klenk's Masters project focuses on a beauty surveillance-program she has  called DREAMANIZER thats is part of the Company DNAETHIC that in turn allows for the manipulation of human DNA. "People will be able to change their look while sleeping without any surgery. From now everybody can accommodate oneself to the Master of Beauty." says Franziska Klenk

"Life is a mirror.If you frown at it, it frowns back.If you smile, it returns the greeting."William Makepeace Thackeray

"The name DNAETHIC stands for creating more beautiful, friendly and happy people." continues Franziska.

Find out more about the MA show here 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Leslie Klaedtke MA Digital and Visual Communications

Leslie Klaedtke believes that the average citizen lives their everyday life in the belief that those men who commit a serious crime will be found found guilty and will be locked up for the sake of society's safety.

"But what does happen when someone innocent is wrongfully convicted for a crime? When someone is very likely to lose almost everything in his life?

The story of this book narrates the path of those innocents who find themselves in an absolutely unfamiliar situation which they cannot cope with. Furthermore, it picks up on the experiences of those men during their time in prison and the effects of such experiences on their life after exoneration.

This modern and graphical edited book makes aware of the problem of wrongful conviction through judicial injustice and tries to communicate this topic in an interesting way to call for attention to prevent further misjudgement." says Leslie

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Duygu Karabacak MA Digital and Visual Communications

"Did you know? One in every four woman experiences domestic violence in her lifetime." says Duygu Karabacak "It is time to do something. My aim is to give people information about what is happening in their neighbourhood and spread this problem to all over the world. Outstanding people can only be active and do something against violence, if they know what is going on in their surroundings.

Can a cause become a brand?

My MA project deals with a campaign against domestic violence on women. I am creating typographical designed clothing. T-shirts, jeans, jackets, etc. are helpful tools to spread a matter. In addition, to pep up the campaign, it is combined with body art which is constructed with the same aim as the clothing." she continues

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Yutong Ji MA Digital and Visual Communications

The project of Yutong Ji is a short film called 'Trouble' which is set in the park. "The film has been an experimental piece to enable me to embrace new production skills and further develop my animation experience. I have learned new production methods and software that will help me to realise my ideas in future projects." says Yutong Ji

More information about the 2014 MA show can be found here