Author: nickandh

Tips for students on preparing for their degree shows

Above: Part of the splendid LCC Graphics Degree Show 2017 exhibition space Notebook: 24 May 2018 | DEGREE SHOWS This year’s summer art and design degree shows are less than a month away. If you are a final year graphic design student, it’s your one big moment to show off the culmination of your three year’s hard work studying at university – hopefully you will have a collection of brilliant design work that you are proud of – so make the most of your opportunity to display it to its very best – it might just help you secure your first job. For many years I was Creative Director at Archant Dialogue, a large content marketing agency based in Norwich. We produced a wide range of different types of magazine for companies that included well known brands such as Saab, Harley-Davidson, CenterParcs, British Showjumping, London Symphony Orchestra, Porsche, Rolls Royce, AGA and Royal Ascot. I had a large team of designers, and over the years, many of them were recruited as graduates directly from the excellent Design for …

Remembering the Anti-Nazi League march and carnival, 30 April 1978

Notebook: 30 April, 2018 | BRANDING | PHOTOGRAPHY Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism rally and concert in Trafalgar Square and Victoria Park. I was one of the thousands who gathered in the square on that day in 1978 and marched to the park. Here’s my recollections of the period and of that remarkable day from 40 years ago. Sometime in late 1977 I was drinking in a pub in Coventry with fellow art students. I had one of  the distinctive Anti-Nazi League badges pinned to my hairy blue mohair jumper. I was suddenly approached by a burly pub regular who tore the badge from my jumper and tossed it to the floor. We were clearly not welcome in that pub and we swiftly drank our pints and left… The Anti-Nazi League (ANL) had been founded in 1977 in opposition to far right racist and fascist organisations such as the National Front (NF) which were gaining in popularity especially amongst younger people. The ANL and its sister organisation, Rock against …

Cowles

Notebook: 8 April 2018 | MAGAZINES A profile of Andy Cowles – international, multi-award winning creative development director On Tuesday, 11 September 2001 I was attending a business conference with colleagues in London’s Docklands. As we were eating our buffet lunch, there was news of a plane crashing into the Twin Towers in New York – and before the lunch was finished there was confirmation that it was some sort of terrorist attack. With the meeting over, we quickly made our way home – a rumour had spread that an attack was also planned for Canary Wharf, which was the tallest building in the UK at the time, and just down the road from where we were. We were glad to be back on the train and heading home for Norfolk… In New York, Andy Cowles had been on his early morning run. He was living in Manhattan’s West Village and as he jogged down the West Side Highway he overheard a couple of workmen chatting about a low-flying plane – and as his eyes …

Magazine Canteen

Notebook: Friday 13 April 2018 | MAGAZINES | PHOTOGRAPHY In February this year there was sad news that the The Hyman Archive, the world’s largest collection of magazines, had gone into administration. The collection was started by James Hyman 30 years ago and contains more than 5,000 different publications and 120,000 different issues which are housed in a Woolwich warehouse. It began operating as a business in September 2014 and attracted various paying customers from academia and the media. There had been plans to digitise the whole collection to make it available online but I guess these have now all ground to a halt. Recently I stumbled across another big magazine collection called Magazine Canteen which is owned and curated by Warren Casey from a large ex-hotel in Cumbria. The collection is smaller than the Hyman Archive but still numbers around 30,000 magazines. Warren began collecting magazines 30 years ago, starting with Smash Hits and he specialises in titles that he is personally interested in such as fashion, music and lifestyle. Unlike the Hyman Collection, the majority …

Oh sh*t, what now?

Notebook: 28 March 2018 | BOOK REVIEW Oh Sh*t, What Now? Honest Advice for New Graphic Designers by Craig Oldham. Published by Laurence King April 2018 What a great book. It’s full of advice for young designers just setting out into the world of graphic design with words of wisdom on topics such as, education, internships, portfolios, landing your first job, personal development, risk-taking and plenty more. It’s written by Craig Oldham who describes himself variously as a designer, teacher, writer, publisher, campaigner and Yorkshireman. He has an energy and passion for life that comes across in his writing – and if he can inspire a grumpy designer like myself, who is old enough to be his dad, then he’ll certainly inspire younger people. Yes, I like Craig Oldham. He seems like a good bloke and he drinks lots of tea. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see Craig talk or you’ve watched a clip of him on YouTube, you’ll know that he is very engaging and has a natural talent for telling a story and …

An olfactory excursion, part 2: Odour television

Picture: Plaster of Paris dogs – the remains of a model explaining how odour TV might have worked. See below… Notebook: 11 March 2018 | SMELL I’d just completed a couple of days design teaching in Sheffield and I was travelling home on the train. At Nottingham a flood of passengers poured off but they were quickly replaced by another hoard that clambered on. Out the corner of my eye I saw a rosey faced woman bustle down the aisle and take her seat and as she passed, I smelt her go by. It wasn’t an unpleasant smell – quite the opposite. Outside it was cold and I imagined that the woman had had a long walk to the station because she had picked up the smell of the cool fresh air – that same delicious fragrance that you notice when you gather in freshly laundered washing that has spent a day drying in the fresh air on a washing line. It was a comforting smell and it reminded me of my mother. When I …

Moon Touch Down

Notebook: 16 March 2018 | TYPOGRAPHY | NEWSPAPERS Spotted in a corridor at Sheffield Hallam University – the front page of a special colour supplement from The Yorkshire Post celebrating the first moon landing in 1969. My eye was caught by the odd mix of typography. The title or ‘masthead’, Moon Touch Down, is set in a typeface called Microgramma which became a favourite with graphic designers in the late 1960s and early 70s. It’s a geometric CAPS only sans-serif but with distinctive rounded corners, and its square shape allowed for it to be set with very tight letter and line spacing as is the case here – it captures perfectly the optimistic mood of this period in history. The headline font for First Flag on the Moon, looks rather clumsy in comparison especially with its gappy word spacing. It’s typeset in Futura Bold Condensed (Italic) which has been a popular tabloid newspaper headline font for many years (and is still used today in the ugly looking Sun newspaper). Microgramma was designed in 1952 by Aldo …

A2Z+ book review

Above: Front and back covers of a school kit, USSR 1968 (Pollocks Toy Museum). From A2Z+ by Julian Rothenstein Notebook 5 March 2018 | BOOK REVIEW: A2Z+ by Julian Rothenstein. Published by Laurence King, April 2018 Although we spend much of our day tapping away on a phone or keyboard the majority of us still pick up a pen and make marks on a piece of paper. It’s good to see that schoolchildren continue to scribble and doodle in the margins of their exercise books and make use of decorative titling and other flourishes on the covers of their notebooks and school diaries. When I was a teenager there was a fad for writing titles with extravagant bubble writing with one outline letter overlapping the next – almost like a graffiti tag. My take on this was to use drop-shadows, 3-D blocking or primitive serifs (see pics at end) based on typefaces such as Cooper Black or the slabs of Clarendon or Playbill. Reference material for my decorative titling would have been old press adverts, packaging or the …

Digging through the women’s magazine graveyard

Notebook: 23 February 2018 | MAGAZINES | TYPOGRAPHY | PHOTOGRAPHY I’ve been reading Paul Gorman’s ‘The Story of The Face: The Magazine That Changed Culture‘ which was published late last year by Thames and Hudson. The Face (1980-2004) was the brainchild of Nick Logan who later went on to launch the men’s magazine Arena (1986-2009) but I’d forgotten that it was Logan’s company Wagadon that had also published a bold and eye-catching but short-lived women’s magazine called Frank (1997-1999). I still have copies of Frank sitting on my magazine shelves side-by-side with two other women’s magazines from around that same period: Bare and Nova (The Second Coming). They were all edgy, unconventional and good-lookers but sadly none of them lasted for more than a couple of years or so in their crowded marketplace. Here’s what I liked about their designs and why I’ve hung on to copies of these magazines for over 15 years. Frank (1997-1999). Published by Wagadon Frank was launched in October 1997 as a ‘provocative, challenging, intelligent and witty’ women’s magazine and it carried a lively …

An olfactory excursion, part 1: Uncle Ernie

Notebook: 31 January 2018 | SMELL Forgive my self indulgence as I put all thoughts of editorial design temporarily to one side, close the lid on my laptop, throw open the window and sniff in the air. Today I detect an overriding but comforting smell of woodsmoke from a neighbouring chimney pot and a background tang of tarry smelling pig manure from a far-off farmer’s field. And every now and again I catch the delicate and ethereal fragrance of the winter-flowering Sweet Box shrub (Sarcococca Confusa) quietly doing its thing at the end of the drive. It’s a heady but rather delicious mix. It’s time now, for me to step back 36 years and more, on the first of a two-part journey about our underused sense of smell. My great-uncle Ernest Paul was a chemist, botanist and plant hunter. He worked in Bristol at Wills tobacco and lived on the coast at Clevedon in Somerset. As a small child I remember his garden being awash with greenery and exotic plants which must have benefited from the warmth of the Gulf Stream pushing …