Industry portfolio preview evening

This week our final year students invited industry guests into the studio for a portfolio preview evening. The setting meant that students were able to hold extended conversations about their work with a range of creatives. It also meant they were able to get a foot in the door with a few agencies before the end of year shows start across the country.

Daisy Thatcher talking to Kalina from Anyways
Josh Bailey talking to Sean & James from Kind Studio

Industry attendees included creatives from Kind Studio, Rufus Leonard, Creative Interpartners, Spencer Du Bois, Wonder Creative, Venture Three, Echo and Anyways.

The feedback students received was overwhelmingly positive. Art Director Jonathan Armstrong, said:

The standard of thought and application was 1st class and I was inspired by the students’ imagination and enthusiasm.

Daisy Thatcher, one of the final year students, said ‘I learned that I can have confidence in my work and ideas and that I can actually challenge opinion and be true to myself if I know my concept is strong and my understanding of the audience and context is clear.’

Josh Smith talking to Callum from Anyways
Joanna Wojcicka talking to Millie from Rufus Leonard

Susie from Echo commented that ‘It’s always great to get in enthusiastic designers who can think conceptually, and I definitely felt that from your students last night.’, whilst Paula from Wonder Creative said ‘It was a really dynamic event. Great to see such diversity in the projects, approaches and thinking. There were clever and original solutions, beautifully presented.’

Josh Bailey (third year student) said ‘The evening was an amazing opportunity to sit down and chat with some really great creatives. I got some really good feedback on my portfolio and the offer of an internship opportunity.’

We’ll showcase some of the final year work soon, but if you are in London, the degree show is open between 20-23 June.


Year 3 Major Projects

Year 3 students are coming towards the end of their Major Project unit which is the culmination of three years of hard work on BA (Hons) Graphic Branding & Identity. The third year programme, and the Major Project unit, offers students lots of choice in terms of projects. Undertaking two substantial projects and one minor project over the course of the unit, the third years have been able to choose from live briefs, design agency set briefs, competition briefs and self-negotiated projects.

The agencies we have on board this term include Studio Psk who have set a speculative brief that focuses on brand communication in 2050 and requires students to explore a variety of future scenarios.


Patrick, the studio director (seen above, or not!) has invited the students doing the project into the studio for both the briefing and the interim and will shortly be giving students feedback at their final crit.



Radley Yeldar and Rufus Leonard have also set briefs for the unit. Rufus Leonard’s brief is a really interesting challenge as it requires students to rebrand Black Cabs in London. IN doing so they have to reflect their heritage, move them into a digital context and find a way to enable them to challenge Uber – no mean feat! There are some great ideas developing for all these projects so we’ll post some of the finished work soon.

Some students are also developing self negotiated projects. Andy Cadman has set himself the challenge of designing a letterform each day and is coming up with some intriguing, quirky and visually striking ideas.

Andy Cadman 36daysoftype
Andy Cadman: 36 Days of Type

Liam Harris-Williams and Lauren Berger are collaborating on a project with Flesh magazine. They are developing concepts for the launch of the second issue, which will include motion work, photography and sound. They have recently shot a series of images using a photography studio lighting and a very strange combination of liquids and materials—honey, conditioner, cling film and oil—in order to get the effects they were looking for!

Liam Harris-Williams & Lauren Berger: Flesh launch poster

We’ll be showcasing more third year work over the next couple of months, so check back to see how some of these projects unfold.

Year 3 Industry Project: Anyways

Another of the agencies involved in the third year Industry Practice unit were Anyways. The brief set by Anyways was developed from the work they had done with the Tate Modern and Uniqlo collaboration that resulted in London Dreaming.


Brand collaborations between mainstream companies or products and cultural institutions or artists are increasingly popular throughout the world. Uniqlo linking up with Tate Modern might seem unlikely, but often it is the spaces between quite different organisations or disciplines that interesting connections or concepts are found.


For LondonDreaming, designed in 2016, Anyways discovered that it was the 500 year anniversary of Utopia, a term and concept coined by philosopher Thomas More in 1516. Within it, he suggested that the only true way of achieving such a place was to ‘dream in the now’. Anyways used this idea to invite Londoners to dream of a more creative future. In Uniqlo’s nine London stores, Anyways concept saw the exhibition of 200 artworks from young artists who, as part of Tate Collective, were invited to respond to the brief ‘Future’. At the Tate Modern, an interactive installation enabled visitors to choose one of six different futures that they were most inspired by.


For the third year students the brief was to develop a collaboration between a high street brand a cultural institution in a way that was productive for both parties. This led to some great ideas:

Becky Campbell developed a collaboration between Sharpie & The Cartoon Museum that centred on people being able to design cartoons and animations for London’s most well known buildings and landmarks, which would then be projected onto the buildings to animate the city.

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Lauren Berger developed a collaboration between Ikea and the Saatchi Gallery called FÄRT—Flatpack Art—which encouraged people to engage with making sculpture using Ikea products. The concept draws from art movements such as those started by Marcel Duchamp’s urinal and the idea of ‘ready mades’, as well as Sol LeWitt’s work that is a series of instructions for people to produce the artwork themselves.

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Jordan Mitchell developed a collaboration between Transport for London and Palace streetwear. This resulted in the development of an idea for a Palsport ‘oi sir’ card which would give skaters access to underground stations out of hours in order to ‘take back London’ and reclaim the city as theirs.

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This project was an amazing opportunity for students to work alongside Anyways, visit their studios and get feedback from their creatives. Callum Green, one of the creatives at Anyways had this to say about their experience of working with our students:

We were blown away by the breadth and quality of the ideas and executions on Friday.  Your students were complete pleasures to work with. They reacted well to feedback, presenting themselves in a professional manner, and had some very exciting ideas. (I think we’re all going to spend our Christmas making Ikea furniture art!) You’ve got a very exciting course on your hands here!
As the project has been so successful for both Anyways and BA (Hons) Graphic Branding & Identity we hope to develop further collaborations in the future.

Year 3 Industry Practice Project: Landor

Year 3 students on BA Graphic Branding & Identity start the year with a unit called Industry Practice. The focus of this unit is to give students an experience of working in an industry context on a brief that has been set by each agency. This year one of the agencies students worked with was Landor.

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Landor are a global company, and have offices in over twenty five cities throughout the world, including London. They have worked for some of the biggest global brands like Nike and BMW, along with smaller brands like 20/80 and brands that are less well known in Europe like M&G—a Chinese stationery brand (see image below, but also click on these links and see full case studies from Landor).


The Landor designers and creative director met with students every other week, taking them through the brief in the way they would do in their own studio.


Students had to present their ideas on a regular basis and give a final presentation in the Landor boardroom overlooking the Thames and Tower Bridge. This was an incredible experience for the students and really helped them develop their understanding of branding, their design process and their confidence.


Josh Bailey who took part in the project said:

Personally, I really enjoyed working alongside people in the industry because they offered me insight into what goes on in their office and the design industry as a whole. Getting to see the work they had made for the same brief was a unique experience, helping me to understand more about what I’d be doing after uni and where I could take my work further if I was to go back to it.

The students worked on a brief Landor had previously completed, and as this hasn’t been released into the public domain yet, we can’t tell you much about it. However, when we can, we’ll post some of the students’ visual responses to the brief in a further blog post.


Guest Lecture: Nick Sims, Saffron

Nick Sims from Saffron gave the first years this week’s guest lecture. Nick graduated around eight years ago, and since then has worked internationally before returning to the UK three years ago to take up a position at Saffron. Describing himself as ‘an ideas man’ since leaving college, it was arriving at Saffron that he realised he was a ‘brand designer’. The great thing about being a brand designer is that it allows Nick to get involved in a huge range of different aspects of design, including user experience, user interface design, typography, tone of voice, photography, motion, layout, colour, sound and even smell. Nicks advice for young creatives is to:


At Saffron, Nick is able to continue to follow this advice himself as Saffron have offices and clients throughout the world and designers often work across projects together, so he is very often out of the UK. Nick showcased a range of projects he has worked on, a recent one being the rebrand of Tiger. Also known as Flying Tiger and TGR and originally  established in Copenhagen, the brand’s visual identity and tone of voice wasn’t really communicating their personality, with many people assuming that the shop sold cheap, low quality products. The design team have taken a really playful approach to the rebrand, focusing on the idea of Everyday Magic. They also developed a visual system that enables the three different names to function very clearly under the one brand.

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The logotype was formed by cutting the letterforms out of card, with the outlines then being slightly refined digitally – as Saffron describe, ‘carefully crafted to look uncrafted’. It was great to see that studios still use these hands on methods to think through ideas in a range of ways. The branding now communicates much more of a sense of Tiger as a playful, quirky company – one that conjures up some everyday magic for the customer. The simple satisfied smile that is an integral part of the branding ‘represents the smile Tiger put on customers’ faces as they discover things they need, things they want, and things they didn’t know existed — all at a price that surprises’.


Guest lecture: Anoushka Rodda, Templo

Last week Anoushka Rodda, Managing Director of Templo, came in to give a guest lecture to the second year students. Temple are a really interesting agency, with a strong ethical perspective on design – only working with clients and on projects that reflect their own values and contribute to some form of positive change. Anoushka talked through a range of case studies, including work for the United Nations which enabled the organisation to tell their story in a way that created a more relevant public image.

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She also showed a project for the International Truth & Justice Project that focused on human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The solution here cleverly integrated the two local languages Tamil and Sinhala, along with English, thus resonating within Sri Lanka, but also connecting with a global audience. The two ‘brother and sister’ logos fused the Sinhala and Tamil words for ‘stop’ with English. This enabled them to dual brand everything and create a sense of balance from both perspectives.


The campaign launched in June 2014 and will continue into 2016. It has built momentum online through the main campaign website, the white flag incident website and social media. A celebrity event, chaired by Jenni Murray BBC journalist and presenter, helped raise further global awareness for the #StopTorture campaign. Cara Delevingne, M.I.A., Bianca Jagger and Maryam d’Abo read survivor testimonies from the report.

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The campaign and the report provided a basis for advocacy and lobbying to be carried out in both Geneva and New York. The Stop Torture campaign persuaded United Nation countries to vote for an international, independent inquiry into human rights violations in Sri Lanka. As a result of the campaign William Hague stopped deporting victims of torture back to Sri Lanka. Having a bilingual branding system helped to connect with two distinct audiences and provided both communities with the opportunity to read the campaign in their own language. This a real testament to the power of design.

Alongside the case studies, Anoushka also gave students an insight into the design management side of the business, including areas such as liaising with clients, developing briefs, costing projects and pitching ideas. This gave the students a real insight into how Templo works as a studio, and what else goes into the development of a project beyond the design.

Guest lecture: Priyjah Paramasivam, Rufus Leonard

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Some more great advice for first year’s this week from Priyjah Paramasivam who is a mid-weight brand designer at Rufus Leonard. She shared her journey from graduation to date which included a stint at Beyond, before starting at Rufus Leonard three years ago. The agency describe themselves as creative problem solvers, and it was evident from how Priyjah talked through her case studies, that concepts are key to the Rufus Leonard approach. During her time at Rufus Leonard, Priyjah has worked on a range of high profile accounts, and one she talked through in detail was the Odeon cinemas brand refresh. Whilst the Odeon logotype is a classic on our streetscape, the traditional experience offered from mainstream cinemas has been challenged by smaller brands such as Curzon or Everyman that offer the cinema goer a more bespoke experience. The challenge with Odeon was to retain their diverse audience, but refine their approach to encourage greater engagement with their offering. To do this, the design team focused on the immersive experience of truly great film. They used the iconic O of the Odeon brand as a design motif, positioning it as the ‘portal’ through which viewers’ imaginations are transported.


Priyjah also discussed how the different teams at Rufus Leonard work across projects, so in the course a project that might require a visual identity to be developed across print and screen, the brand designers will work in collaboration with motion graphic designers, UX designers and coders. She also talked about the great studio culture at Rufus Leonard, where designers regularly discuss ongoing projects, share ideas and pin up work in progress for feedback. They also have SIX(!) studio dogs and regularly finish the week with doughnuts and drinks. It sounds like a great place to work to me!