Cream of the crop

 Gareth Southgate, obviously

Gareth Southgate, obviously

Cropping a photograph or image is one of the most powerful tools in a designer's skillset. It allows the designer to draw focus to a particular area of the subject in the image, in essence strengthening the communication and creating clarity of meaning for the viewer. The example above from the Guardian shows us Gareth Southgate, without actually showing us Gareth Southgate. But we know who it is, instantly. The designer has recognised the minimum amount of information required from the image for the viewer to process its meaning, and has had the gumption to crop it such a way. It is unusual and unexpected, so therefore visually rewarding. 

Further to that very tight crop demonstrated above, a keen eye can enhance balance, contrast, scale, and even the dramatic effect of an image through cropping it in the most effective way.

Cropping can be done on a Mac, but if you have a hard copy of the image it is so much easier (and quicker) to crop it using two pieces of card. This is the best way to learn the art of the crop as it gives you instant feedback in the power of the image as it changes. Make your cropping tool with one sheet of paper.

The further examples below are taken from the Guardian's beautiful World Cup colour chart, which portrays the 2018 World Cup through a rainbow of colour. It is an excellent example of cropping, enjoy.

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4 good reasons to study Graphic Design at Preston

We have been busy recently putting together a small promotional document about the Graphics course and thought it might be a good idea to show you a little of the work in progress. We have been scouring the hard drives and mining the archives to highlight a few highlights over the past 20 years. Hope you like?

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 Laughing Stock

Laughing Stock

 Hopefully we will have it printed for the degree shows in June!

Hopefully we will have it printed for the degree shows in June!

Secret 7" 2018

Secret 7

Yesterday Secret 7" returned after a year's hiatus, The event, established in 2012 by Kevin King and UCLan alumni Jordan Stokes, takes 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and presses each one 100 times to 7” vinyl.

Creatives from around the world are then invited to interpret the tracks in their own style for every 7”.  All in all 700 unique sleeves are exhibited before going on sale on a first come first serve basis. The money raised is given to a selected charity, this year the mental health charity Mind. 

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Since 2012 they have produced 3,500 one-of-a-kind records for 35 different tracks. Raising over £175,000 for great causes. 

Whilst open to the general public the event also invites renowned and respected creatives from around the world to participate too. In its five years, the event has attracted renowned and respected creatives such as David Shrigley, Jenny Holzer, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Paul Smith, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Gilbert & George, Yoko Ono, Julian Opie and Peter Blake.

The tracks this year are:

Help – London Grammar
I Saved the World Today – Eurythmics
The Clash – I'm Not Down
No Surface or Feeling – Manic Street Preachers
Damaged – Primal Scream
Love You Should Have Come Over – Jeff Buckley
Castles Made of Sand – Jimmy Hendrix

Secret 7" is open to anyone. Submit away here.
The deadline is 24 April 2018. Get cracking.

https://secret-7.com/

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HBU/UCLan

Hebei University in Baoding, China are running the same modules as UCLan across Graphic Design, Advertising, Animation, Interior Design and Film and Media. I’ve been a visiting lecturer for two months delivering Contextual Studies and Graphic Design. This is an exciting year because they will produce the first batch of graduates from the partnership. The Year 4 (3rd years) students are on course with their Honours Project, the Year 3 (2nd years) are showing potential with their branding exercise and Year 2 (1st years) are developing lateral thinking. (Click above image to scroll for more)

 HBU-UCLan School of Media, Communication and Creative Industries located in A1 building on far left of the six blocks.

HBU-UCLan School of Media, Communication and Creative Industries located in A1 building on far left of the six blocks.

Their cultural input excites me, they are producing ideas of Chinese origin with Western influence. Not surprisingly they can struggle with Typography, but considering there are over 50,000 Chinese characters, our 26 letters are almost dull in comparison. You will find many Chinese design dominated by a single character (a meaning), either incorporating an idea or assembled with other characters to evolve the meaning (like creating a new letter by combination - see below, Honours Project by Ellis, a final Year Graphics student). That is their equivalent of Smile In The Mind wit. I had my preconceived view of what a ‘good idea’ is but that’s based on domestic influence, it’s made clear that universally, a ‘good idea’ must also consider the cultural and societal influence.

There are recurring themes in their conceptual work across all courses. We have to be conscious of the materials they have access to. China exists in an information bubble, what we take for granted are not accessible (Google, Wikipedia, Twitter etc). The population derive information from limited sources and without the freedom we enjoy, they are unfairly portrayed as unimaginative. I was fortunate to work with two brilliant Graphic Design lecturers from Beijing, they enhanced their creative thinking by studying abroad. It’s easy to be dismissive of weak ideas drawn from limitation, but the challenge to think within the limitation can breed creativity. If we collaborate by recognising their challenge and by applying our knowledge, maybe something will blossom.

The Chinese market is vast, the demand for creativity will only increase. However, it isn’t a case of transplanting our methodology over theirs. The future is convergence because we can’t have a conversation in our tone, we have to use a tone their population would understand. I believe a holistic approach can bridge our creative differences, but it will demand patience and a lot of effort. This is why I wholly support the partnership between both Universities, in time we will see the best of both worlds. (Click above image to scroll for more)
 

 Irene, Year 3 - Toy store branding solution first draft

Irene, Year 3 - Toy store branding solution first draft

 Jim, Year 3 - Branding typeface draft

Jim, Year 3 - Branding typeface draft

 Year 3 Branding by Polly, Steven and Alysha (Spot the word Iris).

Year 3 Branding by Polly, Steven and Alysha (Spot the word Iris).

Typefaces Workshop

Today the year 1 graphics students we set the task of creating 8 faces out of letterforms, 5 human & 3 animals. Here are a section of some of their characters.

Staff were impressed with some of the results and have now tasked the students to take the project further by refining and developing more faces for Thursday's final crit session.

 cut & paste techniques

cut & paste techniques

Students were encouraged to look at the positive and negative spaces between the type forms as well as using scale, proportion and balance in their designs.

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The session lasted from 10am - 3pm.

 Students choose their fonts

Students choose their fonts

 Feedback from 2nd & 3rd years at the end of the day

Feedback from 2nd & 3rd years at the end of the day

A Time & Place

With only 42 shopping days left until Christmas, we thought it only right to look back at a seasonal design classic from 1993. The Chase Creative Consultants' D&AD winning Christmas card. Brutal in its simplicity and a product of its time (as a few months into 1994 the price of a 1st class stamp increased to 26p).

Serendipity and teamwork were at the heart of this solution, the colour combination of the two denominations coupled with the pyramid structure and bingo! The medium is the message.

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As one who witnessed the design's development, from a rejected linear idea, where a series of different denominations worked together to make up the full price of a first class stamp (for a company who specialised in team building). It spent several days being discussed and passed around the office morphing through several incarnations and designs, until someone suggested a pyramid then another person spotted the colour combination. Eureka! From that point on it was a 'no brainer', it just required a little 'icing on the cake' in the form of the red franked baubles and the design was complete.