The graphic design course blog for
HND Visual Communication at Edinburgh College

Highland Park - One Week

15 October 2016

On Friday our design teams pitched their one week projects to the panel from Edrington - Jason, Wendy and Juliet. Each team presented their project and then they had to mount their deliverables down in the college hub for exhibition, where the other teams, and some of our industry mentors, could view all the work.

For this project, we worked with design agencies Lewis, Multiply, Whitespace, Teviot and Neish. Each team consisted of up to seven students, at five different locations across Edinburgh, and in some cases with multiple mentors to a team.  The teams had four days to produce the creative work, and 30 minutes on the Friday to present it.

As well as tutor visits and agency meetings over the week, communications across teams were run through the slack App, allowing students instant feedback and crits as they went along. This also provided the tutors with a running commentary on how the week was progressing.

Edrington's Jason Craig announced the winning work, with Team Lewis just pipping Team Teviot to the top prize. Team Lewis will now get to work with Edrington on the Highland Park brand.  The other teams all received Highland Park goodies and a great deal of praise.  As it turned out, all five teams were separated by only a handful of points, based on Edrington's judging criteria (i.e. based on exactly whats covered in the brief). Having worked with our students before (on Cutty Sark in 2013), they had a good idea of the kind of work to expect, but were really blown away by the quality and depth of ideas the students managed to produce in less than a week.

This was our ninth project of this kind, and the client and the agencies were again impressed with the professionalism and creative energy of all the students - the opportunity for this level of employer engagement is central to the curriculum offering on the course.  I'll post up samples from all the work soon, and there some examples here -

Jason Craig gives some insightful feedback to Team Neish.

Team Lewis #vikingconquerors

Team Lewis #vikingconquerors

Team Lewis #vikingconquerors

Team Teviot #vikingsoul

Team Teviot #vikingsoul

One Week No.9

13 October 2016

Our 9th One Week project finishes tomorrow, when HNC and Final Year students, working alongside 5 agencies - Teviot, Multiply, Lewis, Neish and Whitespace - will pitch their work to the client, Edrington's Highland Park brand. This is the second time that we've been lucky enough to work on a live brief with Edrington (we did a one week for Cutty Sark back in 2013).  Samples of all the work, plus the winning idea, will be posted once the winners have been announced.

The Client and the Brief


Team Multiply at Multiply.

Team Whitespace, at Whitespace.

Team Neish (with Graham Neish) at Creative Exchange.

Team Teviot - at Codebase, Granton Campus.

Team Lewis at Creative Exchange.

All images by Derek Anderson.

Commercial Types

7 October 2016

Our HNC graphics class have just finished their first major project of the year, 'Commercial Types'. The brief was to create an identity, promotional material, and exhibit samples for an exhibition aimed at introducing five important typographers - Matthew Carter, Bruno Maag, Tobias Frere-Jones, Carol Twombly and Erik Spiekermann - to a broader, non-design audience. The class were paired in creative teams for this project,a nd had the opportunity to discuss the work with our group of 'Design Buddies' at last week's Mentor Evening in the college.

Here are some samples from two of the final results. You can see samples from all of the projects on our Pinterest boards.

Renee Simonini and Julia Martins - 'Un-familiar Faces'

Hazel Pike and Lena Sakura - 'Typogravity'

Class of 2016

3 October 2016

Magfest 2016

20 September 2016

Magfest is Scotland's largest festival dedicated to magazine publishing and is held annually in Edinburgh. This is its fifth year, and was the biggest yet, with more than 300 delegates and a great city-centre location at the Central Hall, Tollcross.  The theme for 2016 was 'fight for your audience', and all of the talks loosely addressed the state of the sector and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Magfest attracts publishers, illustrators, journalists, photographers and designers (professionals and students), and of course educators. The format consists of keynote speakers on the main stage, broken up by short panel discussions, breakout workshops in other parts of the venue, and short talks by up-and-coming magazine publishers.

This year the list of speakers was exceptional, the pitches by new magazine publishers was a minor revelation, and the general organisation, promotion and networking opportunities of the event were all first rate.  I attended the morning sessions and some of the afternoon talks - a group of our HND Graphic Design students spent the whole day and had a great experience.

My program copy, beautifully typeset by Eric Campbell.

The morning highlights included the opening speaker, Vanessa Kingori MBE from GQ Magazine, who set the tone for the whole event by looking at the challenges facing the publishing industry, and the opportunities of new technologies and superior content. It was immediately clear after a few minutes that we were all in for an absorbing day, especially when Vanessa played a cool clip of David Bowie in 1999 predicting that the internet would alter how we communicate in ways which "we can't yet even imagine".

Also up in the morning was the CEO of News UK (and former editor at the Scottish Sun), David Dinsmore, who described the huge operation the group runs across the nation, and the many successes of Scotland's best-selling tabloid newspaper.

Next up was Holland's Ernst-Jan Pfauth from De Correspondant - a Dutch-language digital magazine of crowd-sourced journalists which is ad-free and uses a disruptive strategy to operate outside of the commercial constraints normally associated with magazines.  Original content, beautiful design, and an inspired subscription model have been key to this title's rapid success. For me this was the highlight of the day, and with hindsight, a talk like this about publishing would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.

We also had an interesting diversion into modern Scottish politics with Angela Haggerty, editor of CommonSpace, talking about the vacuum this news platform has filled in terms of balanced journalism in post-indyref Scotland. Angela also talked about a social media platform funded by Common Weal, called 'CommonSocial'.

Lunch (in a metal box) is served.

The early afternoon talks included Terri White, Editor-In-Chief of Empire Magazine (and a former editor of Time Out New York), who discussed current trends in film magazines and the risks publishers need to take - which she duly demonstrated by playing a hilarious x-rated Empire infomercial delivered by Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool - google it.

In between these keynotes I really enjoyed the short pitches from all the new publishers, in particular the titles She is Fierce, Counterpoint, and Nutmeg stood out.  It's a pity I missed Astrid Stavro and Primate's Espen Brunborg, who talked about editorial design and web design respectively, but I'm reliably informed by our students that these two talks were superb.

And with workshops on comics, infographics and etc, there was something for everyone at Magfest. The free (and rather excellent) lunch, a set of great freelance stalls, and a fully stocked shop of Scottish titles all added to the sense that Magfest is firmly established as a brilliant event for creatives and publishers, and probably doesn't need to fight for its audience next year.

Our YCN winners!

8 September 2016

Our YCN Winners Catriona Munro and Liam Philp attended the YCN Awards at the Barbican in London with tutors Chris Hughes and Alex Gunn.  The students were commended for their response to the Orchard Pig brief. This year YCN saw the biggest amount of entries in its 15 year history, with Art Schools, Colleges and Universities from all over the world submitting competition work.

This is the 13th and 14th YCN Awards our students have won since 2008.  Catriona and Liam are just entering their final year of study on our Visual Communication / Graphic Design course and have a very bright future.  Well done guys!

More photos of the evening here on the YCN website.