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

Another Big Star

22 June 2018


Niamh picks up her award from Union's Creative Director Sheryl Thompson (right) and host Danni Menzies.

To round off a bumper year, the course is celebrating another win at the Marketing Society Scotland Star Awards, with HND student Niamh Curran picking up Star Creative Student accolade for her work on the STV brief, sponsored by the Union.

This project is unique on the course because the initial response is a written submission, and the shortlisted candidates then pitch their developed idea to the judging panel. Niamh held off competition from talented creative students at Robert Gordon's and DJCAD, and our students have now won this award in no less than six times in the last seven years.

An extra bonus this year was that 2017 graduate Christina Giannakou, now a designer at AlwaysBeContent, was shortlisted in the Rising Creative Star category, a great achievement so early in her career.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Star Awards brings together the largest gathering of the marketing and advertising community outside of London.  This year, some 500 practitioners, clients and creatives celebrated at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.  The full list of winners can be found here.

Samples from Niamh's submission -









Four Commendations

20 June 2018

YCN have announced the commendations for their annual student awards, with our HND Graphics course picking up no less than four of them. This is the most commendations we've had in a single year (the course chalked up three commendations in both 2011 and 2015). This year Iain Waugh, Kit Lawson and Kryz Wajand produced winning entries for Dogs Trust, Art Fund and British Gymnastics.

YCN had a late announcement for the Action on Hearing Loss brief, with Natasha Ryan achieving a commendation for her submission.  Our sister course HND Interactive Design also secured a commendation for this brief for Sophie McKinlay, meaning that five students for the HN Visual Communication area will be travelling to London in September to the YCN Awards.

Samples from the Commendations -

Iain Waugh - Dogs Trust




Natasha Ryan - Dogs Trust








Krys Wajand - British Gymnastics






Kit Lawson - Art Fund



More : Full list of 2018 Commendations


Showing Off At Show 2018

6 June 2018

Great short film of our recent Industry Night & Show at the Dovecot in central Edinburgh.




Good Work : BIMA100

13 May 2018

Great news earlier this month for Graphic Design lecturer Helena Good who was named in the annual BIMA 100.  Helena was listed in the Talent Champion category for her pioneering work on the Engaging Schools project 'Daydream Believers'.

Helena attended the BIMA ceremony in London, and also bumped into one of our mentors, Gregor Matheson, who made the list in the Rising Stars category for his work as Design Director at Tayburn.
BIMA - the British Interactive Media Association - is a not-for-profit industry body representing the digital industry across the UK. The BIMA 100 list celebrates the people who are shaping the British digital industry.

Check the full list of BIMA 100 2018 and rad this BIMA blogpost about Daydream Believers.


Real Life


Andy telling it as it is in Design Lab A111 at Granton Campus.

We had a recent visit from designer and mentor Andy Jamieson, who talked to the HNC and HND classes about his career. Andy has five years' experience both in-house and agency, and described how he came into Graphic Design through the HND route and described securing a junior position at Teviot.  Andy showed some examples of his work on various projects and for a wide range of clients, then talked about his recent redundancy from award-winning Glasgow agency Front Page and how he has since tackled moving into freelance.

Andy also recently collaborated with two of our other mentors, Kirsten Murray and Kat Summers, on their new magazine 'Aye', and contributed some great photos for the first issue of former HND graduates Liam Philp and Catriona Munro, who feature in the magazine. Check out some of Andy's work here - http://andyjamieson.co.uk and his work for Aye.

Along the way Andy had some great pieces of advice on self-belief, making contacts and developing skills.  Inspirational stuff.


Star Creative Shortlist 2018

18 April 2018

We're celebrating good news from the Marketing Society Scotland, who have announced their annual shortlist of six students for the Star Creative Award 2018. Our HND final year student Niamh Curran has made the shortlist, alongside students from Robert Gordon's, DJCAD and Dundee University.

The award is in the Development category, sponsored by Union Direct, and requires students from Universities and Colleges in Scotland to submit a written proposal to a brief set by a high-profile client.  This year, the client was STV Creative, and the brief was to devise a campaign to expand STV's reach with younger audiences across Scotland.

The shortlisted students will all pitch their developed ideas to the judging panel at the Union Agency, and the winner will be announced at the Marketing Society Star Awards, the annual celebration of Scotland's world-class marketing community, in June at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.  You can find out more about the awards, including the shortlists across all the professional categories, at the Star Awards 2018 website.

Over the course of the last few years our course has produced five winners of this award, including the winning student in each of the past four years.


Sprint Friday in Berlin

12 February 2018

Traditionally as part of our annual Berlin study trip in February we arrange a studio visit. In past years this has included the generosity of Saatchi, TLGG and Eden Spiekermann. This year we were lucky enough to visit Axel Springer, one of the world's largest publishers, on the Wednesday (which we'll report on in a separate post) and AJ&Smart, one of the foremost exponents of the 'Design Sprint' ethos in modern visual communication, on the Friday.

The AJ&Smart studio is located in East Berlin, close to the East Side Gallery (one of the few intact parts of the Berlin Wall). The studio was founded by Aussie Michael Smart and Irishman Jonathan Courtney, and includes employees from the UK, Finland, Brazil, Russia, Poland, and of course Germany.  We were lucky enough to meet Michael when our group - all 40 students - arrived just before 4pm on Friday.



Huge glyphs on a wall right opposite the AJ&Smart office on Kopernicker Strasse.


Our students are all set to hear from the lovely folks at AJ&Smart

Venla Hakunti and Rob Hamblen, both wearing some cosy-looking AJ&Smart slippers, put together a great welcome and a fantastic presentation to the students.  The presentation focussed on the company's 4-day sprint process, itself based on the original 5-day model devised by Jake Knapp, a design partner at Google Ventures and the author of the best-selling book 'Sprint'.

Rob introduced some of AJ&Smart's clients - who have included Air BNB, Slack, and Europe's biggest retailer MOVMNT - and talked about their approach to design thinking and how the studio selects and manages its projects.  He then explained the typical sprint process at AJ&Smart - ideation, sketching/storyboarding, prototyping and testing - then demo'd some awesome sprint products, including a really cool mobile app for Red Bull and a (prototype) real bar of chocolate.


Something AJ&Smart build up plenty of during a Design Sprint


Rob explaining the four day sprint model.

As well as reeling off too many great quotes to list here, Rob, himself an HND graduate in Graphic Design, then gave a great Q&A, and our students asked some really sharp questions about generating ideas, dealing with clients, planning, timescales and process.

The AJ&Smart experience also included some nice refreshments and a general natter at the very end, and all of our students were clearly buzzing after the talk. It's always amazing when busy organisations take the time to host talks to students, and everyone agreed this was a big highlight of the 2018 Berlin trip.  Massive thanks to Venla, Rob and also to Danny Holtschke for making this all happen.  Hopefully we will visit again next year!


We left AJ&Smart a heartfelt message.


They even do Design Sprints in the AJ&Smart toilet!


Leith Cycle Co - Rebrand

5 February 2018

Our NC Graphics class have just completed a new brand communication project. The brief was to rebrand the Leith Cycle Co. - a small independent cycle shop based in Leith, self-labelled as the 'small shop with a big heart'.  For this project the class had to extract five core values from their research of the client, and then develop a new logo. A second requirement was for them to choose suitable typography and create a new colour palette, and then design sample pieces including direct mail, a website landing page and outdoor.

Here are three interesting examples of the process development from the first part of the project - to design the new mark.


Marta Winogrodzka - 












Ida Bukantyte - 









Zoe Leung -