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

Our newest YCN Winners!

10 September 2019

Earlier this week Tutors Alex Gunn and Richie Bisset accompanied our Commended YCN students down to London for the annual YCN Student Awards.  Our winners from HN Graphics were Anne Bender, Ben Neilson, David Symmons (Gumtree brief), Sean  Gordon (Hostelworld brief) and from HN UX Design, Agnieska Koundourakis (Energy Saving Trust brief). Well done all (and here's the full list of commendees).

This year the ceremony was held in Toynbee Hall in East London, and featured a keynote talk by Pentagram's Astrid Stavro.

These commendations get more difficult to win each year as the competition gets larger, with 1000s of entries from UK and International Universities and Arts Schools for some of the more popular briefs.  Since 2008 our Graphics course has now racked up 18 of these wins so the pressure is on to repeat our success in 2020.

Sean, Ben and David.

Agnieska and Anne.

Pics by Richie, nice work.

YCN Quartet

5 June 2019

YCN have announced their commended students for 2018/2019, and Edinburgh College have garnered no less than six awards - including a stunning haul of 4 commendations for our Graphic Design students.

HNC Graphic Design students Anne Bender, Ben Neilson and David Symmons all won for their submissions to the Gumtree brief, whilst their classmate Sean Gordon was amongst the winners for his work on the Hostelworld brief.  Congratulations also to HNC UX Design student Agneszka Koundourakis (Energy Saving Trust), and Emma Pye (Gumtree). Well done all!

 We've had many multiple winning years at YCN, but this is the first time we have not entered any team submissions, so each individual win is extra special.  We'll be taking our winners down to London in September for the YCN Awards Ceremony at the Barbican.

Full results are on the New Now YCN website.

Moving Stories

20 May 2019

Our annual end-of-year Industry Event and Show takes place this year on June 5th at the Fruitmarket Gallery.  We last exhibited there in 2016 and this year the event includes the use of both floors, exhibiting projects from HND Graphic Design, and showcasing the work of the Daydream Believers Schools project.

We'll be hoping for another full house to help us celebrate design education, with attendees from education and industry, as well as parents and friends eager to see the work of the Class of 2019.

This year all our artwork and promotion was done by the hugely talent Balasz Hirth, currently studying in our HNC class.  You can book free tickets on Eventbrite.

Daydream Believers

18 March 2019

The Daydream Believers programme, founded by Graphic tutor Helena Good,  is aimed at secondary school pupils to help them develop essential skills necessary for the future ahead. Working closely together with Employers, Teachers, Lecturers and Student Ambassadors, the initiative is testing a new pilot programme that engages pupils with creative experiments and promotes critical thinking, and problem-solving. Here's a short film introducing the programme, and more info here.

Berlin Letterpress Experience

5 March 2019

As part of our annual study trip to Berlin, we booked the Year One Graphics class on a visit to P98a - Erik Spiekermann's fantastic Letterpress studio located on Potsdamer Strasse in central Berlin.

Spiekermann set up this studio primarily to work on personal projects and exploring how letterpress type  can be redefined and used in the 21st century. The studio is equipped with a number of Korrex letterpress machines and Heidelberg Windmill press as well as a modern Riso printer.

The studio also designs and cuts its own wooden letterpress type.

Director Ferdinand Ulrich  explained how the studio operates, demonstrated setting up the machines, and showed the class samples from Erik Spikermann's collections - including font specimen books from the early 1900s, and more than 500 cases of poster type, mostly made from wood.

Ferdinand's colleague Lunia  D'Ambrosino also explained how she had applied for an internship at P98a having graduated with a Bachelors degree in Visual Communication.

Typesetting a poster on the Korrex.

Editorial piece printed via Letterpress

Erik Spiekermann's signature quote, letterpress A1 posterzine.

Ferdinald Ulrich talking to the class.

Find out more about P98a on their website, and visit if you happen to be in Berlin.

Miles Ahead

4 February 2019

Here's an interesting project by NC Graphics student Pavils Vorobjuvos, for his digital project, combining web design, storytelling and art direction.  The brief was to select a title from the Bloomsbury 33 & 1/3 book series about seminal or famous albums, and to design a one page website telling the story of the title.

Pavils chose 'Bitches Brew', the ground-breaking jazz-rock fusion by Miles Davis, released in March 1970.

Pavils' process involved researching the artist, era, music and context for the title, and then thumbnail sketching out the narrative order of the content.  The visuals were then developed as a wireframe and visual mockup using Illustrator and Photoshop.  Pavils also used InVision to assemble an assets board and set up a prototype scrolling page.

The concept cleverly captures the expansive experimental feel of the music and celebrates the awesome typography associated with the album's famous cover art, by painter Mati Klarwein.

The typography on the cover is set in Novel Gothic, a font designed by ATF in the 1920's, for which no faithful digitisation currently exists. Pavils did some tweaking on a freely available substitute and the final results look pretty authentic.

Espresso Loves Colour

9 January 2019

Our NC Graphics class kicked off 2019 by presenting their packaging project.  We run this project each year, and some of the Units integrated in this work include Colour, Introduction to Typography, Digital Media, and Sketchbooks.  So a lot of new skills are on display, backed by solid research into the client and the product market. It always makes for an interesting project, and the deliverables need to include one completed physical example of their packaging idea.

For this brief the class looked at Union Coffee's espresso blend range. The aim wasn't to rebrand the company (Union Coffee was rebranded in 2015 by Studio Output), but to look at improving the profile of the espresso range at point-of-sale and in displays, specifically in supermarkets rather than the higher end retail outlets they were more comfortable in.

One standout, and a good yardstick for the quality which this class is showing, came from Bethany Carrick, whose concept merged geographical locations with bold colours, abstract patterns, and some clean, delicate typography to create a vibrant set of boxed products capturing the essence of the four blended flavours on offer.