Wednesday, 17 October 2018

A Very Special Visitor to our studio

Why did Pudsey visit the graphic design/illustration studio?

We can't tell you, ut watch this space...

Monday, 20 August 2018

Brewers team up with the University of Cumbria to put themselves on their product. Literally!

The team behind a rapidly growing independent brewery have injected their personalities into the business by literally putting themselves on their products.

Eden River Brew Co, in Penrith – formerly known as Eden Brewery – renamed and rebranded in June. The brewery has given its new look a personal twist by featuring pictures of its team members on the cans for its core range of modern, hoppy beers. 
It is also inviting customers to put their face on a can next year by posting pictures of themselves drinking one of its brews on social media.  
The cans feature the faces of director Jason Hill, head brewer Linda Stanton, communications and content marketer Giles Brown and designer Jemma Ainsworth, and are available to order at 
Jason said: “Our whole ethos at Eden is to graft hard to make truly exciting and original beers, but have a bit of fun at the same time. We put a lot of ourselves into making the brewery a success and creating beers we can be proud of. I think Jemma’s designs are a clever and fun way of reflecting that, giving the brand a bit of personality and creating a connection between us and our customers.

“Obviously the people who buy and enjoy our beer are vital in supporting us, giving us feedback and encouraging us to move forwards and expand. That’s why we’re inviting people who love Eden to post a picture of themselves drinking a beer on our social media pages with the hashtag #sipspression. Early next year we’ll pick some of our favourite pictures and feature their faces on 2019’s cans.”

Jemma, a second year graphic design student at University of Cumbria came up with the innovative designs as part of the annual Eden Student Design Project, in which it challenge students to develop the artwork for its beers.

The brewery usually chooses one set of designs for use on a special range of limited edition beers. However, the quality of the work was so high this year it chose to use a number of designs, including Jemma’s which will feature on its core range of well-hopped, modern 300ml cans.

Jemma said: “I knew that I needed to come up with bold designs to stand out on the shelf and be something original that no-one had ever seen before.
“I went into shops and looked on the shelf and I looked online. But I also didn’t want to look too much into it, because I wanted to create something that was truly original.
“I came up with the idea of the faces because I wanted something that would capture people’s attention as they were walking down the aisle; using people’s faces and eye contact draws people in a lot.
“I also wanted to do something that people could interact with and I had the idea that people could get involved on social media. I thought that would be quite interesting.
“They were really welcoming and friendly people to work with and I learned a lot. I never thought that I would work on a beer can design, but I’ve learned that I like working with packaging. The fact that it is formatted on something 3D, you have to imagine how someone picks it up and interacts with it. It’s more of an experience, which I thought was a really interesting way to look at graphic design.” 
Jim Millington, programme leader for graphic design at University of Cumbria, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Jemma, she’s done a fantastic job. She’s obviously enjoyed the experience. Certainly we've enjoyed working on the project with the students and also the folk at Eden River Brew Co. Here’s to working together again next year with a new batch of students and to the amazing and creative designs they undoubtedly will come up with!”

See more of Jemma's work here -

And don't forget to buy your beer here - 

Monday, 25 June 2018

We're Off to London to Show Off Our Graduates to Creative Industry Professionals!

Regular readers of the Blog will know that it's rapidly approaching that time of year when we head to London (a large city somewhere to the south of Penrith) to exhibit our graduating student's work to industry professionals. Have a look here to see last year's foray to 'the smoke'.

We will be exhibiting our highly talented Graphic Design and Illustration graduates at at New Designers Part 2, held at the rather swanky Business Design Centre in central London (above).

The show opens on Wednesday 4 July and it runs through to Saturday 7 July.

Opening times as follows:
Wed 3.00 – 9.00 (VIP & Press Preview)
Thursday 10.00 – 9.00
Friday 10.00 – 5.00
Saturday 10.00 – 5.00

Business Design Centre 52 Upper Street London N1 0QH 

You can find more details here.

We're on stand VC37 and look forward to meeting friends old and new.

Here's an extra special, behind-the-scenes  preview of what we will be showing...

Monday, 11 June 2018

A Cabinet of Curiosities - Our End of Year Show

For those of you who couldn't make the end of year show, here's a little of what you missed...

Private View Night

Bronagh's hand-made, tasty treats at the start of the evening...

Bronagh's hand-made, tasty treats at the end of the evening...

The much admired 'wall of wonder' (or 'tableaux of tat')

A few exhibition stands:
Alex Stockwell 

 Sian Whitfield

 Schools visit day - most commonly asked question: "Is it a real swan?" Answer: "Yes, but it's dead."

Monday, 4 June 2018

Students crack beer brief

Regular readers will know that our illustration and graphic design students have been working with the Eden River Brew Co. brewery, and one of the county’s most successful family businesses, to create the artwork for a new range of beers. 

Eden River Brew Co., in Penrith, is running its Eden Student Design Project for a second time, in partnership with the Westmorland Family, which owns Tebay Services, on the M6, Gloucester Services on the M5 and the Rheged Centre. The new range of beers were launched on Friday 4th May at the Rheged Centre.

In January, the brewery’s managing director Jason Hill briefed design students at the University’s Brampton Road campus on the project - packaging for a limited edition range of fruit beers. Buyers and designers from Westmorland helped to shape the  brief and give insight into how to make products stand out in a crowded market.

Students worked on a design brief for 440ml cans, with designs from second year graphic design student Sam Mallard, 26, from Carlisle, chosen for use with the final products. The range will be on sale at Tebay Services, The Rheged Centre near Penrith and Gloucester Services on the M5.
Eden were so taken with another design concept by Jemma Ainsworth (19) that they’re using her designs for another range of beers.

Brewery managing director Jason Hill said: “The brewery has been doing extremely well and growing nicely over the last few years. This is obviously great news for us, but it’s also really important that as we grow we work with people in the area to make sure they feel some of the benefit as well. 
“This could be all our great local suppliers or, as in this case, youngsters looking to get some really valuable experience before starting their careers.
“It was really tough deciding which of the students’ designs to go with, because there were so many imaginative and striking designs on offer. But in the end we felt that Sam and Jemma had the right combination of flair and fun to do justice to the beers we’ve created.”

Grillust™Group Captain, Jim Millington, said: “The Eden Brewery project is fantastic for our students because it puts them in front of a live client, responding to a brief and delivering a finished design concept. The students were given free rein to be as creative as they liked but they also had commercial requirements to satisfy.”

Commenting on his designs being used for the limited edition fruit beers, student Sam Mallard said: “I’m excited and thrilled to have my designs out there on the shelf for people to buy. To be given the chance to work for a client has been fantastic and I am humbled that my designs were selected when standards were so high.”

Designers Lucien Xavier and Helena Davies, from Westmorland, briefed students and helped to choose the final designs.
“We wanted the design to be creative and unique in a market that is known for its individuality and flair. The students did a great job with the brief, working hard to produce fantastic and professional designs that stand out on the shelves.”

Friday, 25 May 2018

A Glimpse Behind the Scenes as We Prepare the End of Year Exhibition (1-8 June)

This year's exhibition has been titled 'A Cabinet of Curiosities' and has been styled accordingly.

Here's a video 'fly-through' of the exhibition space taking shape (sans work) - if you look carefully you can see that a convincing bar has already been installed for the opening night. 

Who'd have thought that students were such amazing 'tat' magnets!

You are all welcome to join us at the opening event next Friday evening, 6 June.

Full exhibition details are on the invitation below, designed by Year 3 Illustration student Hazel Mason.

HERO(ine)S – a New Exhibition on Gender and Comics

Since the early days of the comic genre, female protagonists have been few and far between. Approximately one in four female comic characters are female, and even those characters often have passive or minor roles. The Hero(ine)s exhibition (which we recently hosted in our Vallum Gallery) aims to challenge, question and subvert our perceptions of the comic hero. 

The exhibition features original artworks where comic artists have been challenged to reinvent their chosen male superhero in female form and contribute a narrative to explain their choice of heroine and their perceptions of how women are represented in the comic genre. Artists include Steven Appleby, Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Finnish artist Kaisa Leka, Swiss artist Hélène Becquelin and Belgian comic artist Brecht Vandenbroucke.

Don't worry if you missed it, the exhibition  will return again as part of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in Kendal, Cumbria 12–14 October. 

Nick Dodds, Senior Lecturer at The University of Cumbria, said, “The opportunity to host Hero(ine)s is a fantastic coup for the university. The theme of the exhibition, exploring gender roles through the eye of the comic artist, appears timely and pertinent given recent news stories. The 'alternate' take on the typically male comic-hero by the artists featured in the exhibition is done with wit, humour and a certain knowingness - asking the viewer to question cultural attitudes to gender representation, myth and narrative.”

As part of the Hero(ine)s exhibition, there was an opportunity for students to take part in creator workshops led by international comic artists Steven Appleby and Kaisa Leka.

Here are some photos of the workshops, lectures and exhibition all taken by Rachel Miller (R. Miller - Copyright: creative commons)

An Instagram campaign #heroinesproject encourages comic enthusiasts to draw and share their own heroines. A selection of these drawings will be displayed at the Lakes International Comics Arts Festival in October. You'd best get drawing!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Tuesday 24 April - Another Busy Day

Monday, 16 April 2018

The power of hair

Ever mindful of the Samson and Delilah debacle, the Grillust™ machine has always recognised the strategic importance of a decent 'short back and sides', key knowledge we're keen to pass onto students.

That's why, each year we aim to take on at least one prospect who's got some experience of creating a decent bouffant... this year it's Marc Noble (21).

Here he is demonstrating the barber's art on fellow 1st year, Tim Stewart (21). Tim's ambition is to become a top flight graphic designer.

But with that haircut!?! No way!

Marc to the rescue.

Here we see Marc sizing up the task at hand while the rest of the studio look on... 'Measure twice, cut once' is Marc's mantra.

After briefly visiting the barbers standard repertoire, along the lines of 'Going anywhere nice this year?' and 'Would Sir like something for the weekend?', Marc gets down to the serious business of cutting and styling. It reminds him of his training in the shearing sheds of outback Australia he says. Note the use of safety scissors. 

And five minutes later...

The transformed Tim Stewart (still 21), tonsorially prepared for the cut and thrust life of graphic excellence. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

Beamish Open Air Museum - A Grand Day Out

On Wednesday we went back in time to that top visitor attraction Beamish 'The Living Museum of the North', to experience the past for ourselves. Obviously all images taken in the past are sepia coloured (as demonstrated above) so we've used Photoshop trickery to 'modernise' them by digitally adding a rich palette of colour...

 That's much better isn't it?

 Here's a charabanc to take us to the pit village (or "downt pit" as they say "oop North")

 Some students decided to take the tram (sort of like a bus with wires) to "gan tashin' on the toon".

Here's 'Puffing Billy' (the locomotive not the man) - Puffing Billy is a replica of he world's oldest, surviving steam train, built in 1833 and now on display in the Science Museum in a small town to the south called London.

Coal can not only be used to power steam trains but also cook fish and chips, fried in beef dripping...

and believe us, the results are delicious!

The main reason we went to Beamish was to look at examples of period graphic design and illustration. We were granted privileged access to the museums extensive store to examine the delights hidden there.

A large ledger held an impressive collection of period advertising including:



Lot's of samples were laid out for inspection in a study room...

...before we ventured into the darkest depths of the collection store.

 ... an 'Aladin's cave' of wonder and delight.

Gorgeous enamel advertising signs are everywhere...

 Later on there was time to visit the Victorian fun fair which included the opportunity to partake in coconut shying, Hoopla hooping and a quick spin on the 'Speedway' (see below).

Thank to Beamish Museum for giving us 'behind the scenes access', we all had a 'grand day out'!