Monday, 28 February 2011

Cumbria Band Names™ (Edition III)

Friday 25th February - Year 1 CD packaging project feedback and assessment point.
We're not going to bamboozle you with wordy descriptions this time, and after all, they do say that a picture is worth a thousand words. So without further ado, here's your new band name and what you will look like (the sound you make should be self-explanatory)...

Toblerone Fortress

Crisply Drawn Rough Edge

Analogue Yeah!!!

Ashleigh Brown (21) putting the finishing touches (or should that be stiches?) to her lovingly executed piece of typographic communication.

As Tibor Kalman said "Graphic Design is a means. not an end. A language, not content". Or as we say: "We've got a Fun2Do and we're going to use it!"

A Little Bit of Whitehaven Comes to Carlisle

Alex McIntosh adds ukulele builder to his C.V.

Year 3 Graphic Design student Alex (21) surprised us all by turning up in the studio with this delightful, hand-built, custom ukulele (pictured above).
As Alex hails from distant, land-locked Wakefield (somewhere South of here, he tells us, and in a county he refers to as 'Yorkshire') we hadn't been aware that he had 'uke' tendencies or had ever been to Whitehaven.
All was made clear when Alex explained that he had accidentally visited Whitehaven when he missed his footing on the top of a large Lake District fell and rolled all the way down to the bottom. In this case the 'bottom' being Whitehaven.

A dazed and confused Alex was found on the outskirts of the town by legendary 'Ukemaster' Beardy McGrath (current Formby* of the Whitehaven Ukulele Industry). Beardy took pity on the stunned design student and carried him back to his 'Uke Shed' where he was nursed back to health on a diet of Whitehaven Rum and Kendal Mint Cake.

While recovering, Alex was inducted into Whitehaven ukulele culture by Beardy, who regailed Alex with countless anecdotes from the 'golden age' of ukulele production (May 1955 - June 1955). More importantly, Beardy was so impressed with Alex's love of stringed instruments that, for the first time in a generation, a non-Whithavener was shown the secrets of the Whithaven Master Builders. Alex has sworn to carry these secrets
with him to the grave, but a close inspection of this, his first Ukulele, does reveal that lolly sticks, marker pen, plywood and crisps (Cheese and Onion) are crucial to produce the rich tone that Whithaven Ukes are famous for.

Alex has even added his own unique twist to an age old tradition (and certainly set a few Whitehaven tounges wagging) by fashioning the neck from a piece of wood found on the shore of Derwentwater! As you will no doubt be aware, the raw materials of Whitehaven Ukes are traditionally sourced from saltwater locations never freshwater lakes. Way-to-go Alex you iconoclast!

Not content with ukulele building, Alex is a dedicated athelete, socialite and is also set to launch his Graphic Design career. Phew Alex!.. Where do you find the time and energy to fit so much into 24 hours?

*Formby n. - Pater Familias, Head Honcho, Il Supremo, Top Dog, The Boss (of the Whitehaven Ukulele Industry).

First Year Typography II

Here are some examples from the second part of the Year 1 student's induction into the the 'true, ancient and noble art of typography' conducted by our very own High Priestess of the Font, Rhiannon Robinson (33). This was more complicated than the first project as more text was used and an image (also created by the student) had to be incorporated.

Josh Taylor (21)

Stephanie Stilwell (21)

Davey Rees (21)

Megan Steen (21)

Robert Marshall (21)

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Scenes From the Life Room

Dead Typographers Society

Get clued up with 6 fast facts about...

The Numero Uno Typographer Italiano!


Fast Fact 1:
Often mistaken for?

Alistair Sims

or Rambo (Rambodoni in alpine Italy)

Fast Fact 2.
Born? Saluzzo, Italy in 1740 at 17.40 hrs and weighed 17.40 kgs.

Pictures from Saluzzo, the place of Bodoni's birth...

Fast Fact 3.
Famous for designing?
Bodoni - one of the first modern (Didone) typefaces. He is credited for designing 298 typefaces in his lifetime.

Fast Fact 4.
Bitter rivaly with? the evil french
Didot brothers, famous for designing Didot, one of the first modern (Didone) typefaces.

The Didot Brothers. Pierre (left) contemplates slab serifs while Francois (right) looks on.

Fast fact 5.

His masterwork?
Il Manuale tipografico (The Manual of Typography) was only published after his
death by his widow, Mrs. Bodoni.

Fast Fact 6.
Died? In Palma in 1813, at 18.13 hrs and, after a sudden deathbed conversion to Imperial system of weights and measures, weighed in at an 'extra-bold' 18st 13lbs.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

First Year Typography I

The first years have just spent an intensive and very fruitful four weeks working closely with Cumbria's very own typographic 'enforcer', Rhiannon Robinson (33). In the first two weeks the students were taught the fundamentals of good typography while undertaking a simple* black and white press ad and here for your delectation are some of their pieces:

James Bradley (21)

Katy Thew-Thwaites (21)

Mark Collins (21)

Although the designs do look deceptively simple and easy to read (as you would expect), to achieve this 'simplicity' takes a great deal of effort, concentration, thought and consideration for the reader.

now that's what I call a headline #02

Catch the bus home or take a photograph of the most pun-tastic headline in months? With animal speed and agility I managed both. Just. Apparently seagull attacks are soaring. Who knew?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

back to the future

Photographer Irina Werning's work. A simple but effective approach that has heart, humour and at times, a hint of sadness.

While we're in Ukulele Mode...

Ukulele Me!

2011 is the tercentenary of the invention of the uke...
As you all know, Whitehaven (West Cumbria) is world famous for its Ukulele Industry. Thousands of ukes are manufactured here every year and shipped to all corners of the globe. Less well known is the story of how the industry started 300 years ago in a small, Cumbrian seaport and tragically, how Whitehaven ultimately lost its world monopoly on ukulele construction...

Picture, if you will, a stormy night in 1711. A Whitehaven coal picker and part-time fiddle player is combing the beach looking for er.. coal. His name is Eustace Keith Lillie, known to his friends as 'Eu K Lillie'. Bobbing, in the spumy foam, he spies a blackened, semi-circular husk and thinking it potential fuel for his fire, casually places it in his coat pocket. The mystery object is in fact
half coconut shell which has miraculously circumnavigated the globe thanks to the power of the Gulf Stream. Later in a bizarre violin/coconut/tavern accident the 'U K Lillie' (named in his honour and, over time, transformed to 'ukulele') is miraculously born.

For over fifty years Whitehaven held the monopoly on ukulele construction and distribution. The methods and materials of the Ukemasters a closely guarded secret. There is a certain irony in the fact that the secret of the ukulele was stolen by one of Whitehaven's own sons, the treacherous John Paul Jones on the night on April 23rd 1778. No, not that John Paul Jones, this John Paul Jones.

This cowardly attack by
American revolutionary forces on British soil, was in every sense of the word 'rubbish'. However during his brief stop for 'refreshments' at a quayside tavern, Jones manged to steal a prized Whithaven Uke.

John Paul Jones returned to America via
Hawaii, then an independent kingdom, which, fortuitously for Jones, had aspirations of four-string world domination. Jones managed to arrange an audience with the King who, delighted with the melliflous sound of the
ill-gotten ukulele, purchased it for the amazing sum of $1000. The rest, as they say, is history...

Today the volume of Whitehaven's ukulele production has long been eclipsed by that of Hawaii, However, the uke cognoscenti know that the greatest ukuleles available, continue to be lovingly crafted (out of plywood and ice lolly sticks) by skilled craftsmen in a certain small, coastal port in West Cumbria.

A closer look at the town plan reveals Whitehaven's ukulele heritage writ large in sand and cement.

Horse-drawn wagons once carried their precious cargoes Northwest down Uke Street to the aptly named 'George Formby Dock'.

Here stevedores worked day and night on 'Tiny Tim Wharf (North)' loading the ships that would distribute Whithaven's 'musical jewel' to eager customers around the world.
Today the picture is very different. A few Ukemasters remain in their unique 'Uke Sheds' positioned at intervals along the quiet quayside. This is indeed a tranquil spot, the silence punctuated occasionally by the bustle of tourists who flock to the Beacon Ukulele Experience. This flagship development was opened by HRH Prince Charles (a noted ukulele exponent) in 2001, in celebration of Whitehaven's elevation to World Ukulele Heritage Site status.

'Tiny' Tom Thompson, proud custodian of Whitehaven's 'Ukulele Experience'.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Illustrated Eavesdropping

Overheard while leaving the University this evening.
One excited, female Performing Arts student to her less animated friend:

"I hedged Becky Smith yesterday."
"What exactly do you mean by hedged?"
"I mean I pushed her into a hedge!"

Student Breakfasts - No.1

Those of a squeamish disposition may care to look away now...

Here's Sausage and Eggy Bread created by our very own 'Heston Blumenthal'
, or perhaps that should be 'Heston Service Station'... Fionn Jordan (Year 1 Illustration).

Where Are They Now? (II) - Dan Sutherland

Dan Sutherland graduated in 2005 but his influence is still felt today. This is thanks to the benevolent presence of his 'Menso' in the studio and his Mucha Lucha themed campaign for 3Mobile, proudly displayed outside our studio door (see photos below).

So what's Dan been up to since he graduated?
Well that's just what we asked him...

I had an internship with
Interbrand – working on big stuff from British Airways to Orange.
2005 – 2008
I was a designer with
MTV networks. Creating idents, branding and print design for all of MTV UK’s creative output – Highlights included completely re branding all of MTV channels and also creating and implementing the re brand of MTV’s free view channel TMF. Getting a budget and being told to go away and do what you want, but come up with something creative we can put on air. Socially at MTV I got drunk too much, saw far too many bands, and got a lot of free stuff (sadly none of which came the way of his old tutors).
2005 –Present
Got pretty obsessed and into making Music videos for
Laura Marling, Fanfarlo, Over The Wall and Oceansize

2008 – present
I'm a senior creative at
Red-Design in Brighton. Working on a wide variety of projects for iTunes, The Barbican, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, MTV, Universal Music, Rekids, Sony Music, Nokia.
Highlights include music sleeves for Tommy Sparks, The Noisettes, The Chew Lips. Creating a logo for the new Nokia Loop App, working on some exciting stuff with the Barbican and creating music videos for Motive sounds & Century Media. With Red – I've sat in offices with very cool bands, I've sat in the
Elysee Palace and got to see a few cool gigs.

We asked Dan to send us a recent photograph but he modestly claimed that he "wasn't into full portraits" and sent us this 'arty' effort instead.

Of course we had forgotten that as Dan is one of the most handsomest men in the world, he is forbidden by law, from having his full face featured on the Interweb. This is to avoid the very real possibility of his dashing good looks and devastating smile causing spontaneous combustion (or at the very least, melting) in millions of lovely ladies around the globe.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Dan.

Whitehaven Winners!

Graphic Design lecturer Zoe Garnett-Scott (33) loves her native West Cumbria and spends much of her time promoting and celebrating all things West Cumbrian (Gurning, Crab Fairs, It Bites, and the world famous Whitehaven Ukulele Industry etc.) Recently she organised an Artists' Book competition open to art students of West Cumbria schools, with a project brief that asked them to explore and celebrate the unique character of their region. Zoe also managed to obtain sponsorship (in the form of lovely prizes) from many local businesses.

Now on to the winners...

We are pleased to announce that students from the Year 12 Art Class of Whitehaven School made it a clean sweep when it came to the prizes. Way-to-go Whitehaven School!
The winning students are pictured below with their beloved art teacher,
Ms. Naomi Chicken.

The prize winners were Abigail Pearson (1st Prize – Sketching Set donated by Derwent Pencils)

Amy Watson (2nd Prize
‘Matisse’ book donated by The New Bookshop, Cockermouth)

Runners up prizes went to Nichola Tyson (£10 Voucher donated by The Art Shop, Cockermouth) and Emily Edgar (‘The Painted Letters of Percy Kelly’ book donated by Castlegate House Gallery, Cockermouth).

Thanks and congratulations go to everyone who took part. We really enjoyed looking at your entries.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Designer 'must have' #1

The portable hard-drive cosy

Cool knitwear by Claire Wood's Mum. We'd all like one too please Mrs. Wood.

Lost in Fish

Year 3 Illustration student Amy Holliday (21) shows some of her recent large scale drawings of exotic fish. She is interested in capturing the fluidity and movement of these delicate creatures and it certainly looks to us as if she is achieving her goal.

Amy is standing back left, holding one of her drawings alongside illustration lecturer Dwayne Bell (33). Immediately behind Amy is a certain Year 1 student (21) who made a desperate, but futile, attempt to be featured on the blog. This privilege MUST be earned!

Kinetic Type

Recent efforts by 2nd year students working with Multimedia guru Maxwell Robertson (33).
(that's the videos, not the students. They're all very polite).

Jennifer Bows (21)

Lucy Kelly (21)

Stephen Arthur (21)

Grumble Friday

The photo was taken as as a concrete representation of the anticipated joy to be delivered by our traditional end of week treat, the mighty crumble.

Sadly it wasn't very good at all, too dry and very 'claggy' on the palate. What a shame...

Strangest Thing of the Week (III)

'The Shat' as you've never seen him before...
Brought to you courtesy of Yvette Earl (21) a first year illustrator.

Art Direction. Fnurk!


As our blog regulars will appreciate, we have short attention spans. Like two-year olds.

Like two-year olds, this inevitably leads to us getting grumpy and irritable when we're not fully occupied and entertained. So, we like to have lots of fun, usually at the expense of our long suffering student cohort.

This sometimes involves complex planning of infantile prankery. At other times they make it all to easy for us as this short video featuring our resident 3rd year stress-meisteress, Leanne Swift (21) proves. Although Leanne looks fairly relaxed on the video, she is now desperately worried about how it will affect her future career. Way-to-go Leanne!

Photo's supplied and art directed by Abi Dowler (21), formerly one of Leanne's closest friends.

Note: Comic Sans used only for the purposes of irony. Of course we encourage you to put the 'Sans' firmly into Comic Sans by signing up Here

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Sunsets Are a Bit 'Tacky' Aren't They?

It's been a beautiful day. Sunshine, snowdrops, and lots of interesting candidates to interview.
A full moon hung low over the River Eden as I cycled home from work, turning the silhouettes of a pair of swans into a ghostly, silver thread embroidered into the velvet black of the gently flowing river. It couldn't have got much better... then Mother Nature went and spoiled it all by creating this kitch effort!

Hands off! He belongs with us!

'There will be bread' - Luke Rossiter

We interviewed Luke (
a sparky Foundation student from Leeds College of Art) today for a place on our BA(Hons) Graphics course. We really liked this animation that he included in his folder of work and thought it worthy of inclusion on our blog.
Hopefully Luke will be joining us in September, because we're already looking forward to working with him and his toast soldiers.

Workspaces of the Staff and Students (I)

Name: Emma Slights (21)
Nickname: Slighty
Team Position: Centre Forward
Year: 3
Course: Graphic Design
Staff/Student: Student
Location: Northeast balcony
Further Details:
South facing aspect with good communication links to staff offices and the refectory only 30 seconds away by foot.

Emma ‘nabbed’ this Mac at the commencement of her third year as she likes the tranquility and auspicious Feng Shui offered by a balcony position. It’s also suspiciously close to a well-used leather sofa and the workstations of her friends.

We’ve observed that the current third year graphic designers all seem to base themselves at balcony workstations. This may be due to the atmosphere of quiet, reflective study offered by this elevated position. It may also be a deeply subconscious, hierarchical thing or simply be because, as Leanne Swift (21) of Year 3 Graphic Design quipped, “You can throw yourself off if it all gets too much.”

Key to Photo
  1. Apple Macintosh Computer
  2. Lucozade Sport (“To keep my hair orange.”)
  3. Orange Marker Pen (see above)
  4. DANSK Magazine (for inspiration “I’m currently working on a self-initiated art direction project.”)
  5. Note Pad (Shopping list including, tangerines, Kia-ora, Seville Marmalade)
  6. Sofa
  7. Long, dark night of the soul
  8. Leanne Swift
  9. 125 Magazine (see No.4 above)
  10. 457mm cork-backed, metal ruler (“The only thing long enough to measure my kind of magazine!”)
  11. 250GB External Hard Drive (full of work and photos of famous Finnish Rally Aces)

Just another day at the office

Second year illustration student Stephen Arthur (21) goes freestyle with his mark making. Don't try this at home or in public for that matter.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Degrees of separation

The degrees of separation, a recent illustration brief that asked for two editorial pieces featuring Admiral Lord Nelson, a Cactus, a porcupine, a wendy house, a rain cloud, an umbrella, a telephone, teapot, a picket fence and Mount Fuji (obviously).

Above examples by Elly Carthy, Loren Harrison and Tom Softley.