Wednesday, 27 April 2011


If Graphic Design & Illustration at the University of Cumbria were a soup we would probably be this:

that's tasty leek and potato with a choice of cream spiral or smiley face.

What type of soup would you be?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Are you an Indie pop group?

Are you based in London?

Do you make creative, witty videos on zero budget?

Then you must be Absentee and these are your videos:

The 50 Things Every Graphic Design Student Should Know

An Email from Chris, our Dubai correspondent, dragged us away from the pile of half-eaten Easter eggs and back into the world of blogging. He thoughtfully sent us a link to a list created by Jamie Wiek (from out of Airside) and posted on his Blog, outlining the 50 Things Every Graphic Design Student Should Know. There's nothing here that's particularly original but that doesn't mean that it isn't extremely good advice! In fact it's the stuff that we continually tell our students so it's nice to hear our opinions mirrored by an independent third-party source.

Most of Jamie's article borrows from a very influential document written by Canadian Designer Bruce Mau in 1998. His Incomplete Manifesto remains
an incredibly inspiring and useful document.

Ex-Saatchi man Paul Arden made very similar points in his 2003 book It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. We can highly recommended this little publication and with an Amazon price of £3.77 you'd be daft not to own a copy.

That's all for now, the Easter eggs are calling...

Saturday, 23 April 2011


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Jim's New Guitar - And The Winner Is...

If you remember, way back in March, we ran a competition to help tutor Jim Millington (33) decide which guitar would look good on him. Sadly none of the entries had the least effect and Jim decided to go his own way and duly purchased a Yamaha Pacifica (via a cheeky, last-minute bid on eBay) . As Jim will be mostly 'gigging' in his sauna he needed something that would blend in with the pine tongue and grooved walls. Careful you don't catch a splinter there Jim, next time you try a Pete Townshend 'windmill'!

"It's pine and you're not having it!" - Jim with his new guitar and practice amp.

Computer Says No...

Three Degrees of Separation

The Way Things Go (German: Der Lauf der Dinge) is a 1987 art film by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. It documents a long, causal chain of interconnected actions assembled from everyday objects.

Honda 'Cog' Advert
is a 2003 TV advert by agency Wieden + Kennedy. It was directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet.

This Too Shall Pass is a 2010 pop music video for the group OK Go. It was directed by James Frost and features a 'machine' inspired by Rube Goldberg. Goldberg was himself 'inspired' by the British illustrator W. Heath Robinson's fantastic creations. What goes around comes around...


Beards are almost synonymous with quality design. Look at just how many famous designers we found sporting 'face fungus' after 35 minutes of intensive searching.

Top Row: Eric Gill, Danny (from out of Experimental Jet Set), Neville Brody, Vince Frost
Bottom Row: Abbot Miller, Kit Hinrichs, Mark Farrow, Billy Gibbons

Almost all of us love a good beard (Ashleigh you may want to look away now) so we thought we would conduct a census capturing the current state of beards in the studio. We've helpfully categorised them according to style, ambition and friction. Here are our findings.

Category 1 - Some care and attention must have gone into that...

Stephen Arthur (Year 2 Illustration) with 'Cancel Christmas!'

Robert Marshall (Year 1 Illustration) with 'Fuzzy Felt'

Sam Fisher (Year 2 Graphic Design) with 'Ghostly Apparition'

Lewis Brown (Year 3 Graphic Design) with 'Furry Archipelago'

James Howie (Year 2 Graphic Design) with 'Rectangular Thicket'

Gary Nicholson (Year 2 Graphic Design) with 'Titian Tiger'

Dwayne Bell (33) with 'Stipple and Crosshatch'

Category 2 - Beard Envy

Leanne Swift
(Year 3 Graphic Design) with 'Interstate Flyover'

Grace Neal
(Year 2 Graphic Design) with 'Mutton Chop Frenzy'

Rhiannon Robinson (33) with Grotesque Accident Extra Bold

Category 3 - Couldn't be Arsed to Shave

Jim Millington (33) with 'Grizzly Adams'

Tony Peart (33) with '3rd Degree Carpet Burns'

Category 4 - Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Craig Brown (Year 3 Graphic Design) with 'Mato Grosso'

Feeling Left Out?

Have our wonderful beards provoked deep seated feelings of beard envy?

Are you unable to 'grow your own'?

Could you be a woman?

Perhaps you are under sixteen?

Well there's no longer any need to feel left out! Now everyone can have their very own beard just like the one sported by our very own Type Supremo, Rhiannon Robinson (33).

print the sheet below onto a medium weight card. Glossy, satin, matt? Hey, that's your choice!

Carefully remove all non beard parts with a brass-handled Swann-Morton craft knife (using No. 1 blades)
, attach string and 'hey presto' you're ready to roll!

There's no need to thank us, just send photos of you and your new beard in action to the usual address.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Scenes from the Life Room

Louise Mothersdale (21)

Mark Collins (21)

Davey Rees and Megan Steen (both 21)


Another example of a recent second year illustration brief.
We asked the yr 2 illustrators to create five images suitable for inclusion in a novel of their choice. Gothic horror stalwart Claire (Woody) Wood opted for Bram Stoker's Dracula.

I'm sure you're all familiar with the story but you may not realise that it's not all blood, teeth and horror. Claire was determined to communicate the more subtle emotional nuances within the story. Job well done Claire.

Thursday, 7 April 2011


The second year illustrators recently completed a book illustration brief where they were asked to produce 5 images for a novel of their choice. The brief led to some fantastic work, first up for showcase is Jenny Cox who, for her novel, chose Frank McCourt's, Angela's Ashes.

For starters here are a few of the many worksheets Jenny created in development. We like students who don't do all their work on the Mac.

And here are the final pieces. I think we can all agree that it would be great to buy the copy of Angela's Ashes that included these.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Gorgeous New Book - Postcards of the Wiener Werkstatte

Between its foundation in 1903 and closure in 1932 the artists and designers associated with the Wiener Werksatte (Vienna Workshop) produced a hugely diverse body of breathtakingly 'modern' design. See below for a small selection:

The workshop's output in the fields of furniture, interiors, objects, jewellery, ceramics and textiles have been very well documented in recent years. The Graphic Arts have been somewhat neglected but that has now been rectified with the publishing of a new, hardback book that documents every postcard produced by the Wiener Werkstatte in an amazing explosion of creativity between 1907 and 1912. In only five years, over 800 different designs were produced and were of such quality and modernity that even after the passing of 100 years they still look incredibly fresh.

With an RRP of £55 it's quite expensive but if you have a look on eBay and/or Amazon Marketplace you will find it for a lot less.