Thursday 23 June 2011

It's party time

I've been meaning to post about how much I love this British Heart Foundation party pack for a while. Designed by Hat Trick, the minute I saw them on the Creative Review blog I had to buy a pack. What a joy it was to receive through the post and open up.

Every now and then a piece of design comes along that works immediately on an emotive level—an honest heart felt response in these days of throwaway 'likes'. Johnson Banks' interactive Fruit & Vegetable stamps for the Royal Mail in 2003 had the same effect on me. Likewise, last year's Hoxton Street Monster Supplies store for the 826 literacy program, by We Made This, also had me beaming from ear to ear, (see links below).

The playfulness of this alone is enough to make it a winning piece of design. However, as this was designed to encourage healthier eating, it manages to be entirely appropriate for its target audience of young children while avoiding being worthy and preaching to their parents. None of the guilt, all of the fun.

Unfortunately my scanner is broken and my photographs don't do this work justice, so head on over to the Creative Review blog for a complete write up and decent photographs. Or better still, buy a pack from the British Heart Foundation. You don't have to be a child or have a party planned, although you'll probably want to have one once you've seen this. A party that is.

Pin the tail on the donkey anyone?


Wednesday 22 June 2011


McJunk is featured on Eye Magazine blog today. Link from here to view.

Saturday 11 June 2011


GraphicDesign& has recently been set up to celebrate the "interactions between graphic design and the wider world". Respected designer and writer Lucienne Roberts, and design educator Rebecca Wright, are behind the venture. Although still in its infancy, with the website content still in development, this could prove an important project for the future of graphic design.

The relationship between graphic design and where it meets society is something that I am particularly interested in. In fact, it could be said that this is exactly what McJunk is about. However, I think GraphicDesign& is pertinent for more than just a personal interest due to some of the debates that came out of the recent St Bride conference; Graphic Design: History In The Making. (See recent post about History In The Making here). At the conference, while debating why graphic design history isn't as revered by the public as art history, Simon Esterson, Art Director at Eye Magazine, commented that to engage the wider public in the subject of graphic design would best happen through discussing everyday design the public knows and interacts with. In doing so, he implied, this would have much more resonance than talking about glossy annual reports the same public will only ever see reprinted in a design press that they don't read. This is an opinion I wholly agree with.

One of the questions I came away with from the conference was whether graphic design historians and academics have a chip on their shoulder, particularly in relation to art history and the weight and pretensions that such a subject brings to the academic table? Graphic design has always been a poor cousin within the arts community in terms of stature bestowed upon it. Herbert Bayer stated in 1967 that, "the graphic designer is designated with the minimising term 'commercial' and is generally ignored as compared to the prominence accorded by the press to architecture and the fine arts", (source; Armstrong, 2009, Graphic Design Theory). Casting your mind back to any recent furore over rebranding costs slated in the press should prove a testament that Bayer's concerns are still true today.

Graphic design historians and writers should not be competing against fine art in terms of academic relevance or public acceptance. For a start, this displays insecurity. Secondly, the descriptor 'fine' art betrays an elitist attitude, and the last thing graphic design should ever be, as a discipline to be understood, is disconnected from the very public it attempts to communicate with.

It is for these reasons that I will be keenly watching the development of GraphicDesign& to see what it brings to the table. Graphic design needs more champions, and those champions should not try to shoehorn the discipline into academic precedents dictated by another, entirely different field of study. We should have the courage to set our own terms of reference.



Graphics show just after doors open

Congratulations to all Graphic Design students at UCS for a highly successful degree show. Friends, family and invited industry guests thronged through the Forefront Gallery from the minute the doors opened through to closing the bar at 9pm.

Graphics show just after doors open

All the work proved popular with invited guests as business cards quickly found pockets and students were offered interviews. The portfolio table proved extremely popular and a showreel complimented the final project work displayed on the walls.

Luke Mitchell recieving the TCM Internship Award from Provest Mike Saks and Head of School Chrissie Harrington

Prizes were awarded to:
Matthew Davis, 1st Year Studentship Award
Beth Eddolls, 2nd Year Studentship Award
Laurence Berry, 3rd Year Studentship Award
Laurence Berry, The Graham Scott Award for Typography
Victoria Patmore, 3rd Prize, TCM Adam Easdon Award
Dan Welsh, 2nd Prize, TCM Adam Easdon Award
Luke Mitchell, Internship winner, TCM Adam Easdon Award
Sean Cooper, Tony Heffernan Award for Motion Graphics

Final year students awaiting the doors to open

The show is on until Sunday 19 June, 10am-6pm weekdays, 11am-3pm at weekends.

More details available here.

Saturday 4 June 2011

UCS School of Arts & Humanities Degree Show 2011

From the UCS website:

The Graphic Design show is an exciting and professional collection of applied design. The work investigates a diverse range of themes and concludes with a display of imaginative solutions produced to industry standards. Producing work realised through print and motion-based media, the show reflects the real life contemporary practice and contexts that students will face as graduates.

Course Leader, Nigel Ball, says, “The entire Graphic Design lecturing team are proud to stand alongside students and their work and to celebrate their many achievements. It has been a privilege to work with them over the last three years and they can be confident that they are now ready to take their place as the next wave of creatives to influence our visual environments”.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design
9th - 19th June: Ground Floor, Arts Building, University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich