Graphic Design and Illustration
Liverpool School of Art & Design

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  1. Offset Dublin

    Our intrepid reporter, Mike O’Shaughnessy has finally submitted his piece on the recent Offset design conference that our 1st and 2nd Years went to. Here it is…

    Offset is a Showcase of International Illustrators, Graphic Designers and Animators. This was the fifth year Offset has ran and it was our first trip with L4 and L5 Illustration and Graphic Design students. Previous speakers have included Stefan Sagmeister, Bob Gill and Oliver Jeffers. There are three days of one hour talks plus interviews and discussions. This years big draws were Marian Bantjes and Neville Brody.

    French Illustrator Genevieve Gauckler gave a witty and self-deprecating insight into her world.

    Bjorn Rune Lie appeared slightly hung over – as were most of our students. The opening Offset Event Party went on to the early hours of Friday Evening. Bjorn’s talk was a real education, he revealed all his influences and discussed his technique.

    A big favourite with all the male Graphic Designers was Jessica Walsh. The fact that she had appeared naked for a Stefan Sagmeister publicity shot, proved to be a big draw for all the young male attendees.

    Ex – Liverpool student Richard Turley gave a big shout to all the Liverpool students in the audience and talked very fondly about his time as an undergraduate. His design approach was clever and irreverent. Unlike some of his American counterparts, like Mike Perry, he didn’t use the captive audience as excuse to celebrate what he did.

    The overall student feedback was really positive.

    “mmmmmmmmmm” level 5 Illustration






  2. Blackpool Rocks

    A quick coach ride up the M6 led our second year Graphic Design students to Blackpool. Aims and objectives? Document the sense of place of Blackpool through typography, architecture and language. All in the name of place-branding. Can Blackpool tower (soz) over other coastal towns again? Or is it past its sell by date? After many miles documenting the signs and scenes of this famous coastal town our students came to the unavoidable conclusion that Blackpool still rocks!

    Here’s a couple of the best photos, selected by Anthony Ellis, Level 5 Graphic Design tutor…




  3. Inprint Exchange

    The new academic year is being marked this weekend with a nice event in Liverpool organised by 2 or our recent graduates - Holly Gleave and Chloe Adams. Having set up Inprint, an independent print fair, during their final year of studies, this weekend’s event, hosted at Camp and Furnace, also launches an exchange between our Graphic Design and Illustration students and their equivalents at the Anhalt University in Dessau, Germany. 30 of the Dessau students will be selling their wares at Inprint this weekend. Then 16 of our 2nd and 3rd years will be travelling to Dessau in October for the return leg so to speak to participate in their Designerei. They also get to visit the Bauhaus!


  4. InformAnimation – Week 2

    The Erasmus Summer School in Alghero, Sardinia that staff and students have attended this year, finished last weekend. The second week saw the students working very hard to produce their information driven animations. Cecilia Garside took over from Chris Jackson, and oversaw a group who produced a very successful animation.

    The School concluded on the Saturday night with a presentation of all the animations, followed by a farewell party. Images and videos below.

    Worth checking out is Dr Carlo Turri’s flickr site that documents the fortnight with some great photography.


    The Liverpool gang…


    …playing up to the camera


    Inform.Animation 2013 team photo

    We made the local press

    4 scousers and a greek

    The adaptive optics animation presentation

    A lovely thank you film produced by the students

  5. InformAnimation – Week 1

    For the past week five graphics students t have been participating in an Erasmus Intensive Programme Summer School in Alghero, Sardinia. The event is hosted by the Department of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of the University of Sassari. Our students have been working with others from Athens, Madrid, Cardiff and the Algarve on a set of design problems set by external organisations.

    The task is for the students, in multi-cultural groups to deliver a communication solution for these organisations using animation and moving image. During the past week the students have received a number of lectures from participating lecturers and have been researching and brainstorming the projects. They’ve also been hitting the beach and socialising with staff and students. 

    I’ve been tracking the week’s activities via Twitter. Here are the highlights…


    Day 1 – Will, Jess, Rob and others setting up their connection to the internet.


    Day 1 – First swimming opportunity.


    Day 1 – Coffee break.


    Day 1 - Our boy Willoughby kicks off the student introductory presentations.


    Day 1 – Giro (all you can eat) Pizza social event.


    Day 2 – Alfredo’s algorithm divides the students into groups.


    Day 2 – Brainstorming begins.


    Day 2 – Second swimming opportunity


    Day 2 – First round of group presentations.


    Day 2 – Ella and Lisa get used to their hire bikes.


    Day 4 – 9am, Scorchio! The temperature rose to 36º this week which is great for swimming but not so good whilst trying to work.


    Day 4 – Eleni Stampra from Athens gives a great lecture on info graphics.


    Day 4 – More group presentations.


    Day 5 – My lecture on ISOTYPE.


    Day 5 – Alfredo and Chris Jackson forming the final groups.


    Day 5 – Final groups are formed. Only 10 days to produe 6 informative animations.


    Day 5 – Another swimming opportunity.


    Day 5 – Ichnusa, the local beer.


    Day 6 – Alfredo’s lecture on communicating complexity.


    Day 6 – More presentations.


    Day 7 – Nicolò Ceccarelli’s lecture.


    Day 7 – Birthday boy, Rob Headley, receiving his cake, card and international rendition of “Happy Birthday To You”.

  6. Typo London

    Just over a week ago I took twenty 2nd and 3rd Year students to this year’s Typo London design conference - 2 days of non stop talks from some of the best and most influential designers, illustrators, typographers and all round creative people in the world.

    Things that I took from the conference were:

    1. The theme ‘social’ wasn’t much of a theme. The general consensus from speakers was that graphic design equaled communication which equaled social. Therefore all design was social. A few speakers tackled the more tricky ethical issues that concern design. Sara De Bondt presented a selection of projects from her studio that were grounded in social responsibility whilst Caroline Roberts presented a more overtly political response to the theme. There was also a lot of general talk about social networks and co-creation.

    2. Having two speakers on at the same time presented a dilemma, similar I imagine, to choosing between two stages at a music festival. I all too often appeared to make the wrong choice. I missed Visual Editions, Bibliothèque, Anthony Burrill, Vaughan Oliver and Erik Kessels. And that was just on day one. From feedback from the students Erik Kessels delivered the best talk of the whole conference too! I’ve now been charged with trying to get him to talk at LJMU next year! 

    3. I’d forgotten how many times James Jarvis can say the word ‘drawing’ in one sentence - quite remarkable.

    4. Kate Moross is a scarily talented and driven young woman.

    5. Eike Konig made me want to start up a summer school designed and run by and for students here at LJMU having seen how he’d done a similar thing at HfG University of Arts in Offenbach in Germany.

    6. You don’t tell Irma Boom what to do. Whether it’s trying to sack her as the designer of a book or asking her to finish her talk because everyone needed to go home. Her comic timing was exemplary when she said it would only take her 5 minutes to finish her talk and then got out of her suitcase the biggest book you’ve ever seen. A true genius non-the-less.

    7. Some of the more interesting talks came from speakers who weren’t designers - in particular Peter Gregson, a cellist and composer, who presented The Listening Machine - an automated system that generates continuous music based on the content of 500 twitter users.

    8. I didn’t expect to be moved to tears by KenGarland, the first speaker on day 2. At 10.30 on Saturday morning a silence came over the audience as Ken finished his introductory monologue of funny anecdotes about speaking at past conferences and began to recite five pieces of poetry and prose accompanied by images. The reflective and personal nature of the talk was genuinely moving and an honour to have witnessed. 

    As I took this photograph I realised that both Adrian Shaughnessy and Ken Garland have been external examiners her at LJMU. Admittedly Ken’s time was in the late 60s when the Graphics course was a part of the old Liverpool Polytechnic.

  7. Sardinia Summer School update

    The first week of the Erasmus summer school that 5 of our students are participating in is drawing to conclusion. Jenny, Tom, Ananda, Alys and Isobel have been busy all week taking in lectures from speakers from universities around Europe; getting to know the students from Madrid, Sardinia, Athens and Cardiff; and developing ideas for a set of live communication problems.

    Teams have now been formed. Alys is working on a Save the Chlidren project, Isobel for a Museum in Madrid. Tom’s project is about protecting turtles in Greece whilst Ananda and Jenny have projects local to Sardinia - disused lighthouses and wild boar control! The teams now have a week to produce a short film or animation to communicate and explain the particular issues relating to their brief.

    The programme is intensive, but there’s also been opportunity for socialising and generally enjoying the seaside town of Alghero with its beaches and bars. We’re looking forward to a possible trip to the Asinara too - a donkey-inhabited island just off the coast of northern Sardinia.

    Further updates next week. There’s also a blog with further details and photos.

    The beach just across the road from the students’ residence.

    From left to right; Nick Bentley (from design agency Uniform), Isobel, Alys, Tom and Ananda.

    Alys bossing her team around!

    Nick Bentley before his outdoor ‘public’ lecture.

    Isobel giving a brief presentation about herself to all the group. They all did themselves proud.

    Ice creams all round to celebrate!

  8. 3rd Year London Trip

    Not quite as exotic as Berlin, but the 3rd Years still enjoyed their well earned day out in London to celebrate the submission of their final year research projects. The David Shrigley exhibition seemed popular, as were the local hostelries judging by the high spirits and white faces on the return train journey.

    The David Shrigley exhibition at The Hayward. It was great to hear so many people laughing in an art gallery. My particular favourite was a stuffed squirrel holding its own head titled ‘Nuts’. Worth the admission price alone.

    This sign on Brick Lane always makes me smile. Do they have a problem with people soiling the streets in East London?

  9. The 2nd Year Berlin Trip

    It was cold!!!