“The goal for my work has been to cause a chuckle or at least a smirk from an audience.”
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself to begin with, and how you came about coming over from America to study post-grad Graphic Design at ECA?
I am originally from Minnesota (if you’ve seen the movie Fargo, I sound just like the main characters). My undergraduate degree was in graphic design and I worked for nine years as a graphic designer/editor for a small non-profit. I fell madly in love with the UK about ten years ago and thought that it was the perfect place to go back to school and unleash some new creative projects.
Your work at the degree show is very unique, and made me laugh a lot, I loved it! For anyone who hasn’t seen it, can you talk a bit about the (who fonted?) and Lively Letters projects?
Well thank you! The goal for my work has been to cause a chuckle or at least a smirk from an audience.
Both the Lively Letters book and (who fonted?) magazine were part of my masters theme which explored humour and typography. Within this theme I explored the human-like and personality filled characteristics of typography. Basically this involved me writing silly adventures and nonsense poetry about letters venturing off of the page and experiencing our human world. Some of my exploration was in print while other projects incorporated felt letters that I sewed and then featured in video or photographs. Earlier this year I created a brand for the felt letters called f+art (furneisen plus art). It’s all a bit of a merger between typography and Sesame Street for a slightly older audience (meaning toilet talking 8 year olds to immature thirty-somethings).
(who fonted?) was a project I designed for an International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) brief about fakery. The initial idea was inspired by the words fake, hoax and imitation in the ISTD Fakery brief. These words inspired thoughts for the creation of either a spoof book or magazine. I chose to design a spoof magazine. (who fonted?) looks at the different styles of typography as individual personalities and then gives life to these personalities via satirical and folly-filled writing. The difficulties of humans interacting with these personality-filled fonts and characters is also a theme of this magazine.
Along side the humour of (who fonted?) is a sneaky underlying appreciation of typography. Humour brings the reader in to this magazine where certain fonts and characters are given their own feature spread. A world is presented where type enthusiasts and comedians collide to laugh at the fun, but sometimes frustrating, world of typography. Both the writing and layout of this magazine was really fun and I was so happy to get a merit award from ISTD.
The Lively Letters book was my final masters project and was similar in theme to (who fonted?) in that it brought out the spicy personalities of letters. The writing in this book was purely nonsense poetry which I discovered during my last semester at ECA. I had been writing a lot of nonsensical blurbs throughout my masters but didn’t make the connection that it actually had a name until visiting the The Poetry Library here in Edinburgh. This book also incorporates some of the felt letters I had been making and I took a lot of photographs of them experiencing what I think is the most beautiful city on the planet: EDINBURGH! The book demonstrates how sometimes things go wrong and sometimes things go oh so right when letters start to act like humans.
Where do you draw your inspiration for these projects from?
Any books or publications that list different categories of type or the anatomy of type are very inspirational to my work. My favourite book is Rookledge’s Classic International Type Finder. To me, looking through this book is like viewing delicious cakes through a bakery window. Instead of my stomach gurgling, my funny bone gets a twitch’in and I think of all sorts of adventures and ill advised outings for different letters or entire fonts.
Sesame Street has also been a big influence to my work. I use to watch it religiously when I was little, along with the Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock. Felt really gets my creative juices flowing and I could sew for hours using this material.
Can you talk a little about the exhibition at the Red Door Gallery, and your letters of flight? This looked like it was quite a fun project! Do you make all these yourself?
This was my first exhibition in Edinburgh and was the first time I made felt letters.The brief with The Red Door Gallery was set by a classmate of mine and was open for participation by any of the Illustration or Graphics masters students. We could make any project around the theme of flight and I got the idea right away to make the b and two f’s with wings.I also wrote a poem that went with the letters:
There once were two F’s that liked to fly
They really could get quite high
Flips and turns filled their picas with glee
There wasn’t a letter they would rather B
This project was a real turning point in my masters study. I had originally picked humour in art and design as the theme for my masters study and had planned to make funny office and home products. I really struggled with ideas for this larger theme but found that ideas around humour and typography came to me very quickly. After this brief I officially changed my theme and with the great feedback I received from this exhibition, I began to sell my felt letters through The Red Door Gallery. They have been really supportive of my work all along.
This project eventually led to another exhibition which was at Main Point Books in Edinburgh and was called: What’s yellow, has letters and is covered in hair? Our exhibition of course! This time I teamed up with fellow classmate Emily Hair and we hung our colourful work throughout this wee bookshop. The owners of this bookshop were also really supportive of my work and commissioned the word “REREADS” in felt to be hung in their new store on Bread Street.
And last but not least, what aspirations and plans have you set yourself now you have graduated? Any advice for anyone thinking of going on to a post grad?
Since graduating I have been looking for a permanent position in the UK and also have been seeking work placements in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, with the changes in the post study work visa laws, I only have a limited amount of time to look for work in the UK. I do hope to have another exhibition in Edinburgh before I leave, if I do have to go back to America.
I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to study at ECA and if I do go back to Minnesota, I will keep exhibiting and developing my work. I also worry that my quirky Minnesotan accent may be fading. Oh gosh! So a few more years recharge in the land of 10,000 lakes may be good for both the sound and silliness of my work.
My advice to anyone seeking a post grad is to thoroughly look at all of the options for schools and take a critical look at both the work and professors at each of the universities. Make a plan of action for what you want to get out of the experience but be flexible about your path changing.
Many thanks again to Kerstin for her time in answering our questions, and we wish her the best of luck! Check out her website at www.kerstinfurn.com for a look at more of her portfolio, or if you are interested in sourcing some of your very own Lively Letters, get in touch with the Red Door Gallery at email@example.com for further information and prices.Tweet
“Behind every design choice there should be a sense of substance and depth, capturing only the essence of what is necessary”
Well I originally went to school in St Andrews and applied to the first year course at the Edinburgh College of Art, which was great as like a foundation course it allowed me to experience several disciplines within the school of design and the school of art before choosing a specialism. I initially went into ECA set on studying painting but after experiencing several subjects, Graphics was the one that really stood out for me!
What impressed me the most about your final work in the degree show was how you created your own bespoke typeface. Can you tell us a little bit about that particular project and your process?
The project was my response to a competition brief for the D&AD student awards. Set by Pentagram, Students were required to design a series of publications commemorating members of the Typographic Circle – An exclusive club for experts in typography. Through a custom made typeface I tried to reflect the importance and originality typography can have on our work. The bespoke face was based on the symbol of the Typographic Circle whilst at the same time offered alternative characters to reflect the significance of type experimentation. Through the project I learnt that type and layout require a great amount of detail and patience. I spent much of my time going back and forth, trying to tweak every detail until I felt it was right.
What’s been your favourite project you’ve done at ECA?
I’d have to say the project I’ve just described – The Typographic Circle. For me this project stretched beyond my passion for print. It taught me two very important things – big ideas and detail. I learnt that typography and design is about more than just what looks good but about coming up with an idea or a concept – something my four years at the Edinburgh College of Art has taught me well. I discovered that behind every design choice there should be a sense of substance and depth, capturing only the essence of what is necessary. I was lucky enough be awarded ‘Best of Year’ for the project and really believe this was due to the amount I enjoyed it.
You’ve started your own studio, Open-Play. Can you tell me how this came about and any valuable lessons learnt along the way? Did the course at ECA enable you to do this, or was it something you and Freddy Taylor did on your own?
It’s something the course has been running for the past 3 years now and in my opinion is one the best things to come out of the Graphic Design department. The project essentially taught us how to run an agency, keeping to deadlines, meeting clients, interview skills, quoting jobs, delegating tasks, organizing events – the things in graphic design that you forget about but are actually very important.
In addition to all these great qualities Freddy and myself really saw it as a chance to push the boundaries of the project to its limits. We sent an Open-play cake to design kings, It’s Nice That and were lucky enough to be featured on their website. As a result we were contacted by potential clients from around the world and were lucky enough to work on live projects in places such as London and New York.
From working with national and international live clients to orchestrating a fully paid Amsterdam design adventure (visiting KesselsKramer & Baster), Open-play studio is a force to be reckoned with.
To find out what we’ve been up to over the past year visit www.open-play.co.uk
And last but not least, what aspirations and plans have you set yourself now that you have graduated?
I’m in the middle of doing some freelance work at the minute but I’ll definitely be taking a little time off in the summer. After that I’d like to either do a few internships to work up my experience or hopefully become a contributing part of a design agency… or maybe Australia!
Thanks so much Noah for taking the time out to speak to us about your fantastic work! We hope things at Open-play really take off for you and Freddy! Good luck from all of us at Evolution & Us
“I am passionate about hands-on design and I find work that has a physical aesthetic much more exciting”
Hi Ruth! We really loved your degree show! Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Ruth, I’m 22 and from Glenrothes in Fife. I went to college in Dundee for a year to do a portfolio course after leaving school as I didn’t feel I had enough stuff to get straight into Art School, was such a great decision – got the chance to be creative with little boundaries for a year and met people that are still my best friends 5 years on. I then went into the general course at DJCAD before specialising in Graphic Design due to a growing love for type. My hobbies/interests include fashion, music, my pug Milo and creating weird and wonderful things with my sewing machine!
Is there a particular area of design that you would like to pursue?
I am passionate about hands-on design and I find work that has a physical aesthetic much more exciting. Therefore I see myself moving towards a predominantly print led agency and I can’t wait to get stuck in to a creative environment. I also feel I have strengths within typography after being awarded MISTD, I hope to keep learning more about typographic practice and get better – I’d love to create some of my own typefaces as this isn’t something I have had the chance to do yet!
How was your experience at New Blood?
New Blood was an amazing experience and I would definitely recommend it to all graduates. It was a great chance to not only make some contacts, arrange some interviews and have my work seen by a wider audience but it was also really exciting to see what all the other graduates from other institutions have to offer – its good to scope out the competition and keep up the inspiration!
Could you talk us though your outcome for D&AD Pentagram brief?
This competition brief required that I create a series of special edition supplement publications for the ‘Circular’ magazine. The books were to be based on 3 designers that have given talks for the Typographic circle. I wanted to avoid the cliche of creating portfolio based books as the designers work is so easily accessible on the web.
Instead, I decided to take a more personalised approach and used quotes from talks and interviews given by each designer to create a quirky typographic led publication which captures the personality and inspirational sources for each designer, and how this in turns informs their design practice.
The designers I chose to feature were Jonathan Barnbrook, Anthony Burrill and Marina Willer as they all had completely different personalities and styles to explore. The front covers reflect a face which is adapted to each designer and contains their biographic information, I wanted to get the factual information right out there on the front so the inside pages reveal things that are a little more unexpected.
I created a format for the books which allowed them to remain cohesive as a series but adapted this to fit with each designer. I expanded on the brief by creating a poster series to advertise the talks using a variety of materials which best reflect each designer.
Jonathan Barnbrook – Laser cut into slate, reflects that one of his main sources of inspiration is primitive stone markings and gravestone carved letterforms.
Marina Willer – Screen printed onto hand-dyed cloth, with layered stitching. Reflective of her colourful Brazilian heritage and influenced from the idea that she softens corporate brand through implementing familiar high street visuals.
Anthony Burrill – Screen printed onto paper with acetate overlay. Reflects the simplicity and structure of Burrill’s work. Placed in a glass frame to convey the fact that his inspiring slogans are often framed up on design agency walls.
Could you talk us though your outcome for your personal project, Eccentrics Boutique?
This project involved writing my own brief which could virtually be on anything I wanted, I chose to create an eccentric, personalised fashion brand which appeals to the ‘character’ of the individual. The brand is designed to introduce a sense customer involvement and personality which is lost in a modern mass market.
The process allows fashionistas who want a garment which is quirky and unique, to purchase a one off piece that reflects their ‘eccentric’ alter ego. Each collection is represented by a puppet-like ‘character’ which express the personality and style of the fabrics and how these can be used to create garments which express uniqueness and individuality.
This project was the one I enjoyed the most as it allowed me to push the boundaries a bit and experiment! I have always loved sewing and making things from fabric so I was intrigued to see how I could work this into a fashion brief by creating fun characters that gave the brand personality and brought the fabrics to life.
The poster series to advertise the online boutique were designed to encourage people to avoid hiding their personality away in plain clothing and unleash their colourful alter ego’s.
So a big thank you to Ruth Hill for taking the time to answer all our questions and we wish her all the best for the future.Tweet
DJCAD is always the first degree show to hit us around this time of year, and obviously the one we were looking forward to seeing the most, what with being current students ourselves and friendly with the class who were graduating. We’d been cleared out of the studios for weeks while they set up, but as usual, a lot of the work had remained under wraps until the opening. There was a huge variety of work from the class whose bodies of work all featured live briefs from D&AD and ISTD, some including high spec animations and hand made final pieces. For any of you that couldn’t make the show (shame on you), have a look at some of the imaginative and innovative work that was on display below.
Left: Gemma Day’s outcome for the D&AD Pentagram brief. Each magazine supplement comes in a little sleeve that slides off to reveal a parallelogram shaped publication with edgy blocks of bold colour and a nice combination of type and image.
You can view more of Gemma’s work on her portfolio website.
Right: Karen Rodger’s posters for the D&AD Brief combined well thought up phrases with simple, yet stylish, illustrations that were aimed towards students.
Connor McArtney’s display was very individual! There was some illustration, a short animation which was done in after effects and a very nice set of magazine inserts, each of the projects were entirely different! He definitely showed he can turn his hand to anything. One of our favourites was his personal project titled ‘National Doodle Day’ for which he done a series of very quirky, yet commercial, illustrations for all the letters of the alphabet.
You can view more of Connor’s work on his portfolio website.
One project a lot of the graduates took part in was the ISTD live brief ‘It Happened On This Day’. For the brief, the students had to create a typographically lead publication that communicated the events on a chosen day in history. Brogan Keenan’s outcome caught our eye due to the unique way she had hand bound her publication with each page supported by two folds (see above). Her publication also stood out by the way she had combined image and type, making it look very professional. Her focus of study was the day of Barak Obama’s inauguration.
You can view more of Brogan’s work on her portfolio website.
Sophie D’Agostino’s presentation of the book ‘The Waitress’ by Zack Zipes was one of our favourites for this brief, as her final piece was so harmonious in choice of typography, illustration and colour. We also loved her personal project that aimed to dispel the stigma around male ballet dancers; a unique choice and effective result.
You can view more of Sophie’s work on her portfolio website.
We all thought Nicholas Mitchell’s Comic-Con Campaign was a really cool idea for a personal project. The above pictures are only a small section of what he produced for this brief. The poster for the campaign is a great idea as fans can interact by guessing who’s who!
You can view more of Nick’s work on his portfolio website.
Liking the look of these? Thought you might…and that’s not even the half of it. We’ve got a few personal favourites from the show that we couldnt do justice with as part of our overall review of the degree show, so they’re getting a whole feature all to themselves. Coming soon!Tweet
With Degree Show time upon us again, I made a wee trip through to Edinburgh to get a look at what the graduates there had been up to. I’d actually never visited ECA at Degree Show time, so had no idea what to expect in relation to work styles. The Graphic Design class had space in the very middle of the sculpture hall which was great, it was a large space very close to the front door of the main building so a lot of foot traffic passing by, exactly what you want! For some reason this year ECA had chosen to mount their work on unpainted birchwood boards, however I know some of the graduates were not entirely pleased with this decision of abandoning the classic white. It was really good to see all the graduates having various publications to sell and/or leaf through in the middle of the show, something DJCAD used to do but have since abandoned due to changes in the printing process/cost. Undergraduate and postgraduate were both on display here, each having one half of the allocated section. The postgraduate work was of more epic proportion and indepth exploration; undergraduate being more recognisable (ISTD, D&AD) varied projects over the course of the year. Looking over the works as a whole it was clear that ECA push their students to use different materials, printing processes, and finishes. I was very impressed to find one undergraduate had put in a notable amount of work creating a bespoke typeface for one of his projects – another example of going that extra mile.
Some nice pieces of work from the show -
Lovely info graphic from Sofia Noble // Jocelyn Kornfeld’s Joy of Movement
Memory info graphic from Markos Zourdakis // Noah Collin’s bespoke typeface
Emma Kafero explores type and colour // Sophie Gordon’s Amnesty International campaign // Kerstin Furneisen (below) and her humorous exploration of type with Lively Letters and Who Fonted? projects
A few of the graduates featured here have agreed to speak a bit more to Evolution & Us about their work and time at ECA, so keep your ear to the ground for their features appearing over the summer. We’ll also be featuring reviews of both the GSA and DJCAD degree shows and more in-depth features of current graduates from both schools off to make their way in the world. If that isn’t enough graphic design for you, we’ll even be making a wee trip down to our old haunt, The City of Glasgow College to say hello and see how this years HND lot got on. All coming very soon…Tweet
Just over a year ago myself and a few friends started this blog, it was meant to help us all keep in touch when we went our separate ways after College. Now a year on the blog has become so much more. Through featuring students, studios and freelancers alike it has meant new friends have been met, new contacts in places some people only wish they had, and of course new opportunities we would never have had before. Through these contacts and friends we have managed to get together a collection of books, prints and t-shirts to giveaway, for free, to a few lucky individuals….and all of these can be won by either tweeting or sharing on Facebook, easy!
So let’s get on with it…I’m guessing everyone would like to know what we have up for grabs.
Out with the donations from our friends we grabbed a few recommended books from Amazon to sweeten the giveaway a little.
- Logo Design Love by David Airey - I contacted Mr Airey regarding his book being up for grabs and he kindly offered his services in the form of a website critique for the lucky winner. So the winner of this book will also receive a critique of their website, by David. Full terms will be given to the winner. We would like to thank David for being part of the giveaway and for donating his time.
T-Shirts from thisistype.com
We featured Euan Gallacher last year when he graduated and he has since written a blog post for us telling us all about his time working in the industry. We’ve kept in touch with Euan and when he heard about the giveaway he was more than happy to donate a couple of t-shirts from his business Type. The winners will be given a list of what is available in his store and they can pick what they want! Check out Type for what is up for grabs and be sure to check out Euan’s personal website for some very nice graphic design work!
It’s All About Distance Poster by Gorilla Grafiks
Recently we featured a talented designer who freelances under the studio name of Gorilla Grafiks. We mentioned at the end of the post that there may be a poster by Gorilla Grafiks in the running! I can now confirm that this is very much the case and Gordon (Gorilla Grafiks) has kindly donated a copy of It’s All About Distance. The poster above is up for grabs and we would, very much, like to thank Gordon for putting it into the pot of prizes! Make sure to check out his work and follow him on Twitter.
Publications by Freight Books
Our recent post on Freight Design speaks of some publications by them that would be part of the giveaway, and here they are. A big thank you yet again to Freight for sending over everything below! Check out our feature on them for more information on this great studio!
- Gutter Magazine, 01-05! (All 5 magazines are one prize)
The Creative Cookbook
Recently at University our interdisciplinary communication design class designed a cookbook for students. I was lucky to be a big part of the production of the book and felt it would be good for a few copies to be a part of the giveaway. The book itself contains 60 recipes in total, each individually designed by second year graphic design, illustration, and animation students. There is also a recipe by Scottish Actor Brian Cox that Brian sent over to be included. Each book costs £5 and we have 5 copies to giveaway! All proceeds of the book went to charity so Signpost International are also winning because of this competition.
Should you wish to purchase a copy outright, please feel free to email me to discuss!
HOW TO ENTER
So that’s everything that can be won and now how to win it!
- Like us on Facebook and leave a comment on the page. Share the event page, anything goes really! Just spread the word.
- Follow us on Twitter and re-tweet the following text, without the speech marks, “I’ve just entered the @evolutionandus Big Giveaway! RT to WIN! http://wp.me/p1lSur-L1 #thebiggiveaway”
It really is as simple as that! Facebook and Tweet and you get 2 chances in the hat! If you want to write a blog post on the competition then let us know and that’ll get you another name in the hat! The more names, the more chances you have at winning!
Each entry and each prize will be given a number and a random number generator will determine the winners! There are 15 prizes in total, so you have a great chance of picking something up! Competition runs from today, the 4th June until Friday 15th June at 23.59pm. We will be sorting the winner out over that weekend and winners will be notified from the 18th June onwards. So enough of my meaningless rambling and onwards with the competition! Good luck all!Tweet
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