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Portfolio surgery

Last week I took part in a 'portfolio surgery' for the third (and final) year group on the Visual Communications degree at BIAD, BCU. With a whole host of 'patients', I was one of five surgeons including representatives from Type, Surely?, Clusta and One Black Bear. Over the course of the morning I managed to talk with a dozen or so students, each at very different stages of their final major projects and with portfolios at various levels of completion. Whilst some were a way off a polished final piece, the standard of the work contained within was refreshingly original and quality of finish very high. Without wanting to sound like a very old man, things have clearly moved on since I graduated from the course seven years ago, and I'm sure, any one of the people I saw would have shone in my year group.

Understandably, many of the students still weren't 100% sure where in the creative industries they were destined, however, for the most part, all could communicate their projects clearly. There seemed to be an incredible amount of enthusiasm for what they were doing and a positive self-confidence.

The Visual Communications course has a very wide remit and graduates leave going on to marketing, photography, illustration, advertising and even fine art. The very graphic/type-based students where, for me, the easiest to gauge potential, however the art of building the perfect portfolio is still incredibly difficult and one that few agencies can perfect – It's certainly something we find is a time consuming and never ending process.

The final shows take place mid-June – I'm looking forward to seeing the final outcomes.

Character traits and information overload

Categories: Extra-curricular, Nice stuff

The other week I wrote a post (Designing the ABC) mentioning we were taking part in collaborative project, Not My Type. Well, the project's completed and, for your delectation, here are the Supercool creations:

Overload by Sarah Wilbois

The ampersand was created using magazine cuttings of the word 'and', meticulously chopped, glued and placed to create the ampersand shape, which is bursting at the seams and falling over backwards with the umpteen 'and's contained within it. Information overload!

S is a character by Katie Parry

The letterform is made up of adjectives beginning with S and each word's set in a different font; a font which helps to represent the word in some way – either its meaning ('squidgy' uses a chubby, rounded font) or something else about that word's character ('Swedish' is set in Verdana; used by IKEA).

Within the S there are: one logo; one (purposely) misspelt word; one word which is also the typeface's name and a couple of coded S-words, set in Wingdings and Monotype Sorts. Spot/decipher 'em if you can!

All of the Not My Type characters – including a very jolly J by Jon Burgerman – are all on show and for sale (in limited numbers) at the Created in Birmingham shop, but only until Sunday 23rd May, when the shop closes – so get there pronto!

(Finally: I vow not to post any more alphabet-related things for, well, at least a week or so …)

Grafisk gorgeousness

Categories: Nice stuff

I'm not at all sure what is it with me and the alphabet at the moment but here it is yet again …

Hyperactivitypography is an abecedarium designed by Paul van Brunschot's students at the Westerdals School of Communication in Oslo.

It looks, feels and smells great, and is full of wittily written information to boot. It really is a ridiculously good, perhaps even flawless, example of balanced form and function.

You can look through and enjoy Hyperactivitypography in its entirety at or buy the real-life, beautifully tactile hardback book from Arctic Papers' shop.


(Hat-tip @H_FJ)

Designing the ABC

Categories: Events

Our Supercool new intern, Sarah Wilbois, started yesterday. A graphic design graduate from Mainz in Germany, she's with us on a 2-month internship programme run by the Principia School of Language in Worcestershire.

We're hoping Sarah'll get lots out of her time with us … not least because she very kindly came bearing a gift; a beautiful, and beautifully clever, pop-up alphabet book called ABC3D. Thanks Sarah – nice!

Coincidentally, Sarah's gift ties in very nicely with her first project here at Supercool; the creation of an ampersand for Not My Type …

Not My Type is a collaborative project bringing together more than 30 designers, artists and illustrators, each of whom has been tasked with creating a different letter of the alphabet (or additional character, such as the ampersand) for a forthcoming show at the Created in Birmingham shop.

You can learn more about the project, see who else is taking part and find some interesting typographical links over on the Not My Type Facebook Group. The Not My Type exhibition at the CiB shop will open on (election day) Thursday 6th May.