All posts by Communication Design

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?

A recently opened exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London explores “the widespread and often subliminal nature of Graphic Design in shaping our environment, our health and our sense of self”. 

The show has been curated by Lucienne Roberts, founder of studio LucienneRoberts+ and Rebecca Wright, who is programme director for Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, together with Shamita Sharmacharja, a curator at Wellcome Collection. Together, Lucienne and Rebecca also run the pioneering publishing house, GraphicDesign&.

The exhibition is divided into six sections – Persuasion, Education, Hospitalisation, Medication, Contagion and Provocation – examining the role of graphic design in helping to make the world a better place, and featuring over 200 examples of various creative projects.

It is a rare example of an exhibition which champions the role of Graphic Design – in which all of the work featured focuses on the context and value of design responsibility and social purpose. It is unusual in that it represents a vivid opportunity for the general public to engage with Graphic Design practice outside of its normal commercial contexts.

There is also an excellent book available which acts as a compendium, explaining the background and intention of all the exhibited work featured at the show, and many more examples. The accompanying writing offers revealing insight into the craft and care of those Graphic Designers who are involved in bringing something beautiful to life, imbued with purpose and meaning. The publication, just like the exhibition, is both exquisitely produced and educationally valuable.

The show runs until 14 January 2018 at Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. Entry is free.

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life? Is published by GraphicDesign&.

Wellcome Collection – Exhibition Information

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Exhibition Images – Copyright: Andrew Meredith

Success at Bulletproof Awards

Each year, Bulletproof runs ‘Futureproof’, a one-day brief student competition offering third year graphic design students the chance to win a cash prize as well as a month’s paid placement in their Covent Garden studio.

It’s a select competition as Bulletproof works with just three universities: Falmouth University, Norwich University of Arts and the University of Gloucestershire, all chosen for the quality of their graphic design courses and students.

The Bulletproof team travelled to our design studio to deliver the brief and oversee a full days workshop. Students are briefed first thing in the morning and then have until 3pm to develop and deliver their thinking and creative responses.

This year’s theme was ‘Make your Own Luck’. The students had to take one card from each of three bags, which contained a packaging format, brand name and product. The combination of elements defined the brief and could be anything from a tub of beer to a sachet of bacon!

The task? To bring the concept to life through an engaging brand identity and packaging design using all three choices with only the most thought-provoking, intelligent, brave, witty and well-articulated ideas being shortlisted for the final.

Of the six lucky finalists chosen, we are proud to say that three came from Falmouth! Below our finalists talk about the competition and the experience.

Olivia Moores

“The brief pushed you out of your comfort zone but the challenge allowed me to approach the brief in a new way and come up with loads of different ideas for the problem. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it has showed me that even with a quick one day brief, you can still come up with interesting and new ideas.”


Chris Ireland

“The Graphic Design department at Falmouth encourage us to get stuck in with workshops and competitions to get some experience working on live briefs. As workshops go, I thought the brief was really interesting. Choosing from the ‘mystery bag’ meant that there were lots of outcomes instead of a singular challenge. The random element meant that everyone had their own individual brief, as opposed to 20-30 iterations of the same brief. You get a lot less of the same ideas, which is great! One day doesn’t give you a lot of time to dawdle as well, so you have to just get on with it.”


Adam Tickle

“The random selection structure created a fascinating and different challenge for each student, keeping everyone on their toes and each piece of work fresh. It pushed us to speed up our design process and I was surprised at the high quality of everyone’s work considering the limited time frame. For my design, I aimed to create something witty, simple and fun, which would hopefully bring a smile to people’s faces.”


 On the day of the ceremony, Olivia, Chris and Adam made their way to the Bulletproof studio after checking in to their London hotel. As an added bonus, all finalists have their travel and accommodation paid for by Bulletproof.

The evening kicked off with portfolio reviews before cracking open the Prosecco and beer. The Bulletproof team gathered to celebrate the work and chat to the finalists with each project mocked up onto display boards mounted on wooden easels. The studio’s breakout area was transformed into a buzzing pop-up gallery and a chance to mingle and raise a glass.


Mingling over, and it was time to announce the winner and hand over the trophy. Drumroll please…Falmouth’s Chris Ireland took the top prize for his Wild Dog branding and concept!

“We were so impressed by the high standard of everyone’s ideas, but what stood out for us with Chris’ design was how hard he pushed his thinking. Chris had quite an obvious combination of Beer + Can + Wild Dog brand name, however he didn’t just do a generic beer label. He pushed the thinking and created an innovative and feasible design. We were really impressed by his overall approach and attitude,” said Beth Drummond, senior designer at Bulletproof and one of the Futureproof judges.

After the ceremony, the Bulletproof Futureproof team and all the finalists headed over to Southern Joe’s American restaurant in Covent Garden for cocktails and a dinner worthy of winners. And the night didn’t end there, as the group headed on to a local bar afterwards to meet the rest of the Bulletproof team and join them for drinks.


Bulletproof said: “Year on year the standard is staggeringly high and we’re constantly impressed by the work we see. This year Falmouth certainly had the edge with three finalists and a high level of creative and thinking. Well done team!”


Four Deadlines & a Dinner

Ellie Woodman – Folie à deux

Four Deadlines & a Dinner was a MOTH collaborative practice project working with 20 Stage 2 Graphic Design students within the School of Communication Design along with external partners from medicine, palliative care, writing, design for the live environment and VR. During this four week period, students worked across a range of death & design projects, they discussed and delivered ideas and potential solutions relating to end of life experiences.


With Dr Mark Taubert Clinical Director/Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Velindre NHS Trust, Cardiff, we explored how visual communication designers and medics could benefit from sharing knowledge and skills to impact on policy and practice with regard to end of life matters, in particular with patients with life limiting illness and their choices regarding DNACPR. The work produced from this will be exhibited at the Bevan Commission Health and Social Welfare Conference in Wales in September 2017.


In collaboration with Ben James, Creative Director at Jotta Design and Anna Kiernan a Senior Lecturer in Writing, we considered our own personal eulogies and innovative ways in which to store our digital selves as either a digital future or digital archive beyond our physical life.


MOTH hosted a Death Over Dinner party, where our guests were invited to eat and engage in meaningful conversations and questions about the end-of-life, we also held a film night where we screened Afterlife, by Hirokazu Kore-eda: Newly deceased find themselves in a way station somewhere between Heaven and Earth. With the help of caseworkers, each soul is given three days to choose one memory from their life that they will relive for eternity. The project also included a tour of artist’s graves at Falmouth Cemetery run by Glyn Winchester from Falmouth Art Gallery.

Theo Penrice – Childish Perspectives:
Wrong But Not Forgot
James Cook – To Top it Off
Poppy Andruskevicius – I’m never drinking
Haruka Kondo_ What do I want to do?
Joe Arnold – Pair No 8

AVTUR at J G Ballard Day

First year Graphic Design students Paul Merritt, Dylan Young, Reuben Morley and Alex Bassett have worked together on two group projects: BAUEN and AVTUR.


Our first project BAUEN, was the realisation of a micro-nation for which we designed a 63 page book documenting a dystopian village based on the write/re-write motion of a computer hard disc. BAUEN designers constantly build and demolish to satisfy their modernist creative aesthetic indulging themselves in continual updates with no care for inhabitants or environment. Design is all.

After BAUEN we decided to work together again for an end of term film project. We were asked to make a 60-90 second film on the theme of ‘A new experience’. Alex, Reuben and Dylan had never read the work of J G Ballard before. Taking the RE/SEARCH Ballard special and ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ as our starting point we began to look for film locations in Cornwall. We accessed M.O.D. facilities and hung out in car parks. We found concrete structures near tin mines and irrigation structures in fields. Finally we pieced together the 90 seconds of vision and sound that is AVTUR. The film was shown at the end of year Graphics Oscars where it won an Oscar for ‘Best Cinematography’


The J G Ballard Day conference took place on Saturday 24 June at Birmingham City University with the theme J.G. Ballard and Making, our film AVTUR was accepted as part of the yearly academic event. This one-day, multidisciplinary symposium showcased student projects at Birmingham University alongside academic papers and other creative responses to Ballard from elsewhere.

Objects, artefacts, performances, papers and discussion panels that respond to any aspect of making in J G Ballard’s work were included in the day’s events. Our film was shown as part of a visual and film themed section of the day where several films were shown and followed by questions and discussion. AVTUR was shown twice and we had an excellent reaction from other contributors. We answered many of interesting questions regarding both the technical side of the making of the film and the creative links to the themes of the world of J  G Ballard.

It was a great opportunity to find out what kind of reaction our film would have from Ballard scholars and to find out if we were successful in translating at least some of the feeling and ideas present in his work. It was also a fantastic opportunity to spend some time in the beautiful modern building where we presented our film.

After the event its organiser Dr Thomas Knowles (Birmingham City University) said that AVTUR was “A really excellent addition to alternative cinema influenced by Ballard. AVTUR really captures the mood/tone of his works” He also confirmed that “It went down a treat” in a posting on his blog about J G Ballard day.

Falmouth Graduate wins Design Week 17 Rising Star award

BA(Hons) Graphic Design graduate Katie Cadwallader, now a designer at Supple Studio, has been awarded ‘Rising star’ at this year’s Design Week Awards. Now in its 26th year, the Design Week Awards are the leading accolade in the design industry. The Rising Star Award is open to those who’ve been in the design industry for up to three years and aims to discover the design industry stars of the future.

“To be recognised as a ‘Rising Star’ is incredible for so many reasons. I’ve been subscribed to Design Week since college so seeing my name up there with some of the world’s greatest designers will take a long time to adjust to. It’s a category in which you have to be nominated by someone – in my case, our clients at Royal Mail and my boss. That in itself was compliment enough.

So many people can take credit for this award – starting with the lecturers on the BA(Hons) Graphic Design course at Falmouth who nurtured me both in my work and in my transition into adulthood. The teachings from Falmouth about the power of ideas and the importance of work ethic, stand me in great stead. I swapped this support system for that of my colleagues at Supple Studio, who constantly push me to be bolder, take risks and have conviction in my work.

No one said it more succinctly than Kevin Spacey bizarrely, “If you’re lucky enough to do well, you have to send the elevator back down” So thanks to everyone who gave me a lift.”

We are extremely proud of Katie’s achievement, which is well deserved. Katie is the fourth Falmouth Graphic Design student to receive this accolade. Previous winners of this award have been Craig Oldham, Josh Turner and Phil Skinner.

Design Dice

‘…Design Dice are a tool to help the creative process – to aid design thinking, idea generation & problem-solving…’

Created by Andy Neal (Senior Lecturer, and former course co-ordinator at Falmouth University) they are the result of over 25 years of experience as a graphic designer & teacher, and have grown out of a deep belief in the value of encouraging creativity in others.

‘…The main idea is simple. The dice work when you need a change in direction, are feeling stuck, or want to take a lateral leap in your thinking. You roll one (or more) of the dice – which offers a key-word ‘prompt’, and invites a series of creative responses, encouraging breadth and depth to your thinking. Every word is ‘interpreted’ by you in the light of the project you are working on, so the meaning of each suggestion changes due to the context. Even though there are a ‘fixed’ number of words, there are arguably an infinite number of combinations…’

The resulting dice have been tested over the past three years with undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate designers from a range of creative disciplines (not just graphic design), and are now live on KickStarter (hopefully) ahead of going into production.



ReDo; making things happen!

‘…How do we re-do our design education, our design practice, and our design research so that our knowledge comes to have an actual effect on how we live, from the micro level of the domestic to the macro level of politics? How do we train our students to become do-ers and to confront the challenges that face the world in terms of social inclusion, climate/environment, and economic growth? How do we impact our disciplines and beyond?…’ (Cumulus 2017)

The ReDo biannual Cumulus 2017 conference in Kolding aimed to playfully inspire, challenge and develop the role, relevance and scope of design, art and media in a global world with sustainability for people, planet and profit in mind. The overall aim of the conference was to create lasting impact in design and design education and initiate (future) actions. Senior Lecturers Dion Star & Andy Neal were both invited to deliver their paper ‘Rethinking Graphic Design Process’ as part of the conference, and benefitted from four days of challenging discussion with a wide mix of contributors from all over the world.


Highlights included Bo Stjerne Thomsen (Head of the Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning at the LEGO foundation), who talked about the importance of play as a trans-disciplinary activity, and the pressing need for us to communicate creativity’s value to society (so more people will create). Christian Bason (CEO at the Danish Design Council) reflected on design’s capacity to challenge existing power structures if we fully embrace institutional/societal change. Mathilda Tham (Professor of Design, Linnaeus, Sweden) highlighted design’s responsibility to both meet the needs of the current generation, without jeopardising the needs (and rights) of future generations, and Margrethe Vestager (European Commissioner for Competition) talked about design as a mechanism for putting people first, and as a facilitator in empowering people to become involved in the processes that are changing our lives. ReDo_07ReDo_08ReDo_06ReDo_05

There were over 300 delegates in attendance, from over 40 countries, delivering over 60 papers, plus keynotes, films and posters, all with the focus on three key questions;

What do we wish to ReDo?

How and with whom do we ReDo?

How do we teach students to ReDo?

Full papers from the conference are available online, and are worth looking through if you have an interest in design and/or design education.




Stage 1 Graphic Design Oscars 2017

Stage 1 Graphic Design were set a collaborative film project entitled: I’ve Never Seen Star Wars. The project was based on a comedy talk show broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, where in each episode a celebrity guest tries out experiences that are new to them, but common to many others. The title comes from the show’s producer and creator, Bill Dare, having never seen the Star Wars films.

Teams were asked to deliver a 60-90 second short film demonstrating playful, compelling story telling. Continuing in the spirit of Stage 1, they were asked to embrace risk and experimentation, (but, it also had to be: a. within the law, b. safe and c. decent for public viewing. Most of this criteria was met!).

We celebrated the films at our annual Red Carpet Oscars event on Thursday 25th May. The films were funny, beautifully shot and edited with some skillful post production techniques. They revealed great talents, showed brilliant collaborative practice and were above all thoroughly entertaining. It was a great end to a great year group who now enter into Stage 2 in Sept, looking forward to the next set of challenges and new experiences on offer at Falmouth.


18 Films were shown and the judges had a very difficult job of shortlisting the Oscar winners down to 5:

Best Cinematography and Post Production


Avtur- A film based on the first impressions of the writings of J G Ballard: Alex Bassett, Paul Merritt, Reuben Morley, Dylan Young.

Best Action Movie


Learn to skate. Emma Barraclough, Martha Galilee, Annie Haines, Rachel Potter.

Film that most honoured the brief! (+ most records broken).


Never have I Ever. Millie Hacket, Andy Horner, Fern Partridge, Amy Shortis.

Best Directors Cut


I’ve never danced in public, I’ve never cooked before, I’ve never drawn a perfect circle. Tom Benford, Abii Birkett, Matthew Cannon, Suin Lee.

Best Film


I’ve Never Made a Film. Connor Edwards, Tom Heath, James Hopkinson, Emily Sorrel.

Graphic Design Summer Show 2017

The BA(Hons) Graphic Design degree show celebrated the breadth and diversity of work from our graduating students from the class of 2017.

Falmouth University’s BaHons Graphic Design Grad show

It was great to see a show so full of challenging, provocative and successful projects including three students nominated for D&AD New Blood awards. The rich array of work on display showcased many areas within the discipline, including – amongst others – branding & identity, design for social change, user experience, editorial design and typography.

Stuart Robertson’s graphic design work on display

Falmouth University’s BaHons Graphic Design Grad show

Amy Eckleben’s graphic design work

People interacting with Falmouth Graphic Design students work

Falmouth University’s Graphic Design students displaying their work

You can see many of the graduate projects from the Class of 2017 here:


Creative Advertising Summer Shows 2017

Masie Marshall_IMAGE.46.jpgThere was a very broad mix of work showing in the Creative Advertising Summer Show reflecting the highly diverse media environment today’s advertising creatives inhabit.

Work exhibited included films and TV commercials, radio commercials, print campaigns, websites, digital advertising, social media campaigns, experiential and events, new product concepts, brand work and packaging.

To be a top advertising creative today you certainly have to be versatile.