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How our December cover was created

Posted: November 25th, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Digital, Graphic Design, Magazine / Newspaper, Photography | Comments Off

The cover of our December Photography Annual issue features a new digital finishing technique developed by Precision Printing that creates a high-build, super glossy finish

The two images from our Photography Annual which feature on the front and back covers of CR this month have been framed with a cross-hathc pattern that recalls Polaroid prints. In addition, the images themselves have been treated with a high-build finish that raises them proud of the surface of the cover paper.

The process, known as Lustre Enhancement, uses polymer to create texture and a high-build effect on designated areas rather like traditional UV varnishes. Unlike UV, however, it can be used to produce one-offs or, in combination with data files, personalised versions of each copy. The height of the polymer can also be varied across a sheet and the technique can even be used to produce foil-like finishes.

Precision created Lustre Enhancement using technology developed some four years ago by the Israeli firm Scodix. Our covers were initially litho printed and then sealed. Once they were dry, the Lustre process created the pattern around the frame of our cover images and the high-build effect on the images themselves. The area on which the finish was to be applied was stipulated by creating an Illustrator file, just as you would for a conventional UV varnish.

While Lustre is tough and resistant to the kind of wear and tear magazines endure both in binding and on the shelf, it is advisable not to apply it either right up to the edge of the sheet or where a sheet may be folded or creased. Otherwise cracking or peeling may occur. Because of the very high build of the varnish, we also had to use a different bindery to ensure that the copies ran smoothly through the process.

For the CR covers, "We pushed the technology very hard," says Precision sales and marketing director Simon Lythe who estimates that the job took between 40 and 50 hours on press.

While for our cover we have just applied the high-build effect to each cover image in its entirety, it is possible to pick out specific areas, just as you might with a spot UV. We could also have varied the height of the build across the sheet using different layers.

An effect similar to metallic foil can also be achieved by laying a sheet of silver laminate across the sheet before applying the high-build.

All of this can be personalised or done on very short runs: Lythe says that Precision do a lot of one-off jobs, for example, which just would not be viable using traditional UV varnish or foiling.

Although Lythe sees a great deal of potential for the technique in producing DM materials or personalised invitations, he says it is also being used for Braille printing as individual characters can be raised up from the paper surface, rather like embossing.

[Doing the Creative Review cover] is such a wonderful showcase for Lustre Enhancement," Lythe says. "We're really saying to the creative world, ‘where can you take this next'?"

See more about Lustre Enhancement and what it can do at precisionprinting.com

If you subscribe now (details here) you will still be in time to recieve our December Photography Annual issue

How to land that dream job and more student advice

Posted: November 24th, 2014 | Author: Pip Jamieson | Filed under: Advertising, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography | Comments Off

Poster by Andy J MIller as featured in the Advice to Sink in Slowly calendar. See below for details


As founder of creative community The Dots, Pip Jamieson knows a thing or two about getting started in the creative industries. Here's her (extremely comprehensive) guide for students and graduates looking to land that dream job, plus some Advice to Sink in Slowly

The scary thing about our industry 
is that while there are more creative jobs than ever before, the competition is fierce. Since starting professional creative community The Dots, incredibly talented juniors are always asking me for tips on how to get that all-important foot in the door.

To be honest there is no single thing that will land you that dream job, but after compiling tips from creative directors, artists, agencies, recruiters, industry bodies and lecturers I now firmly believe there is a combination of steps you can take; a secret sauce in a way, that if checked off will guarantee you're leagues ahead of others vying for your dream gig.


If you're a student in your final year or a junior looking for that first elusive job, before you even start applying for jobs it's best to get all your ducks in a row.

Before graduation, make sure you allocate enough time to work on your portfolio, cover letter, website, profile on The Dots and identity. This is a massive project in itself, but I guarantee it will set you up for life.


1. Work on Personal Projects

One of my all time favorite quotes is "If your portfolio reflects nothing personal, then it might as well be someone else's" .
All the Creative Directors we've worked with have been massive fans of portfolios that include self-initiated personal projects. In the end, these CDs review hundreds of portfolios, and if they only include responses to university briefs, they start looking a bit same-y. Including personal projects in your portfolio will not only help your portfolio stand out, but will show that you're a self-starter who's passionate about design. Below are some top tips on how to get the ball rolling with personal projects:

Create a Personal Identity
Let's face it, your own brand is the most valuable brand you'll ever work on and one of the only projects you'll have complete creative license over.

Do an Internship
Internships are an amazing opportunity to get real-world experience, build up your portfolio of work and make contacts that can last a lifetime. If you are at university, ask if they have an internship programme. If they don't, lobby for one! Also, more and more job boards have internship roles appearing. Obviously I'd recommend The Dots but hey I'm biased. There are loads more out there, just Google "Internships."
As long as they're paid and well structured, internships are an amazing opportunity to get real-world experience and build up their portfolio of work.

Enter Competitions
Competition pieces are a step above student work. If you don't win at least you have some great content for your portfolio. If you do win it's an amazing way to get your work and name out there. Fantastic competitions include D&AD New Blood, YCN Professional Awards, RSA Student Design Awards, The Lovie Awards, IPA Awards and Design Council Ones To Watch. But there are loads more.

Ask a Creative Director for a Brief
Contacting a Creative Director that inspires you, and asking them for a brief, is not only an amazing way to challenge yourself creatively, but if the CD likes your response they may even offer you a job.

Help out a Friend or Family Member
Friends and family always need creative services, be it designing their wedding or party invites, an identity for their business, a new website, some copywriting, social marketing tips etc. You'll not only get fresh content for your portfolio and resume, but also win major brownie points in the process.

Find a group of university friends you love working with (or approach people you respect on The Dots and start collaborating. Come up with your own passion project - be it doing an exhibition, a zine, a pop up store, a product range, an installation, hosting a creative event - whatever goes really. It's a great way to show potential employers that you are self-starting, with a true passion for creativity.


Poster by Simon Vince for Advice to Sink In Slowly Calendar

2. Get your portfolio / Resume ship shape

A well-crafted portfolio is a gateway to opportunities. Essentially it's your calling card. The better the portfolio, the more juicy the role.

Get Organised:
Throughout university make sure you compile all your briefs and projects in one spot; it will make it so much easier to organize your portfolio when the time comes.

Keep Project & Brief Notes
A well-written project description that allows companies to understand the brief and constraints is a really important component of your portfolio, since you're not always present to explain. So when you complete each project keep a written overview of the brief while it's still fresh in your mind. Trying to remember what you did, and why, a year ago can be a massive headache.

Revisit Old Student Briefs
Revisit old student briefs you enjoyed working on, but could have done better. Spruce them up with your newfound knowledge and feedback from your lecturers and friends. Employers will never know it's your second cut.

Cull, Cull, Cull
Don't worry if your portfolio isn't bursting at the seams. While it might be tempting to add filler content, less is actually more. Remember the average quality of your portfolio is brought down by your worst projects, so culling your portfolio back to just your best projects is definitely the way to go. Less is more - or as we like to say in the office ‘all killer, no filler'.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due
If you've collaborated on a project, it's great practice to credit those you worked with - it's not only the right thing to do, but it also gives more credibility to your own portfolio. In the end there is nothing worse than being caught out claiming full credit for a project that an employer then discovers is not wholly your own work.
Get Your Work Professionally Photographed
A beautifully shot portfolio will enhance your work. However, if you're not a dab hand with the camera, don't worry. The great thing about The Dots (sorry shameless plug) is that amazing photographers (http://the-dots.co.uk/creatives/Photographer) are only a click away.

Include a Resumé
In many of the larger companies it will be Human Resource Managers who do the first cull of portfolios, not someone within the creative department. So even if your work is incredible you might not make the shortlist unless you give them a feel for your background and experience, including where you went to university, your skills, past employers and clients.

Proof Read
It's a really obvious one, but often gets overlooked. When you apply for roles make sure you pay attention to detail. Companies are looking for reasons to cull the huge number of portfolios that hit their desk each day. So don't give them one.

Attend A Portfolio Masterclass
Sometimes it's hard to take an impartial view on what should and shouldn't be in your portfolio. I guess that's why we will soon be hosting Portfolio Masterclasses, a great opportunity to get your portfolio reviewed by leading creatives. Find out about the next class by following our profile.



3. Promote Yourself!

Now you've got an amazing portfolio raring to go it's time to get busy promoting yourself.

Submit your work to blogs & publications
Getting featured on blogs and in publications (such as Creative Review) is an incredibly powerful way to build recognition.

Create business cards
Now you've got an identify up and running, design and print some personal business cards to hand out at graduation shows, conferences, events and interviews.

Create a physical portfolio
Things are starting to move online, but the more traditional employers still want the tactile experience of viewing a physical portfolio at interviews. When it comes to printing your portfolio every senior creative I've worked with has had a firm opinion on design. ... keep it simple ... your work should be given centre stage.

Create a website
Get a website up and a domain name. The best domain names include your full name. Unless you're a dab hand at coding, don't worry about building your own website. Simply use a website building tool. My favourites are Cargo Collective () and Square Space, which are really easy to use and customize.

Create a free profile on The Dots
I may be biased but I reallybelieve this really is the best way to get your portfolio of work online and in front of the best collaborators, jobs, companies and clients. Over 1,000 + UK/EU companies use the site to hire talent - some of which are TATE, V&A, Frieze, Designers Block, Tent, Vice, Spotify, BBC, Net-a-Porter, Wolff Olins, Pentagram, Universal Music, Random International, AKQA, Condé Nast, Twitter, V&A, W+K, Guardian and many more.


Poster by Ben Javens


4. Network your socks off

The contacts you make as a junior can last a lifetime.

Immerse yourself in creative events
Including gallery openings, exhibitions, workshops, talks, networking events etc. They're not only great for inspiration, but also a fantastic opportunity to network. Great ones include Glug, Here, Nicer Tuesdays, D&AD Events but there are heaps more, just check for updates on The Dots.

Make the most out of your Grad Shows
Graduation shows are an incredible opportunity to come face-to-face with leading creative employers. It's all too tempting to hang with your mates and celebrate the end of year, but try to come out of your comfort zone and network with people milling around. They could turn out to be your future boss.

Join Industry Bodies
Join industry bodies such as D&AD, AOI, IPA etc and get access to industry events, news and promotional opportunities. They can be a bit pricey, so only join if you can afford it.


5. The all important cover letter

Cover letters are a pain, but can make all the difference.

Create a template
Before you graduate I'd get a really great template together that is easy to customise.

Make it relevant
In each cover letter include a section where you talk about the role and why you'd be perfect for it.

Praise the company
Every employer wants to hire people that are passionate about their work and brand. So take a couple of lines to reflect on how amazing their company is and why you'd love to work for them.

Design it
95% of cover letters are written, usually on a really boring word doc. If you want to stand out from the crowd a well-designed letter, including your personal identity, will put you leagues ahead.

Keep it short
Employers are time poor and have hundreds of applications hitting their inbox, so you need to keep your cover letters short and sweet. A good rule of thumb is to time yourself reading the letter; if it takes over a minute to read, edit it back.

Don't forget your contact details
I can't tell you how many amazing covers letters I've received that forget to add contact details. So make sure you include your name, email address, website url and link to your profile on The Dots (www.the-dots.co.uk). Employers need to know how to find you.


Poster by Gemma Correll


6. Take a break after graduation

So now you've got all your ducks in a row; a kickass portfolio, resume, cover letter, a profile on The Dots, a website and a couple of internships under you belt, what's next?

Take a break
You've got the rest of your life to work, so enjoy that freedom. See friends, party, travel, volunteer, chill - whatever floats your boat, you've earned it. It's also great preparation for that all-important first gig, as you've got the freedom out of your system and you'll be ready to throw yourself into your career.

Check your emails
Make sure you quickly check your email at least three times a week. There would be nothing worse than coming back from an amazing break and finding you'd missed out on that dream job offer.



7. Time to land that dream job, apply for roles.

Keep in touch with your lecturers and careers advisors from university

Many creative companies ask universities for advice on their star performers, so keeping in touch will ensure you're top of mind.

Research companies and hit them up directly
Research companies you'd love to work for and drop them a line direct to see if they have any roles going.

Keep interning
Unless you're one of those lucky graduates who lands a job straight out of university, keep interning while searching for jobs. You'll keep your skills fresh and, if you make a good enough impression, the internship could evolve into a full-time job.

Get Creative
Two candidates I know landed jobs at a leading agency by holding the domain names of the top creative directors to ransom, in return for a meeting with them. They then showed up at a number of agencies, with a camera and wearing balaclavas to present their portfolio. And while I'm not advocating trying the same stunt (it's been done so don't go there) it does prove that coming up with a unique and innovative way to get in-front of a company can work.

Set up job alerts & apply
Hit jobs boards - like the one on The Dots - and set up job alerts and start applying.

Pay attention to the details when applying for jobs
It's really important to read job descriptions carefully and check if an employer has, for example, specified what type of portfolio they want to see. If an employer has asked to see an online portfolio, make sure that's what you send, and not a PDF or Word document.

Personalise your application
When you apply for jobs make sure you direct your application to the right person, don't just address it "Dear Sir/Madam". If you're not sure who the right person is simply call the company and check, they won't mind.
Don't forget to include your cover letter

Reengage with contacts
Email past contacts you made while interning, at events, at conferences etc. Let them know you've recently graduated and ask if they've heard of any great roles going.


8. Time to land that dream job, prepare for interview

Spending time preparing for interviews will not only improve your chances of landing the job but will also reduce the nervous energy that builds up before an interview.

Swot up on the company
Before interviews, research the company. Who are their clients? What are their areas of expertise? The more you know about the company, the more the company will believe you really want to work there.

Prepare questions
Prepare some questions to ask at your interview. Employers will invariably ask if
you have any questions during the interview, getting a blank response simply shows you're just not that interested.

Know your audience and plan your wardrobe accordingly
Before you rock up for an interview get a feel for what kind of environment they work in; formal, or informal. Believe me there's nothing worse than rocking up for an interview in a suit if the person interviewing you is in jeans, and visa versa.

Prepare physical examples of your work to bring to the interview
During an interview if you're showing a print piece in your portfolio, studios like it if you bring a copy of the actual piece with you, as it gives them something tactile to relate to.

Write a script about each project
Communication in an interview is key. Employers don't want to just see your project, they want to understand your thinking behind it. A top tip is to draft a script explaining each project ahead of time, which you can read just before an interview to refresh your memory. It will take the pressure off big time.


9. Time to land that dream job, interview time

Leave a calling card
An employer may see as many as eight people in a day while interviewing, so all too often the interviewees can blur. Leaving behind a calling card is a great way to refresh an interviewer's mind when they come to reviewing candidates; be it a business card, a piece of your work.... Or the wonderful Jeremy Wortsman from The Jacky Winter Group has gone as far as to say he'd hire anyone who brings him muffins... magic!

Follow up straight after
When you get home after the interview drop the person that interviewed you a note to say how lovely it was to meet them; it's a nice touch that shows you're not only passionate about the role but also efficient and professional.

Ask for feedback
If you didn't get the job, spin it to your advantage and ask for feedback. It will help you better prepare for the next big interview.

Be passionate and let your personality shine
Something I hear time and time again from companies is that they see lots of great creative graduates, but not that many great people. In the end companies are looking for creatives that will work well in their organisation, so if you're not friendly, passionate and personable they'll simply hire someone else. Oh and always wear a smile.

Be humble
Don't say you're a great designer; say you want to be a great designer. Employers are looking for team players that they can mould, not people who think they know it all. It doesn't matter how talented you are, if they get a feeling you're going to be a pain in the arse they won't hire you.



10. That first job!

So you've landed that all-important first job, but that's not a reason to take your foot off the gas. Quite the reverse in fact. First jobs are invariably not all you dreamt of; essentially you're doing the donkey work that no one else wants to do. But work hard, be professional and soak up as much as you can and you'll be promoted before you know it.

Read ‘How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul'

Find a mentor
Identify which person in the office you aspire to be like in 5 years and ask them to be a mentor; they'll be honoured and you'll get someone to lean on if you need it.

Make yourself indispensable
Take on every task with open arms and ask for more if you have down time.

Be a sponge
You're there to learn, so lap it up.

Be lovely to everyone
Unfortunately not everyone out there is nice, but don't make enemies, they can last a lifetime.

Take it on the chin and get on with it
You're not going to love all of the tasks that are given to you, unfortunately that's the reality of work, but be enthusiastic about everything, work hard and always wear a smile. The more you jump to every task, the more you'll get to work on the fun stuff.

Be part of the conversation
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Talent only takes you so far, being passionate and a real contributor will take you the whole nine yards. There's always a fine line between passion and arrogance, so learn to get a feel for how people react to your suggestions and adjust accordingly.

Work your socks off
It's a simple equation - the harder you work, the faster you'll get promoted.

Ask for feedback
The more you ask for feedback, even if it's negative, the faster you'll grow as a designer. If you come to work every day with a big smile on your face, work hard, seem genuinely eager to learn and make yourself indispensible your boss will be more inclined to help you get to that next level.


Pip Jamieson is founder of creative community The Dots


Founded by John Stanbury in 2006, Advice to Sink in Slowly provides free illustrated posters to first year art students bearing wise advice and words of inspiration from established creatives. The aim, says Stanbury, is to provide advice in a creative format that "people will want to live with, and which can let advice sink in slowly and be there to help out later on."

Its first wall calendar is priced at £15, with all proceeds going towards producing and distributing new posters. It's a worthy cause, and features work by a host of great illustrators. Design: We Three Club.
Buy a copy at advicetosinkinslowly.net

CR December: The Photography Annual

Posted: November 21st, 2014 | Author: Creative Review | Filed under: Advertising, Books, Digital, Graphic Design, Illustration, Magazine / Newspaper, Music Video / Film, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

December's CR is a double issue and features our Photography Annual; 80-pages of the best in editorial, advertising, fashion, stock and personal work...

This year's Photography Annual (in association with Precision Printing) includes some fantastic imagery from a wide range of experienced practitioners and relative newcomers. We launched the special issue last night at the Design Museum and were able to celebrate the achievements of those whose work is featured in its pages and the seven projects which were judged Best in Book. Congratulations to all.

Flip the issue over, and up front in the regular CR half we look at how Precision Printing worked to produce this year's Photography Annual cover; take a look at the best of this year's Christmas ads; and look at the Barry Island climbing wall which doubles as an art installation. We also have Bagpuss as we 'almost' new him.

In the columns, Daniel Benneworth-Gray struggles to cope with two new demanding clients in his life – a poorly wife and child; while in Logo Log, Michael Evamy explores the power of punctuation in branding – on the back of the NSPCC's recent logo redesign.

Kicking off our main features, Patrick Burgoyne talks to designer Vince Frost about his new self-helf book, Design Your Life. In it Frost explains how the same design principles which work for clients can be applied to making our personal lives better.


Patrick also investigates the social and political challenges that our ageing populations pose to Western economies – and looks at the opportunities that might arise, too.

Eliza Williams examines a year in which native advertising established itself as a controversial presence in our media landscape...

...and in using materials that change colour in the wind – or even react to brain activity – Rachael Steven talks to The Unseen, an 'exploration house' effortlessly combining art and chemistry.

French graphic designer and illustrator Jean Jullien is much in-demand at the moment and Mark Sinclair talks to him about his work to date as he leaves his adopted home of London for New York.


Five years ago, Sophie Ebrand swapped life as an advertising account manager for that of a professional photographer – and she's never looked back. Eliza Williams meets her.

In Crit, Jean Grogan attends a Paris conference on the work of type designer, artist and ad man Roger Excoffon, whose work is enjoying something of a revival at the moment...

... and Craig Oldham is also conference bound – to Manchester's People's History Museum for an event dedicated to the history of the political poster in Britain.

Finally, Paul Belford celebrates a type-only poster designed by the late Alan Fletcher which proves that working counter-intuitively can pay off in a big way.

Words of the Umbrella Movement

Posted: November 20th, 2014 | Author: Yan Kallen | Filed under: Graphic Design, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

"No to Pre-selected Candidates" banner on a back-lit bus shelter advertising. Unintentionally combining the written banner with the calligraphic artwork of a property development artwork.

In a city where the majority of writing is finger scribbled on the screen of a smartphone, Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement has developed into an unexpected platform for handwriting and handmade typography.




Collection of handwritten and handmade words from mun-ji.com






Throughout the occupied areas, students and protesters have created and put up a large amount of visually striking handmade banners and signs to express themselves.

A four character sign saying "In the light of honesty" becomes part of a barricade in Harcourt Village, Admiralty

Vertical arrangement unique to Asian languages, seen on banners hanging on a bridge that leads to the government headquarters, above the protest area. Harcourt Village, Admiralty

The spirit of Chinese calligraphy or 'shu-fa'; which literally means "the way of writing", is an outlet to practice self-discipline and concentration, and to articulate thoughts and emotions with brush strokes. With or without aesthetic considerations, the written words of the Umbrella Movement have undeniably shown qualities of calligraphy and typography design, and can definitely be appreciated as such.


A banner written in retro style asking protesters to patron the small shops and businesses that may be affected by the protests. Lower Nathan Village, Mong Kok

The occupied streets or "villages" as some called them, have grown into a place where anyone can freely express their words and share them publicly. As they express their political views, cheer on and encourage fellow protesters, and write banters to mock government officials, these calligraphy and typography designs currently hanging in the streets have inadvertently become one of the icons of Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement.


3D letters "Add Oil", a Chinese figure of speech meaning to "give effort" "to stay strong" or "Add Fuel". - Harcourt Village, Admiralty.


Calligraphy poetry on the top of a tram stop, the tram stop is also shelter for protesters staying overnight. - Causeway Bay, Hong Kong


A banner with the words "Civil Disobedience" laying on an area of dead bushes that was trampled on the day the police fired teargas at protesters. - Harcourt Village, Admiralty


Calligraphy written on umbrellas. - Harcourt Village, Admiralty


The large word "bath" labels a shower station for protesters built by the students. -Harcourt Village, Admiralty.


Banner created with found materials. Harcourt Village, Admiralty

Yan Kallen is a visual artist from Hong Kong. See more at mun-ji.com



Guatemala City type project

Posted: November 20th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Graphic Design, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Richard Heap is a British graphic designer who now lives and works in Guatemala City in Central America. He recently started taking pictures of type he comes across in the capital's Zone 1 district – and in tracing the images in Illustrator back at his studio, he has begun to document the city's urban lettering...

Heap is a designer at Studio Domus, an architectural firm in the Guatemalan capital. He moved there three years ago (his wife is from Guatemala) and has recently started to photograph typography in the downtown area of his adopted city.

"For the past couple of weeks I've been exploring the capital, photographing and then vectoring the type on the buildings in the historic Zone 1 district," he explains. "It's a rough area, and well past it's 1950s heyday, so I was bobbing in and out of the car, snapping a few pics and then tracing them in Illustrator.

"Some of the traces are a bit rough and ready as all the photographs are, naturally, angled upwards. But I feel it gives a good idea of what the area is like."

"Guatemala City was known as the 'Silver Cup' in reference to its beauty," says Heap. "Since then the city has been plagued by poor urban planning, crime and traffic problems – yet some buildings are real gems, if somewhat dilapidated. I thought it would be a nice idea to graphically record these in an ongoing project before any further deterioration takes place."

Heap explains that he takes several images at each site – the shots taken straight on to the signage are then used to draw out the type. "I haven't been able to access any neighbouring or opposite buildings to get a clean 'flat' photo to work from, so I always need to take into account that I'm looking up. However, the photos online are deliberately 'not' the shots I vector from as those images are zoomed in and don't give you a sense of the building or context."

Trying to date many of the examples is problematic, says Heap, who estimates that the majority of the lettering he has photographed dates from the 1920s to the 1960s.

"[With] some we know [the year] from the type itself – e.g. El Danubio, above – but others I can't find out; either the tenants have no idea, or the building is uninhabited. If I had more time or contacts I'd love to dig deeper into this. Furthermore, Guatemala City's Zone 1 is a pretty sketchy area, so I generally don't like hanging around."

Heap says that the project is ongoing and he is set to photograph three sites next month, including Guatemala's Estadio Olimpico which was built in 1948.

The full series to date is at richardheap.com/#/zone-1-type.

A Quality of Light: Vintage Classics’ Virginia Woolf series

Posted: November 18th, 2014 | Author: Mark Sinclair | Filed under: Books, Graphic Design, Photography, Type / Typography | Comments Off

Over the last two years, Vintage Classics has republished 14 of Virginia Woolf's works in an ongoing series which includes her novels, essays and diaries. For the series' cover designer James Jones it's been an opportunity to use images from a range of photographers and create a set unified by the strength of its imagery...

Take a look at any recent round-up of great book cover design and it seems that illustration and type-only designs are more popular than ever – photography, it now seems, perhaps less so.

But Vintage's ongoing publication of the complete works of Virginia Woolf (based on her original Hogarth Press texts) has developed into a series linked by its great choice of photographic image.

The covers often use tight crops of pictures (there are four examples below), with some subtle tonal manipulation, all of which is overseen by Jones.


For the Vintage designer, the job of covering the full set – of which Street Hauntings (above) was the most recently published – began with an immersion in Woolf's world. "Redesigning Woolf's novels was a challenge, not just because of the endless options out there, but for the fact I hadn't read any of her work beforehand," Jones explains.

"I was surprised by how obscure and highly experimental it was; her work is distinctive, her style her own, and her words bold and new. And it was the words I was struck by the most, so I began visualising the first few paragraphs of her novels purely through typography."

A detail from Jones' first typographic idea is shown below (this was later exhibited in the Killed Covers exhibition at the Hay on Wye festival).


Jones says that, while keen on the type-based approach, the route didn't convey "how contemporary her novels felt, and it would prove a challenge to stretch the typographic route across her many books. What I really wanted to bring across, and what I felt was missing from my earlier ideas," he says, "was the sense of colour and light that I pictured when reading her work."

Senior editor at Vintage, Frances MacMillan, concurs. "We wanted new jackets which would make potential readers rethink their ideas of this famous author; covers which presented Woolf as modern, relevant and surprising," she says. "Woolf's own beautiful, sensuous descriptions of light and water in The Waves were one of the starting points for inspiration."


The Waves, one of Woolf's most experimental books, was the first to be published in the new Vintage edition in April 2012. To the Lighthouse followed and set the tone for the resulting series.

Jones says that he and MacMillan picked out various passages from each book that could be investigated further – key moments, themes and setting descriptions all played their part when looking for the right images. The designer then researched photographs that helped to represent certain lines within the work, however abstract they were.

"We decided to go photographic, and give a wide brief – the main thing we were looking for in the photos was a certain quality of light: early evening summer light; hazy, sunny light; or cold London daylight," says MacMillan. "Suffused colour, and over-exposed, bleached or tinted images seemed to suit the intensity of Woolf's voice."

"Cropping of these images was important, as it kept the covers modern and fresh," says Jones. "A good example would be for The Waves. A wrinkled bed sheet. A window. A dark line across the horizon. All feature in the first few paragraphs, and I loved how with the right crop the bedsheets themselves resembled the title of the book." The original photograph is shown below, beneath an image of the finished cover.

Giacomo Furlanetto, Millennium Images


"We wanted the photos to mirror her famous stream-of-consciousness style and represent captured moments, giving the sense of lives going on before and after the photo taken," adds MacMillan. "Unusual details, or an odd crop, would suggest a unique, innovative point of view."

Most of the images used in the set are crops of larger photographs but what's perhaps more surprising is how tight the details extracted are.

For Jones, this was about focusing in on certain details in the images which would then help to bring the overall series together – as in the cover designed for Woolf's famous lecture, A Room of One's Own, which uses a small element from the right-hand side of second shelf of books in Matthew Somorjay's picture, shown below. (Jones would then work with the tones, highlights and saturations of each of the images to bring them all into line.)

Matthew Somorjay, Millennium Images


"I wanted to zoom in quite heavily to focus on the shadows and the light falling against the books," he says. "You can also see how the colours have been altered to fit in with the rest of the series. Each cover uses a different photographer and most of them were represented by Millennium images as they seemed to have the style of photograph I was after.

"Making each unique image work as part of a series proved trickier, but was solved through the colour changes and again the crops of the images."

Matthew Strong, Getty Images

Tim White, Millennium Images


"When it came to the type – a version of Caslon – I wanted to keep it quite elegant and simple so as not to distract from the images," says Jones. "

Each cover was great to work on and hopefully as a series they tie together well and represent the authors style of writing, which is still an active influence on many writers working today."

The Vintage Woolf series is published by Vintage Classics. More details here. Jones is also one of the founders of the CMYK blog which charts the design of various Vintage books. For more of his work, see jamespauljones.tumblr.com or follow him via @jamespauljones

Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014

Posted: November 13th, 2014 | Author: Antonia Wilson | Filed under: Photography | Comments Off

David Titlow has won the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2014, with a photograph capturing his nine-moth old son Konrad being introduced to a dog. Here are this year's winners and other highlights from the competition...

Titlow's winning photograph, entitled Konrad Lars Hastings Titlow, is a beautiful, intimate, unstaged shot, and just one of several in the diverse selection in the exhibition that looks towards new styles of what we might consider as ‘portraiture'.

Working in fashion and advertising, Titlow has had his work featured in publications including the Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph and Vanity Fair. He typically shoots on a Nikon D800, but prefers his "noisy and battered" Lumix GF1 for personal work including this shot.

"My girlfriend, Sandra, is Swedish and we often visit a midsummer party with her old school friends. It was the morning after a big party and everyone was a bit hazy from the previous day's excess," says Titlow. "I always try to have a camera with me, and as my girlfriend passed our son to friends on the sofa, the composition and backlight was so perfect that I had to capture the moment. The spontaneity of Konrad interacting with the dog and the beautiful Swedish sunlight flooding in from behind the sofa made the scene look like a painting."

Judges included the National Portrait Gallery's director Sandy Nairne, curator and Vogue contributing editor Robin Muir, artist Bettina von Zwehl, the National Portrait Gallery's head of photographs collection Phillip Prodger, and business group director at Taylor Wessing LLP Niri Shan.

59 images including the winning work have been chosen from 4,193 submissions, to be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 Nov 2014 until 22 Feb 2015.

Second prize went to Jessica Fullford-Dobson, for Skate Girl - a portrait of a seven-year-old Afghan girl at a skate school in Kabul.

‘The series reveals that Afghan girls are like any others in the world," explains Fulford-Dobson. "What I loved about this girl, was how immaculately dressed and composed she was. The skate hall is a dusty, noisy place filled with laughter and yelps of excitement as the girls skateboard freely, up, down and around with their robes and scarves flying."

Birgit Püve won third prize, for Braian and Ryan, from her Double Matters book featuring more than 80 sets of identical twins and triplets in Estonia. Dissatisfied with the results after an initial meeting, she returned for a further session with the boys in the shot: "This time, the boys had already become used to me, the light was perfect - all the pieces fitted together."

Blerim Racaj won forth prize with Indecisive Monet, from a recent, unpublished series about young Kosovars, triggered by the socio-polictical landscape in Kosovo and the high level of unemployed young people. "I'm aware that almost every Kosovar is affected by painful traumas of the war, directly or indirectly," says Racaj, who, seeking to denote the uncertain future of the teenage subjects, used black-and-white film with single flash to create a deliberately "dark, mundane environment" during the shoot.

The John Kobal New Work Award went to Laura Pannack for Chayla in Shul, depicting a rabbi's daughter, from the Purity series that focuses on Orthodox Jewish women and girls living in Stamford Hill, north London - a project that connects with her cultural heritage.

And here are a few of our highlights from the rest of the exhibition...

Lewisham Chair of Council Cllr Obajimi Adefiranye, from the series The London Borough Mayors 2013-2014 by Ian Atkinson; a project recording the diversity of the population of London by photographing serving mayors or civic heads of all thirty-two boroughs.

Nataly Angel Miranda, from the series Dancing Like a Woman by Viviana Peretti, captures the Colombian drag artist and ‘Miss Bambuco Gay 2012', waiting to take part in the 2013 competition.

Boy with Drape, from Heiko Tiemann's Infliction series, photographed at a school for young people with complex social or emotional backgrounds.

Arvi, by Sami Parkkinen is a portrait of the photographer's son aged two in his own winter coat, from an ongoing series about relationships between fathers and sons.

47 Years Later (A tribute to Diane Arbus), by Catherine Balet, is a portrait of Ricardo Martinez Paz, and is part of a series in which Balet reimagines iconic images in the history of photography in collaboration with the 73-year-old model.

Dad by Kelvin Murray captures the photographer's father Charles, who was diagnosed with cancer a few months before this photo was taken. "Dad had always liked to be photographed and although he was very ill, seemed happy to go along with my ideas," Murray says.

Myrtle McKnight, My Mother, from the series The Object of My Gaze, by Marcia Michael, is a portrait of the artist's mother undressing, presenting an aesthetic that "challenges the way of looking, that lessens the gaze and dispels the normal trope of race and sex that exists in identity formation," Michael explains.

Tim, by Laura Stevens, depicts Tim Andrews, who since being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2005 has turned himself into a living art project, having been photographed by over 300 photographers. "I wanted to make a portrait that wasn't immediately about his illness, but a beautiful and intimate image of him, connected and at peace with his body," Stevens says.

Unexpected, by Lenka Rayn H, captures the daughter of a friend of the photographer, who commissioned a pair of portraits of his two daughters. "I expected two giggling girls, but to my surprise they were really serious and great at following my directions," H describes. "I was able to create something totally unexpected as their father gave me creative freedom and fully trusted me."

Embrace by Buki Koshoni, from the Ace & Marianne series, was taken just after the artist's wife gave birth to their son. Although Koshoni had doubts about his decision to photograph the birth, he sought the reassurance of his wife: "Without a hint of self-consciousness, she allowed me to photograph the birth in its entirety. I owe this shot to her and of course my son, Ace," he says.


Robert Heinecken: Lessons In Posing Subjects

Posted: November 12th, 2014 | Author: Eliza Williams | Filed under: Art, Photography | Comments Off

US artist Robert Heinecken rose to prominence in the late 60s, creating photo collages that explored questions of sexuality and consumerism. His work often proved controversial during his lifetime but is being reappraised now in a series of exhibitions, including a show at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. We talk to curator Devrim Bayar about Heinecken's work, and whether it will could still prove objectionable to feminists...

Heinecken described himself as a 'paraphotographer', because while photography was always central to his work, he was interested in exploring the medium as a subject in itself, and created works in a number of forms, including sculpture, video and collage. Earlier this year, a major retrospective at MoMA in New York looked at work from throughout Heinecken's career, yet the show at Open Eye (which originally appeared at Weils contemporary art centre in Brussels) hones in on a particular period, when he was creating artworks using a Polaroid SX-70 camera. Titled 'Lessons In Posing Subjects', the series repurposes images from popular culture to explore the way that female sexuality is used to fuel consumerism. This is the first time this body of work has been shown in its entirety in the UK.

Above and top: Lessons In Posing Subjects: Standard Pose #1 (Hands/Neck/Head), 1982

"The exhibition concentrates on a technique," explains Bayar, curator of the show at Weils and Open Eye, "the use of the Polaroid SX-70 and how Heinecken subverted this widely popular technology. In 1972, when the SX-70 was launched, it enjoyed immediate success in the general public as well as in artist circles. It was the first easy-to-use camera that instantly produced colour prints. As a first step, Heinecken used the SX-70 like everybody else: to make snapshots of his wife, their intimacy etc. Very quickly though, he started re-photographing existing images, and more specifically, photos of mannequins in mail-order magazines and pornographic magazines.

"By photographing them with his Polaroid camera, Heinecken gives them a natural appearance, spontaneous, whereas these images are completely artificial. With this new tool, Heinecken explored important notions such as biography vs. fiction, true vs. false, and reality vs. representation, which is what the show hopes to emphasise."

Conversations about art and artists from He/She series (#9), 1980

While in his earlier work, Heinecken tended to work with photography as a subject, rather than taking shots himself, with the arrival of the Polaroid SX-70, this changed. "During his entire artistic career, Heinecken challenged the idea that photographic images are transparent windows onto the world," continues Bayar. "Instead he tackled their materiality in order to make apparent the latent content of the mass media: war, violence, pornography, sexuality, consumerism, etc. To paraphrase Heinecken’s own words “the photograph is not a picture of something, but an object about something”. Heinecken experimented with a large variety of techniques to tackle the materiality of photographic images, such as collage, lithography, photograms etc. The use of the Polaroid SX-70 camera is thus only one of the steps in his ever experimental approach. However it is quite a surprising one, as Heinecken was known for working with photographic images without ever using a camera.... It thus corresponded to quite a radical change in his method."

Lessons In Posing Subjects: Standard Pose #9 (Both Hands/Hips), 1982. All images © The Robert Heinecken Trust

Objectification of women was a central subject in Heinecken's work, though his preoccupation with it raised the ire of feminists when it first appeared, who denounced the artist as a misogynist. For Bayar, this is a complex issue. "I think that this view has changed but there are still people who feel his work is complacent with the objectification of women in mass media," she says. "Having researched his work extensively and been in contact with several people who were close to the artist, I am convinced that Heinecken's images, as seducing as they are, are strongly critical and engaged. As the artist himself replied, with his deadpan sense of humour, to a journalist who called him a 'misogynist photographer', he said he wasn't sure 'whether to be more insulted at being called a misogynist or a photographer'. I think this sums up quite well his way of thinking."

Bayar sees Heinecken's exploration of the blurred lines between reality and fiction in photography as being especially pertinent to today, when we live in a world of constant self-documentation. But whereas Heinecken was keen to point out the codes hidden in imagery, and thus the falsehoods, today we are inclined to disguise ourselves in a fiction more than ever. "Today, everyone can photograph their life with a click of an iPhone and give their images any filter thanks to special applications on smartphones and computers," she explains. "In a certain way, it’s the inverse phenomenon which produces itself: we give our life an artificial look. These images can then instantly circulate around the internet and be shared with the entire world. Thanks to new technologies the phenomenon of recontextualisation of images, be they private or public, is exponential. Heinecken’s work announced this phenomenon of decontextualisation, the growing ambiguity between reality and fiction in photographic images and the culture of selfies in which we live in."

Robert Heinecken: Lessons In Posing Subjects is on show at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool until January 11. More info is here.

Exposure: Photographer Kate Peters

Posted: November 7th, 2014 | Author: Gemma Fletcher | Filed under: Photography | Comments Off

Art director Gemma Fletcher examines the work of photographer Kate Peters, in the first installment of a series looking at new talent in photography, from recent graduates to photographers breaking into the commercial world...


Kate Peters went out on her own in 2010 after several years assisting Nadav Kander, the golden ticket of all assisting jobs. Achieving a huge amount in just a few short years, she has exhibited around the globe, won numerous awards and has built up an impressive portfolio of personal and editorial work for high profile clients including Time, New Statesman, Monocle and the Guardian.

Pictured above: Lee Scratch Perry from the series Before and After

Mo Farah

One of the first things that strikes you about her work is the rich depth of every single image. The majority of Peters' work is shot on film and she is an avid evangelist of the #filmsnotdead movement. Shooting with a waist level finder means that she can have direct contact with her sitter, creating a more collaborative environment, which shows in the images.

There is plenty of debate about the use of film versus digital, some champion its superior quality, while others believe it to be an archaic medium. For me, the seduction of film in a visual landscape where digital is ubiquitous, offers a welcome change. However, it's crucial that it's used to support the process rather than for novelty's sake.

Mistress X from the series Yes Mistress

Peters' work focuses on how we construct alternative realities, both physically and psychologically. Truth and fiction, performance and documentary, all play a part in her work.

She is best known for her project Yes Mistress where she created an alternative representation of the often clichéd roles of women and men. The project explored the dominatrix and the client and the shifting complexity they encounter as they switch between everyday life and the world of BDSM.

Likewise her recent series Before and After examines a similar idea with performers, where she photographed them immediately before and after they went on stage as they flex between their different personas.

Edilaine from the series Under the watchful eye: Women in Brazil

In many projects, Kate examines the representation of women and how this has changed over time in different cultures. Shot in Brazil in the lead up to the World Cup, Under the watchful eye: Women of Brazil tells the story of twenty two unique women, whose histories illustrate what life is like in such a culturally diverse country.

With photography still a male dominated industry it's exciting to see emerging female photographers embrace and share female-centric stories.

Daisiane from the series Under the watchful eye: Women in Brazil

Gilbert and George

Like Nadav, Peters presents well-known faces in ways we haven't seen before. The images feel intimate, emotional and mesmerizing. There is an openness to her work, and she has an ability to illustrate vulnerability and personality in both a delicate and sophisticated manner, like that of Katy Grannan.

Zindzi Mandela

Although tackling diverse subject matters, Peters' work has a distinct style and aesthetic consistency, which rings true whether she is shooting portraits, landscapes or still life - something that often takes photographers years to achieve. Blending the traditional craft of the medium with her fresh point of view she has created an impressive and enviable portfolio.

Manu Tuilagi

Keep an eye on the CR blog for the next piece in the series from Gemma Fletcher next month.




A celebration of print by Mark Vessey

Posted: November 6th, 2014 | Author: Eliza Williams | Filed under: Photography | Comments Off

There's something indescribably appealing about collections of old books and magazines, as these photographs by Mark Vessey prove...

Vessey photographs old publications piled into stacks or set in order as if on an imaginary shelf. Images of this kind are not especially original (Google 'photographs of piles of magazines' and you'll see what I mean), but Vessey's choices of subject, plus the careful way he places the objects (these are no casually slung piles) gives his photographs an unusual, special touch.

His most recent work features a complete set of William Shakespeare's plays (crop shown above, full image below). The titles are mismatching, from a range of publishers, and extremely well-thumbed, evoking memories of school and the forced enjoyment of the Bard.

Other works show collections of Penguin books, and old copies of style mags The Face, Vogue and Pop. For both The Face and Vogue, it's surprising to see how minimalist the spines are on these influential titles, while in the Pop image, it's a bit of a shock to see such little uniformity.

While Vessey's work appears to capture a moment in time, when print ruled, for him it's also about the order that comes through collecting."My work is about trying to establish a sense of order," he says on his website. "There is comfort in collecting things, studying things that people take for granted, grouping everyday objects in such a way that they become something special, seeing how they fit together to become a thing of great beauty."

More of Vessey's work can be viewed online at markvessey.com.