Student Week round up

Last week was our inaugural Student Week. Lots of students use Newspaper Club at this time of the year for final shows and portfolios so we put together a few blog posts offering advice to graduates from well known industry figures. In case you missed it, here’s a quick round up.

Three writers, Henrietta Thompson, Nick Ashbury, Dan Germain, three illustrators Noma Bar, Neil Roberts, Andy Smith, three designers Max Gadney, Michael Bow and err, me, told us what one thing they’d recommend students read.

Kim Papworth, global partner Wieden + Kennedy offered us some advice on portfolios and getting interview.

Simon Manchipp from SomeOne told students of design they weren’t designers.

And you might want to look at these posts (elsewhere on the web) from Michael Bierut, Michael Johnson, Frank Chimero, David Airey and Jamie Weicks superb The 50.

Good luck with the final shows and dissertations and all that.

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What one thing would you recommend students read? Designers edition.

Student Week: we asked some well known, and some not so well known, designers, illustrators and writers – what one thing would you recommend students read?

First up were the writers, yesterday it was the illustrators, today it’s the designers.

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Max Gadney used to be a covert agent for a private army in Eurasia and is now a designer. He’s the founder of After the Flood who recently made this fantastic infographic video for the BBC. He writes regularly for Eye Magazine.

Max Gadney

Picture by Matt Locke.

“Colin Ware’s Visual Thinking for Design is an important book. It takes designers back to basics of how our visual perception system works. The difference between seeing and looking is explored amongst a tonne of other interesting ideas.”

Michael Bow, who you may know as Bowtox, is a designer at W+K. I asked him to contribute because he graduated from Glasgow in 2010, so he’s closer to being a student than anyone else who has contributed.

“I went to a lecture with Bob Gill last month he had an amazing quote – ‘When you get a job, say an ad for a dry-cleaner ,­ many images come to mind, we all have preconceptions. My suggestion is to forget every image that comes to mind, forget everything you know about dry-cleaning.’

He continued ‘Instead of sitting at your computer, and looking at books, go to a dry-cleaner, and sit there. The way to get an interesting idea is to go to the source, stay there until you have thought of something interesting about dry-cleaning. Then, listen to that idea and it will design itself.’

He said he had been saying it for years every time someone asks him how to design well.

They talked about it on CR blog here.

I think ‘How to be a graphic designer without loosing your soul‘ is really helpful to read before you start going to placement interviews. It’s pretty basic stuff but to have it all written down like that when you are basically on your own all of a sudden is pretty helpful.

I would say it’s more important to look at art than anything else, go to see lots of art exhibitions, London is the best city in the world for that.”

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And lastly – me. I’m Head of Art for Newspaper Club.

I’m going to recommend best design book I’ve ever read. In fact it’s one of the only design books you can actually read. It’s not full of long rambling texts, it’s not ful of impenetrable theory. It’s a joy to read, which is the sign of a good writer an even better editor. It feels like it was written by a really interesting bloke you met in a nice pub who happened to know a lot about graphic design.

Seventy-Nine Short Essays On Design

It’s Michael Bierut’s Seventy-Nine Short Essays On Design. Insightful, funny, full of passion and knowledge. Highly recommended. My original review covers it in more detail.

Newspaper Club Student Week

And that concludes Student Week. Hope you enjoyed it.

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Students of Design. You are not Designers. by Simon Manchipp

Simon Manchipp founder of SomeOne. SomeOne is a design practice that launches, relaunches & protects brands from Eurostar to The National Maritime Museum. Simon is an outspoken voice in the design industry and a member of the D&AD Executive Committee. He’s 8ft tall and owns over a thousand watches which he wears at the same time.

Terminology of job roles is a surprisingly potent thing. For years we at SomeOne shunned them, refusing to enter into the argy bargy of ‘my job is bigger than your job’. But it soon became clear that it was important for clients to know who they were talking to.

It was a bit like being at your degree show private view, spending a good hour doing your best to impress a person you were sure could be a potential employer — only to realise they were David’s Dad who was actually an actuary. So actually useless to your quest to become the world’s greatest graphic designer.

So we changed. But we didn’t want to do the Junior Designer, Middleweight Designer, Senior Designer routine — no one wanted to be a middle weight. Just as no one wants to be Mr. Pink — they all want to be Mr. Black.

So… we used terminology to describe the seniority of designer that was taken from the legal profession. Partners for the top, Design Associates for the senior, Design Counsel for the middleweight, Designers for the juniors.

It was a nightmare. No on understood who was doing what — unless you had studied to be a lawyer.

There’s a similar thing going on in Branding. There are all sorts of titles and descriptions surrounding the practice of launching, relaunching and managing brands. Thing is — Branding as a term just doesn’t really do it anymore, as anyone touching all manner of things from Social Media to Strategy affect how people experience products, services and organisations. So we’re all in it together.

I trained as a designer — I’ve always described myself as a designer and it’s what it says on my passport (alongside ‘Giant’ under distinguishing features). But even this fails me in polite conversation. ‘A designer of what?’ they’ll ask…

I’m left wondering, is there a better way of describing what we creative people do? Should we be creating a better way of not only describing our role, but using the opportunity as a rally call for the sector?

It seems to me that the work that clients pay us for — and that the award schemes recognise as great is that which makes an artistic leap. Great creative work is a lateral not literal interpretation of a business problem. It’s commercially minded, but artistically led.

Be it graphic design, typographic design, digital design, user experience design — all great design marries business imperatives with leaps of inspired lateral connections. Design is both commercial and artistic.

My father trained as a designer and when he started working professionally he was described as a Commercial Artist. Being a Commercial Artist gave him enormous flex — In fact he later worked in advertising, design, illustration, publishing and teaching. He’s now dropped the commercial part of the title and prefers to exhibit his work in the Mall Galleries & The Royal Academy. But the fact he has both parts of the picture, his commercial sensibilities and artistic abilities have enabled him to lend his hand to all manner of brand challenges. And so the same is true for today’s creative talent.

As a visiting external assessor of the Advertising & Design sides of Central St Martins I’m seeing some amazing students creating radical and progressive solutions for brands. They are fearlessly developing new ways for old brands to re-connect and re-invent with customers. In a single presentation I saw copywriting, strategy, animation, graphic design, typography and sound design. The new breed are not designers. They are commercial artists.

‘Creatives‘ are many things to many people. It doesn’t really matter what is written on your business card. It’s what you believe in that counts, how you act. Brands are not what they say but what they do — and people are no different. However the best people in creative positions today are not designers. They are Commercial Artists. It’s this mentality that changes everything.

It’s not a new term. But it’s the right term to describe what we are and what we should be aiming for. I work to launch, relaunch and manage brands. That‘s what my company is designed to do. Thats’s the truth. But it’s important not to confuse what is true with what is interesting. And what’s interesting is the way we work with those brands. It’s unconventional, compelling, exciting and rewarding. It involves music, paint, ink and cutting edge technology. It’s artistic. We have a Studio not an office.

Interestingly the number of entries last year to D&AD in Branding were up on the previous year. I think this reflects a new energy in the Branding practices around the world. There’s a new recognition that working in Branding these days isn’t like creating Corporate Identities of old. We now have an embarrassment of riches at our disposal. There are no limits to what we can conjure to create ownable branded moments for clients worldwide.

So this year — believe in yourself that little bit more. Delve deeper into your creative minds — remember what the chaos was like in Art lessons at school and later at university. Channel the clients commercial KPI’s, needs, wants and desires through your artistic abilities to create something that changes fortunes for all those involved.

So you’ve graduated. Start as you mean to go on. Be a Commercial Artist. Not a designer. It’s so much more rewarding for all involved.

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Newspaper Club Student Week

Stay tuned for more great stuff this week!

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What one thing would you recommend students read? Illustrators edition.

Student Week: we asked some well known, and some not so well known, designers, illustrators and writers – what one thing would you recommend students read?

Yesterday was the writers, today it’s the turn of the illustrators.

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Last week Noma Bar added to his D&AD yellow pencils with a win for the Don DeLillo covers and he was recently nominated in the graphics category of the Design Museum awards.

“just came back from 2 weeks holiday in tel-aviv & i found Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ouote on one of the walls the translation is: ‘A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away’ ”

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Neil Roberts is an artist and illustrator who works for 2000AD and Judge Dread and Doctor Who and the like.

Any book by Andrew Loomis.

I’m an illustrator, if you want to be a successful illustrator/ artist – and be considered a reputable one – then the only rule to have is: BE GOOD AT DRAWING.

Drawing is an old art form, like, reeeaaally old. They drew mammoths and stuff in some caves a long time ago, so it kind of pre-dates writing. Also, those people knew how to draw; they didn’t have those mammoths and tigers in the dark, fire-lit caves with them, they drew from memory.

Never underestimate your predecessors.

The fundamentals of good draughtsmanship are timeless: observe, interpret and repeat over and over again until you can do it well (and often without reference).

This basic idea transcends any fashion or intellectual trends. You can apply all that stuff when you’ve got the basics down.

Case in point: Picasso, who could draw expertly, he just chose not to; but he knew the rules and, therefore, knew how to break them.

If you have any desire to see how previous commercial (and successful) artists approached the medium, then I would insist you read any of these books (with more to come) by Andrew Loomis.

While you don’t have to copy his style, his approach and attitude will always be relevant.

Being able to draw is being able to communicate and a good artist is able to communicate without any language barriers. You can convey the synopsis for a story in one book cover, a complicated editorial idea through a quarter page illustration or entertain with a charming card design. Good quality draughtsmanship, composition and design will always shine through.

Remember, there are a lot of artists willing to suffer for their art, but very few willing to draw for it.

Be a good artist, the world needs you.

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Andy Smith is an illustrator who made one of the very first Newspaper Club papers. It’s still one we get asked about today.

I’d recommend taking a look at any of the books by Mike Perry but especially Handjob.  I am not really a reader of books but instead am a ‘looking at the pictures’ type of guy and this book is packed with great work that shows whats possible with lettering and its presented in a very lively, accessible way.

If I’m allowed another tip it would be to read this blog post by Jessica Hische. Its very difficult to figure out how price jobs when you’re new to the industry and whilst theres lots of very inspiring books about work theres not a lot of information about actually how to get paid what you should be getting paid and how to go about asking for it. To make a living from being an illustrator its so important that you get this right and feel confident about what you’re asking for.

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Newspaper Club Student Week

Stay tuned for more great stuff this week!

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Kim Papworth, Creative Director w+k, offers some advice

It took me six months to get my first job in design. I was lucky and I’m one of only a handful of people from my graphic design course working in design today. I imagine it’s considerably harder to find a job today. Kim Papworth is a global partner in Wieden + Kennedy, the advertising agency responsible for all the good Nike, Old Spice and Honda ads, and with Tony Davidson, he is Executive Creative Director for the London office. Previously to that they created the Flat Eric campaign for Levis.

I asked Kim for some advice for students looking to get into the industry.

Kim is the one on the right. With the feather.

I used to work at Wieden + Kennedy and they have a motto there – the work comes first. They really mean that. Do great work and everything else will take care of itself. So I was concerned Kim would say, do great work and you’ll get a job, when students may be looking for more practical advice than that. I shouldn’t have worried, Kim covered practical stuff as well as stressing the importance of good (really good) work.

Kim’s first piece of advice is something, regrettably, I didn’t do when I was looking for my first job. “Designers have taste. Find people with similar taste. Find work you like. Go and see those people. Then when you show your book hopefully there will be a spark.” A large part of whether you get hired depends on ‘cultural fit’ by following this piece of advice you’re already half way there.

To help with this Kim suggests keeping “a scrapbook with the people you like.” Another advantage of this is when you see these liked minded souls they will “give you advice you will feel comfortable with.”

I asked Kim if the people he sees have paper portfolios or online presentations. He said most people have an online book. “It’s a no-brainer.” I also asked if the old adage, put your best work first and last so they notice you and so they remember you, is still true? “Yes, it’s not a bad rule.”

Kim said he and Tony like to see a book that “looks like work in progress, something that could have been done last night, or on the bus”. Something that shows you don’t know everything. He recalled a story where Paul Weiland was showing his book to John Webster . Webster said this would be better if it was like this. So Paul picked up a pen and drew on the layout, in the portfolio, there and then, and said – like this? (Love to have been a fly on that wall!)

Weekend + Kennedy

He also recommended not being “afraid of putting in something playful or something different. Or something from a hobby. It allows people to get to know you better.” It also helps keep a portfolio interesting. Loads of ads / layouts can get boring. So how much is too much? “Too much work is not good. 3–5 separate campaigns/projects is about right. Remember 3 ads is a campaign.”

He talked briefly about interactive and Kim said it was “important to show you understand the interactive world” and he mentioned a digital session at w+k where creative Ida said understanding new technologies was “just about being inquisitive”. Showing you are hungry to learn.

I’m glad Ida came up. She’s interesting because, with her partner Fab, to get a job at w+k they took an approach many students take – a stunt. They stuck life-size photos of themselves pressed up against the outside of the windows to show how keen they were to get in.

So let’s nail this once and for all – does that work? “The work has to back it up. A stunt is OK, it gets you noticed, but if the work isn’t good enough it’s no good.”

After all, the work comes first.

Please don’t contact me or Kim if you’re looking to get into w+k, the best person to speak to is Hollie Newton.
Fab and Ida now work in w+k New York as a creative team. They’ve been at w+k for 6 years. The work must have been good.

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Newspaper Club Student Week

Stay tuned for more great stuff this week!

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What one thing would you recommend students read? Writers edition.

Student Week: we asked some well known, and some not so well known, designers, illustrators and writers – what one thing would you recommend students read?

Let’s start with some writers.

Henrietta Thompson, is a design writer and Editor -at-Large for Wallpaper magazine. She has also written for Arena, Blueprint, Business Life, Dazed & Confused, Design Week, the Independent on Sunday, Monocle and the Architects Journal. Recently she was on the jury panel for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year awards.

She simply recommends you read this book, Cradle to Cradle By William McDonough & Michael Braungart.

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Nick Ashbury is a writer for branding and design. His work has won two Yellow Pencils in D&AD Writing for Design and appeared in the annual four more times. He was a judge on this year’s Writing for Design jury.

“My best advice to aspiring copywriters is to get on Twitter – you don’t have to tweet, just follow some writers and see what they talk about every day. Twitter is good for writers, because it’s all about editing. And it’s good for ideas, because it connects you to a global hive mind. You can start here, but there are plenty more:!/asburyandasbury/some-writers ”

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Dan Germain is a writer, Head of Creative at Innocent, and responsible for the creative direction of the business, via its packaging, published work, advertising and tone of voice. He owns loads of beards.

“For those who want to write, I would read the D&AD Copy Book. I loved finding out how different people set themselves up to write great words – where they like to sit, what kind of chair is best, whether they wear a suit or a special writing hat. And, of course, how they dredged up great words. The great thing you learn is that there is no formula. You also get to read a load of the best copywritten ads ever.”


Newspaper Club Student Week

Stay tuned for more great stuff this week!

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It’s Student Week!

Newspaper Club Student Week

Yay! It’s Student Week here at Newspaper Club. Another innovate marketing initial that we’re becoming famous for.

Lots of students use our service throughout the year and for that we’re very grateful. In particular lots of art and design students use us to print papers for their final shows. It’s coming up to final show time of year now so we thought we’d ask a few well known, and a few less well known, people in the industry for some advice they can pass on to people about to graduate. And then call that Student Week. Clever eh? All this exciting content will appear on this blog.

There’s quite a bit of stuff like this on the internet already, in particular there’s Jamie Weick’s fantastic The 50 which lists 50 things every graduate should know. It’s well worth a look.

This Floor Graphic Design & Illustration

David Airey, as ever has a good round up here with loads of good links.

Michael Johnson discusses student portfolios here.

Frank Chimero has some useful, often quirky advice “Univers is a great typeface and white usually works” here

If you’re preparing your student portfolio, have a look at Michael Bierut’s here. Actually. maybe wait until after you’ve graduated…



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Beautiful Stamen Watercolour Maps paper

Here at Newspaper Club, a world leader in the uploading and ordering of PDFs for newspaper printing, we have always been big fans Stamen’s work.

Stamen Maps Newspaper

You can imagine our excitement when the order came in for a paper full of their new watercolour maps! Stamen have recently released three different map visual styles for use with OpenStreetMap under a Creative Commons licence*.

Stamen Maps Newspaper

They wanted to make a paper for the recent Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco. The paper features pull out posters of different cities using the gorgeous watercolour map. The watercolour treatment seems to really suit the texture of newsprint.

Stamen Maps Newspaper

Stamen Maps Newspaper

Holy smoke, that finished paper is a beautiful thing. I think I might get my copy framed.

Stamen Maps Newspaper

* This post was written by Art, it’s highly likely I got some of the map terminology wrong. Sorry for that.

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Prices rejigged (in a good way)

Just to let you know, we’ve put our heads together with our print partners to re-jig our pricing.

Pretty much all our smaller runs are now cheaper, and in some instances much cheaper. We’ve reduced the prices for nearly all smaller volume runs (i.e. up to 100 copies of up to 28 pages) with some of the pricing for 5 to 10 copies in the lower paginations dropping by between about a third and a half.

We love being able to make these sort of jobs more affordable. Our ambition is to make single copies as cheap as a daily newspaper, and this is now in sight. Once we’ve achieved this all sorts of new services become possible. Very exciting stuff is round the corner.

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For Immediate Release: The Next Generation of PDF Uploading Solutions

MD and Customer Service have gone for lunch, so it’s time for Engineering to get on the blog and crank out a badly worded and ill-informed press release full of crimes against verbs. Hold onto your browser.

Newspaper Club (London, United Kingdom & Glasgow, Glorious Independent Republic of Scotland), are pleased to announce the release of the next generation of PDF uploading.

This significant advancement will make it even easier to leverage the Newspaper Club printing platform, and seamlessly synergize your credit card with our state of the art Web-Site.

From today, all PDF files uploaded to Newspaper Club will be scanned by the unique PDF management solution before ordering. Valued customers will immediately receive a report detailing common issues, with helpful hints on how to resolve them going forward.

Common issues, such as fonts not embedded correctly, or the use of spot colours, will be highlighted in a simple report, indicating the page or the area in which they occur, allowing the customer to take action to resolve them, or to proceed regardless.

Anne Ward, Managing Director at Newspaper Club, noted, “Newspaper Club is a world leader in the uploading and ordering of PDFs for newspaper printing purposes, and this advance will cement our position at the top of the table.”

The 1700 page PDF file specification has almost killed me, so this better be worth it”, mumbled Tom Taylor, Head of Engineering. “But I ask customers with any feedback about this valuable service to send it in, allowing us to action their comments.”

Newspaper Club’s commitment to and sponsorship of the innovative, open source, Ruby based, pdf-preflight gem will enable others to leverage their effort and contribute onward improvements.

About Newspaper Club:

Newspaper Club helps anyone make and print their own newspapers. Since 2009, Newspaper Club has printed more than a million newspapers, and in 2010, was the recipient of a Design Museum Designs of the Year award. Learn more at

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