Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Once back at college, we were told to arrange ourselves into assigned groups of 8/9 students who whom we would present our findings. 

Each student had 5 minutes to present, and time after for questions and feedback to be written by the other students listening. 

Below is the feedback I received after my presentation. Overall I was happy with how it went, and it seemed to communicate the message intended.

Mainly positive however there are some constructive comments too. We were then asked to put our feedback into 3 different groups; Useful, could be useful and ego.


1. Very precise and in depth research on topic. 
2. Evidence that proves Behance can be so successful when used correctly.
3. Inspirational topic due to success.
4. Broad and detailed analysis.
5. Good examples of getting out and doing work.
6. Broad range of research.
7. Could have spent more time on info graphic facts when presenting.
8. What has this taught you over summer?
9. What other success stories are there, and what other designers have been noticed via behance?

Could be useful:

1. More visible images for presentation. 
2. Informative.
3. Could you possibly look at other designers submissions?


1. Strong presenting style.
2. Inspirational due to success.
3. Good personal use of the site.

This task helped to teach us how to focus on giving feedback which is useful and specific, opposed to general feedback we may of given in the past. 

From the written and spoken feedback, we were asked to create a list of 3 objectives or aspirations taken from todays constructive feedback:

1. Try and include personal experiences/design aesthetics to more work produced, to help engage the viewer and create more interest. My presentation today was said to be inspiring due to being relating to a personal experience with a positive and successful outcome. Feedback also seems more honest when others look at your own personal work, opposed to designers used as inspiration.
2.  Keep using Behance on a daily basis, to enhance publicity and promotion. Increase creative social networking use on other websites such as Issu or Designspiration.
3. Include more visuals in presentations when appropriate to help engage the viewer. This was mentioned today, and would make the topic easier to understand, as well as more interesting.

Thursday, 26 September 2013


Over the first year of the course, I learnt and developed many skills which have proven invaluable for my degree and for the industry.

In the second year, I would like to learn and improve the following:

  1. Improve screen printing skills and knowledge on printing processes
  2. Learn more about print, stock and production
  3. Learn the basics of web design, CSS and HTML. This will enable me to design my own website/portfolio, as well as developing skills which can be put to use for clients.
  4. Improve knowledge on the business side of the graphic design industry
  5. Improve my self promotion
  6. Learn more about freelance work or self employment as a graphic designer
  7. Keep practising and improving software skills
  8. Develop a personal, recognisable style to my work
  9. Improve group work and collaborations
  10. Keep improving contextual knowledge of graphic design to apply to my work, future dissertation and contextual briefs to be set.

Friday, 6 September 2013


Since Ruth Ansel became a genius in the fashion magazine industry, the need for graphic design was highly demanding. However it was when Peter Saville was commissioned for the a/w 1986/1987 lookbook for Yohji Yamamoto that graphic design was seen as a must within the fashion world, as it is in the music world. 

Below are scans from a book I own simply entitled, Graphic Design for Fashion. It offers an introduction to the background of the cross over between fashion and graphics and showcases branding, lookbooks, invitations and packaging design. 

The standard glossy magazine is still used widely throughout fashion based graphic design, along with inventive ideas such as fold out magazines, zines, origami, brochures and gifts. 


Vogue has always been an inspirational lifestyle and fashion magazine since it's beginning, however, it's possible to see how the female voices in graphic design such as Ansel brushed up the image as see below in chronological order, from oldest cover, to newest.

As you can see in the newest two images, collage is a key factor in graphic design for fashion, and is lightly used to add aesthetic detail and to include more imagery and design elements in a smaller space. 

This is something that is often seen in magazines such as Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Look and Marie Claire.

Below you can see how Topshop have adapted this trend for their A/W 13 campaign, as well as in their previous zines. Something else belonging to graphic design, which is used for advertising and promotion in the fashion world.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


Ruth Ansel proved to be a successful and important designer within the graphic design industry. As well as designing and publishing books for others such as Annie Leibovitz, she was featured herself in a book celebrating female designers. The book is called "Hall of Femmes" 

Hall of Femmes: The Female Icons of Graphic Design is a series of books published in regard to the female voices of graphic design.

"After spending some time in the creative industry, Swedish design duo Hjärta Smärta (“Heart Pain”) observed that there weren’t nearly enough female design role models at the forefront of our cultural awareness. So they started Hall of Femmes, an online project (alas, in Swedish) highlighting female designers and art directors who have significantly influenced creative culture. In 2009, the pair traveled to New York to interview some of these design icons as the basis for a series of books and soon thereafter they published four of these volumes honoring female creative legends."

The females mentioned in the book; Lillian Bassman, Carin Goldburg, Ruth Ansel and Paula Scher. Along with Ansel, each had a different voice within the graphic design industry, which still remains in tact today. Below is a brief summary of each designer and what they brought to the table. 

"Hall of Femmes: Lillian Bassman tells the story of one of the first art directors, who got her start as an assistant to Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar during the golden age of the American magazines in the late 1940s. In 1945, Bassman became art director for the newly launched Junior Bazaar, a fashion magazine focused on teenagers that functioned as a creative lab for up-and-coming creatives. The magazine folded just three years later, but the creatively agile Bassman taught herself photography and became one of Harper’s Bazaars’ most sought-after photographers. At 94 today, she still works every day.

Hall of Femmes: Carin Goldberg highlights the legacy of postmodernist book designer who earned the prestigious AIGA Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in 2009. Her career began in the 1970s as a designer at CBS Television and CBS Records, an era that expected you to be, as Goldberg puts it, “a cool, irreverent, experimental, hungry, talented smart-ass”. In the 1980s, she founded her own firm, Carin Goldberg Design, where she heads to this day. Over the past three decades, Goldberg has designed more than 1000 books for every iconic publishing house and has worked with legends like Madonna and Steve Reich, as well as Brain Pickings favorites Kurt Vonnegut and Susan Sontag.

Hall of Femmes: Ruth Ansel highlights one of the greatest magazine designers of all time, who over the past half-century has been shaping the visual aesthetic of some of the most influential magazines of our time as a visionary art director — Harper’s Bazaar in the 1960s, The New York Times Magazine in the 1970s, Vanity Fair in the 1980s, and running her own design studio since the 1990s. She has collaborated with nearly every icon of magazine publishing — Diana Vreeland, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibowitz, Bruce Weber, Tina Brown, and many more.In her 70s, answer remains active and creatively restless as ever.

The most recent in the series, Hall of Femmes: Paula Scher, covers one of my personal heroes, whose views on combinatorial creativity capture the founding ethos of Brain Pickings with remarkable eloquence. Scher began her graphic design career as a rebellious record cover art director at both Atlantic and CBS Records in the 1970s, where her hate for the then-ubiquitous Helvetica led her to create some of the most innovative and memorable typography of all time, which helped define the visual voice of New York City. In 1991, she joined iconic design firm Pentagram as a partner. Her stunning typographic maps have become one of the most celebrated feats of creative cartography. Her identity and branding systems have helped shape iconic cultural institutions and brands like Bloomberg, Coca-Cola, the Metropolitan Opera, the MoMA, and Citi. In 2001, Scher earned the coveted AIGA Medal for her contributions to graphic design. In 2006, she was awarded the Type Directors Club Medal. At 63, Scher remains a principal at Pentagram and teaches at New York’s School of Visual Arts." - - hall-of-femmes/

Between the 4 of them they came up with innovative ways to carry out fashion photography, design new fonts that were the opposite of Helvetica and made a statement with it. They introduced glamorous, clean, grid structured aesthetics of magazines and brought in creative art direction at its best.

Friday, 30 August 2013


For this section of the research brief I decided to look into the famous art director Ruth Ansel. Ansel is a legendary art director, and has had a ground breaking career as one of the first female voices in the graphic design industry. 

Ansel started her career within graphic design over 50 years ago, when she graduated from Alfred University with a degree in Fine Arts. With no intention of a career, she met graphic designer Bob Gill, who introduced her to the industry, and it was then that, graphic design became the start of her new life. 

I have a lot of respect for Ruth Ansel breaking into the design industry at such a crucial part when society was heavily reflected through style, modernism and post modernism. 

The career started in the '60s, when her work reflected the transitional moment in fashion and society. 

In 1961 she joined Harper's Bazaar Art Department, defining the look of influential magazines.

In the 1970s she became the 1st female art director of the NY Times.

In 1983 - 1988 she created the look of Vanity Fair. 

In 1991 she worked for HG. 

In 1992 she launched her own studio. 

She also helped direct Vogue and House & Garden at times.

Currently she lives on Manhattan's Upper West Side in a fashionable apartment. 

The Details. What did she do for the graphic design industry?

"Every decade has a few magazines that seem to reflect its cultural essence. During the experimental ’60s, Harper’s Bazaar redefined the fashion magazine. In the unsettled ’70s, The New York Times Magazine brought the rough and tumble world of the Nixon era into focus. And in the opulent ’80s, Vanity Fair pioneered the glamorization of the media. It just so happens that one woman, Ruth Ansel, was the art director for each of these magazines in its heyday.

Over the years, Ruth has worked with many of the great magazine imagemakers — from Irving Penn to Bruce Weber. She has designed books for Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon, and has overseen ad campaigns for Versace, Club Monaco, and many others. And yet, in spite of her stature in the world of graphic design, Ruth is startlingly understated when assessing her own work and its impact on culture.

Last month, photographer and friend Leeta Harding visited Ruth Ansel at her Upper West Side apartment, where she lives surrounded by her favorite photographs and bound volumes of some of the most arresting magazines of the past forty years." - - Ansel, Index Magazine

She was well known for bringing a glamorous edge to editorial design. She started with Harper's Baazar, transforming the publication into a superior trend and photography based fashion magazine, reflecting the social issues surrounding the issues noted at the time. 

"Being a magazine designer is a little like being an orchestra conductor" - Ruth Ansel.

Ansel was asked to leave Haper's Bazaar after many years of success. She made the following comment in regards to being bitter about the fashion industry?

"Actually I didn’t, because I never saw myself as belonging to fashion. I loved it in the same way that I loved film. I felt that it was a wonderful way to work with image-makers that I appreciated, admired, and was inspired by. But Bazaar felt they needed another kind of vision that would make the magazine more commercial. The day that publishing becomes a bottom line business is a sad day for creativity in magazines."

Noticeable traits of her graphic design and art direction in her works:

Interested in Picasso & Matisse. 
Casting was very important - "A good art director is silent"
Looking after major talents on board.
Looking for up and coming talents.
Interest in layering - type and image, or collaging any substance. 
Males on magazine covers.
Cutting and pasting opposed to digital design.
Graphic Covers
Bold and Colourful coves.
Relaunched the NY Times magazine when she starting working there, and admitted she had no prior knowledge of newspaper design.
Personalising cover stories and imagery.
Pop Culture referenced.
Playfulness and humour.
Fold out covers, made famous by Harper's Bazaar in 1966.
Boundaries pushed with imagery and context.
Culture and importance.

She placed a stamp on the 21st century luxury fashion magazine design, and influenced designers and studios up until present day by her bold, creative yet subtly simple work.

- - - -

Popular Works, Quotes and Explanations:

“Dick Avedon had shot a failed cover image with an impossible hat that he hated. We had to go to press that night and nothing was working. Suddenly I got the idea to pick up the scissors and start cutting. That did it. Designs appear dated in an astonishingly short amount of time, but in this instance, I was unprepared for how well it held up so many years later. If you had told me then that this cover would have creative longevity and live on as a mythic image re-emerging in 2009, I would have said you’re crazy.” 

Harper’s Bazaar, April 1965. Art direction by Ruth Ansel and Bea Feitler. Design by Ruth Ansel. Photograph by Richard Avedon.© 2010 The Richard Avedon Foundation.

“If I had to say what I consider the project I am most proud of—the one I had the most fun doing—it would be the April 1965 Bazaar Pop issue. I was out to provoke and challenge the reader. Dick, Bea Feitler, and I attempted for the last time in the history of American fashion magazines to conceptualize a new magazine. It was daring for its time: a fashion magazine that combined the power of a massive youth movement, pop culture, space exploration, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and go-go boots.” 

Harper’s Bazaar, April 1965. Art direction by Ruth Ansel and Bea Feitler. Design by Ruth Ansel. Photograph by Richard Avedon. © 2010 The Richard Avedon Foundation.

“I can’t claim having the idea of the fold-down Bazaar covers. That came from the publisher who sold ads on the basis of being able to charge the advertiser twice as much. I thought the fold-down cover was a great solution, although often we were told the last minute about the change and had to adjust our ideas while on set. Hiro, a tireless explorer who happened to be working with a camera, would add overlapping multiple images running off the page on a foldout cover, and Jimmy Moore would set up a quick reshoot to change a normal red stocking to a more graphic striped stocking from thigh to toe. He would add the surprise of showing another model’s hand wearing a plastic ring at the bottom of the fold-down cover to reveal another accessory.” 

Harper’s Bazaar, August 1966. Art direction by Ruth Ansel and Bea Feitler. Design by Ruth Ansel. Photograph by James Moore.

“The 1965 Steve McQueen cover came about because the editor was often dissatisfied with certain elements that we always seemed to ignore, for instance, that we didn’t show enough men in the magazine. That’s how we decided on Steve McQueen. If we had used Cary Grant it would’ve been less of a surprise. McQueen’s face, with his bad-boy smile, wearing a tux on the cover of a woman’s high-fashion magazine was a first. As my friend and critic Vince Aletti recently said, ‘McQueen occupies the cover with the female presence used mostly as a prop for the diamond bracelets. The impact of this surprising idea taking up the whole cover makes it truly new.’” 

Harper’s Bazaar, February 1965. Art direction by Ruth Ansel and Bea Feitler. Design by Ruth Ansel. Photograph by Richard Avedon. © 2010 The Richard Avedon Foundation.

Vanity Fair, a magazine for its time and of its time. All magazines are mirrors of social history. They give you an idea what it was like to be alive at a certain time. In the 80s, editor Tina Brown mixed high and low culture into a heady cocktail. Her editing style drove the art department around the bend. She would make us prepare as many as three issues worth of work for every issue before she finally decided on the content. That meant endless late nights in the art department and hours of reading manuscripts on the weekends.” 

From left to right: Vanity Fair, February 1984; art direction by Ruth Ansel; artwork by Keith Haring.Vanity Fair, January 1986; art direction by Ruth Ansel; photograph by Annie Leibovitz. © Annie Leibovitz (Contact Press Images). Vanity Fair, December 1986; art direction by Ruth Ansel; photograph by Herb Ritts. © Herb Ritts, California, 1986.

vanity fair

Other works from Ansel during her editorial career, book designing and designing the supplementary magazine for The New York Times. As you can see from all of the works shown above, she has a bold, glamorous, yet clean, chic and simple design style to play with. Her art direction is creative and enticing. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013


Self Promotion is an on going process which involves strategic planning, time and resources. There are many ways to go about this depending on your personal strengths, weaknesses and preferences. 


Networking – Online and Verbally
Being approachable
Business cards
Attending/hosting events
Hard-hitting introductions
An up-to-date website
Keep in the know – Know the industry
Be benevolent
Make amicable virtual networks
List yourself – Yellow Pages, Craigslist, Freelancer Directory, Behance, ISSU or Linked In