Wednesday, 20 September 2017

2017 Graduation

Visual Communication graduates, their families and friends have  attended 2017 graduation at the Grand Theatre Wolverhampton. The occasion has provided the opportunity to catch up with friends and celebrate the hard work and achievement of gaining a degree in Illustration, Graphics, or Visual Communication.

Congratulations to all 2017 graduates

Georgia Perring recipient of the The Sheaffer Prize for Outstanding Work on Live Commissions in Graphic Communications with Rachel Smallman of Smallman Media, representing Sheaffer

Rhiannon Powell recipient of the The Sheaffer Prize for Dissertation in Visual Communication

Jerome Wooton recipient of the The Sheaffer Prize for The Sheaffer Prize for Use of Language in Graphic Projects with Rachel Smallman of Smallman Media, representing Sheaffer

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Emma Parry - Sandwich Placement

Visual communication student Emma Parry is spending her next academic year on sandwich placement before returning to complete her degree from September 2018. Graphic designer Emma is on placement working for Fleet Design specialists in vehicle livery designs. Emma's role involves working in social media and branding for the company. Congratulations Emma.

Emma's placement was arranged through the Universities Careers Enterprise and the Workplace department

Research - Books Across The Sea, Beatrice ward and May Lamberton Becker

With support from a Centre for Print History and Culture, Visual communication lecturer Jessica Glaser,  has contributed to ‘Information and its Communication in Wartime’ a London University conference part of the AHRC-funded project ‘A Publishing and Communications History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46’. Her presentation, ‘Books as Weapons: Beatrice Warde, May Lamberton Becker and Books Across the Sea’ introduced the transatlantic book exchange founded by the respected Monotype Corporation publicity manager, Beatrice Warde and her mother, journalist and writer, May Lamberton Becker.

The conference brought together a range of international researchers with shared interests in communication in wartime. Many contributors discussed and presented images of British printed ephemera from the Ministry of Information during World War Two and pieces frequently featured typefaces promoted by Beatrice Warde for the Monotype Corporation. Although typography as an aid to communication was not specifically dealt with by the conference, links with the Monotype Corporation and Beatrice Warde, were indicators of Warde’s promotional success as well as the influence and significance of Monotype at this time.

At the outbreak of World War Two Books Across the Sea was established as a vehicle for two-way transatlantic communication and information exchange, revealing Warde and Lamberton Becker’s interest in increasing mutual understanding and goodwill through printed books as well as their desire to repair the moral, intellectual and physical damage inflicted on books during wartime. Functioning with the approval of the Ministry of Information in Britain, Books Across the Sea also had the approval of the Office of War Information, in Washington, an agency that brought together U.S. government information services to deliver propaganda in America and overseas. Initially established with a gift of seventy new American books, unpublished in Britain, chosen and sent as a gesture of encouragement to American and British friends, American book enthusiasts took part in a nationwide correspondence on which the choice of titles was based. By the end of 1941, guided under the chairmanship of T.S. Eliot, the first Books Across the Sea group, known as a ‘circle’ was established in London and attracted widespread interest in the collection which had quickly grown to 700 titles. A corresponding ‘circle’ was established in New York allowing books to pass between both countries in the luggage of friends of Books Across the Sea with transatlantic passage. Speaking metaphorically Beatrice Warde described the organisation as ‘A game of goodwill tennis with the Atlantic as the net’; she believed it allowed books to ‘serve as GOODWILL EMISSARIES, as WARRIERS against the common enemy’, and as ‘EXPONENTS of the genius and traditions of each country’ restoring ‘the prestige of the Printed Book and respect for the Visible Word’.

As a personal way of exchanging cultural understanding, in 1941, Books Across the Sea also established a scrapbook exchange. Initially made by adults and children, books ‘vividly portrayed the day–by-day scenes of life at home and at school and national holidays’. By 1945, the scrap books were popular and in conjunction with Messers Roy Publisher in New York, Books Across the Sea held a competition for the best school scrapbook written and complied by ‘juvenile ambassadors’ with the winner published; there were also plans to exhibit scrap books in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Scrap book covers by U.S. and British schools. Part of the Books Across the Sea scrapbook exchange scheme, from a display in 1944. (Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham

At the end of World War Two, Books Across the Sea established a London reading room as part of South Audley Street Library and also became part of the English Speaking Union where it remains today, continuing to promote cultural understanding through books.

Monday, 24 July 2017

World Calligraphy Day

Students across the West Midlands are being encouraged to write themselves into Birmingham’s history books on the launch of World Calligraphy Day. The event, which occurs on Wednesday 16 August, will celebrate the best of calligraphy as well as triumphing the history and artistry of pen manufacture all over the world. As the craft takes the world by storm, you are encouraged to put themselves firmly on the Midlands map, as the second city’s Pen Museum becomes the epicentre for all activity happening on World Calligraphy Day.

Pick up a pen during the summer holidays and get involved with the inaugural event.

Charles Stockbridge, Managing Director of Manuscript Pen Company, who are organising the event said: “World Calligraphy Day is a collaborative and exciting event that we’re really looking forward to launching.

“We hope that our talented cohort of students across the Midlands will want to join us to celebrate calligraphy and writing on Wednesday 16th August.”

On the day, all visitors to the Birmingham Pen Museum, will have the opportunity to take part in a selection of free workshops on the art of calligraphy, as well as the opportunity to have your treasured pen valued by an experienced auctioneer. The free event, which takes place between 11am and 4pm on Wednesday 16th August is open to all ages, with event to encourage young and old to put pen to paper and start their calligraphy journey.

To find out more about World Calligraphy Day, visit or follow Manuscript Pen Company on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Emily Cooksey - Institute of Directors Success

Illustration Student Emily Cooksey has created bespoke, hand-rendered illustrations for each of the winners at the Institute of Directors (IoD) West Midlands Awards held at the Warwickshire County Cricket Ground.

The IoD West Midlands region covers the counties of Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, as well as the urban areas of Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and the Black Country and is made up of over 1,800 directors and senior decision makers.

The University of Wolverhampton sponsored the Large Company Director of the Year Award 2017 which was won by Ian Graves of National Grid. 

Emily, designed each award based around the achievements and successes of the winners’ individual business.

Sue Hurrell, Regional Events Manager at the Institute of Directors West Midlands, said: “We were delighted to commission Emily to design the trophies for the Director of the Year Awards. Each category winner was presented with a stunning, bespoke print which they would be proud to display and treasure.”

Emily said: “I was personally asked by my tutors to design each of the awards for the ceremony. It was an enjoyable task for me as even though it was my first commission, I found it an interesting and stimulating challenge.

“Researching into each of the companies was a big influence for my ideas as I wanted to encompass all of the attributes each winner had shown and personalise the designs with a balance between their company and personal interests. My work is mainly hand-drawn using traditional materials, and so for the trophies I decided to create nine vibrant and eye-catching pieces.”

Congratulations Emily

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Wolverhampton School of Art Visual Communication students at New Designers 2017

Wolverhampton School of Art Visual Communication students have been at New Designers this week. 

The show has been busy and lots of interest has been paid to student work with many contacts made and promotional cards snapped up. Congratulations to all graduating Visual Communication students exhibiting.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Three Graphic Design Positions

The University Careers Department has three graduate graphic design jobs on offer:

Location: Birmingham
Position: Graphic Design
Display Salary: Based on experience
Expiry Date: 10 Aug 2017
Vacancy Type: Graduate - full-time

• Work simultaneously on 5+ projects based on current client workload
• Put together different elements of a design created by another professional such as the icons, photographs and other components necessary for a menu.
• Create images that identify a product or convey as message
• Create designs either by hand or using computer software packages
• Select colours, images, text style, and layout
• Present the design to clients or the Art Director
• Incorporate changes recommended by the clients into the final design
• Review designs for errors before printing or publishing them

Job Overview: Graphic designers create visual concepts, by hand or using software, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports.

To apply, please send your CV to Parveen at

Closing Date:10th August 17

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Visual communication Graduation Awards 2017

Congratulations to this years Visual Communication graduation award winners. Thanks must go to the organisations presenting prizes this year, The Express and Star, The School of Art and Sheaffer.

The Express and Star Award for Best Digital Editorial Design in Graphic Communication 
Sasha Wood 

Wolverhampton School of Art - The Visual Communication Department Prize
Tom Lavin 

The Sheaffer Prize for Use of Language in Graphic Projects 
Jerome Wooton 

The Sheaffer Prize for Outstanding Work on Live Commissions in Graphic Communications 
Georgia Perrin 

(New this year) The Sheaffer Prize for Dissertation in Visual Communication 
Rhiannon Powell 

Awards will be presented at the graduation ceremony at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton in September. 

New Sheaffer Award for Visual Communication Dissertation

Sheaffer are generously presenting a new graduation award for excellence in Visual Communication Dissertation. In recognition of scholarship, research and analysis, the first winner of this award is Rhiannon Powell, for her dissertation Curses, Towers and Perceptions: How is the theme of entrapment visually represented in Disney films. Rhiannon's writing compares early and modern films, exploring if and how representations have been linked to society.

Rhiannon says
"The representation of physical and mental entrapment has been achieved in Disney films through physical objects used for trickery, versus magical powers reflected by settings and emotions. The theme of entrapment has and will continue to be a significant aspect in Disney films, reflecting context and history."

Congratulations Rhiannon and a big thank you to Sheaffer for presenting this new award.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Halesowen College visit Visual Communication Final Show

Halesowen College staff and students have visited this years final show. The group enjoyed all areas of the display and were particularly pleased to meet up with and talk to graduating students who are alumni of Halesowen College. The group took extra time to examine displays of developmental work, examining the process behind design for Visual Communication.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Award Nomination for Excellence in Enriching the Learning Experience

John Clementson, subject leader for Visual Communication has been nominated for one of the “Vice Chancellors Awards for Staff Excellence.” John has been nominated via the student survey responses for an award in the Enriching the Learning Experience category.

In both the surveys of the undergraduate students (not in their final year) UK Engagement Survey (UKES) and the Postgraduate Taught Survey (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey) participants were asked: 

"We are seeking nominations for the Annual Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Staff Excellence. Would you like to name an individual or team who has demonstrated their commitment to enriching the learning experience? This could include through creative and stimulating teaching, learning and assessment methods; use of innovative technology; entrepreneurial opportunities or through innovative research" 

Congratulations John

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Visitors to the Final Show

Visual Communication staff and students have welcomed visitors from Windsor High School, Halesowen to this years final show. The group enjoyed all areas of the show, including displays of design process, special themed exhibits on the topic of Information Overload and the individual student exhibits. Windsor High School were particularly interested in the diverse options for high quality print available in the Art School from screen printing and all forms of printmaking to the latest in digital print technology.

Dudley College 'A' level students Visit the Visual Communication Final Show

Dudley College 'A' level students have visited the Visual Communication final show and for college lecturers, Gillian Townsend and Chris Worley, the visit was also a fond return to the Art School where they studied. 

The group were inspired by the range and quality of work on display and students were thrilled to have the chance to see portfolios of student work mixing disciplines and approaches within project solutions.

Norton Canes High School Visits the Visual Communication Final Show

Staff and students from Norton Canes High School Cannock have visited the Visual Communication final show. The group have enjoyed seeing the diverse range of work on display and particularly relished the opportunity to meet and speak to graduating students.

“It has been wonderful to chat to Visual Communication students and fascinating to find out where their ideas have come from. We have enjoyed hearing how their work has developed as well as gaining a view of the process behind the finished designs and hearing about their experience of University life. We look forward to visiting again next academic year.” said Alexina Evans of Norton Canes High School

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Doctor Visits the final Show

Graduating student Jerome Wooton is a Dr Who enthusiast who has used his passion for the time travelling doctor within his third year graphics work. Jerome's Gallifreyan language themed designs are displayed in the Tardis and are attracting much attention. The Tardis and Jerome's designs can be seen as part of the Visual Communication final show until June 21.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Final Show - June 2017

The Visual Communication final show private view has taken place and the exhibition is now open to the public until June 21. Showing the work of final year Illustration and Graphic Communication students is on display, visitors can also see the themed exhibition Information Overload, inspired by the 1970 book of the same name by Alvin Toffler. The images shown here give a snap-shot of the shows opening night.

This years private view included a performance by Culture Dub Orchestra, a World Roots Dub band based in the Midlands, with influences from all parts of the globe. CDO explores a range of cultures, religions, backgrounds and musical styles. A heavy roots drum and bass section (crucial to the true dub sound) is coloured by a variety of instruments and sounds - adding eastern flavours. Guitar and keys deliver the essential reggae off-beat with a large palette of delays, while an array of live percussion from tabla to djembe bring it all together to take your mind on a spiritual nomadic journey. Although at the core CDO are an instrumental band they will often feature guest vocalists from varied musical backgrounds.

Members are all interconnected through previous musical projects which range through reggae, funk, soul, hip hop, ska, rock, salsa and Eastern folk- all contributing to the unique fusion of sounds.
Find out more about Culture Dub Orchestra here

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Congratulations Tom Lavin - Young Package competition winner

Young Package competition have just announced that third year graphics student Tom Lavin has been awarded third place in this years competition in the category for university students up to thirty years old.

The judges commented that Tom's package re:PLAY is a game in itself; classic paper, nuts and bolts form an intricate jigsaw puzzle that hides various tools. The work resembles the Czech Merkur kit, but in a paper version. Among other things the jury was attracted by the unusual combination of paper and metal screws. The package has several layers, so that the unpacking process is full of discovery of new objects and materials.

Congratulations Tom

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Craft of Cursing - exhibition from Louise Fenton

Dr Louise Fenton, Senior Lecturer Visual Communications, has curated this year’s exhibition at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall. Titled ‘Poppets, Pins and Power: The Craft of Cursing’, the exhibition brings together Louise’s research over the past few years. It is displayed in sections to consider the social history behind the use of the poppet, the doll with pins in, as well as more everyday objects such as shoes and clothing. Louise has been researching these objects to find out their stories and the hidden tales they have to tell. The exhibition is open until October 31 2017 and then on occasional weekends until early January 2018.

Louise will be giving two talks at the Museum in August (5th and 26th, small cost) and a guided tour of the exhibition on Friday 25th August 2017 (museum entrance fee applies).

For further details of the exhibition and the Museum can be found here

Thank you to Marc Austin, Course Leader Graphic Design, who designed the marketing material and the panels for the exhibition this year.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


Inspired by the power of the vote and the upcoming snap General Election, please visually interpret our tagline ‘Turn Up’. You can be as funny, serious, irreverent, or off the wall as you like - there’s  just a few caveats:

• You must include the tagline  ‘Turn Up’. Use it however  you like - integrate it in your  illustration or typographically, whatever works for you!  We just need some space left  in the layout, on the bottom  right hand side, for us to add  the #TurnUp logo and the  relevant call to action to vote. 
• Your artwork should be an A3 portrait size (either vector or 600dpi jpg), plus square for Instagram. 
• All artwork will be credited where possible, especially on social media. Please include your details and handles alongside your submission
• There is no restriction on the colour palette. 
• You should be party-neutral where possible. 
• You should not include any nudity or profanities (unless you insist, which is OK! However, please note that we cannot run these in any outdoor media).

How to submit 
Please send us your finished artworks to: 

Time is of the essence! Anything you can have complete ASAP, please send right away. The absolute final deadline is 22nd May 2017. 

By submitting artwork, you kindly agree use of your image in any media we can get our hands on in the run up to June 8th – please let us know if you’d prefer online use only. Copyright remains yours, of course. We’re all joining forces for this cause and pulling in friends and favours. If you think you can help, or know others that could, please get in touch ASAP!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Young Package Competition Success: Tom Lavin

Model Obaly a. s. has announced the shortlist for the 22nd year of the Young Package competition. More than 700 students and young designers from 57 countries competed this year, and BA (Hons) Graphic Design student Tom Lavin is shortlisted for one of the 8 prizes.

The theme this year was ‘Open & Play’, and the project idea that Tom developed certainly lives up to expectations. In discussing his approach to the project, Tom says:

“For this project I wanted to explore concepts of reusability, sustainability and recycling. The Re:Play kit is designed to allow the user to make models, toys and sculptural forms by recycling packaging materials. Starting with the ‘pop-out’ elements included in the package alongside the supplied tools, Re:Play users are encouraged to use creative thinking and playful experimentation as they explore materials and get inspired by their own creations.”

Graphic Design Course Leader Marc Austin said, “Tom deserves recognition for his hard work and innovative approach to problem solving. The Graphics team have seen Tom go from strength to strength during his 3 years with us, and we are delighted with this news.”

Tom will find out which of the prizes he has won when he flies out later in May for the award ceremony taking place in the DUP 36 club in Prague.

Good Luck Tom!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Typefaces can encourage healthy food choices

The Times newspaper has published the work of Wolverhampton Visual Communication, Special Visiting Lecturer, Sarah Hyndman, on responses to typefaces for tinned food labelling and discusses Hyndman's ideas on the influential role of type in making food choices. Typefaces used for food packaging can help towards healthy eating and cutting obesity says Kat Lay, health correspondent of the Times. Read Hyndman's ideas below:

Monday, 17 April 2017

Sarah Hyndman - How to Draw Type and Influence People

Visual Communications Special Visiting Lecturer Sarah Hyndman, has written and illustrated an activity book that asks readers to bring typefaces to life through drawing, colouring and thinking. Published by Laurence King, How to Draw Type and Influence People encourages people to delve into the words they encounter subconsciously every day and think about how they might look, feel, smell and sound.

"I want to show that it is part of people’s everyday lives and it’s fun – it’s about the first record you fell in love with, the first sweet shop you went to as a child. Our written language is formed of letters that have taken on all sorts of shapes and styles over centuries. It is a visual code that is a mirror to our lives." 
said Sarah.

In partnership with Laurence King, Design Week are asking readers to take part in a competition to stand the chance of winning a free copy of Sarah's book. Design Week would like you to take part in the mash-up challenge by thinking of two typefaces with very different characteristics and personalities, and combining them to create a new, hand-drawn one that showcases the best – or worst – qualities of both. Email Design Week at with your mash-up creation, along with a name for your typeface by 19 April. They’ll pick their favourite one, showcase it on their site, and send the selected winner a free copy of How to Draw Type and Influence People.

To read more about Sarah's new book and for more inspiration for this competition click here