'Three' Exhibition Identity

'Three' Exhibition Identity
Designed for Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, 2014

I was invited to create an identity for Dovecot Studios' 2014 Edinburgh Art Festival exhibition. The exhibition consisted of three parts: Tumadh: Immersion by the artists Dalziel + Scullion, as part of 'Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland'; Dazzle a selling show of contemporary jewellery; and Current Exchanges an exhibition about Dovecot and the Australian Tapestry Workshop. The exhibition ran from 1 August – 13 September.

The Brief
The brief was to create an overall identity that linked all three exhibitions together. The identity needed to be attractive and vibrant, working across different media and at different scales, online and in print: invitations, leaflets, posters, and banners. Unlike my previous identity for Dovecot, Follow the Thread, there was no over-riding theme or even a collective name for the trio of exhibitions.

A second part of the brief looked at the problems of wayfinding within Dovecot Studios and I was asked to devise a map that would help visitors find their way around the complex spaces, which are arranged over several floors, and direct visitors to the three exhibitions. A recurring problem had been that visitors did not understand the layout of the building and were often missing some of the exhibitions on offer.

A third part was to design exhibition graphics: information boards, vinyl wall texts and graphics, and labels.

Development of Identity
I developed the identity in collaboration with the staff at Dovecot. After several conversations with the team about possible design approaches for the project, I proposed the idea of 'three' being both the theme and unofficial title of the exhibition. Each exhibition would be given a number which would appear on posters and other printed information, on the walls of Dovecot at the entrance to each space, and also on a map, locating these spaces within Dovecot. If the idea of three exhibitions was established before visitors even arrived at the gallery, then it should be clearer that there were three exhibitions to visit.

I presented various design options using numerals from different typefaces but the team agreed with me that the most striking solution was to use numerals from the Stencil typeface. The Stencil numerals looked especially appealing at a large scale where the small details of their characters were revealed.

After further refining of the identity, again in collaboration with the team at Dovecot Studios, I assembled a ‘kit of parts’ that I felt confident could be used in different ways across the many parts of the brief.

Invitation Cards
Once the identity was established, the most pressing item to be designed was the invitation card, as this needed to be mailed out in advance of the opening of the exhibition. The numeral three was very striking on its own but the gallery felt that it needed some colour, and should also give a taster of the exhibitions: I added three circles with details of works from the three shows alongside the numeral, creating a very strong and recognisable identity for the exhibition that could be carried through to other items. The card was printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Zen Pure White 350gsm, 210 x 148mm, with a double-hit UV spot varnish on the three numeral and on the three exhibition images. As with the Follow the Thread invitation cards, the gallery were happy to pay a little bit extra for a quality eye-catching product that would communicate the values of the organisation.

The design of the cover of the leaflet was developed from the design of the invitation card; to accommodate the narrow format, the three logo was dramatically cropped so that most of the numeral was visible but the circles containing images were cut in half – I selected images that would still be clear and understandable when cropped. To meet the budget, the leaflet was printed on a far more economical paper than the invitation card and without the UV spot varnish. It was printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Revive 100 Offset 150gsm, full colour, 210 x 297mm, letter folded to 210 x 99mm, 12 pages. Printed in an edition of 5,000, the leaflet was distributed both in Edinburgh and further afield.

An important part of the leaflet was the map that appeared on the reverse. Using an expanded plan of Dovecot as a starting point, I drew a revised version of the plan and overlaid it with numerals representing the location of the three exhibitions along with instructions that began with a playful 'START HERE'. Brief instructions on how to reach the different spaces in Dovecot were printed next to the numerals – for these instructions, I asked the information desk staff to email me the directions they would give to visitors if they were asked the locations of the spaces.

The banners were produced by McRobb in Edinburgh, and were hung outside of Dovecot and on the corner of Chambers Street and Nicholson Street, close to Talbot Rice Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland. As with the Follow the Thread banners, I decided that a white background was the best option to stand out from the dark stone of that particular area of Edinburgh. The vertical format of the banners, necessitated an even more dramatic crop than on the leaflet: the three numeral became the dominant element, with the Dovecot logo taking second place; the titles of the three exhibitions became the third part of the hierarchy of information. I think this made a very striking and effective banner, which hopefully piqued viewers' interest to visit Dovecot.

Posters were produced at two different sizes, A1 and A3, as well as a six-sheet poster that appeared on bus stops in various locations across Edinburgh; the six-sheet posters were designed to Clear Channel’s specifications, at quarter size, 300 x 450 mm, with finished posters printed at 1200 x 1800 mm. I designed four different poster designs: a generic poster based on the invitation and leaflet design, that included all three exhibitions alongside three posters that highlighted the individual exhibitions with full bleed images and large numerals.

Press Advertisements
The poster design was reformatted for some press advertisements that appeared in Aesthetica magazine and Scottish Galleries magazine. The advertisements show how the different elements, the ‘kit of parts’ could be successfully reassembled in different formats for different media, whilst maintaining a consistent identity.

Exhibition Graphics
I worked closely with Kate Grenyer, Exhibitions Coordinator at Dovecot Studios on the graphics for the three exhibitions. On the leaflet I had developed a colour coding for the three exhibitions: grey for Tumadh: Immersion; turquoise for Dazzle and orange for Current Exchanges. These coloured circles containing numerals became the signposts for exhibitions within the building, produced as laser-cut vinyl wall graphics; they were supplemented with further vinyl wall graphics that included arrows to point people in the right direction.

I designed labels for individual exhibits: as with the rest of the printed material, they were typeset in Akzidenz Grotesk in various weights and sizes. The labels for Current Exchanges were highlighted in the same orange as on the map; this colour was also used for the large vinyl wall graphic that announced the exhibition. The vinyls and labels were produced by Forrest Hepburn & McDonald Signs, Edinburgh.

Click here to find out more about exhibitions at Dovecot

Fresh from the Printers!

Where do I end and you begin, the book I have been designing for the Edinburgh Art Festival is now back from the printers. I am very pleased with the results: it is almost exactly as I imagined it! Thanks to Allander, Edinburgh, for another fantastic print job. Where do I end and you begin opens on Friday 1 August at the City Arts Centre, Edinburgh and at various offsite locations throughout the city, until 19 October.

Airshow 2014 Programme

Airshow 2014 Programme

Designed by James Brook for National Museum of Flight Scotland, 2014.

Published by National Museums Scotland.

Book | 44 pages | 14.8 x 21 cm | Printed by Allander, Edinburgh on Hello Silk with gloss laminate cover

I was approached by National Museums Scotland to redesign the programme for the annual airshow at the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune in East Lothian. My brief was to rationalise the design of the programme and make it feel more clean and contemporary with emphasis on the images, and to also make it feel more like a substantial, quality publication – more of a book/catalogue than a programme.

The programme had previously been designed at A4 so, with the agreement of the Museum, I designed the programme at A5 but with double the amount of pages, which immediately made the programme feel less flimsy but didn't increase the print costs. The programme was typeset in FS Albert, the NMS typeface, with simple and clear layouts and plenty of white space that displayed the images at their best. I removed any unnecessary elements that had been included in previous programme designs from the layouts, stripping them back to text and image. I usually work with images by artists so working with images of planes was slightly outside my area of expertise! But, applying the same approach to the images as I would images by artists, I created layouts where there was (I hope) a dialogue between the images and a sense of movement on the pages.

The programme opened on to a double-page spread of sky blue with the title repeated from the cover; the programme had to contain advertisements, which paid for some of the printing costs, so I grouped all the adverts together, at the back of the programme, separated from the main copy by two pages of sky blue, one with the Museum of Flight logo, that acted like endpapers in a book. The title page and endpapers carried connotations of a more traditional book and slowed down the reader's journey through the programme, creating, I think, a sense of anticipation for when the first images appear, on page 10, after pages of flight times, list of contents, introductions, acknowledgements and timetables, which were all laid out in a clear, rational and user-friendly design.

Other elements of the design included a map of the airfield which appeared on the back cover. I slightly rationalised the design of the map, removing some of the elements and changing the colours to make it more user-friendly. There was also a timetable of flight times which was originally planned a separate piece of print but, as the times were confirmed just before we went to print, we were able to include the timetable at the very last minute.

I was given a free ticket to the airshow, which turned out to be a great day out on a beautifully sunny day. I got to see and go inside Concorde! It was incredibly exciting to see the Red Arrows display roaring overhead and a delight to see the programme that I had designed being put to use – I don't usually get to see my designs being used, by so many people, in such a visible way. Afterwards, I found out that sales of the programme had increased substantially from previous years, which seemed to validate the design changes that we had introduced.

Click here to find out more about the National Museum of Flight

Proofs of Edinburgh Art Festival Book

Very excited to see these proofs of Where do you end and I begin, the book that I have been designing for Edinburgh Art Festival. The book is the first to be published by EAF, and accompanies an exhibition at the City Art Centre and offsite locations around the city, including the Old Royal High School on Regent Road (an amazing building which is not usually open to the publlc). The exhibition is selected by five curators from Commonwealth countries and features work by 20 international artists; it runs from 1 August – 19 October as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme, and during the year of Homecoming Scotland.





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