Hot off the press! Dovecot What's On Guide

Dovecot What's On Guide | January-June 2018

Designed by James Brook for Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, 2017

210 x 148 mm | 12 pages with half cover
Printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Vision Superior

Hot off the press! The sixth edition of the Dovecot Gallery What's On Guide. The guide is twelve pages plus cover, which is cut away on the front to reveal half of a full bleed image of a detail of a new tapestry by Garry Fabian Miller being woven at Dovecot Studios. A mixture of full-bleed and smaller images are used throughout the guide, in contrast with pages of pared back typography printed on the clean white of Vision Superior, an uncoated paper that has a pleasant touch. The format and template remain the same as the previous editions but is always evolving to accommodate new types of information as needed.

Photo: Dovecot Studios.

Ulay: So you see me Poster

Ulay: So you see me Poster

Designed by James Brook for Cooper Gallery, Dundee, 2017

Poster | 420 x 297 mm

This is a poster I designed for So you see me, an exhibition by seminal performance artist, Ulay, at the Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee. Below is the design as it was re-worked, at a smaller scale with different proportions, for an advert that appeared in Frieze magazine.

CURRENT Exhibition Identity Shanghai

CURRENT | 不合时宜: Contemporary Art from Scotland

This is the exhibition identity I have designed for Current: Contemporary Art from Scotland at the Shanghai Himalayas Museum in China. Curated by Cooper Gallery, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee in the UK in collaboration with Shanghai Himalayas Museum and organised in partnership with the British Council, Current: Contemporary Art from Scotland is a four-phase contemporary art exhibition programme, showcasing for the first time in China the distinctiveness of contemporary art made in Scotland. Current Phase Three comprises of two solo exhibitions from Bruce McLean and Ross Sinclair. The exhibition runs from 22 September to 10 November 2017.

The brief stated that the design ‘should reflect the concepts of Current, and the work of the two artists featured in the solo exhibition; and could also reflect the exchange of ideas and knowledge between art from Scotland and China. Cooper Gallery and Shanghai Himalayas Museum are looking for a fresh and elegant design, that has a distinct and innovative graphic and/or incorporates both artists’ work’. Before starting the design I had a meeting with the team at Cooper Gallery where we discussed - amongst other things - collage: I presented the idea of layering the artists’ work, creating overlaps that reflect the dialogue between the pratices of the two artists - from different generations, but both displaying a grass-roots spirit and an engagement with the social and political dimensions of art and culture. The curators at Cooper Gallery were keen on this idea so I went away and started working on some drafts.

From a selection of images sent by the gallery, I chose one image of Bruce McLean’s work and one from Ross Sinclair that seemed to be good representations of each artist’s practice and the work showing in Current. I increased the contrast on these images so that they became purely black and white with no midtones, taking on a punky, DIY photocopied feel which I felt suited the aesthetic of both artists. I then devised a series of transparent shapes of colours found in each of the artists’ work, and layered these to create new colours on the overlaps. I made several iterations of this coloured background, refining the colours and shapes, until I was happy with the result. I then added the black and white images of the artists’ work, moving the images around until the composition started to come together. Finally, I added the text of the artists’ names and the exhibition title (including the Chinese translation) along with a large yellow ‘3’ which tied together all the elements of the design (and created further new colours). I presented several variations of this idea to the galleries and the artists for their approval; after some tweaks, we arrived at a graphic that everyone was happy with.

The design brief had three elements: the first was a poster design (top) that would be printed in various sizes and included the exhibition dates, venue, opening hours as well as the usual logofest; the second was a digital image (above) that would be used on the Cooper Gallery website that only included the basic information of exhibition title and artists’ names (this is my favourite version: the format did not suit the square design of the exhibition graphic so I added an extra element of transparent text that repeated the exhibition title - it’s possibly the Chinese characters that make this design so interesting); the third element was an advert (below) that appeared in the September issue of Frieze magazine.

I supplied open files to the design team in Shanghai where they used the elements of my design to create new graphics.

Click here for more information about Current

Daughters of Penelope Poster (New Version)

Daughters of Penelope Poster (New Version)

Designed by James Brook for Dovecot Gallery, 2017

Poster | 850 x 620 mm

Dovecot Gallery asked me to re-work the poster that I designed for Daughters of Penelope, Dovecot Gallery’s Edinburgh Art Festival 2017 exhibition. The original poster, outside the gallery, had become damaged during the recent heavy rain so we took the opportunity to use a new photograph, by Stuart Armitt, to represent the exhibition; it shows Linder’s Diagrams of Love: Marriage of Eyes with a detail from Julie Brook’s work in the background. Daughters of Penelope ‘interweaves the work of artists who are investigating women’s stories and textile histories with the unique story of women’s work at Dovecot, providing a new structure within which both can be held, re-examined and strengthened.’

Daughters of Penelope Posters

Daughters of Penelope Posters

Designed by James Brook for Dovecot Gallery, 2017

Posters | Five designs | 290 x 205 mm

A set of posters that I designed for Daughters of Penelope, Dovecot Gallery's Edinburgh Art Festival 2017 exhibition. Daughters of Penelope 'interweaves the work of artists who are investigating women’s stories and textile histories with the unique story of women’s work at Dovecot, providing a new structure within which both can be held, re-examined and strengthened.'

Poster images (top to bottom) by Caroline Dear, Linder, Fiona Mathison, Erin M. Riley, and Claire Barclay

Daughters of Penelope Logo

This is the logo I have designed for Daughters of Penelope, Dovecot Gallery's Edinburgh Art Festival 2017 exhibition. Daughters of Penelope 'interweaves the work of artists who are investigating women’s stories and textile histories with the unique story of women’s work at Dovecot, providing a new structure within which both can be held, re-examined and strengthened.' The logo appears on the posters and invitations with the impressive list of artists featured in the exhibition below it.

Proof of Platform: 2017 Leaflet

Here is a proof of the leaflet that I have designed for Platform: 2017, an opportunity for artists at the start of their career to make and present new work in the Edinburgh Art Festival programme. The artists – Uist Corrigan, Rebecca Howard, Kotryna Ula Kiliulyte and Adam Quinn – were selected from an open call, accessible to artists working across Scotland, by artists Jacqueline Donachie and Graham Fagen.

This is the third year that I have designed the leaflet, using the logo and identity that I developed in 2015. This iteration has a different, centred arrangement of the cover elements and introduces a new cover colour for 2017, Pantone 2052 UP.

Platform: 2017 runs from 27 July – 27 August and will be held at a new festival venue, The Fire Station, Lauriston Place. Originally a Victorian Fire Station and run as the Fire Museum in recent years, it has been acquired by University of Edinburgh for the expansion of Edinburgh College of Art.

More information can be found here.

Proofs of ‘The Making of the Future: Now’ Book

I am very excited to see the proofs of The Making of the Future: Now, the book that I have been designing for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2017 commissions programme. The Making of the Future: Now 'invites artists to reflect on two important anniversaries for our city – the foundation of the first Edinburgh Festival in 1947, and the publication in 1917 of Patrick Geddes’ The Making of the Future: A Manifesto and a Project. Separated by a generation, both were born directly out of the experience of global conflict, and a strong belief that artists could play a critical role in helping societies to imagine new and better ways of living.

Presenting new projects by Scottish and international artists at sites in around Edinburgh’s Old Town, The Making of the Future: Now pays homage to the physical and intellectual legacy of Geddes and the festival in our city, and makes a claim for the continued relevance of their ideas today.’

Artists include: Bobby Niven, Zoë Walker and Neil Bromwich, Toby Paterson, and Shannon Te Ao with 'Garden Residencies’ from Neil Bickerton, Alison Scott, Daisy Lafarge, and Deirdre Nelson.

Whilst I was in the early stages of designing the book, I was very pleased to be invited to visit the Patrick Geddes archive at the Special Collections department at the University of Edinburgh Library to see at first hand some of the fascinating collection of archival material held there, including Gedde’s incredible photographic survey of Edinburgh. My typographic cues for the design of the book were taken from some of the printed material that I saw in the library, and from other printed material, including the 1917 pamphlet of The Making of the Future: A Manifesto and a Project held in the Archives and Special Collections of the University of Strathclyde Library. I was drawn to the unconventional space on either side of the colon on the title of the 1917 pamphlet and used this as a starting point for the typography of the book; the typographic rule that sits beneath the title was inspired by the design of book (see below) about Patrick Geddes in the University of Edinburgh Library (I was thrilled to see that this book carried a bookplate a that said it was from the library of Hugh MacDiarmid).

The cover image of the book is by Toby Paterson, and is a detail of a plan study for The Sociology of Autumn, his new project for The Making of the Future: Now, developed for Chessels Court, just off the Royal Mile. Paterson’s work takes its title from Geddes’ 1895 essay of the same name, in which Geddes finds ‘in Autumn its secret: that of survival yet initiative, of inheritance yet fresh variation’. I am very much looking forward to seeing Toby’s new project for the Festival as I am a big fan of his work and I am delighted that we are using his image on the cover.

I love the journey of the book: how it develops from initial ideas and sample layouts and spreads; how these designs are then populated with copy that, over time – via marked-up PDFs, notes, emails and conversations – is edited and proofed; how images are changed, re-positioned and refined; how from designs made on a screen the book slowly begins to take on a physical presence through paper proofs and printouts; and how through decisions made about paper stock and finishes the book begins to live. It's always exciting to get flat proofs back from the printers – I enjoy the unexpected juxtapositions of images that crop up when pages appear next to other unconnected pages on the same plate; it's always useful to see a bound digital proof (as in the wirebound example above) that shows the book at actual size with the pages in the correct order: as close to the final physical object as it gets.

The proofs have now been approved and the waiting begins. The book is being printed in Edinburgh by Allander and – if all goes well – the book will be delivered on 24 July ahead of the opening of the Art Festival on 27 July. Fingers crossed!

Click here to read more about The Making of The Future: Now
Click here to visit the Edinburgh Art Festival website 

Dovecot Venue Hire Posters

Dovecot Venue Hire Posters

Designed by James Brook for Dovecot Venue Hire, 2017

Poster | Three designs | 290 x 205 mm

A set of posters that I designed building on the visual identity which I developed for a suite of printed and online material promoting Dovecot Studio's venue hire initiative. The posters will appear throughout Dovecot, highlighting some of the many uses that the amazing spaces can be hired for.

Built In Tapestry Poster and Logo

Built In Tapestry: Dovecot Tapestries and Architecture

Designed by James Brook for Dovecot Tapestry Studios, 2017

Poster | Two sizes: 620 x 850 mm and 290 x 205 mm

Calvariae Disjecta Invitation

Calvariae Disjecta: the many hauntings of Burton Agnes Hall

Invitation | 110 x 148 mm
Digitally printed by Allander, Edinburgh on 270gsm Colorplan Smoke Grey

Invitation designed for the book launch of Calvariae Disjecta: the many hauntings of Burton Agnes Hall by Robert Williams. Published by Information as Material, York, 2017. Designed by James Brook. ISBN 978 1 907468 23 0

Calvariae Disjecta Book

Calvariae Disjecta: The Many Hauntings of Burton Agnes Hall

Robert Williams

Published by Information as Material, York, 2017

Designed by James Brook

ISBN 978 1 907468 23 0

Hardback | 170 x 215 mm | 168 pages including 12 pages of full-colour plates
Printed by Allander, Edinburgh, on Munken Pure paper with Colorplan smoke grey cover

One of the most ubiquitous English ghost stories, ‘The Screaming Skull of Burton Agnes Hall’, has been spread and adapted over many years, but it nonetheless persists. Drawing from his own library plus decades of research, artist and academic Robert Williams re-presents references to the story from more than 100 popular sources that extend across more than 150 years. The project, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Hilmar Schäfer, echoes the transmission of the story itself as an extended quotation, in oral traditions and through downright plagiarism. The many lives of this story mapped out by this collection tell us as much about cultural and historical representations as they do a lurid tale of murder, grave-opening and screaming skulls.

Contributors to the project include artist and designer James Brook, artist and writer Dr. Kate Briggs (American University in Paris/Piet Swart Institute, Rotterdam) and cultural sociologist Dr. Hilmar Schäfer (Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany).

The Weaver's Apprentice Family Tree

This is a family tree that I designed as an exhibition graphic for Dovecot's The Weaver's Apprentice. The family tree shows the exchange of knowledge and skills handed down from Dovecot's original Master Weavers at the start of the 20th century to the current Dovecot apprentice, Ben Hymers. It was a tricky piece of design to get right as it had to give a sense of time and history; show different types of exchange of knowledge and skills; and reveal the hierarchy of the Dovecot Studios in a clear and understandable manner. In addition, as an exhibition graphic, the design had to be readable and accessible to all people. The family tree is a work in progress for Dovecot: we will re-visit the family tree at a later date adding more content and connections.

The Weaver's Apprentice Posters and Logo

This is a series of posters that I designed for The Weaver's Apprentice, an exhibition that tells the story of the Dovecot apprenticeship, featuring objects from Dovecot’s archive, as well as historic and current works. The poster above is printed at A1 while the others are printed at A4. The beautiful image on the A1 poster is a detail of weavers' initials from a tapestry created at Dovecot in 1924, Lord of the Hunt, by William Skeoch Cumming. This image is also used on the invitation card and banner that I have designed.

I am pleased with the logo that I designed using different weights and styles of Whitney, the 'official' Dovecot typeface: I hope that it carries some connotations of the authority of the weaver (in uppercase) and the forward moving playfulness of the young apprentice (in italic lowercase), both linked harmoniously together in a symbiotic creative relationship.




Click here to subscribe to James Brook / Design

Please visit for more information

The content (content being images and text) of this website is copyright © James Brook
All rights expressly reserved
Powered by Blogger.