studio diary

Reading Week & GDFS | Art School Diary #7

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Reading week is where you don’t have any lectures or tutorials timetabled. You’re meant to take this free time to catch up on work and any personal things needing to be done. Of course, I went into this week with the intention I would catch up on work. As you can probably guess, I got zero work done all week.


I didn’t even do much over the reading week and looking back I still feel like I could use another week off just to recover from it. There was a list of things I would be doing with my free time. I was going to get started on the essay for my lecture module. There is a client project which I really need to get done. And I have some personal work to do. Not to mention all the blog related work which I’ve been letting slide.

Instead, I got my flu jab, did a whole lot of napping and spent the rest of the time playing Assassin’s Creed. I feel like I should be guilty for not doing work when I had the free time. But I’m also really trying to not push myself to work constantly. It probably isn’t helping because I’m still tired all the time (what a surprise), but at least I tried.


The big thing which happened this week was the start of Graphic Design Festival Scotland. Last year I was given a ticket to one of the two-day workshops which I really enjoyed. I knew I had to go back again this year. But at almost £200 for a weekend ticket, it just wasn’t feasible. So, I went to TopForm.

Top Form is a series of lectures given by the designers and design agencies running the two-day workshops over the weekend of GDFS. It was really interesting going in as a student because you have this idea in your head of what graphic design is. Then all these designers go up on stage to talk about their work. Some of it wasn’t even design related.


Naresh Ramchandani from Pentagram was talking about ethical design and how designers have to acknowledge how they are in a way causing climate change. Noemie Le Coz is a freelance designer based in New York who did the branding for Billie. This is a company which sells razors and body care items for women. If you saw a few months ago the advert for razor blades featuring actual body hair. Noemie was the person who created that campaign.

All the talks were fantastic. It really changed how I think about design. That is doesn’t have to be serious. It doesn’t even really have to be about designing something for print or web. GraphicDesign& did a talk about exhibitions they organised at the Graphic Design Museum in London.

The headline speaker at TopForm was David Carson who is quite a famous graphic designer. His talk was fantastic and I actually got to speak to him later at the launch for the International Poster Exhibition. It’s fascinating because David Carson is a totally self-taught graphic designer, and his whole talk is how you don’t need to follow the rules or be reliant on the computer to design for you. So things like using the grid or having a heading which falls all on the same line.

It was actually really useful to hear that at this specific moment. The course I’m on focuses heavily on typography. So really push using some sort of grid when designing. It was really good for someone to come along and say hey, you don’t need to listen to what the lecturers say, just do whatever.


I feel like I’m going to spend most of next week catching up on everything I should have done over the reading week. Especially since my first hand-in is next week and I haven’t actually finished my poster yet, let alone had it printed.


Course Induction & Matriculation | Art School Diary #1
Project Briefs & Lectures | Art School Diary #2
The Lives of Others | Art School Diary #3
Chronic Illness & Coursework | Art School Diary #4
Under Camera Artwork | Art School Diary #5
A New Design Brief | Art School Diary #6
Reading Week & GDFS | Art School Diary #7
First Project Hand In | Art School Diary #8
Risograph Printing & CFS Problems | Art School Diary #9
Photography & Essay Writing | Art School Diary #10
Darkroom & Artist Books | Art School Diary #11
Meeting With Disability Services | Art School Diary #12
Final Week Before Assessment | Art School Diary #13

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