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GD& top 50 books

GD& top 50 books

This summer, Page 1: Great Expectations was one of the winners of 50 books / 50 covers organised by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books. In an age where reading increasingly happens on screens, it will perhaps surprise some that book design maintains its hold on the imagination of 21st-century designers… but it sure does! Picked from 1,213 entries, ‘this is the best of the best’. We feel honoured.


GD& opportunity

GD& opportunity

We need some part-time help in the run up to publishing our next three titles. One day a week growing to more in Clerkenwell, EC1. Not design help but all sorts of other help, ranging from research to writing, packing to pr.

Can you write in an engaging, lively and informative way? Are you well organised? Do you enjoy finding out about new things? Would you be pleased telling people what GraphicDesign& does and why? Do you have a good knowledge of current graphic design and… lots of other things! Please drop us an email if so!


GD& London Design Festival 2013

GD& London Design Festival 2013

As part of this year’s London Design Festival, Graphic BirdWatching is hosting its annual graphic design walk celebrating the work and practice of women creatives in East London. GraphicDesign& is taking part, with an open studio on Saturday 21 September, between 11am–1.20pm and 3–5.30pm. Lucienne will be there to greet you, happy to show some of her studio work alongside offering a one day only GD& deal. Arrive with £10 cash and a copy of Page 1 will be yours (that’s 33% off)!


Coming soon: GD& Social Science

Coming soon: GD& Social Science

Graphic Designers

No-one who attended the GraphicDesign& launch could forget social scientist Nikandre Kopcke’s fast and furious live data gathering / visualisation project. We have commissioned Nikandre to work with us again, this time on an ambitious piece of primary research into all of us, and what we do – graphic design. We want all sorts of designers to be involved, from new graduates to established practitioners. Watch out for calls to contribute to Nikandre’s survey, which will be the basis of a book of information graphics that tell it like it is.


Coming soon: GD& Religion

Coming soon: GD& Religion

Looking Good

Demonstrating what graphic design does best, illustrator Ryan Todd applies his incisive approach to decode the nun’s habit in an accessible and visually delightful way. Pinpointing the symbolism of its pleats, knots, stitching and colour, what appears to be the ultimate in less is more attire is rich with meaning that information design is best placed to reveal. Including anecdotes that are as touching as they are confounding, and meticulously researched by theologian Veronica Bennett, this book employs graphic design to make visible much that is generally unseen.


Coming soon: GD& Mathematics

Coming soon: GD& Mathematics

Golden Meaning

A few months back we set a bit of a brainteaser brief – inviting designers, typographers and image-makers to communicate something of the golden ratio using their graphic design skills. Next week we meet up with our maths advisor, Guardian maths blogger and author of bestseller Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, Alex Bellos, to show him the results. Fifty-five in all (that’s a Fibonacci number, of course) and including contributions from Hort, Peter Crawley, Kapitza, Bibliothèque and George Hardie to name but a few, he is in for a treat. Designed to illuminate and intrigue, Golden Meaning will be printed in gold and each design will be accompanied by a short explanatory rationale.


GraphicDesign& the festive season

GraphicDesign& the festive season

We have lots of fascinating projects planned for 2013 but to make way for next year’s arrivals we need to speedily clear more space. Perhaps you can help? Take a look at our special offers below – just in time for Christmas!

Why not give your Christmas tree the edge with our unique set of three Less is More Christmas decorations, inspired by theologian Veronica Bennett’s fascination with the nun’s habit and designed for us by illustrator Ryan Todd? These are a precursor to Veronica and Ryan’s forthcoming Looking Good title and are exclusive to GraphicDesign&.

Burrill fans should take note that stocks of the limited edition, double-sided Optimism/Pessimism screenprinted posters that Anthony created in collaboration with philosopher Alain de Botton are running low. A handful of signed copies of the poster are available, but you’ll need to be very quick. Anyone purchasing a poster will also receive a free set of the Less Is More Christmas tree decorations.

There are limited stocks left of the three ‘P’s (principle, preference and practice) postcard sets that were created from data collected at our launch event at the Design Museum last year — available in sets of six, they make the perfect designer stocking-filler.

Lastly, in the year of his bicentenary our homage to Dickens, Page 1: Great Expectations was greeted with a huge amount of interest and has almost sold out. If you have any pals who are fans of the new film it’s the perfect Christmas gift! Order your copy now!

A very happy festive season from all at GraphicDesign&!

If you’d like to be the first to hear about our new projects, then why not join the GraphicDesign& mailing list by entering your details in the box to your right, and follow us on Twitter @gdand_

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& socialising

Several weeks ago, I attended TYPO London along with Lucienne and Rebecca to talk about my involvement in GraphicDesign&. As a social scientist, I was a fish out of water. So I did something that always makes me feel more comfortable: I asked people about themselves. The short survey I distributed amongst conference attendees collected basic demographic information like gender, age, and nationality, but also asked more complex questions about political affiliations, social consciousness in design and definitions of success. There’s a lot you can find out in 12 questions!

We received 181 filled in surveys, and the first surprise came in dividing them by gender: fully two-thirds of respondents – 67% – were women. By contrast, the British/international split was nearly equal, with Brits accounting for 49% of respondents and the international crowd for 51%. Students represented 55% of those surveyed, resulting in a very young sample overall – the average age was 29, and the median (halfway between both extremes) just 25.

Of the 89 British respondents, an overwhelming majority were left-leaning in their political affiliations. One-third reported having voted Labour in the last general election, 17% Lib Dem and 14% Green, compared to just 6% who reported voting Conservative. Likely reflecting the high proportion of students, 28% of British respondents reported that they hadn’t voted in the last election.

A staggering majority of respondents – 90% – agreed that design bears a social responsibility, and that designers should be concerned about the messages they shape. Did the conference theme draw exclusively socially-conscious designers to TYPO London? Did we happen upon the 181 designers who are fervently committed to the social impact of design? Did the survey, in asking so directly about social consciousness in design, prime respondents to answer affirmatively? Only one brave individual admitted to thinking that designers shouldn’t be concerned about the messages they shape. Interestingly, though, of the respondents who answered ‘yes’ to both questions, 32% nevertheless reported having worked for clients whose business practices or political aims they disagreed with.

On success, the results were decisive. The survey asked respondents to rank the following criteria in descending order of importance according to their personal definition of success: client satisfaction, beauty, social value, personal satisfaction, career advancement and visibility/exposure. Personal satisfaction was overwhelmingly considered to be the most important factor in success, with 60% of respondents ranking it first or second. Social value and client satisfaction were a close second and third – 44% and 43% ranked these first or second, respectively. Appropriately for such a socially concerned sample of designers, the least important factor in success was career advancement.

Success is something I’ll be looking at in greater depth in my upcoming research on graphic designers that is due to be published as a GraphicDesign& Social Science title in Autumn 2013. The book will draw on social science research methods, including surveys and interviews, to answer questions about who designers are, how they define and attain success, and whether certain designers are better placed than others to achieve and capitalise upon it.


GraphicDesign& TYPO London

GraphicDesign& TYPO London

A big thank you to everyone who came along to hear GraphicDesign&’s Lucienne Roberts, Rebecca Wright and special guest Nikandre Kopcke speak at this year’s TYPO London.

The conference theme was ‘Social’ and Lucienne kicked things off by explaining how she feels that graphic design is very much a social occupation – hence the ‘+’ in her studio name Lucienne Roberts+. Lucienne was a signatory on the year 2000 incarnation of Ken Garland’s First Things First manifesto and she presented a selection of projects which particularly embody her design ethos, including her book Good: An Introduction to Ethics in Graphic Design, her identity for the University and College Union and the Ensaimadart charity project.

Lucienne and Rebecca then introduced GraphicDesign& and talked about the background behind its very successful first publication, Page 1: Great Expectations. At this point they were joined by Nickandre Kopcke, the social scientist involved in GD&’s forthcoming publication which is based on Nikandre’s ongoing research into gender and graphic design.

Nickandre applied her research methods to the Page 1’s contributors and shared some revealing statistics concerning the age, sex and nationality of the designers included in the book. TYPO London attendees were then encouraged to fill out a short survey asking them about themselves and their design practice – we’ll be revealing the results of Nikandre’s initial findings in the next few weeks.

If you would like to take part in Nikandre’s survey but couldn’t attend TYPO London, then please contact us at info@graphicdesignand.com.

Caroline Roberts


Are you a Socialiser?

Are you a Socialiser?

Visitors to this weekend’s ‘Social’ themed TYPO London event can find out about and also participate in our fascinating new project with social scientist Nikandre Kopcke.

Nikandre wants to find out if who you are influences what you create and to examine how you perceive your role as a designer. ‘As a commercial industry, graphic design shapes public opinion on everything from politics to artificial sweeteners,’ she explains. ‘In this sense, all graphic design is inherently social. But do some designers see their practice as bearing more of a social responsibility than others? If so, who and why?’

At TYPO London she’ll be distributing a mini-survey Are you a Socialiser?, which is completely anonymous and takes less than five minutes to fill in. The survey will form part of a much larger research project, using gender as a starting point to examine who graphic designers are and how success is defined within the industry; the results of which will be published in a brand new book published by GraphicDesign& next year.

So, if you’re at TYPO London, why not come to the Drama Studio between 5–6pm on Friday 19 or Saturday 20? You’ll be able to meet Lucienne, Rebecca and Nikandre, and (via the survey) tell us a bit about yourself and your thoughts on being a designer…

Please take part

You can hear Lucienne Roberts talk about studio, and about GraphicDesign& (with Rebecca Wright and special guest Nikandre Kopcke) at TYPO London on Friday 19 October at 11am.

If you would like to take part in the survey but aren’t able to attend TYPO London, then contact us at info@graphicdesignand.com

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& Everything event roundup

On Saturday 21 July 2012, as part of the Design Museum Takeover series, GraphicDesign& invited everyone – not just artists and designers – to contribute to the ambitious GraphicDesign& Everything interactive archive. This is the latest stage in the GraphicDesign& quest to prove how interconnected graphic design is with all other subjects. The response, in-person and via Twitter, was fantastic with more than 130 items ‘placed’ in the archive during the day.

GraphicDesign& associate David Shaw worked with a group of students from Kingston University to photograph and upload images and information to the GraphicDesign& Everything online archive. As items were submitted, every item was categorised using the 23 top-level categories of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system. As hoped, most items connected to many other subjects and were categorised accordingly. The constantly updating archive was projected onto the wall of the museum so visitors could watch the archive build in real-time. Take a look at the results of the day.

In the afternoon, graphic design enthusiasts Liz Farrelly, Caroline Roberts and Lawrence Zeegen joined GraphicDesign& for a round table discussion about the archive and the items they had brought as contributions. Caroline began with a 1978 copy of the Argos catalogue and its utilitarian aesthetics instigated a lively debate about the relationship between design and social class. Liz had travelled up from Brighton and contributed her Oyster card in its IKEA branded wallet, pointing out that the advantage of the Swedish national colours – yellow and blue – is that it is easily found in a bag. Lawrence’s interest in the graphic designs of non-graphic designers was reflected in the objects he had chosen. For typographers the unorthodox serif of the hand-lettering style found on greengrocers’ price cards must be something of an oddity, but for Lawrence it is a flourish typical of vernacular graphic design (he hopes a willing fruiterer will construct an alphabet for him one day).

The day gave us the chance to test how the archive might work and produced many surprises and delights. Not least this post from contributor Nigel Ball, who attempted to document all the graphic design he saw that day. While we reflect upon the results and analyse the findings we’ll be posting updates on the website and sharing some favourite archive contributions. A huge thank you to everyone who supported us and keep watching this space!


Andrew Slatter


GraphicDesign& Everything / newsflash!

We will be joined at this Saturday’s GraphicDesign& Everything pop-up lab in London’s Design Museum by three graphic design enthusiasts: Liz Farrelly, Caroline Roberts and Lawrence Zeegen. They will be available to share contributions, comments and wisdom, 2pm–3.30pm.

Liz Farrelly is a design journalist, author, curator and Editor-at-large at Étapes International. As commissioning editor at Rotovision and design editor at Booth Clibborn Editions she has been responsible for many innovative design and popular culture books and as part of the curatorial team for Pick Me Up at Somerset House, has helped bring graphic arts to an enthusiastic public. Come along to talk with Liz about her picks for our archive.

Caroline Roberts is a writer and editor specialising in Graphic Design. As editor of Grafik magazine she has researched and written about the past, present and future of the discipline, championing and critiquing the work of graphic designers and illustrators – and revealing the stories behind their projects. Come along to talk with her about some of your favourite examples of contemporary graphic design.

Lawrence Zeegen is an illustrator, writer on design and illustration and Dean of Design at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. An avid collector of design and illustration artefacts from around the world, his enthusiasm spans a spectrum of styles and specialisms, from high to low, official and vernacular, sacred and profane – come and discover which he’ll choose to show and share.

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 7

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

Over the last few days we’ve posted our own examples to get things started. Here’s the last one. Our examples aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

Amsterdam coffee shop sign

Our seventh example is connected to seven subjects! This animated neon sign draws visitors to one of Amsterdam’s notorious coffee shops.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Chemistry, Human Science, Psychology, Sociology, Politics, Law and Technology.

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 6

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

Over the last few days we’ve posted our own examples to get things started. Here’s another one. Our examples aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

German bank note

In an attempt to combat acute hyper-inflation, the 1920’s government of the Weimar Republic printed emergency money in increasingly high single note denominations. Our sixth example is a bank note designed by Herbert Bayer while at the Bauhaus in 1923. Part of a set of six, these notes are significant both in design terms and the context in which they were commissioned and produced.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Economics, Politics and History.

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 5

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

For the following two days we will be posting the last of our own examples to get things started. These aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

HMP London security shutter

Inspired by Naomi Klein’s book No Logo, dr.d uses and subverts the language of graphic design to protest and comment, sometimes altering existing billboards and advertising hoardings or creating original work as seen here, our fifth example.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Art (this is a form of public art) and Politics.

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 4

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

For the next three days we will be posting more of our own examples to get things started. These aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

Hazard sign

Our fourth example is this ingenious tin sign, originally from the back of a US lorry. It works like a book with hinged leaves, allowing for a choice of eight hazard warnings.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Chemistry (toxic materials), Law (health and safety requirements) and Technology (transportation).

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 3

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

For the next four days we will be posting more of our own examples to get things started. These aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

Woven name label

Iron-on or sew-in, the woven name label is a staple of most school uniforms and is our third example. Taking a less is more approach, colours, fonts and motifs are limited. The labels are commonly available in red, green, blue and black and font use restricted to all caps sans serif, upper and lowercase sans serif, script or all caps serif while dinosaur, flower, train or horse motifs are an option too.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Education and Documentation (it’s an identifying label).

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 2

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

For the next few days we will be posting our own examples to get things started. These aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

Communist propaganda

Our second example is one of a series of posters bought at a ‘propoganda store’ in Moscow in 1984. It depicts Communist Russia’s supremacy on land and in conquering the new frontier, space. A typical example of this type of propaganda, this dynamic poster glorifies the notion of collective effort.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Astronomy and Technology (The Space Race), Zoology > Agriculture (toil on the land) and Politics (obviously).

GraphicDesign& Everything / Example 1

Saturday 21 July 2012 is the launch of our quest to prove that graphic design is connected with all other subjects. In a one-day event at London’s Design Museum and online, we’ll be asking for contributions to our archive where examples of graphic design will be catalogued using the 23 top-level subject categories from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system.

For the next week we will be posting our own examples to get things started. These aren’t definitive but demonstrate possibilities. See here for further details of how you can get involved.

I heart NY

We’ve chosen a design classic by Milton Glaser as our first example. In 1977 New York State needed a new ad campaign – crime was rife, businesses were leaving the city and tourists were staying away. This deceptively simple design took on a life of its own and is still one of the most recognisable, imitated and reproduced marques in the world.

This is an example of GraphicDesign& Earth Science > Geography (it is about location and environment), Psychology (it changed people’s perceptions of and relationship to the city), Sociology (branding is a way that humans organise themselves in society), History (it’s a response to a specific time and place and is now inextricably entwined with the history of the city) and Arts (it’s been applied to all manner of artifact).

GraphicDesign& Everything

GD& sticker

Be one of the first to contribute to the enormous and ambitious GraphicDesign& Everything project: an online archive of all the graphic design in the world! This event is the start of our quest to prove how interconnected graphic design is with all other subjects and the value that it brings and we need lots of help from you to do it!

GraphicDesign& invites everyone (not just designers) to contribute on Saturday 21 July between 10am and 5pm BST either via Twitter online or in person at our one-day pop-up lab at London’s Design Museum. We’re interested in everyday occurrences of graphic design in context – professional and vernacular, familiar and unfamiliar, old and new, weird and wonderful – and the subject/s to which they connect. So, no pack shots or designer self-promotion please!

GraphicDesign& will be joined by special guests and graphic design enthusiasts Liz Farrelly, Caroline Roberts and Lawrence Zeegen between 2–3.30pm who will share their contributions, comments and wisdom.

Here’s what to do:


  • 1 / Date
    Make sure it is Saturday 21 July between 10am and 5pm BST!
  • 2 / Example
    Choose any example of graphic design
  • 3 / Photograph
    Photograph it (preferably portrait format)
  • 4 / Categorise
    Look at the list of 23 subject categories below and select the one or more that you think your example of graphic design connects to
  • 5 / Tweet
    Tweet us your photograph and category/ies at @gdand_ #Everything. If your example fits into more than one category then Tweet it more than once!
  • 6 / Comment
    If there’s room add any additional information you wish
  • 7 / See
    Check this page as the examples are uploaded to our ever-expanding GraphicDesign& Everything archive

In person

  • 1 / Date
    Make sure it is Saturday 21 July between 10am and 5pm BST!
  • 2 / Example
    Choose any example of graphic design
  • 3 / Venue
    Take your example to the Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD where the GD& team will help categorise, photograph and upload your example
  • 4 / See
    Watch the large-scale projections of the GraphicDesign& Everything archive as it increases on the day

Subject category list:

  • Generalia, Phenomena, Knowledge
  • Philosophy
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Astronomy, Earth Science
  • Biological Sciences
  • Microbiology
  • Botany
  • Zoology
  • Human Sciences, Medicine, Physical Anthropology
  • Psychology
  • Education
  • Sociology
  • History
  • Religion
  • Social Welfare
  • Politics
  • Law
  • Economics
  • Technology
  • Arts, Music, Literature
  • Documentation, Bibliography, Information Science

The 23 subject categories we are working with are from the Bliss Bibliographic Classification System. For further information on Henry Bliss and his system visit our website.


GraphicDesign& Page 1 event

Held at the Design Museum on Thursday 10 May, the launch event for our first publication Page 1: Great Expectations was a huge success.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Described by one audience member as ‘a sort of amalgamation of Pecha Kucha and speed dating’, the sell-out event was an evening of two halves. Referencing Charles Dickens’ date of birth (07.02.1812), for the first part of the evening eighteen of the book’s contributors spoke for two minutes about their own interpretation of Page 1, while showing a maximum of seven images. Each designer had approached the brief in such different ways and it was fascinating to hear the thought processes involved in reaching their final piece. While the presentations might have been brief, they were full of insight and inspiration.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Wallpaper*’s Tony Chambers (a self-confessed dictator with a zero-tolerance approach to orphans and widows) asked if film director David Lean’s choice of typeface was wrong.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Violetta Boxill found her own rules and restrictions, proclaiming that ‘the notes around the page are your weapon’. For her it was all about reduction…

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Paul Finn took inspiration from the patterns created by mass graves, the lists of names found in cemeteries and the obelisk in the film 2001…

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Marcus Leis Allion looked at how technology informs the way we consume, wondering what would have happened if Dickens had worked on a typewriter.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Fraser Muggeridge wrapped up the first part of the evening by proclaiming that ‘text is over’ using pictures and sound to tell the story.

Everyone then moved upstairs to the Design Museum Space for the second part of the evening, where the audience formed smaller discussion groups which rotated every twelve minutes, giving them a rare opportunity to have a more intimate chat with the designers about their work.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Phil Baines’ (also known as Pip) inclination was to intervene very little with the text but he wondered if that was a little lazy. Thinking of it as a book design project he designed his Page 1 as a double-page spread and then removed the left hand page.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Morag Myerscough deconstructed the text – concrete poetry and Dickens meet.

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Spin’s Tony Brook discussed the ongoing modernisation of Dickens over the decades – different typeface, same story…

GraphicDesign& Page 1 event at the Design Museum

Workshop’s Rose Gridneff and Alexander Cooper explained how they made Page 1’s letterpress tip in.

Many of the book’s other contributors were also able to join us, as well as our guest of honour Professor Robert Patten, Scholar in Residence at the Charles Dickens Museum and Dickens expert and enthusiast. He was both quizzer and quizzed about how Dickens might have responded to the interpretations of the opening of his novel.

Page 1: Great Expectations

Page 1: Great Expectations is available to purchase online here.

Special student price £13.50 + £2.50 p+p worldwide

Non-student price £15.00 + £2.50 p+p worldwide

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& the Page 1 cover

Page 1: Great Expectations

Page 1: Great Expectations is now back from the printers and we’re really pleased with the result. It’s always hugely exciting to see something that has only existed previously on screen, and in a series of printouts, as a tangible object that can be held in your hands, flicked through backwards and read in the bath.

In paperback terms, it’s pretty substantial, with an extent of 320 pages. As well as the individual contributions and rationales from 70 designers, it contains a fascinating conversation between GraphicDesign& founders Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright and Dickens expert Professor Robert Patten.

With a project such as this, the cover is often the last thing to be resolved despite its being the essential shop window for what’s inside. In this case, finding an appropriate solution when there are so many different design approaches shown inside the book itself could have been problematic – but in a way Page 1’s cover designed itself.

The shapes printed in fluorescent ink represent the footprint and position of the page number (1) as placed by all of the individual contributors. It’s a completely random design over which we had little control, but we were very happy with the outcome. The cover design reveals that the most common position was close to the bottom edge of the page, but it was fortuitous that Winterhouse’s design gave us a very satisfying block of solid colour that sits just above the title.

Buy your copy of Page 1: Great Expectations here.

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& Design Museum

GraphicDesign& logo and Design Museum logo

Tickets are now on sale for the launch event for our very first publication, Page 1. Taking place at the Design Museum in London on 10 May at 7.30pm, the evening will provide a rare chance to hear a number of the book’s seventy contributors talk about their interpretation of the first page of Dickens’ much loved novel Great Expectations.

It’s Dickens’ bicentenary year and as a nod to the author’s date of birth (07/02/1812), eighteen designers will each talk about their piece for two minutes and show seven images. Speakers include Phil Baines, Violetta Boxill, Tony Chambers / Wallpaper*, Fraser Muggeridge, and Morag Myerscough, and many of the other contributors will be present on the night.

There will also be opportunity for more intimate group discussions with the designers and a chance to purchase the book at a specially reduced launch date rate!

Tickets are available now and can be purchased here.

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& format

Paper at a specialist book printer

Our very first publication, Page 1, has gone to print. It’s a typographic experiment that we hope will encourage people to consider the relationship between typography, layout and the way we read books. Seventy designers have each interpreted the first page of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations – the results are incredibly diverse, and it’s been fascinating to read each designer’s rationale on the choices that they’ve made.

Page 1: Great Expectations is in traditional paperback form, echoing the format in which the majority of people around the world will have read the novel. Dickens’ story originally appeared in 1860 in serial form in his weekly literary magazine All The Year Round, which had an impressive circulation of 100,000.

After much research we found out that in order to obtain the quality of paper that would give an authentic paperback feel, we needed to go to a specialist book printer. Page 1 is being printed at CPI Mackays, a long-established book printer based in Kent and part of the group that printed the recent Penguin’s edition of Great Expectations no less.

Page 1 follows the standard ‘A-’ paperback format of 110mm × 178mm, a format that has remained unchanged since the original Penguin imprint, introduced in the 1930s. While authors love the larger 130mm x 198mm ‘B-’ format as it suggests a more ‘literary’ read, it’s the more widely-accepted standard format paperbacks which are the ones that go on to become the best sellers.

The nature of this project, with its emphasis on the physical act of reading, meant that it was important for us to produce a printed object. Print offers the reader the chance to make a truer comparison between the different pieces, as well as the opportunity to develop a relationship with the object itself. While eBooks provide a very shiny and seductive interface, books are powerful, evocative objects that become part of the fabric of our lives. It’s hard to imagine feeling quite the same about a download in 30 years’ time.

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& interpretation

Blue plaque outside the Dickens Museum

We’re putting the finishing touches to our first publication Page 1 at the moment and it’s shaping up nicely. Last week we had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Dickens aficionado Professor Robert Patten, who provided us with some fascinating insights into the book’s contrasting interpretations of the opening page of Great Expectations.

A wealth of knowledge about the author and the society he lived in, Professor Patten has been studying Dickens for over fifty years. He is an English Professor at Rice University, Texas and also the Charles Dickens Museum’s current Scholar in Residence. The museum is based at 48 Doughty Street in Clerkenwell, which is Dickens’s only surviving London house, and where he wrote the novels Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. You can read all about Professor Patten’s unique take on Page 1 in the book’s introduction.

Professor Patten is writing a blog detailing his activities during his year in London, and there’s also a chance to sample some of his expertise in person (which is highly recommended), at a series of three talks on Dickens at London’s Guildhall Library in April. The talks are free, but need to be booked in advance.

Page 1 will be published next month, but you can order an advance copy at a special price of £12.50 here.

Caroline Roberts


GraphicDesign& font choices

graphicdesign& black and white ampersand

We use two fonts in our materials and on the site, Graphik and American Typewriter. We did – for a nanosecond – wonder if we should shun fonts with such obviously appropriate names but decided this would be perverse. Why look a typographic gift horse in the mouth?

From the outset we were keen to use a sans serif for our name and looked for a font that is archetypal – but not predictable. Graphik, designed by Christian Schwartz and sold through his and type designer Paul Barnes’ foundry Commercial Type, was inspired by less well-known twentieth-century European sans serifs and, apart from one notable and all important character, seemed perfect.

GraphicDesign& is all about connectivity. We wanted to foreground this by using an ampersand in our logo that was based on the Et (‘and’ in Latin) ligature – but Graphik didn’t include this form of ampersand. We were grateful to Christian who, sensitive to what we were trying to achieve, drew a GraphicDesign& ampersand just for us.

So, Graphik it is for GraphicDesign& alongside American Typewriter. The latter in honour of Henry Bliss, the American librarian who during the 1930s and ‘40s used his typewriter to devise the typographically eccentric Bliss Bibliographic system that guides all GraphicDesign& outputs.


GraphicDesign& research

Doorway in Katovice, Poland

Foreign travel always gets the graphic design antenna going and if the trip is to a design conference then that’s even better! As I’d hoped, last month’s trip to Katovice, Poland yielded intriguing looking accents and delightful pictograms in the streets and some challenging brainwork presented by my fellow-speakers in the conference hall.

The conference title, Research in Graphic Design / Graphic Design in Research, appealed from the moment I was invited to speak. A clever way to initiate discussions around emphasis and the relationship between graphic design and other fields, it chimed whole-heartedly with what Rebecca and I are doing with GraphicDesign&.

I started by outlining progress on Brains – a current exhibition design project that my studio LucienneRoberts+ is working on for the Wellcome Collection in London. This lead neatly to talk of GraphicDesign& – with a summation of the live information design project at last year’s Design Museum launch and a sneak preview of Page 1. As a nice chap at the front made clear I had one minute left to speak, I finished relieved and happy to have spread the GraphicDesign& word a little further a field.


GraphicDesign& walking

Lucienne talks to a studio visitor

We thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the London Design Festival. As one of the studio destinations on the LDF Graphic Design Walk, we welcomed groups of visitors into our studio throughout the day to share the stories behind our projects and chew the cud about graphic design, politics, clients and the role of women in design. Hosted by Graphic BirdWatching, an organisation dedicated to developing the profile and new platforms for female graphic designers from around the world, the walk included the studios of an impressively diverse range of female graphic designers, illustrators and makers. We were very happy to meet new faces and some old friends – both male and female! – and glad that the sun shone. Thanks to all of you who came to say hello!


GraphicDesign& the Katowice conference

Scientific illustration of the muscles of the eye

I was asked to speak at next January’s international graphic design conference in Katowice, Poland just as Rebecca and I were in the middle of setting up GraphicDesign&. Designers often pride themselves on anticipating ideas that are soon to be prevalent but I was still taken aback to see the conference subject, which seemed to exemplify synchronized design thinking. Its theme is Research in Graphic Design / Graphic Design in Research and the organisers have invited papers that make particular reference to how graphic design and science diffuse, what interdisciplinary collaborations are possible and how these might profit each field. GraphicDesign& is all about pairing graphic design with other subjects so this seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

Other speakers include renowned Dutch type designer Gerard Unger; Professor of Design at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and director of MassArt Dynamic Media Institute Jan Kubasiewicz and Professor of the Theory and History of Psychology, University of Groningen and author of The Miracle of Forgetting, Douve Draaisma. More soon on the GraphicDesign& contribution to what looks set to be a highly educative and thought-provoking conference.

Lucienne Roberts


GraphicDesign& de Botton / Burrill

Alain de Botton / Anthony Burrill poster.

To explore the first of the top level categories of the Bliss Bibliographic Classification system – Generalia, Phenomena, Knowledge – GraphicDesign& paired Alain de Botton and Anthony Burrill in a freeform collaboration. Alain was invited to bring his opinions, insight and interest in the classification and re-classification of knowledge to Anthony Burrell’s work, which is often characterised by his exploration of what it means to lead a happy life.

Their examination of why humility should attend classification, along with a preference for the tongue-in-cheek, resulted in the poster declaration that ‘optimism is not always dumb and pessimism is not always deep’. Watch the clips of Alain’s talk to find out more.

GraphicDesign& 1/3 Happiness

How do you classify happiness? Ancient Greek philosophy would have us believe that power, sex and money matter most, but does the Epicurean reclassification of happiness provide us with better access to the good life?

GraphicDesign& 2/3 Knowledge

Every book is an attempt to classify knowledge, but why are some more successful at doing this than others? Alain de Botton explores just how much the system or structure of classification matters to the communication of ideas and knowledge.

GraphicDesign& 3/3 People

Is meritocracy an attainable dream or is the classification of people beyond the province of human beings? Alain de Botton juxtaposes the political classification of people with St Augustine’s divine system of classification. Do listen for the trumpets…

GraphicDesign& Critical Tensions

An ampersand made on a letterpress block

GraphicDesign& is participating in the tenth annual St Bride Library conference this November. The event theme is ‘tension’. Often described as a defining ingredient in the process, design work certainly balances a whole series of tensions: art / design; old / young; global / local; micro / macro; analogue / digital; male / female; educated / ‘feral’; in-house / independent; designer / client – to name but a few.

We were pleased to be invited to speak, particularly on this subject. GraphicDesign& was established to address what we saw as a core tension between the inward / outward looking nature of design practice. Graphic design is accessible to everyone. We all engage with it and we are all affected by it. But, despite its central role in how we inform, entertain, manipulate and provoke, the practice seems to have become bizarrely covert. GraphicDesign& seeks to redress the balance, forging partnerships between graphic design and a myriad of other subjects to make the interconnectedness of graphic design with the wider world explicit. Inevitably for a new [and pioneering] endeavour new tensions have arisen: graphic design / other disciplines; designers / non-designers; idealism / pragmatism; what we know graphic design to be / what we believe it is capable of. But these don’t put us off. On the contrary, our objective seems all the more relevant in such uncertain – and tense – times and we embrace this friction as the precursor to valuable change.

Conference speakers include Phil Baines, Jonathan Barnbrook, Zoë Bather, Alan Kitching, Gerry Leonidas, Vaughan Oliver, Paul Rennie, Jack Schulze, Steve Watson, Derek Yates and your very own Lucienne Roberts / Rebecca Wright. Join us to raise questions and more at Critical Tensions, 10–11 November 2011.


Lucienne Roberts

Rebecca Wright


GraphicDesign& Pecha Kucha

GraphicDesign& were delighted to be invited to take part in the recent Pecha Kucha at the Design Museum to celebrate the work and influence of one of the masters of modernist design, Wim Crouwel. Lucienne was among the 11 graphic designers who rose to the challenge to share their vim for Wim in 20 slides, with only 20 seconds to talk about each image, while Rebecca was chair and compére of this fast, furious and fun event.

Lucienne’s Pecha Kucha documented her relationship with Crouwel’s work and the friendship she has developed with him through their shared love of grid systems. As the GraphicDesign& team well know, Lucienne’s adherence to the grid extends to almost all things in her life – her preferred choice of chocolate being a notable exception as she revealed here…

Lucienne holds up a chocolate flake

Other distinguished contributors included Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas (APFEL), Nick Bell (Nick Bell Design), Tim Beard (Bibliothèque), Alex Bettler (Studio Alexandre Bettler), Paul McNeill (Muir McNeill), Morag Myerscough (Studio Myerscough), Michael Place (Build), Adrian Shaughnessy (Unit Editions), Dan Witchells (Proud) and Paul Wolterink (Department of Development) who deserves a special mention. Dutch designer Paul responded to a tweet sent out by the Design Museum to its thousands of followers requesting a ‘wildcard’ contributor and was randomly selected as the winner, catching a plane from Amsterdam only hours before the event began. Now that’s Pecha Kucha with a twist!

Rebecca Wright


GraphicDesign& Kopcke / Shaw

Questionnaire about work, friends and family and happiness.

At the GraphicDesign& launch event, social scientist Nikandre Kopcke and information designer David Shaw invited the audience to fill in a questionnaire about three aspects of their lives – their work, their friends and family and their happiness.

For each of these areas they were asked to answer questions designed to elicit responses relating to principle [what they think they should do], preference [what they would like to do] and practice [what they actually do]. Kopcke and Shaw found themselves working furiously right up to the wire to process and translate this raw data into carefully calculated and meaningful graphic form, which they then presented back to the audience at the end of event.

Kopcke and Shaw used a pie chart-like circular gradient to show responses about happiness. The first doughnut is a graphic representation had equal numbers of audience felt completely happy [orange, left], completely unhappy [blue, right] and everything in between. The ‘ambivalent’ zones are the palest and, here, are in the middle.

The second doughnut represents how the audience actually said they felt on the night. Most of them felt moderately happy – the circular gradient is mostly orange and the ‘ambivalent’ zones are on the right, crowded out by the relative majority of ‘happy’ respondents.

The pair then decided to use Venn diagrams to show the three-way agreement between responses to the principle, preference and practice questions. Shaw explains that he didn’t want to rely on his hazy memories of trigonometry to arrive at the Venn diagrams, so constructed them in InDesign manually. In the end he decided to use CMYK colours, familiar to graphic designers, to help audience members understand the notion of these overlaps.

Following on from the diagrams at the event, more results have been analysed and three postcards have been created that show the differences between how designers and non-designers view their lives.

GraphicDesign& fitting in

Bliss bibliographic classification

I don’t like fitting in. I’ve always liked not fitting in, but now I’m trying to see where I fit into the Bliss system as well as GraphicDesign&.

I’ve been helping out at GD& doing a bit of design, a bit of research, a bit of this and a bit of that. And why am I doing it? Because I think graphic design is much more interesting when it’s attached to something else.

Sure, on the face of it, I am a graphic designer. I classify myself as that I suppose [he of the WFG persuasion]. But I am much more than my occupation. Like everyone else is really – although I do worry that lots of graphic designers like very much to be graphic designers and their lives do revolve around WFG. You could say they look something like this: WFG& WFG.

Now, even though I definitely do like looking at graphic design mostly I want graphic design to make sense to me on a different level. I want to produce work that changes something, makes people think or take action in some way.

Over the past seven years or so I’ve made careful decisions about where I work and who I work with. Initially I focused on working for places that I knew would be interesting such as the Guardian. Then I got a freelance job at Age Concern and realised that I actually fitted really well into the charity sector. I accept it might not be very cool or hip, but I really liked it. Since my first charity job I’ve been, what can only be described as, a charity whore. I’ve worked for Oxfam, Save the Children, the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, Amnesty International and the newly-named Age UK. I get a kick out of raising the profile of these charities, producing campaigns that get people riled up and hopefully make them money. That’s the bit I actually enjoy most of all!

So how does what I do fit into the Bliss system? Philosophy [WFG& A/AL] is a big part of it – my own philosophy about what I think graphic design can achieve and what uses it can have. Maybe it’s also about Education [WFG& J] as I’m here not just to do stuff but to learn stuff too – and of course right now it’s all about Documentation, Bibliography, Information Science [WFG& Z] as I’m trying to classify myself!

I said at the beginning that I don’t like fitting in but I do think I really fit well into GD&. It suits me down to the ground perhaps because it’s all about everything else.

Adam Cohen


GraphicDesign& press coverage

Despite being told the contrary, here at GraphicDesign& we don’t often like to blow our own trumpets (we’d much rather others did it for us). Following our launch event earlier this year we’ve been fortunate enough to receive a mention or two in the press and even luckier to be asked to collaborate with a number of publications to explore graphic design and interconnectedness in the wider world. But don’t just take our word for it…

Grafik magazine

Grafik magazine asked GraphicDesign& to set out the thoughts and talks that shaped the project, from our early mulling on how to make the outward looking nature of graphic design more explicit to our personal ambitions to publish, all explored over a few coffees in Amsterdam and via a search for the perfect library classification system!


London’s guide to contemporary art, events and news, FADwebsite hailed our desire to explore the ever-neglected spirit of collaboration in graphic design as essential.

Eye magazine

Eye magazine invited GraphicDesign& to feature the inaugural GraphicDesign& event, held at London’s Design Museum in April 2011. Our blog piece introduced the ambitious ‘live’ data gathering and graphic design experiment that ran throughout the evening. Eye showcased some of the beautiful and revelatory results from Dave Shaw and Nikandre Kopcke’s unique experiment (which you can see here. Helpful don’t you think?).

Blue Strawberry

Blue Strawberry thinks that the GraphicDesign& poster collaboration between Alain de Botton and Anthony Burrill goes beyond decorative purposes and is both ‘inspiring and challenging’.

It’s Nice That

Having heard the word on the street, It’s Nice That were reported to have snatched the GraphicDesign& poster out of our courier’s hands, featuring it in their weekly ‘Things’ round up.

They said that ‘Alain de Botton’s way with words finds a natural visual ally in the strong typographic work that comes so naturally to Anthony Burrill. A very fitting partnership…addressing the stereotypical perceptions of seemingly opposing approaches to life. And from both collaborators there’s the acknowledgement that it’s not just a way with words but how you say them that counts’.

Urban Outfitters

The Observer magazine

In more poster news, Urban Outfitters blogged the collaboration between Anthony Burrill and Alain de Botton as a cure for the Monday blues and The Observer magazine thought that it was a must buy (which you can do here).

If you have any press queries or spot us in the news please contact info@graphicdesignand.com.

Rachel Bennett


GraphicDesign& students

GraphicDesign& invited Kingston University students from the BA (Hons) Graphic Design and BA (Hons) Graphic Design + Photography courses to explore the possibilities of the interconnectedness of graphic design with the wider world as a contribution to the GraphicDesign& launch event at London’s Design Museum.

Their brief was to reveal the role, relationship or relevance of graphic design to one of the top level Bliss categories, and their approaches encompassed the interrogative, the imaginary, the illustrative and the illuminating. From the vernacular angry graphics of protest signs by students opposing tuition fees (GraphicDesign& Politics by Luke Moran-Morris) to the succinct and simple copyright symbol (GraphicDesign& Law by Clara Goodger) each underlined how intertwined graphic design is in our everyday lives and its integral role in how we express ourselves, communicate with one another and make sense of the world around us.

Final-year student Jack Llewellyn’s solution was a short animation that explored the correlation between the mapping and manipulation of our perception and understanding (GraphicDesign& Biological Sciences). Jack’s most recent project, The Origin Network, was created and designed with fellow Kingston student Ben Lambert and is a web-based support system and central information hub designed for disaster situations. Created in response to the 2011 Japanese tsunami, The Origin Network was used by a worldwide audience of more than 57,000 people from 57 countries for up-to-the minute information. The project will feature as part of Emerge, a showcase of the best undergraduate work from across the country, during London Design Festival 2012. We wish Jack luck as he begins his MA Communication Art and Design at the Royal College of Art and will be following his progress – we think he’s one to watch!

Rebecca Wright


GraphicDesign& launch event

The GraphicDesign& launch event at London’s Design Museum.

Curated to demonstrate what graphic design can achieve when connected with a host of subjects, the first GraphicDesign& event, at London’s Design Museum in April 2011, was a sell-out.

Highlights from the evening included talks by philosopher and writer Alain de Botton and designer Anthony Burrill. Invited to collaborate because of their shared concern with words, wisdom and how to live a happy life – they introduced their resulting double-sided poster exploring optimism and pessimism and challenging the stereotypes of these seemingly opposing approaches to living. See Alain’s talk here.

Equally engaging, Nikandre Kopcke and David Shaw involved the audience in an ambitious, live project. They worked against the clock to input questionnaire answers from the 82 graphic designers and 47 non-graphic designers present. Their aim was to demonstrate a way of graphically interpreting data that more faithfully represents the complexities and nuances statistics contain. The resulting visual interpretations have been designed as a set of postcards.

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