MA Documentary Film graduate Damiano Petrucci wins award at the CineGlobe Film Festival in Geneva


Still from ‘Logically Policed’, 2014.

Damiano Petrucci, an alumnus of LCC’s MA Documentary Film course has just won the Audience Favourite Documentary Award at the CineGlobe Film Festival in Geneva, for his graduating film ‘Logically Policed’.

The film has now been nominated for a Learning on Screen Award, which will be announced at the BFI later this month, and is also being screened at ScreenTest: National Student Film Festival, which will be at London South Bank University 17-18 April.

We caught up with him to find out more about the film, winning the award and his plans for the future.


Damiano winning his award in Geneva, 2015.

Damiano, can you talk to us a little about what your film is about?

My film is about mathematics. More specifically it answers three questions about the subject – what is mathematics, why don’t we like it and how does it work?

The film addresses these issues by opening and dialogue with academics and scientists who have found their own unusual ways to explain mathematics such as juggling, stand-up comedy and street performance.

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Logically Policed - Image Stills from ‘Logically Policed’, 2014.

The film has been getting recognition from industry and has been nominated for several awards, what does this mean to you?

I filmed, directed and edited the entire film by myself so just being nominated for these festivals already feels like a huge achievement. Winning the Audience Favourite Documentary Award at the Cineworld Film Festival was a really wonderful moment for me. Knowing that the film is interesting to a wider audience as well as industry professionals is incredibly gratifying.

If I win any future awards I will be really happy because it would mean that people have enjoyed learning about mathematics, which is always a great thing.


Still from ‘Logically Policed’, 2014.

What motivated you to make your film? Did you want to encourage others to share your enthusiasm for mathematics?

In short, yes! I’ve always loved mathematics. I find it so fascinating because it is fundamental in our everyday life but it is essentially abstract. However, I am really aware that the vast majority of people don’t share the same feeling towards this subject as I do. With this film I wanted to shine a different light onto mathematics and mathematicians.

Can you tell us a little bit about your plans for the future? Upcoming projects?

I have recently started a new job now as a videographer for a business company so I at the moment I am focusing on that. I’m really enjoying the challenges of working in video in a business environment.

I have no doubt that I will start shooting a new documentary at some point soon, but as yet I still don’t know what that will be about.

Find out more about MA Documentary Film

BA (Hons) Animation students bring copyright myths to life for Own-It

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Still from Own-It film by William Horne and Kristiana Kancheva, 2015.

Will Horne and Kristiana Kancheva, two students on LCC’s BA (Hons) Animation course, have won a competition run by UAL’s intellectual property advisors Own-It with their animated short film.

Watch their Own-It film on Vimeo

The live brief carried a cash prize for the winner and asked entrants to create an informative animation of less than three minutes about copyright myths, to be used in official materials and on the Own-It website.

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Still from Own-It film by Will Horne and Kristiana Kancheva, 2015.

Will and Kristiana took inspiration from the style of 1970s and 80s cartoons for their film, which features tongue-in-cheek characters deliberately derived from Mr Men, The Simpsons and Spongebob Squarepants.

The film debunks the myth that making small changes to an established copyrighted creation and presenting the result as a unique work is not an infringement of copyright.

William told us:

“Instead of choosing the well-trodden path of “myths = mythological concepts/legends”, i.e. the Minotaur etc. I pitched a more experimental idea, which still fitted the brief and played off ‘bootleg’ versions of characters like Lisa Simpson and Spongebob Squarepants. The 80s aesthetic led off this as we adapted a ‘Little Miss’ character and it seemed to fall into place based on her context.”

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Still from Horniman Museum film by William Horne, 2015

Both Kristiana and Will also took part recently in a project with the Horniman Museum, in which students in their year of the course produced animations to be played at the museum’s Chinese New Year ‘Late’ event.

Watch Will’s Horniman animation on Vimeo

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Still from Horniman Museum film by William Horne, 2015

Each of the 20 student films shown on the night was 15 seconds long and reflected Chinese New Year traditions and contemporary culture.

Read more about BA (Hons) Animation

Ladybird interview // LCC students Grace Hands and Saachi Mehta

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Reimagining Vintage Ladybird student presentations at LCC. Image © Lewis Bush

LCC students from across the School of Design are currently working on our Reimagining Vintage Ladybird collaboration, creatively repositioning the classic publishers for the 21st century.

They recently pitched their final ideas to LCC and Ladybird representatives, so we caught up with two of them to find out what it’s like to work on this live brief.

Grace Hands is studying BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, while Saachi Mehta is an MA Illustration and Visual Media student, working on this project with coursemates Wajeeha Abbasi and Chandr Chandrvirochana.

When did you first become aware of Ladybird books?

Grace Hands: I grew up reading the Ladybird fairytales series, and my mum has a small collection.

The classic Ladybird language and illustrations have been present throughout my childhood – for example when I first moved to London my mum gave me the Ladybird book on London as a present.

Saachi Mehta: The Ladybird books are a worldwide brand now and my group and I have known them since our childhood.

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Part of the Ladybird illustration archive. Image © Lewis Bush

How would you describe the style of a vintage Ladybird illustration?

GH: Wonderful painted illustrations, clear, informative text, casual and friendly tone, convenient size. The Ladybird family were happy, polite and loved to learn, play and help each other.

SM: We greatly admire the skill and the amount of detail in Ladybird illustrations. The way each piece is painted so precisely and the essence it has which reflects British values and the British lifestyle is brilliant.

The way each hair strand on a person’s head or the detail of an object is painted really makes you appreciate the skill of the artist. We personally grew up with these books even though we are not British.

Peculiarly remembering the Peter and Jane books and looking at the pictures for hours has inspired our illustration styles in some ways too.

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Students researching the Ladybird archives at LCC. Image © Lewis Bush

How are you tackling the challenge of updating such a classic brand?

GH: I have some great visual material to work with, so my main challenge is communicating Ladybird’s language and tone.

When comparing the Ladybird world to the modern day, some aspects can be considered outdated or old fashioned (such as gender stereotypes), so I am working on picking out the most relatable and relevant themes, and celebrating them in a way that will effectively communicate with a modern audience.

SM: Sure, Ladybird is a classic brand and it is its centennial year that we are celebrating – its rich, valuable heritage. But since the brief allows us to use this heritage and the brand very openly, the freedom to interpret it and add our own influences and styles to the work we have created helps us tackle the challenge.

It is the wide array of possibilities and the liberty to use any medium to answer and crack the brief for the brand while maintaining its value that guided us through.

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A range of classic Ladybird titles. Image © Lewis Bush

What are the influences which are inspiring your Ladybird work?

GH: The classic format of the books – text on the left, image on the right. I also want my work to be both entertaining and educational. The Ladybird collection is so broad and covers so many subjects, I really want my work to include as many themes as possible.

SM: Our Ladybird work is influenced by various factors. We researched the Ladybird archive and drew out similarities and differences between the world portrayed within the Ladybird books and our world today.

These similarities and differences are what we based our work on – the fact that the Ladybird world resembles today’s search engine, since it is an archive of anything and everything with information on a very wide range of topics.

This connection influenced our work and the counterparts that we created using this resemblance led us to the creation of the interactive installation.

As for the execution, our illustrations are influenced by the modern minimalistic graphic style to convey our message and the colour schemes are picked from their counterparts in the Ladybird world. Thus the work is influenced by a balanced mix of Ladybird and the modern world.

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Student work as part of Reimagining Vintage Ladybird. Image © Casey Mackenzie Johnson

What has been the most enjoyable part of this project so far?

GH: A selection of the Ladybird archive was brought to LCC, and we had the chance to view the illustrations up close. The skill that these illustrators had is breathtaking.

I really enjoyed examining the pieces at their original scale before being cropped for the books.

SM: For this project we worked in a group of three. The various ideas and creativity that we brought in, due to our cultural differences and backgrounds, made carrying out this project a lot of fun.

The comic aspect while selecting the counterparts for the images from the Ladybird world in today’s world was also fun, and playing this game ourselves and seeing the options we could come up with was definitely the most enjoyable part of this project.

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LCC’s Professor Lawrence Zeegen and Ladybird representatives explore students’ work. Image © Lewis Bush

And the greatest challenge?

GH: Finding certain books for my research! All the Ladybird books that I am working from have been found in obscure second-hand book shops or charity shops.

I have had to resort to ordering some books online. When I initially set out to source these books, I was naive in thinking they would be easy to find.

Some of the books I am now working from did not initially have an obvious link to my project theme (food), but they were so beautiful and interesting I had to get them anyway.

Most of these books have actually gone on to influence me and push my ideas further. The less obvious subjects contain hidden treasures within the language that I am now working from, as well as the more obvious topics.

SM: For us, the biggest challenge was to find the best way to showcase this wonderful collection of all these illustrations and to see if the counterparts we found in the modern world were actually relating and connecting to them.

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Student work as part of Reimagining Vintage Ladybird. Image © Casey Mackenzie Johnson

What would you say to an LCC student thinking about getting involved in a similar live brief?

GH: Definitely do it! It is such a fantastic opportunity to work on a live brief whilst still studying and being able to get feedback from tutors and peers, as well as feedback from the actual client.

It is a chance to develop your design, research and presentation skills.

To work with well-known and respected brands such as Ladybird is also a huge boost for your portfolio, and encourages you to think more carefully about your outcomes and how they would work in the real world.

SM: To an LCC student thinking about getting involved in a similar live brief, we would say grab these opportunities with both your hands when they come by.

They are excellent opportunities for creativity and there is a lot of freedom with briefs like that, so the possibilities of what one can do and how one can execute is very liberal.

It also teaches the ways how work gets done within the creative industry, helps to understand the market, make connections and to balance work and time with such live briefs.

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Wajeeha Abbasi and Saachi Mehta (l-r) presenting their group’s work. Image © Lewis Bush

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Grace Hands at the Ladybird presentation. Image © Lewis Bush

View Flickr images of the presentations and the work

Read more about the Reimagining Vintage Ladybird project


MA Publishing pushes New Frontiers with 11th annual Publishing Innovation Conference

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MA Publishing student Caitlin Kirkman reports on this year’s Publishing Innovation Conference - New Frontiers: How Stories Are Told Today.

On Thursday 19 March, MA Publishing students at London College of Communication hosted the 11th annual Publishing Innovation Conference.

Each year this event is organised and run by a team of students with the aim of bringing together publishing industry professionals, students and alumni to debate and discuss current issues and new ideas.

In ten short weeks the team conceptualised the event’s theme, wrote editorial copy, invited speakers, designed print and online materials, marketed, publicised, and finally staged the conference with the generous support of LCC and Macmillan.

This year’s conference theme was New Frontiers. The conference focused on the core value of publishing – storytelling – in all its contemporary forms. It included traditional book and magazine publishers, but also speakers from journalism, art, tech, and academic backgrounds.

The evening explored everything from pushing the boundaries of digital apps and putting long-form journalism in a galaxy of .gifs, to robots tweeting and magazines clamouring for social change.

A trio of introductory speakers was followed by four seminars – for techies, the young at heart, collaborators and busy people.

Louise Rice, Executive Producer at Touchpress, shared award-winning apps reaching for new horizons. Seb Emina, Editor-in-chief of The Happy Reader, spoke about collaborating across borders. Tech journalist Adam Banks talked about content, platforms and the creativity needed to blend them. Ed Lake, Deputy Editor of, spoke about what makes a story share-worthy. A final panel discussed the interplay between a story’s medium and message.

Attendees gave positive feedback during the networking reception, on Twitter and in a follow-up survey.

Another attendee said:

“The story theme was a great way to get back to the basics of publishing, and it was refreshing that new innovations and methods were discussed without being so much about business models and technical tools and programmes.

“The publishing industry is always so hyper-aware of what threats it needs to face, that it sometimes forgets that it’s in a very creative, cultural industry.”

Intro Speakers

Delegates hear speakers’ ideas about the present and future of storytelling.

Words by Caitlin Kirkman

Visit the Publishing Innovation 2015 website

On Twitter: @PICNewFrontiers and #PublishingNOW

Read more about MA Publishing

New Course Discourse // BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts


BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image (now BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts) students presenting their work at the Science Museum Lates, 2014.

In our latest New Course Discourse feature, we chat to Programme Director Ben Stopher to find out more about the new BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts.

Ben, this isn’t a completely new course is it? Can you tell us a little bit about why this course has been redeveloped?

Absolutely, this is a revalidation of BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image, so the core values of the course are the same, it’s all to do with designing a physical experience and using technology.

There is so much scope for creativity on this course. Students can do anything from making interactive installations, to using film making principles to work on interactive theatre.

It’s more at the art end of the spectrum if you put art and design at different ends of a scale. It’s a fast-paced course which is built around developing students’ personal portfolios of work.

It’s quite a broad course but one of its specialisms is physical computing, which involves making stuff that moves and works in the physical world, using censors and other exciting technology. We also specialise in expanded cinema which is this kind of expanded idea of moving image.

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BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image (now BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts) work in LCC’s Summer Show, 2013.

This course looks at social design, and there is a real focus on collaborative design and social impact. Students will look at how neighbourhoods can improve through design and study ideas surrounding the urban realm.

It is about human centred design, how are people affected by design and how you can design in a human centred way in a world which has much more imbedded technology in it.

It’s related to interface and information – but that course is highly focused, specialist and digital. Whereas this is about designing for environments and spaces using digital technology.

It’s a bit of a designer’s playground this course, they get the scope to work in lots of interesting areas.


Installation by BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image (now BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts) student.

So this course doesn’t actually differ much from BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image?

No, this revalidation is more of a reflection of the arts focus in the course. In a way the course is just being described better, rather than the course itself going through radical change.

It sounds like one of the most exciting things about the course is how broad it is, but in terms of where the course can lead its students what are the options?

The thing about all the graduates from this course is that they go on to do really different things. You get people who graduate and go and work in film, TV and moving image, or people who work in interactive theatre, or people who work in visual communication and people who go onto photography.


BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image (now BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts) work in LCC’s Summer Show, 2014.

A lot of them go on to postgraduate level education, and I think the alumni stories of this course are often about students going on to study at a very high level in some really exciting destinations.

It’s really about building an identity as a designer. It’s not about going into work in the design industries in the way that Information and Interface really targets that, it’s about you being able to build a design identity and then using that to find new opportunities.


BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts students and their Sexuality Silhouette Machine at the Science Museum Lates, 2015.

And finally, what is the difference between the BA and MA here?

It’s Interaction Design Arts at undergraduate level, but it becomes Interaction Design Communication at postgraduate, so the focus definitely shifts. The MA Interactive Design Communications is more design lead than BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts.

There is also much more focus on design research on the MA. In both courses though, there’s an exploration of speculative and critical design, and an interest in embedded technologies and the internet of things.

Find out more about BA (Hons) Interaction Design Arts

Industry mentors join BA (Hons) Games Design students for two-day Game Jam

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Students across all three years of LCC’s BA (Hons) Games Design course recently worked together alongside industry mentors on a Two-Day Student and Mentor Game Jam.

Each Game Jam team was made up of students from different years who created games based around a specific theme.

At the end of the second day, an open exhibition was held in LCC’s Typo Cafe in which visitors could meet the students and try out the games produced.

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We found out what students and mentors had to say about this cross-year collaboration.

“As an opportunity to work alongside peers from the Games Design course and with industry mentors, I as a third-year found it to be a very enjoyable experience.

“As well as getting to know the first- and second-year students a little better, we were able to make games that were unique and extremely entertaining. They ranged from card games to physical activities and digital games, all in all proving the variety of skill this course encapsulates.

“The most exciting part of the day was learning from industry mentors and being able to put into action their words. It improved many features of my game as well as many others. Working with a second-year as my partner was also great fun, merging our ideas together to define what game design could offer.

“If I were to be called upon to join in with an experience like this, I would definitely take part. It was a great way to communicate with fellow peers and people who are already a part of the gaming world, who can preach to us students what qualities are needed in this industry.”
Bizza-Tul-Anne Tirmizi (Third-year student)

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“As a third-year at LCC on BA (Hons) Games Design, I have witnessed fun work and interesting talks. This year the opportunity showed itself for me to be part of a Game Jam, and it was brilliant.

“The ordinary day of a Games Design student is packed with coding, animating and 3D modeling, therefore the event was a very welcome change of scenery. Not only was I able to let my mind free for two days, but also combine my ideas with my fellow students from the first and second year, and even better with professionals from the industry.

“It was a very interesting experience to see the different approaches each tutor offered and to take part in the discussions which sparked all over the place about game design and the applicability of our game concepts.

“After two days of work a small show was organised for us and offered us the opportunity to show our creations to everybody who wanted to see them. By and large it was a very interesting and informative event that offered me the contact to fellow students, and even more importantly contact to the industry.”
Dominik Mueller (Third-year student)

“There’s a lot to be learnt from a Game Jam – quick testing of ideas, scrapping what doesn’t work and going down the route of what does. The LCC Game Jam allowed for a way of working slightly different to the approach to a college assignment – it’s like a quick, hard workout.

“The experience of working with and receiving advice and feedback from visiting mentors – most of whose work I already knew and respected – was extremely positive. The mentors were helpful and generous with their time and knowledge.”
Andrew Dennison (Second-year student)

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“It was a genuine delight to hang out with a bunch of game design students full of enthusiasm for making a complete game in such a short amount of time, confident to iterate their designs over and over again. At the end of the two-day jam, there were a number of prototypes which felt viable as releasable games – which is a fantastic achievement!”
Ricky Hagget, mentor (HoneySlug Games)

“It was a real privilege to be a part of the game jam as a mentor. Game jams provide a space for a concentrated form of the game design process, and are a great place to learn to work with others, and to allow others to work with you.

“Helping to steer students towards thoughts, questions, and new working practices within a space of rapid iteration and experimentation was incredibly energising. The events when taken at their best are always about the process as much as the product, and I was really pleased to see the breadth of engagement with the experience, and felt privileged to be able to be a part of that.”
Hannah Nicklin, mentor (Games designer and theatre maker)

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“Seeing the students develop ideas they had over the two days in ways that surprised me was such a fun experience. By the end of the Game Jam, the games they had made were very different from what I had pictured them making at the start.

“I like to think the students learned about the flexibility of their own ideas. They adapted to feedback and responses so quickly that all of the games went through several iterations before arriving at a stage they were confident in. The confidence to change your ideas and develop them in this manner is a valuable skill.”
Jay Baylis (Chucklefish Games)

Read more about BA (Hons) Games Design

LCC BA (Hons) Digital Media Design graduate Matteo Zamagni’s latest project is selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick

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Still from TSVI’s ‘Malfunction’ video, Matteo Zamagni, 2015.

LCC BA (Hons) Digital Media Design graduate Matteo Zamagni’s latest project, a music video with musician TSVI, has just been selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick. The video for ‘Malfunction’ is made up of a series of digitally produced space-scapes which explores the concept of the balance and interconnected flow of nature.

The video has already been featured in Dezeen, Fact magazine and The Creators Project.

We caught up with Matteo to find out more about what brought him to LCC and how he got involved in this project.

“Initially I thought I wanted to study fine art, which evolved into an interest in photography and photo-manipulation and finally after moving to London I discovered moving image.

“Currently I’m really interested in visual effects, 3D animation, real-time computer graphics, interactive installations, VJ and experimental videos. This project developed as a result of my exploration in these exciting areas.

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Still from TSVI’s ‘Malfunction’ video, Matteo Zamagni, 2015.

“After some time spent in London I met Guglielmo Barzacchini aka TSVI, a musician who is part of Nervous Horizon, an independent record label based in East London. Since then I’ve become a part of the Nervous Horizon family and we’ve all creatively grown together, we push and motivate each other.

“As I’ve always been a fan of electronic music, when Guglielmo released his first EP on French Label BYRSLF we decided to collaborate on an A/V piece for the Title Track ‘Malfunction’.

“The process behind the video was both tedious and exciting. The brief was totally open so I pushed myself and learned a great deal in the process of development.

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Still from TSVI’s ‘Malfunction’ video, Matteo Zamagni, 2015.

“After doing some research I came up with a storyboard, I was inspired by both scientific and esoteric topics: fractals, quantum theory, the existence of consciousness and the ego, frequencies and vibrations, sacred geometry, cymatics and so on…

“As we’re currently living together, Guglielmo and I worked closely together on the project, his feedback was essential to me for the progression of the video. Because on the technical side I was working alone, the video took me roughly four months to make.

“In the final steps it took me more than a week of four computers running at the same time to get all the renders done.

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Still from TSVI’s ‘Malfunction’ video, Matteo Zamagni, 2015.

“Technically I pushed myself towards exploring new techniques and way of creations.

“After creating the storyboard I started making the main scenes in C4D, building up the motion of planets. I then created the landscape of the planets by using a technique called photo scanning. I took many photos from various angles of real life object such as cabbage, broccoli, and plastic bags and so on.

“With these images I created virtual 3D models using a specialised software called Photoscan which merges the photos together, after which I was able to place each model into a C4D scene resulting in the finished environments of the planets.

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Still from TSVI’s ‘Malfunction’ video, Matteo Zamagni, 2015.

“There’s a good balance in the final piece between the audio and video elements. I stayed as close as possible to the brief of visually representing the music, so whilst I have built a story behind the song, the sequence of events isn’t strictly linear. I’m really pleased with the end result, and I’m delighted about how much attention the video has garnered for the music.”

Visit Matteo’s website 


New Course Discourse // BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity and BA (Hons) Design for Art Direction

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LCC’s Programme Director Graphic Communication, Jamie Hobson.

In the latest New Course Discourse, we ask Programme Director Jamie Hobson to talk us through two brand new undergraduate courses in the School of Design: BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity and BA (Hons) Design for Art Direction.


Can you tell us why the course has been created?

It comes from BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, because we’ve discovered over the years that there are more and more students who have an interest in the branding aspect of graphic design.

Graphic design has changed radically from when I was a student, when it was purely print-based. Now you can incorporate film, motion graphics, photography, writing, and even curation.

A very significant part of graphic design now is branding and identity, and we thought that given the large number of applicants to our graphic and media design course, we would write a graphic branding and identity course which dealt specifically with that area.

It also relates directly to our MA Graphic Branding and Identity, so there’s a possibility of progression to postgraduate level.

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‘Sharemarket’ by Jin Li, MA Graphic Branding and Identity, Postgraduate Shows 2014. Image © Lewis Bush.

What can students expect from the course content?

The first year of the course follows exactly the same pattern as the majority of the other degree courses within the School of Design. So that allows a certain amount of flexibility, it allows people to move around, which we think is a good thing.

There are common units such as ISHE which is Introduction to Study in Higher Education, acclimatising students to studying within UAL and LCC particularly, which is a really good inclusion in the programme.

The course also shares a unit in the first year with BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design – Basic Design Principles – so that we bring everybody up to a particular standard. We want them to understand what design is and what design represents as a component of BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity.

Then we start looking at aspects of branding: what is branding? What is identity? What is storytelling in relation to this activity?

There’s a balance between those University-wide units – collaboration units, for instance, in the second year, which allow students to collaborate within the School, College or University – and the specialist units which identify the degree specialism.

Then we come into the third year, which is exactly the same as the third year in all the School of Design’s degree programmes, and allows students to specialise either in studio-based, practice-based areas or the dissertation.

What can studying at LCC offer applicants to this BA?

In the past year the School of Design has developed ten new undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. When you see all the undergraduate courses listed, you suddenly see a relationship between all of them and a coherence which we’ve never necessarily had before.

There are things which identify LCC and its School of Design. LCC is quite unique because it’s a College of design, media and communication, not a traditional art school. When you look at the list of degree programmes, you can see the relationship between design, communication and media.

We don’t offer fine art, we don’t offer fashion, we don’t offer product design, but we offer things that have a greater cogency and cohesion and are more related to the design, communication and media industry, which is a clearly defined part of our economy.

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Work by Na Youn Jeon, BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, Summer Shows 2014. Image © Lewis Bush.

So what are you looking for in students?

Graphic branding and identity is less about logos and much more about the cultural issues around identity. It’s the notion of branding as narrative, as a story. We’re expecting students with an understanding of a whole range of aspects on the periphery of design.

So we may be looking at many more students whose background is not traditional. They don’t even necessarily come from art and design backgrounds. They might be writers, they might have a background in humanities, but they can still work capably within the area of branding and identity.

We interview all our students – we always have done and we always will do. It’s interesting because traditionally students have come from Foundation courses with a portfolio of work, and we make a selection based on that.

But increasingly we’re finding students who come from a different background, so they may have brilliant predicted A-level grades in subjects that a few years ago we would never have considered. Physics, science subjects generally, mathematics.

Their portfolio isn’t necessarily brilliant, but there’s something about them, and we’ll often take a risk with that student because they’re obviously keen and they’re bringing something else to the course. They’re coming with an approach which is more theoretical than practice-based.

Students who are very practical and conform to the traditional notion of what a design student might be are meeting those students who are far more academic and have a different perspective. Their skills complement each other.

What do you think the possibilities are for graduates from this course?

We think they’ll have greater skills in terms of branding and identity than a graphic design student might have, but they’ll also have those practical skills that a graphic design student possesses at a certain level, to be able to work in that field as well.

So they could work in corporate communication, branding, graphic design, editorial design, film, animation, all areas which are related to what we do in design, communication and media. And there’s the MA option here as well.


The School of Design’s undergraduate Summer Show 2014. Image © Ana Escobar


Moving on to the second course, how did BA (Hons) Design for Art Direction course come about?

There are no art direction degrees in the country that I’ve found. There may be individual units in postgraduate degrees, but nothing specific.

Again it comes from BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design – we always find that there are students on that course who are not necessarily specialists in any one area, but have a broad range of skills and the ability to collaborate and to organise students.

It’s particularly noticeable when you get to the final year of the degree – you might get 150 students putting on their Summer Show, and you find that there are just 10 or 12 students who are organising the whole lot.

They organise all the shows, they bring together the website and any publications. Those are quite amazing people.

If we can find them earlier on – though we can’t guarantee that when they graduate they’re going to be art directors straight away, it could take three or four years – we can give them the experience of working collaboratively.

There’ll be a great deal more about management of design, negotiation, conflict management, than would be dealt with in the traditional graphic design or design course.

In terms of their practice, we expect students who may want to specialise in one area but have a breadth of skills, and can understand how photography, film, graphic moving image and print-based graphics work. They may not be an authority on those subjects but they can bring together a group of people who are.

So how do those students tend to emerge within BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design at the moment?

You can spot that student in the first year, the one who’s got that edge over their peers in terms of commitment, organisational skills, presentation skills – and they tend to continue to be the organisers.

They’re not self-obsessed, they’re good collaborators, they have good interpersonal skills, they’re good at selling ideas and concepts, and they can bring together a team of people who can realise their particular vision.

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BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design, LCC Summer Shows 2014. Image © Lewis Bush.

And you’re taking a similar approach in finding students for this new BA?

We’re looking at portfolios and we do group interviews. We meet a group of students collectively, and we ask them questions about what they read, why they’re interested in LCC, and the ones who’ll stand up and answer often also have a very good portfolio or good academic qualifications. You can spot the behaviour patterns.

Tell us about the basic structure of the course.

It fits more or less with BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity in that there are common units which are shared with all the undergraduate courses within the School of Design, which means there is the possibility, if people are not sure, of moving between courses.

It has the same basic structure: Introduction to Design Principles, which we think is crucial, and then you have in this case an exploration of different media.

The other thing in the first and second years is the design management unit, which is unique to this course. That will be dealing with the theory and practice associated with managing the design process, not just practical but theoretical. There’s also media exploration and art direction itself in the second year.

The third year is exactly the same as all our other degree courses, so that students have the opportunity to do a self-initiated project, emphasising either the dissertation or the studio.

So, from an applicant’s perspective, why LCC?

I think it’s really important to recognise the heritage of LCC. LCC has always been recognised for graphic design in particular in the School of Design. That’s its history, emanating from print, but the legacy of that is the expansion of design.

It reflects the expansion of the design industry itself and has kept pace with it, and we still think that we’re leaders in the country of design education.

The difference between us and many other institutions is that we’re concept-orientated in all our courses, and we like students who are capable of exploring, experimenting, and taking design – as an overarching subject – in different directions.

So the sort of student we’re after is the student who’ll put an iPad through an etching press to see what happens. Not that we’d recommend it!

We want the enquiring minds. We don’t want the people who have a vision of what a particular subject like branding and identity or art direction is, and conform to that. We want the ones who will be the leaders in the future.

Read more about BA (Hons) Graphic Branding and Identity

Read more about BA (Hons) Design for Art Direction

Two Halves // Richard Knowles and Lawrence Zeegen

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Two Halves is a regular feature spotlighting two people connected by London College of Communication.

Our aim is to showcase the conceptual intentions, deeper thinking and personal insights that come with the creative process.

If you would like to nominate someone for Two Halves, please email Natalie Reiss (


“The best projects are the ones that make a real difference to people’s lives, not make their business better or sell more products.”

• Officially [I’m the] Account Manager for Mortar & Pestle Studio but in a small busy studio, everyone has to do everything.

• Typically I can spend my week in client meetings, research, design and being the production manager, but if one of the computers goes haywire you’ll see me fixing that.

• Clients know that we understand the values of their brand and that we can communicate those ideas into the design and feel of the work we do with them.

• Occasionally I get asked back to speak with final-year students [at LCC] and impart some of ‘what I’ve learned’ to them, which is a joy. I was once sitting where they are, wondering what life would be like after I graduated. I often think, if only I knew then what I do now. But such is life, everyone has to go out there and let their own experiences dictate their careers.

• There hasn’t been a project that we have worked on where we didn’t look into the project from much more than a design point of view. Often, as probably all communication designers will have to do, we develop and implement branding, design and digital strategy, because these days and for as long as I can remember, design is much more than just making things look pretty.

• The hard bit is actually filtering out all the ideas that the team come up with, and structuring the project so it’s coherent.

• I’d be a fool to say I can do everything myself, because in reality everyone has a part to play and the best collaborators are the ones that aren’t afraid to put what they have learnt through past experiences into the next project.

• The only rule I have imposed on the projects we’ve worked on is that we stay true to the client’s vision and the purpose/goal of the project. Designers can often be called self-indulgent, but I like to stay humble, even in the background, when we’re essentially working on someone else’s business.

• The best projects are the ones that make a real difference to people’s lives, not make their business better or sell more products – the projects that were about changing the way people look at and feel about life.

• We were commissioned to re-design a children’s playground during my final year at LCC. It’ll probably be there forever and I genuinely feel it made a difference to someone’s life.

Richard Knowles is an LCC graduate in BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Account Manager at Mortar & Pestle:


“Have something to say, someone to say it to and a way of saying it that is your own.”

• I’m Dean of the School of Design at LCC and Professor of Illustration across UAL. I’m an academic, an illustrator and a design writer.

• The creative industries are in flux and in the School of Design we understand that we are in an era where nothing is certain and everything is to play for; society is still very much at the beginning of the digital revolution. We’re keen at embracing, predicting and leading change – creating students and graduates who will aim to rock boats, as well as row boats, and who will inform industry as well as be informed by it.

• I am actually working on continuing academic developments within the School [of Design] as well as looking closely at how we improve the student experience.

• The old boundaries and borderlines between disciplines are being eroded – the spaces between subject areas are more fluid than ever. I design, I illustrate, I curate, I write – they are all part and parcel of my life as an academic, designer and design writer.

• I’m in conversations at the moment with Klaus Voormann – he designed the sleeve for the Beatles’ Revolver album fifty years ago next year and I think there’s the potential for an interesting project in that somehow. I am also putting the finishing touches to a set of three stamps I am designing for San Marino.

• I actually don’t think it is possible to work on projects that are entirely solitary – working on the set of stamps for San Marino, for example, means working with the office commissioning the stamps and with the Vatican (this is a set of stamps to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of Pope John-Paul II), and whilst I may be the one designing the stamps there is much input from others.

• My work is grounded in reality but drawn from many inspirations – I look at the work of artists, architects, designers, writers, filmmakers, animators, games designers, information architects… (the list goes on) but the work I make is my own, it has its own personality. I learnt this as a student – have something to say, someone to say it to and a way of saying it that is your own.

• My proudest moment was a T-shirt design for Greenpeace that went on to be their biggest-selling T-shirt ever, raising considerable funds for the organisation. But actually, like most illustrators, the most important project is always the one I am working on at the time.

• I’m updating a book I wrote a few years ago called The Fundamentals of Illustration for Bloomsbury and I’m working on an exhibition for the House of Illustration as well as developing new research ideas and projects for 2016 and beyond.

• My first commercial project was a commissioned illustration for a magazine in the early 1980s called The Fred. It was a fantastic little publication, based out of a basement flat just off the Portobello Road, and it just cost £1. I created a set of illustrations based on a real-life barber’s shop in Camberwell – the barber took cash only and had a hand gun in a drawer as his means of defence against robbery. I remember him brandishing the gun on occasions when I went in for a haircut – they were different times and he was certainly a character, and deserved to be immortalised in print.

Professor Lawrence Zeegen is Dean of the School of Design at London College of Communication and is an illustrator and design writer.

Interview // Tara Hanrahan on LCC’s Reimagining Vintage Ladybird collaboration

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Representatives from Ladybird and LCC including Tara Hanrahan (r) hear pitches by students involved in the project. Image © Lewis Bush

On Wednesday 25 and Friday 27 March, LCC students involved in our ongoing Reimagining Vintage Ladybird project presented their ideas to a panel of Ladybird and LCC representatives.

To coincide with the latest exciting pitch sessions, we caught up with Special Projects Lead and designer Tara Hanrahan to hear more about the project she is coordinating with Ladybird.

What is your earliest memory of Ladybird books?

I remember my mother teaching me to tell the time with a Ladybird book. The book incorporated a blank clock face which she would place hands on and then ask me the time.

Whilst running the Reinterpreting Vintage Ladybird project at LCC I came across the same book in a junk shop (A Ladybird Learning to Read Book: Telling the Time). It’s a perfect example of Ladybird charm – beautifully detailed graphic diagrams coupled with family-focused illustration and narration for each hour of the day.

I have just used it to teach my daughter the time. (A timeless book you might say!)

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Vintage Ladybird illustrations inspired LCC students at the start of the project. Image © Lewis Bush

Describe what makes Vintage Ladybird illustrations so recognisable.

The honesty of content combined with the hyper-reality of their execution is a combination unique to Vintage Ladybird illustrations.

In today’s world we ask illustrators to do something other than just accurately visualise information or document a moment, making these images not only rare, but magical.

Why do you think people feel such an attachment to Ladybird as a brand?

I think it’s nostalgia, born out of a trust in the brand. Generations have been taught by Ladybird, so a belief that the brand cares and will nurture, that the content is truthful and reliable, is inevitable.

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Participating students share their ideas about reimagining the Ladybird brand. Image © Lewis Bush

How did the students involved in this project respond to the Ladybird archives?

The students were amazed by the archival illustrations – the skill demonstrated, the vividness of the colours, the diversity of the content.

What are you hoping to see in their work?

We’re challenging our illustrators and designers to explore Vintage Ladybird via subject matter, process and medium. I hope to see enthusiasm, investigation, experimentation and ultimately reinterpretation.

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Participating students share their ideas about reimagining the Ladybird brand. Image © Lewis Bush

How do you feel about the project’s involvement with London Design Festival 2015?

It’s wonderful to have a platform to showcase historic illustration alongside a contemporary creative response to that stimulus.

View images from the students’ recent presentations

Read more about LCC’s Reimagining Vintage Ladybird project


New Course Discourse // BA (Hons) Information and Interface Design


Digital installation.

In our latest New Course Discourse feature, we chat to Programme Director Ben Stopher to find out more about the new BA (Hons) Information and Interface Design course.

So Ben, can you explain a little bit about the course and its aims?

Well this new course is highly digital and it’s design-led, so really the core of the course is about putting information design and interface design in this more digital context. There are three key specialisms that make up the course: UX and UI, data visualisation and graphic and information design.

If you’ve ever wanted to make websites, or build apps and data visualisations, or even just something screen-based and visual, then this is the course for you.


Gephi network graph, Ben Stopher, 2015.

What can students expect from the course in terms of structure?

So in the first year you do graphic design, typography and information visualisation. You also do graphic design animation coding for the web, which is a really valuable skill to develop.

In year two you start to work in the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design studio, then you do interactive data visualisation and a major industry project. In both of these units we visit studios and also get live briefs from industry.

Why is this course unique?

It’s highly industry aligned and highly digital. We’ve offered this very specific area because there is definitely a gap. No one else explicitly teaches UX and UI design and no one else explicitly teaches interactive based visualisation so those three things are really unique to this course.


Gesture capture data visualisation, Ben Stopher, 2015.

In terms of careers and futures, where could this course lead its students?

You can be a UX designer, you can be a UI designer, basically anyone who wants to work with how things look on screen; phone apps, websites, any kind of digital interactive content. There’s tons and tons of work for people with those sorts of skills.

One of the main selling points of this course is that it is highly industry aligned, and designers that have those kind of digital skills – that can work with data – are going to be highly sought after.

The industry really struggles to find designers with that digital skill set – and so that’s partly why we developed this course.


Introduction to Infographics Workshop, 2015.

So what skills or qualifications are you going to be looking for in students?

We take students from Foundation but we would also consider students straight from A-level. If they know that they want to do digital design then we will look at their portfolios. Students will have similar qualities to applicants for Graphic Media Design, but also an awareness of what UX and UI is.

If you are an A-level student who knows what those things are then you are highly likely to be a person that would be relevant for us to look at. I don’t expect schools to have a clue about the nuance of this course, but it’s about if the applicant has enough presence of mind to know what these things are, and thinks they might want to do them, then I’ll look at anything.

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LCC student with digital work.

Any last words?

It’s a super future relevant digital course. Graduates are going to be highly sought after because it isn’t a massive course, there are only 25 places. Students will get a brand new studio and a whole new team of tutors.

Find out more about BA (Hons) Information and Interface Design.

From LCC to Hollywood, alumnus Henry Hobson talks to us about his work on the Oscars, his feature film and more

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Oscars graphics 2015, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Henry Hobson.

Since graduating from the BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design course at LCC, Henry Hobson has gone on to make it big in showbusiness. From leading the graphic designs for the Oscars, to directing his own feature film ‘Maggie’ starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Henry has worked his way to the top.

In the week that the first trailer for his Tribeca Film Festival-nominated movie is released, we caught up with him to find out a little more about his journey from LCC to Hollywood.

Can you tell us a little bit about your time at LCC. What were the most important lessons you learnt here?

I studied at LCC, or LCP as I knew it, for my Foundation course and BA. From the outset the focus on design was what drew me in, even on Foundation my tutors helped me explore the possibilities of design, and this was just before computers were becoming truly effective design tools.

Handmade and crafted techniques that I learnt, testing out colour and thinking critically meant that when I got to the BA I already had a shorthand in place.

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Oscars graphics 2015, The Imitation Game, Henry Hobson.

During term time I would do internships – I worked in my first year with Why Not Associates. I found the first couple of weeks a bit dull, but doing small tasks and little pieces of work helped me understand how valuable the creative experience I was getting at LCC was.

I learnt to push as hard as possible with projects, answering the briefs how I wanted to answer them. I learnt there is no incorrect answer if you have navigated to it from the brief. I still stick to that open way of thinking now, when a brief comes in.


The making of the Oscars graphics 2015, Interstellar, Henry Hobson.

Can you quickly talk us through your journey from graduation to where you are now in your career? Were there any key opportunities that you feel particularly grateful for? Formative experiences?

By the time I left LCC I had done so many internships that I was able to get a job at Why Not Associates almost straight away. I worked for them for years, before getting a place at the Royal College of Art. Whilst studying at a postgraduate level, I still found that my experiences at LCC, and the lessons I learnt there were fundamental in developing my ability to think creatively, even though they were hard to get my head around at the time.

What made you move to America, and is there a difference in the culture of design in the UK and the US?

The move to America came a little bit out of the blue, after my work was spotted. I found the design culture intensely different. Even my first week in the States when I was asked to pitch and I was presenting concepts and theories, the Americans wanted finished designs in the pitch not theories. The technical skill level is insane here.

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Oscars graphics 2015, Boyhood, Henry Hobson.

How did you get into films, and can you explain a little about what led you to your feature film, ‘Maggie’?

I chose LCC because of the late Ian Noble, who sat me down when I went to a D&AD event in Holborn. I wanted to study film and Ian convinced me that design was a secret backdoor into cinema, telling me that Hitchcock, Ridley Scott, Kirostami and others all started as designers, and that the British film industry is so closed off it would be so difficult.


The making of the Oscars graphics 2015, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Henry Hobson.

So my long game always involved film, using moving image and design as a creative outlet to try and tell stories. Why Not Associates had their foot in all sorts of doors and shortly before arriving I was able to be mentored by David Ellis in directing, going to shoots and being behind the camera.

I learnt the technical terms and ways of working and this allowed me the confidence when I moved to the states to tell bigger stories. It was a few of those bigger stories that led me to Maggie.

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Oscars graphics 2015, Birdman, Henry Hobson.

With your feet so firmly in both the graphic design industry and the film industry, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time, how will you maintain that balance, or do you want to move more definitely into one area?

I love being in both areas! Creatively design allows for a more spontaneous outlet and film is the slow fix, you have to have immense stamina to build and work on films, because they take so long to make!

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Oscars graphics 2015, Maleficent, Henry Hobson.

What advice would you give someone graduating from a graphics course this summer?

I left LCC and my website was filled with conceptual thinking and graphic projects, which was an exciting position to be in. However, I soon realised that to get where I wanted to be I needed to tailor my portfolio into a language that design studios could see as applicable; to show proficiency in the core software and subtlety within my designs. My advice would be to keep this exciting conceptual stuff on your websites, but think about sectioning them off to show the different ways you can work.

Find out more about BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design.

Read’s fascinating interview with Henry about his graphic designs for the Oscars.

Read’s interview with behind the scenes pictures of the Oscars graphic design process.