MA Publishing alumna designs cover for Booker Prize-nominated novel

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Monica Reyes, a graduate of MA Publishing at LCC, was especially happy to see Anuradha Roy’s Sleeping on Jupiter on the Man Booker Prize longlist this year after designing its cover for publishers MacLehose Press.

We caught up with Monica to find about more about the inspiration behind her eye-catching design and her tips for freelance success.

When were you commissioned to design the cover of Sleeping on Jupiter, and what was the brief?

I’ve been working as a freelance designer for MacLehose Press for the last six years, working closely with Christopher MacLehose and Paul Engles.

This time Mr. MacLehose asked me to produce a cover for Sleeping on Jupiter with a specific idea in mind based on a photograph of an eclipse. We worked on different options but it didn’t feel right, so I decided to start from scratch and take another approach.

Describe the creative process that led to the final design. What did you want to communicate about the book?

“Maybe I went too wild, but I like it, I made it with floating ink,” I said to Mr. MacLehose in an email with a couple of images. The reply was, “It’s ravishing!” So I knew that I was on the right track. The book was going to be call Rag Doll in the Fire and later on they decided to change it to Sleeping on Jupiter.

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I didn’t want to fall into Indian clichés for the cover, so I gave it a lot of thought before I decided to use images from a personal project that I had just started working on, and that I’m still developing for an art exhibition.

The two projects didn’t have anything to do with one another but I see it as a meaningful coincidence. There was no causal relationship, yet they seemed to be meaningfully related.

I thought the turbulent and rustic images fitted perfectly with the book because they relate to many of its themes: it is a violent story, set in a village, in which a girl is abused by her guru.

There’s also a nice image where she finds the guru standing in the sea a hundred yards or so from the beach on which much of the novel takes place, so the sea in my mind appeared with waves rolling in towards the beach, lit up by the sun.

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You have designed a wide range of book covers – which have been the most challenging, or rewarding? Why?

For almost six years now, I’ve been designing book covers, always trying to bring into play the joint power of poetry and grace, while trying to get a glimpse into the author’s mind and to do my best to find the core of the soul of their work.

The authors very often write to say how well they feel I have captured the essence of their novel and I’m always pleased to hear how fond they are of the cover. This is the most rewarding part of it.

I love to be part of the process of publishing their books. It is a wonderful job, especially when you get to work with people that always aim for excellence.

What advice would you give to an LCC graduate hoping for a successful freelance career?

Studying at LCC gave me a lot of great opportunities to get into publishing, including a work placement at Penguin Books! I don’t think it can get better than that, that’s the top of the top in publishing.

So if you are studying at LCC you’re on the right track – just take advantage of all the opportunities that UAL offers, use your time there wisely and network. Once you’re done there, go for it!

There’s a lot of doubt about freelance life but once you are past the initial phase, it’s worth it. My priority is to find things to do that allow me to expand and grow. I avoid sedentary and routine jobs, or those where you are limited by the authority of others.

If you could design a new cover for any book in the world, what would it be, and what would it look like?

L’etranger by Camus. I don’t think any of the covers that exist for that book actually reflect the depth and intensity that is within.

What’s next for you?

I recently came back to [Colombia], after living for almost two years in China. That was a great chance to get a wider perspective on the world and the publishing industry, as well as having the chance to travel through Asia.

Now, I’m excited to see what’s coming in this new chapter of my life. I love books so I’m sure I will continue working with them. The cover of Sleeping on Jupiter has received a lot of great reviews and that encourages me to keep working hard, so I look forward to having more great books to work with.

I’m also teaching at one of the best universities in Colombia and I’m loving it. Plus, I’m working right now on an art project which I’m very excited about, and I’m looking forward to having it exhibited.

View more of Monica’s work

Read more about MA Publishing

From LCC to Jay Z // Exchange State of Mind


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students with Shawn Carter (Jay Z).

London College of Communication students have recently completed a cultural exchange programme with scholars from the Shawn Carter Foundation (SCF). The aim of the exchange was to diversify student experiences by giving them opportunities to explore brand new creative territory.


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students in Roc Nation marketing workshop.

The Shawn Carter Foundation was established in 2003 by musician Shawn Carter, better known as Jay-Z and his mother, Gloria Carter. Since its inception over $2.9M has been invested in initiatives to empower individuals facing socio-economic hardships to further their education at post-secondary institutions.


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students presenting ideas.

As part of the exchange the LCC Widening Participation team designed an academic programme which would give students from the Shawn Carter Foundation a chance to experience a broad range of subjects such as broadcast journalism, screen printing and marketing.

The exchange also gave the students an opportunity to meet MPs in The House of Lords, have bespoke tours of Tate Modern and Tate Britain, and travel to some of London’s most famous landmarks.


SCF Cultural Exchange Programme students outside LCC.

Karin Askham, Dean of LCC’s School of Media explains: “Having the opportunity to work with Jay-Z and his foundation was something LCC was really excited about.”

“We were so delighted to host scholars from the Shawn Carter Foundation, but also the chance for LCC students to go and work at Roc Nation was a truly once in a lifetime opportunity.”


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students on location in New York City.

The New York side of the exchange focused on developing the students’ problem solving and creative skills. Students from both LCC and SCF were working together on a live brief to develop the marketing campaign for the Made in America Festival. The development of the project was supported by a series of master classes given by Roc Nation’s PR, marketing and branding teams.


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students at the Brooklyn Museum.

SCF scholars have diverse backgrounds, and typically face significant barriers to success such as teen pregnancy, homelessness, former incarceration, interrupted schooling, and sexual and domestic abuse, but they all possess a desire to pursue their educational and professional dreams.

Lawrence Lartey,  Senior Lecturer School of Media and Project Director SCF/LCC Exchange Programme, is already excited about next years exchange: “We’ve secured more funding which means more students will have access to this fantastic opportunity.”


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme in lego!

Gabriella Old, an LCC BA (Hons) Advertising student who took part in the exchange explains: “My main take away from the experience was inspiration. I came away inspired to make my surreal time in New York a reality of my everyday life.”


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students developing ideas.

“I learnt a great deal from the exchange and met some great people. As an advertising student I really feel as though I benefitted from getting some in-depth knowledge of social media, experience in understanding and influencing consumer behaviours and working as part of a really creative team.”


SCF/LCC Cultural Exchange Programme students planning.

Stephen Coyle, another LCC BA (Hons) Advertising student explains: “Working at Roc Nation was a bit of a surreal experience for me. I am a massive hip hop and Jay Z fan, and to be in the building were so many musicians I am currently a fan of are managed had me feeling pretty blessed. Shaking his hand and having a photo with him really was the perfect end to an inspiring and creative experience.”

Find out more LCC news here.


Exhibition // Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works

Butlin's Filey, Yorkshire, 1972.

Butlin’s by the Sea, Butlin’s Filey, Yorkshire, July and August 1972. © Daniel Meadows

Work by photographer, documentarian and digital storyteller Daniel Meadows will be celebrated at LCC in the first retrospective of Meadows’s career, opening on Thursday 24 September.

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works is curated by Val Williams, Director of Photography and the Archive Research Centre, and runs throughout the Upper, Well and Atrium Galleries until Saturday 31 October.

This Media Showcase exhibition highlights how, in the early 1970s, Meadows embarked on a journey to create a social snapshot of Britain, breaking with photography tradition and bringing to the medium new ways of seeing.

From 'Nattering in Paradise' (Suburbia): 25th wedding anniversary party.  Farnborough Park, Kent.  August 1985.

From ‘Nattering in Paradise’ (Suburbia): 25th wedding anniversary party. Farnborough Park, Kent. August 1985. © Daniel Meadows

His practice developed at Manchester Polytechnic, where he trained alongside fellow photographers Martin Parr, Brian Griffin, Charlie Meecham and Peter Fraser.

Together they spearheaded a new documentary movement keen to establish an independent method for making and disseminating photographs, outside the existing conventions of commercial practitioners and photojournalists.

During his career Meadows has recorded urban British society, working in a collaborative way through photography, digital stories and recorded interviews to capture extraordinary aspects of ordinary life.

The exhibition includes The Shop on Greame Street, in which Meadows photographed local residents in a photographic studio opened in a former barber’s shop in Moss Side, Manchester. Those who posed for a portrait received a copy free of charge, but none has been exhibited until now.

Portrait of Angela Loretta Lindsey, aged 8, with her brother Mark Emanuel Lindsey in Meadows's free photographic studio on Greame Street, Moss Side, Manchester, February - April 1972.

Portrait of Angela Loretta Lindsey, aged 8, with her brother Mark Emanuel Lindsey in Meadows’s free photographic studio on Greame Street, Moss Side, Manchester, February – April 1972. © Daniel Meadows

Also featured in the show are June Street, 1972, portraying working class households in Salford, and Butlins by the Sea, 1973, a fascinating record of a Filey holiday camp just after the resort’s heyday. Both of these early projects were produced in partnership with Martin Parr.

Residents of June Street, Salford, 1973.

Residents of June Street, Salford, 1973. © Daniel Meadows

Portraits taken in Meadows’s Free Photographic Omnibus – a 25-year-old double-decker bus with the seats removed to make space for a darkroom and living quarters, which he toured around England – are on display. Alongside them are images from a follow-up project in which he revisited these subjects more than 20 years later.

Portrait from the Free Photographic Omnibus, Brighton, Sussex.  May 1974.

Portrait from the Free Photographic Omnibus, Brighton, Sussex. May 1974. © Daniel Meadows

The exhibition will additionally feature some of Meadows’s Digital Storytelling films or “multimedia sonnets from the people” consisting of personal stories condensed into two minutes of approximately 250 heartfelt words and 12 images.

Together, Meadows and Professor Val Williams have brought to light the photographer’s incredible archive of prints and negatives, along with ephemera and audio recordings.

“Professor Williams has long championed my work, particularly the portraits I did while touring England in the Free Photographic Omnibus, 1973-74.  Without her enthusiasm and energy my practice of more than 40 years would have been but a footnote in photographic history. So I’m excited to see it taking the stage at last, especially in London” – Daniel Meadows.

Accompanying the show is a book, Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s, published by Photoworks. Both have resulted from research made by Williams as part of a study into British photography of 1970s and 1980s.

The project has been funded and supported by a partnership between the National Media Museum, Ffotogallery Cardiff, Birmingham Central Libraries, Photography and the Archive Research Centre, University of the Arts London and Photoworks UK.

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works
Private View: Thursday 24 September 6-9pm
Exhibition open: Friday 25 September – Saturday 31 October
10am – 5pm Monday – Friday
11am – 4pm Saturday, closed Sunday
Upper, Well and Atrium Galleries

Ladybird Books Reimagined

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Work by Grace Teo, 2015.

Students from London College of Communication have joined forces with iconic publisher Ladybird Books in a collaboration that will reimagine the brand in today’s world.

The exhibition of their work, which opens with a private view on Thursday 10 September, is the culmination of a six-month project in which illustrators, animators and graphic designers from LCC have collaborated to celebrate and reimagine Ladybird’s classic pocket-sized books for their centenary year.

A mix of both undergraduate and postgraduate students have explored how the nostalgia and heritage of Ladybird Books can be reinterpreted with contemporary relevance and creativity.

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Work by Nicole McBean, 2015.


Lorenzo Davitti, an MA Illustration and Visual Media student explains “what we tried to do was to use a contemporary technical, which was digital animation, to try to capture the essence behind the whole publication.

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Work by Luc Bernay, 2015.

“We didn’t really work on some specific topics. We wanted to work on what’s behind every single book. We had this feeling when we visited the archives that every single illustration was a masterpiece – there were no fillers.”

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Work by Erin Carlin, 2015.

Thierry Nahayo and Jennicka Sapigao and Beatrice Giovannini small

Work by Thierry Nahayo, Jennicka Sapigao and Beatrice Giovannini, 2015.

The creative heritage represented by Ladybird’s much-loved books is at the apex of the collaboration. Students were challenged to produce a forward-looking item – inspired by an optimistic age – that positions the brand in today’s landscape.

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Work by Lauren Hackett, 2015.

Laylah Amarchih

Work by Laylah Amarchih, 2015.

Paul Bowman, Course Leader for BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media explains “this is an exciting chance for our students to interpret and compare important visual representations from the past with the cultural and societal concerns of today.

“Not only does this project with Ladybird give our students a glimpse into a world of visual beauty, the Ladybird archive has stirred us to look at and debate the world around us.”


Work by Jelena Ristic and Anabelle Alias, 2015.

Saachi Mehta and Wajeeha Abbasi and Chandr Chandrvirochana

Work by Saachi Mehta, Wajeeha Abbasi and Chandr Chandrvirochana, 2015.

Speaking about the project, Damian Treece, Brand Manager at Penguin Ventures, said:

“Establishing a relationship with London College of Communication during Ladybird’s centenary year was a high priority for Penguin Ventures. We wanted to partner creativity and innovation with a real commercial opportunity for students.


Work by Kae Fukushima, 2015.

“We have been blown away by their enthusiasm for vintage Ladybird and we very much look forward to seeing final designs exhibited.”

View the exhibition listing

Read more about the collaboration

Exhibition // Advertising photographer STAK showcased by LCC’s Jo Hodges


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

Images by advertising photographer and LCC alumnus STAK, whose work included the ‘shaken not stirred’ print ad for BMW, are being shown in a retrospective exhibition at the College in September.

To find out more about STAK’s career and the significance of London’s 1970s and 80s advertising landscape today, we spoke to LCC’s Creative Practice Director Communications and Media Jo Hodges.


Creative Practice Director Communications and Media, Jo Hodges.

Jo, can you tell us how the concept for this exhibition first came about?

I was the Course Leader of BA (Hons) Advertising and was very fortunate to have very brilliant and well-connected students. One student, Karen Hernandez, had connections with the owner of STAK’s estate, Maria Frangeskides, and came to me asking if we could exhibit the work.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

STAK was an alumnus of LCC and studied photography at what was then called London College of Printing. I know STAK from back in the day when I was in advertising; just previous to my generation, he was a massive advertising photographer. So that was very interesting to me, that actually BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Advertising had a link.

Here was a person who was an alumnus in fine art photography, who then went on and became one of the renowned photographers of the 70s and 80s. I didn’t join advertising until 1984-85, so STAK’s era started a bit before my time and continued right through the 80s.

Now as a PhD student I’m looking at that era – I’m not doing photography per se but I’m looking at the image and how that changed through technology.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

What was so significant for STAK about that time?

STAK’s images came about at a time when technology was changing – we have colour TV, and before that we have the colour magazine, the Sunday Times.

I think the Sunday Times for this country, especially in advertising, was the turning point for lots of photographers. Here suddenly was a commercial space but also an art space to show their fantastic work, and STAK was one of them.

If you subscribed to the magazine, it would come and land on your doorstep on a Sunday, you would open it up and see beautiful photographs.

They may have been beautiful photographs of the Vietnam War – horror, but shot beautifully. Or fashion shot beautifully. Or commercials shot beautifully. And so that’s where STAK’s work came to be known throughout the country.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

You’d see some fantastic campaigns which he was at the helm of – Guinness, particularly. At that particular time, advertising was the space for things cutting edge.

David Puttnam was at Collett Dickenson Pearce, a massive agency at the time, and some leading lights happened to go there, including Sir John Hegarty and Charles Saatchi, and they hired STAK. They formed a nucleus.

David Puttnam later formed his own photography agency round the corner from Charlotte Street. And right next door the Saatchi and Saatchi agency opened up, all in the same building. STAK would have been in those circles where he then got his photography through.

Photography and art direction and advertising really took off, in fact they were adored. The images that STAK did really blurred the lines between what was commercial and what was art.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

Can you tell us more about the importance of showing this work here at LCC?

Bruno Ceschel, who’s a brilliant fine artist and also a director of SPBH Editions, is the curator of the exhibition. The original photographs are going to be on the wall, but you’re also going to be able to see the adverts they came from with text. It’s going to be really beautiful.

This is going to be a homage to STAK as a fantastic photographer, and you’ll also see how the images were used in advertising. You might like photography and dislike advertising, or love advertising but not photography. It’s great to have that at this College, because we are London College of Communication. It’s right and interesting that it should be here because the intersection of photography and advertising is fantastic.

If you’re a historian of advertising, you can actually trace where the adverts came from. And I think it’s going to be really interesting for students of the future as well, because this work was done at a time without digital technology. Digital stuff was around, but STAK took pride in doing photography which was mystery. We don’t really get to know exactly how he did it – it looks easy but it isn’t.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

There are some amazing images of stacks of cars – he didn’t slot them in with Photoshop, he did it somehow but we don’t know how. So that’s going to be interesting for people to look at as well.

And if you’re a student, like I am, of understanding why one type of image changes to another, then we can look at the technical processes and how they change and then the advent of the internet. The internet comes in and it changes everything again. At the disposal of the photographer and the artist and the communicator in advertising is a brand new world.

So if we look at how STAK changed the conversation, that then gives us the opportunity to discuss STAKs of the future, and the STAKs of the future – the people who are brilliant at photography and brilliant at advertising – come to this College.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

Is there a “STAK style”?

There’s definitely a STAK style. The STAK style actually is the 1970s and 80s advertising style, like Collett Dickenson Pearce. He did a lot of those photographs and his was the dominant style, so if you look at all the award-winning adverts of the time, they have that clear, documentary, serious feel, but with beauty as well.

Whereas before it might have been romantic and blurred and Babysham-y, now advertising became prominent, it became an authority, so the works have a look of authority about them. “Here’s an idea, and here’s the idea condensed and succinct in that image.”

Now of course the art directors and Sir John Hegarty and Robin Wight and all these brilliant people, including Charles Saatchi, had their input into the ideas behind the images, but STAK and people like him brought them to life.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

There is also a symposium taking place during the exhibition – what can people expect from that?

My colleague Dr Jonathan Wright is running the symposium, which is going to be looking at the exhibition and abstracting what’s in there. The call for papers is for people who want to talk about the work.

Some people are going to be doing stuff looking back on how it’s changed their practice. I’m going to talk about changing the conversation; the photographic image and its intersection with advertising changing over the 70s, the 80s and the 90s to the present day.


Image courtesy of STAK estate.

Private View: Thursday 10 September 6-9pm
Exhibition open: Friday 11 – Monday 21 September
Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday 11am – 4pm
Sunday 20 September 11am – 4pm (closed on other Sundays)
Symposium: Wednesday 16 September 10am-5pm

Read more about our 3 to see exhibitions opening for London Design Festival