Award-winning art director provides industry insights for Extended Diploma Graphic Design students
Paul Pensom, of StudioPensom, has been Art Director of Creative Review, one of the world’s leading magazines for the design and advertising industry, since 2007 and works extensively in the editorial, music and charitable sectors. His clients have included Amnesty International, VSO, The Vinyl Factory, Bestival and Sine Digital in the fields of music and theatre and The British Council to name but a few.
Paul spent an afternoon with both the first and second year graphics students. During his time with the second years, he reviewed their final major projects, which are mostly at the research and development stage.
He explained: “They varied from editorial and packaging to branding and product design, and demonstrated an impressive variety of skills. I hope I was able to spark some ideas and consideration, but that is for the students to say!”
Adding: “The first years had recently had a talk on grid systems from Lucy, their course leader, so I chose to expand upon that subject with special reference to editorial design — one of my specialties.
“I covered some of the most notable magazine projects of the last 70 years; why they are remembered, and how grids contributed to their success. Then I briefly outlined how best to use grid systems in your own work.”
Paul said that the work he saw was of a high standard, commenting, “There are some highly motivated people in the cohort.”
He was also impressed by how the course prepared students for working in industry: “From what I saw the briefs and tutoring are an excellent preparation for their first jobs.”
When asked what advice he would pass on to students about working in the creative industries Paul said: “Study widely — beyond the remit of your discipline, for many of the best ideas come from unexpected juxtapositions or applications of knowledge. Don’t be afraid to cold call people, and try to be as organised as you can.”
Second year students found Paul’s sessions to be very constructive.
Ben said: “I found speaking to Paul extremely helpful as he responded to my ideas at an industry level, he helped craft a story behind the idea which brought my ideas to life.”
Mac added: “It was useful and gratifying to see that he liked my idea and is interested to see how it’s going to be developed into its final form.”
And Rose commented: “It was very insightful to talk to someone so experienced because they have seen so much more in their time working, he even gave me some plans for my next steps in my final major project and next steps as a designer. I also gained a few resources to help my future designs.”
Find out more about studying on The Northern School of Art’s UAL Extended Diploma in Graphic Design here