Posted at 1 Jul 2015

Interview with Nick Reilly & Simon Rogers

The Kingston University alumni talk us through art directing and building their degree show site.

Tell us how you came to work on the site for Kingston's Graphic Design degree show — were you selected from the class or did you volunteer?

Nick: I originally volunteered to make the website for our degree show and Simon was working on the printed side of the identity. We ended up working on each other's side of things as much as our own, which wasn’t something we planned; it happened quite naturally.

Simon: With both of us helping with the art direction and working on both the printed and online material, I think we found the process much more engaging. The decisions we were making with the invites, posters and publication could inform the website and vice versa.

What’s the idea behind the reactionary rotating cubes? They really caught our attention!

Simon: As a class it was agreed that each of us would make our own personalised block. The idea behind this was that they could come together to form an identity that was collectively-shaped rather than conceived by a small few. These blocks were photographed, and we used the images to create textures that we mapped across six faces of a cube using CSS’ 3D transform feature.

Nick: The website was an opportunity to bring the blocks to life, making them interactive, something which couldn’t be achieved in print. Animating them in this way made for a more holistic identity; it was no longer just about how the blocks look, but also how they move. This allowed us to think of the printed matter as still frames taken from a larger system, which in turn inspired a projected animation in the exhibition space, created by one of our peers, Victor Hwang.

It was also nice how creating the website spawned some surprises, like how in some cases when the bitmapped blocks rotate they create a moiré effect for a brief moment. We couldn’t have discovered these byproducts if we didn’t build it ourselves.

I can’t stress enough how valuable it has been to have such a wide range of impassioned staff—something you don’t fully appreciate until you hear how friends at other universities have had the advice of only one or two people all year

How did you break down the work between you? Were you equally responsible for design and build or did you each focus on different aspects?

Nick: There wasn’t a clear divide between the design and build really. We both had ideas as to how the site could look and feel, but they changed throughout depending on what was needed, so we sort of designed the site as we were building it.

Simon: Often one of us might be testing the viability of a new idea we’d had, while the other might be doing something more menial like reformatting the images or refining the basic structure of the website. We’d switch between these roles as we saw fit.

Nick: We’re at a similar level with coding, so it made for a nice exchange of knowledge. We weren’t sure how to do everything we needed, but we had vague ideas so there was no other option but to embark on this beautiful journey of discovery together.

How did you find the Graphic Design course at Kingston?

Nick: The support from the tutors at Kingston was invaluable. As most tutors are practitioners, or have practiced in the past, every tutor has a stance on design. I think we were all encouraged to take opposing ideas into consideration, rather than following one as gospel.

Simon: Yeah, the course has definitely encouraged us to develop our own critical stance. I can’t stress enough how valuable it has been to have such a wide range of impassioned staff — something you don’t fully appreciate until you hear how friends at other universities have had the advice of only one or two people all year.

What other projects or experiments are you working on at the moment? Do you have anything exciting coming up?

Simon: Having just finished our degrees, we started the show website at the end of an intense period of work for both of us; since then we’ve both been enjoying some much-deserved celebrations. We’re now open to new opportunities, and looking forward to seeing what the year ahead has in store.