We recently had Jordan in for a few weeks to help us out with a variety of live projects. One of the latest and greatest graduates from the Graphic Design course at Leeds College of Art - his talents and creativity helped us out a whole lot and we hope we helped Jordan in some way on his journey too. Plus points for knowing all the words to Shook Ones Part II by Mobb Deep...
Jordan's approach is based on design, branding and illustration informed by a strong emphasis on concept and craft.
We asked Jordan about how he found his time here and this is how it went.
How did you hear about Alphabet?
The Alphabet boys (Abbas, Sam & Seb) were all in the year above me at university and had always produced work that was stylish, considered and really set a high benchmark for quality. Through knowing them at university I already followed their work on portfolio platforms like Behance and actually initially found out they had started their own studio through a social media platform online.
What made you want to work with us?
I was already following Abbas, Sam & Seb’s work individually and found the design they were producing balanced style, concept and function in a way that was both memorable and really appealed to my personal taste. Also, the idea of eventually starting or founding my own studio has always interested me, so the chance to gain some first-hand knowledge from a group of young, ambitious designers that were already making moves was really appealing.
What projects did you work on?
During my first few days in the studio I was working on developing merchandise concepts for a new music label, dropping the outcomes I developed into a client ready proposal. From the get go they had me working on live projects so I really hit the ground running to make sure that the work I created was both up to scratch and was produced at high level of productivity the guys all work at. Other projects they had me working on while I was there included branding proposals for the new Leeds Kirkgate Market, merchandise concepts for Tiesto and a branding proposal for a huge LinkedIn networking event.
Learning so much in such a short period of time. The pronunciation of Jiu-jitsu (Jouuu-ji-suuuu).
What was it like being in the studio?
The guys were friendly, relaxed but super focused which made for a great working atmosphere – Add in daily MMA updates from Joe Rogan and studio banter and you're onto a winner.
What did you learn that stuck with you?
Take your work beyond the standard deliverables, consider each projects true scope and create work that inspires innovation.
It was a pleasure having Jordan as part of the team for a while and we wish you the best of luck with everything!
We recently collaborated with Duke Studios to fabricate and work on the artwork for a series of light boxes housed inside the awesome Headrow House; a brand new multi-storey venue in the heart of Leeds which encompasses a Beer Hall, Music Venue, Restaurant, Cocktail Bar and not forgetting the Roof Terrace.
The Lightboxes are positioned within the corridors and stairwells that connect the sub-venues of the building and they needed to be bright enough to light the spaces at night whilst also acting as pieces of art in their own right.
Using the Headrow House mother brand colour scheme of White, Black and Orange, we decided to focus the designs around abstract patterns that reference the different sub-venues and the city of Leeds that surrounds the venue.
Some patterns are more industrial, focusing on the materials, interior and forms found within the venue. Others are more abstract takes on Culture, Food, Music, Drinks. All key components of the new venture.
When creating the designs for the Lightboxes, as well as them being functional in lighting up the corridors and stairwells, we also wanted them to be a standout feature within the venue, particularly when the place comes to life with people at night.
We worked on creating a grid system for all graphics. The grid system allowed the visuals to remain consistent and controlled for existing and future iterations. It also allowed the light boxes to extend the gridular modular spatial design and tiling throughout the space.
When creating the design, we always had user interaction in mind and it's great to see the lightboxes proved to be a focal point of the venue, with lots of people getting creative themselves, taking photographs in front of the installations and uploading to Social Media.
Headrow House is an awesome new venue right in the heart of Leeds City centre and we're proud to have been a part of the process of bringing it together. We look forward to seeing people enjoy the venue and the light boxes for some time to come and hopefully we'll be working with Duke Studios and Headrow House some more in the not too distant feature.
We've been busy working with a brand new Leeds-based Brewing Company over the last couple of months who go by the name of Play Brew Co.
The name is actually a play on the founder's surname as well as a reference point to the inspiration that started the whole idea of the brand, which is retro arcade games.
Over the past couple of months, we've been working closely with the founder of the company to develop a brand that is totally unique for this sector and we're super excited to be sharing more with you soon.
For now, here's a couple of stills from the Brand Film that we Art Directed recently which will be revealed in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes well and truly peeled.
It was a delight to have our latest intern Daria in the studio for the past couple of months helping us out on a few exciting briefs.
Daria is a third year Leeds College of Art student with a multidisciplinary approach to editorial design, publishing, advertising and branding within the art and fashion world.
We asked her about her time at Alphabet and here's what she said...
How did you hear about Alphabet?
I heard about the studio through Leeds College of Art students and fellow peers who spoke about their great work regularly.
What made you want to intern with the team?
The studio had such a good reputation in Leeds and particularly LCA that I thought I could learn a lot by spending some time with them and learning their work processes.
What projects did you work on?
One of the best projects I worked onto was concept generation for the Branding and a Promotional Package for a Yorkshire based contemporary dance company called Gracefool Collective. I also helped out to build and paint some physical signage which Alphabet developed for a local cinema, the Hyde Park Picture House, which was a lot of fun!
What was your favourite project?
The best project I worked onto was the one for Gracefool Collective. It made me learn a lot in terms of Concept Development and its application for Branding. It was the first time I worked into cultural identity and it was a great learning curve for me personally.
Not big surprises but there was a lot to learn in terms of fast paced design making.
What was it like being in the studio?
It was good to work in a team where ideas were continuously bouncing around. It really allowed the projects to get developed fast and at a very high quality, giving me a great insight and understanding of what it's like to work in a real studio.
Finally, what did you learn that stuck with you?
I learnt how a studio is run in general. Fast paced work, attention to detail and a will to work not only hard, but smart.
It was a pleasure having Daria as part of the team for the last couple months and we wish her the best of luck graduating from Leeds College of Art and with her next steps as a young designer!
Recently we were approached by Leeds City Council to be a part of the design team behind a new installation for Leeds Train Station.
Following the success of the British Art Show 8, there has been some really exciting cultural and visual public art pieces springing up around the city of Leeds and we were super excited to be invited to be part of this one, which was commissioned by Leeds Bid.
The brief was to create a visual welcome to the city that celebrated the culture and diversity of Leeds. This was to be located in the entrance of the Train Station, on the main concourse, which is a highly visible space with thousands of visitors daily.
We worked as part of a team of Leeds-based Design Studios, Illustrators and Artists which consisted of Ourselves, Hungry Sandwich Club, Kristyna Kaczynski and Idiot's Pasture, and was led by Something More.
After multiple workshops and idea generation sessions, we agreed that the piece needed to be highly visual and have instant impact. We also wanted the installation to be a celebration of the city and have the potential to be constantly changing, updating as the city grows.
The final proposed idea was to create a typographic structure of the word 'Leeds' which was a confident and bold welcome to the city. We decided that each letter form would also double up as a blank canvas for artists to display their work, with the opportunity of this being updated regularly to provide new art that can be themed around big events in the city.
When designing the letterforms themselves, it was key that each letter had a lot of internal surface area. This was to maximise the size of the canvas that the commissioned artists could work with. After lots of different stages of design with the whole creative team, we settled on a bespoke typeface that had a 'bloated' treatment. This treatment allowed us to be able to remove the cuts in the 'E' and 'S' as well as the counter in the 'D', which in turn provided the maximum amount of surface area whilst retaining readability and legibility of the word 'Leeds'.
We wanted the letters to be placed in a 'scattered' formation within the main concourse of the station in order for the installation to become a natural part of the overall space. We wanted people to engage with the piece by walking in between the letterforms and even sitting on them. This meant that the physical form of the letters needed to be visually engaging but also structurally sound.
In the end, and with help from XKX Projects and Something More, we decided that the outer shells of the letterforms would needed to be formed from Steel to be robust enough. As this was a public art piece, we decided to apply a white powder coating finish on top of the steel to provide a clean, blank canvas for the art as well as smooth inviting surface for passers by to touch, sit on and interact with.
The clear polycarbonate sheets were attached to the inside of the letterforms with small Metal lugs. The sheets were printed using clear vinyl film which allowed for parts of the design to be opaque, emphasising the interactive value with the passing commuters.
The 5 contributing artists (including ourselves) created the initial pieces of art to be displayed in the letters and worked to a brief entitled 'Celebrate Leeds', where we each visualised what was great about the City, and what it means to us.
You can read more about the project on the Windows of Leeds website. A massive thanks to everybody involved with this project and we were delighted to be a part of it.