For my third and final presentation as part of my group work with Leah and Zein for this module, we had to chose a topic that we found interesting and then we had to research it and create a fun and stimulating presentation that would interest the likes of all graphic design students.

We decided to base our project on funky cool cafes from all over London! As we are all coffee and cake enthusiasts we decided to travel around, going into all the quirky cute cafes that we fancied and then we took pictures of the interior design, the menus and basically just wrote reviews on how the cafes felt, what they served and how enjoyable they were! We each chose two cafes to go to each and then we decided to put them all together into one big SUPER COOL presentation. Showing all you wonderful guys some new cafes for you to try out and go work in, or read in, or just to drink and eat in with friends!

Cafe number one:

The Tea Box – Richmond

This super cute little tea shop (that I work in haha) is just a short stroll up a hill from Richmond High Street. With only 10 tables, it’s a cute little tea shop that specialises in a laaaaaarge variety of tea leaves, which you pop into a tea strainer to brew up a perfect little cup of heaven. I ordered a cheese scone and a peppermint tea when I was there. I also chose to sit on a vintage styled table, located in the corner of the shop, surrounded by piles upon piles of books that doubled as inventive tables! Whilst sitting in the cafe, opera was playing in the background and I felt as if I had walked into my Nan’s study, it was so relaxing and comfy, I could have fallen asleep if it wasn’t for the caramelised onions in my scone that were so delicious I ate them in about 5 seconds flat. The staff were also super friendly which made my experience even better! Also, all the tea cups and cute little spoons with teapots on the end, are all for sale too! How cool is that? I think this cafe is the perfect place to go to if you require peace and quiet to get some work done! PERFECT FOR STUDENTS. Also it’s pretty cheap too, so check it out.

Cafe number two:

Cafe Zee – Ealing Broadway

This cafe is local for all you UWL students, it’s just a short walk down the road and bam you’re there 🙂 I absolutely love this cafe, it’s my go to spot for a bit of afternoon tea and cake. My two best friends work there too haha but this is not a biased review I swear. This cafe is so unique and sweet, run by really friendly staff and the drinks and food are all of the best quality. All the food is organic (YES) and the coffee is actually roasted in the cafe I mean how cool is that?! Also the baristas there are so talented and every coffee will be made with some kind of latte art, be that a flower, a swan or a love heart if they fancy you hahaha! All jokes aside, the cakes on display are all available to customers are all so yummy and literally are decorated so well that your mouth with water just by looking at them. It’s got such a cool vibe in there as well because the young staff (who all go to UWL) play all their own music throughout the day, so if Afy is on shift (my best mate) expect Amy Winehouse and if Elise is on shift (my other bestie) expect The Libertines or some other indie band haha! I love going downstairs to their comfy sofas and library part, as it’s super warm and comfy and is a perfect location to get down to some serious work. GO HERE PLEASE IT’S AMAZING and great quality for the money you spend too.


Martin O’Neill Image Analysis

When I was in college, I became obsessed with Martin O’Neill and he quickly turned into and still is my favourite graphic designer. I convinced my fellow group members to check out his work and they also agreed with me that his work was so visually stimulating and full of interesting ideas. This is why we decided to analyse him as part of our group project. See my presentation below, so you can see all of the cool things we talked about throughout our presentation! We received lots of positive feedback after we presented this, and so we are all very proud of our work.

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Not all of this module was full of doing presentations and research, a lot of it was spent watching other people present in a brand new lecture room that literally has the best view on a Tuesday 9am start, believe me, it’s great to kick your butt into gear when it’s inevitably lacking sleep haha. It was really fun watching other people present because it really helped inspire me. I thrive off other people’s success, it must just be my competitive nature but seeing what other groups had been up to and created made me want to get home and just work harder on mine haha! So these are some of the cool presentations that were going on throughout this module. I had to give some feedback to a group too so I’ll add that in at one point too.



Image Analysis – Jurassic Park Logo

Text Analysis – Fetishism of Commodity by Karl Max

Blog Post – Album Covers



Image Analysis – Batman The Dark Knight

Text Analysis – Operating manual for Spaceship Earth

Blog Post – The story of the Coca-Cola bottle



Image Analysis – Juicy Salef

Text Analysis – Juicy Salef

Blog Post – Common mistakes Graphic Designers Make


Image Analysis – I shop therefore I am by Barbara Kruger

Text Analysis – Object as image – The Italian Scooter

Blog Post – Uber cool Design – Strange and effective packaging



Image Analysis  – Women in Poster by Sheila de Bretteville

Text Analysis – Chapter 50: In London’s Maze my pleasures of fashionable consumption from the hidden consumer by Christopher Breward (1999)

Blog Post – Unique business card designs



Image Analysis – The Imitation Game by Malika Favre

Text Analysis – Victor Papanek – Do it yourself Murder

Blog Post – Tips for making a good Logo


thething hair2rusell

Image Analysis – The Thing Poster

Text Analysis – Ornament and Crime

Blog Post – About many graphic designers





I never realised how cool a library was until I came to uni. I mean I usually Google everything straight away, who wants to read from a weird book. Hahahahaha no but seriously, after the library workshop I had in one of my lectures, I realised how cool the library was. I mean like you can find anything you want and extra little things all at the same time. It’s actually dead surprising how many random but helpful things you can learn from looking at journals and magazines in the flesh. As part of a homework task, Gerda, asked us to chose some books that we liked from the pile in the middle of the table so these are the pictures I took, some are fuzzy, but I was rushed for time okay and I snapped my glasses. Sooooo, cut me some slack 🙂

These pictures are awesome, they show so much diversity and interesting things. This is what I really enjoyed about this task. I mean look at how sweet all these articles and photographs look like on glossy paper. It made me realise how much more enjoyable it is turning the pages of these mags in real life. The articles were really poignant and featured real life issues that were illustrated so carefully. There is some really beautiful photography in these pages.


My favourite, being the emotional portrait of the iconic Prince. ❤ It shows so much confidence. You can feel the control flick out from his face, almost like embers . His face looks so perfect and strong, like he is ready to dominate. He was a born performer and his music was legendary, this photo just clarifies that. I love how the photographer has captured the highlights on his face, it makes him look so clear and sharp. There’s not a single hair out of place in his moustache, his eyebrows effortlessly arch over his eyeliner flicks, while his crown of brown locks frame this picture and his cheek bones slice through it at both angles. Red and black are key colours in this, they make him look like he’s ready for business, he knows what he’s doing and he’s not messing about. The photographer gives Prince an air of intimidation. But one that is justified by his wicked talent. Thank you Prince.

I had to Harvard Reference one book from this pile, so I chose my favourite one which was a hard pick between the children’s map book and the photography magazine. I picked the magazine because it was just so bloody cool and interesting!


Bressian, G. and Ayesta, C. (2015) ‘Two photographers invited residents who fled the Fukushima disaster to return and create a series of staged portraits’, British Journal of Photography(December), pp. 18–21.


(Bressian and Ayesta, 2015)

Another page I wanted to talk about was from a book I found on Children’s Maps. I mean LOOK! It’s so pretty I could cry. If you know me then you’ll know why I love this so much. It’s the cutest little illustration book. I wish I drew this as I’m super jealous of what a good idea it is! Having detailed maps full of facts and caricature illustrations makes this one of the coolest maps I’ve ever seen. If this was in my GCSE Geography revision guide I’d have got that blasted A. Moving on… Look at the handwritten typography that surrounds the coast of Great Britain. I love how Shakespeare makes an appearance and that there’s a cup of tea in the centre too. Literature and caffeine, priorities.


I also thought after this lecture, why not buy an artsy book from Waterstones and feel inspired haha, no I actually did. I hopped on a bus and went to the book shop and found this gem. Oh god it’s actually one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s so hard to put down you just want to hear more of his witty humour and helpful hints and tips for you to expand your creative mind!

Basically the main point is there’s no rules and no limits to what you can create and how exploratory you can be. You just need to capture something really cool and it’s even better if you portray it in a weird and unusual way that grabs the most attention. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it eh? This is why you MUST read it if you’ve ever been hit by The Curse of the Creative Black Wall. Where your brain goes to mush and all you can come up with creatively, is a drawing of a potato.

The Design History Reader Text Analysis

FridgeFridge 2Fridge 3Fridge 4

In this task I had to choose one text from The Design History Reader. Then I had to individually read it, take notes from it, analyse it, compare it with my group and then present it with them to the rest of my class. The text we chose was How the Refrigerator Got Its Hum by Ruth Schwartz Cowan. Here are the notes that I have prepared.

Why does my refrigerator hum key-notes:

  • “The landscape of American technical history is littered with the remains of abandoned machines”
  • Not all ideas may be successful
  • Why do we have popcorn makers and electric can openers but not gas refrigerators?
  • Gas vs. Electric
  • Electric – creates low temperatures using a vaporiser controlled by a compressor (pump).
  • Gas – creates low temperatures using absorption of a gas and is always flowing. (BEST CHOICE!)
  • 18th into 19th century, cities expanded and so food needed to be preserved longer because people lived further away from where they were grown
  • 1830 – 1880 dozens of mechanical refrigerating machines were created in order to make ice and to create cold places without the presence of ice (early ice machines and fridges)
  • Massive demand for these machines, from brewers and meat packers (preserves of meat)
  • Operating these machines on a commercial business like nowadays seemed very ambitious back then
  • They weighed nearly 200 tonnes, operated manually, tendered to day and night and needed a skilled operator
  • There was a market for a product like this
  • 1918, the company Kelvinator developed an automatic controlling device
  • Electric dominated over gas but were expensive and difficult to run
  • 1932 to fundamentals of a modern day refrigerator had been designed
  • Market was enormous at this point
  • General Electric were the leading company in this business with the Monitor Top refrigerator and by 1925, through the power of some off the wall advertising, managed to mass produce and sell over 50,000 electric refrigerators
  • They had neon signs, promotional street parades and even shaped their stores like the Monitor Top
  • In 1929, GE introduced their all steel cabinets
  • They had a “Pirate’s Chest” promotional campaign, which was advertised all over the paper and radio
  • They threw parties for grand opening
  • Floats, jazz bands, chest
  • Mayor invited to open chest
  • At 11, chests were opened to reveal the all new steel refrigerators
  • Millionth Monitor Top was sold in 1931, GE presented a refrigerator to Henry Ford in a special broadcast and it was famously featured in a rom-com film in 1935
  • Gas machine creators lacked money, skilled personnel and competitive pressure
  • In the eyes of engineers and professors, gas machines has amazing potential
  • They were SILENT and easy to maintain
  • GE and Kelvinator were large, powerful, aggressive and resourceful
  • GE decided to manufacture electric rather than gas and that’s why your refrigerator hums
  • Power of advertising campaign
  • Not necessarily the best thing that makes it big
  • Your idea might be great but you need to campaign for it and get your name out there if you want it to take off
  • Don’t feel disheartened if other people don’t recognise your great designs

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Why is Alex Steinweiss still relevant in 21st century design?

With the surge of vinyl sales increasing and the online music streaming industry at the top of it’s game with iTunes and Spotify, the design of album covers has never been more important or relevant than right now. Without even knowing the genre of a single or an album, a customer should be able to glance at a cover and get a feel for it’s sound just through the power of it’s branding. Albums are the eyes of music as they portray sounds and feelings through the power of design and colour like no other. Imagine what life would be like nowadays if every album we ever bought was completely blank. Imagine if famous covers designed for Joy Division, Nirvana or The Beatles never existed. Imagine if Alex Steinweiss never designed a single album cover (see Figure 1).5535325518_b32975903f_oBack in the 1920s, consumers of albums had to deal with bland packaging that was none other than a brown cover with simple gold writing engraving the artist’s name (Carlson, 2014). This was the standard design for albums, and they were so plain; there was no creativity in them. In an age of the great depression and despair after the First World War, it was almost as if albums had followed this sombre and dismal tone. There was no diversity and so genre simply moulded into one single non-descript category. It was almost as if culture was stuck in a rut and was shunning albums as less important forms of entertainment. Alex Steinweiss – with a passion for music and a dedication like no other – changed the face of album design in a way that no one expected. He managed to bring a face to music, by adding illustrations, bright colours and many more iconic traits to the cases of 78s (see Figure 2).alex_steinweiss_columbia_records-450x394Steinweiss managed to satisfy the needs of consumers: delivering pop culture to the masses by putting music on the map as a medium that needed to be appreciated for all of it’s creative glory. Not only this, but he brought life back into the 1930s: he made shops multi- coloured and rich with his album covers that adorned the shelves, he gave people the chance to have luxuries, to be able to go out and buy something that wasn’t drab or boring. People came home wanting to talk about their new, beautiful, glossy records that they had saved up for because it was a token of pride – it was something to collect and brag about: Steinweiss had created something magical that gave people things to finally be excited about.

Alex Steinweiss grew up in Brooklyn, during a very hard economic time, where families all over where experiencing extreme poverty due to The Great Depression (White and Dazed, 2014). During the 1930s Steinweiss was in his late teens, a devotee of music like his father and was preoccupied with graphic design, encouraged by his influential high school art teacher. From an early age Steinweiss always showed so much enthusiasm for music. He said, ‘When I was a kid, I was already thinking of designing covers for music. It was in my soul. I loved music, and I wanted to spread the beauty of music and make sure that people got a good slice of it’ (White and Dazed, 2014).

In 1939, Steinweiss, only 23 years of age, was hired by William Paley to be the new art director for Columbia Records and whilst in this job role Steinweiss started designing his first ever album cover (see Figure 3) for the duo Rodgers and Hart (White and Dazed, 2014). Nobody could have ever expected the success of these covers, it’s predicted that sales of 78s increased by a staggering eight hundred percent (800%) if Steinweiss’ designs embellished the covers (White and Dazed, 2014). For somebody at the tender age of 23, only just starting out in the business, this was an achievement like no other which showed just how ahead of the time Alex truly was.ASRodgerAndHartHis unique style incorporated inspiration from the streamlined, geometric feel of Art Deco, to the whiplash curves of Art Nouveau, mixed with minimalism and American Expressionism. Almost every cover that he designed took a different road than the previous one; he liked to mix it up and tried to explore a wide variety of techniques when producing new pieces. Many of his covers acted as iconography, the illustrations and the colours were all associated with a certain tone and symbolic meaning which tied everything together as visual metaphors. He wanted his covers to portray ambiguous meanings that would only heighten the anticipation for eager buyers who were keen to listen.

This album cover for Paul Robeson entitled ‘Songs of Free Men’ (Alex Steinweiss: The story of the world’s first record sleeve artist, no date) is a perfect example of the technique stated above (see Figure 4). With a colour scheme similar to Russian Constructivism, this evokes a feeling of justice. It looks almost like propaganda due to its statement title positioned in a geometric red rectangle, which reads ‘Songs of Free Men’. The dark grey Art Deco hand gripping the knife in this piece is enchained, implying that this hand is one of a slave. As the hand is tightly gripping a knife, which is plummeting into the body of a snake, this is showing how the hand is rebelling against the creature below. It is dominating the Nazi emblazoned animal, which is so often linked to Luther and evil, and so the hand is shown as powerful, passionate, heroic and an advocate for freedom.ffe13663b5dd489b2e6cf36e52979585The choice of typography used in this design is simple but iconic: from the army like stencil letters, to the black, mono-space, font seen at the top and bottom of the design. By using a font commonly associated with war to adorn the words ‘Songs of Free Men’ as the statement title, it encourages the theme of freedom, hardship and suffering to stare you blanking in the face. It is plastered on top of the main illustration almost as if it were a publicity sticker, displayed there by a rebel in order to make it the centre of attention and to show how it’s campaigning against conventionality. On the other end of the spectrum, the clean lines of the black, geometric, sans serif font portray a timeless style, symbolising sophistication and professionalism. The colour black has been used to show the classiness of the record label and artist, by doing this it gives them credibility. In a design so dedicated to depicting a political agenda, the spaced out font balances the design literally and metaphorically by using up white space and by bringing an unbiased feel to the piece – reminding the viewers that it is an album cover.

Throughout his career and life, critics and other experts in his field have praised his contribution to album cover design. Art Director and Steinweiss tribute artist, Tommy Steele, states he is the ‘grandfather of album art’ and that without him ‘the industry wouldn’t have evolved in the same way at all’ (White and Dazed, 2014). Paula Scher, Art Director, couldn’t praise him enough ‘what he was then, is what a graphic designer today should be’ (White and Dazed, 2014). Two books have been written about Alex Steinweiss, both of which explore and credit him for all his outstanding contributions to the music-packaging world, these books are called: For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss (McKnight- Trontz, Steinweiss, and Heller, 2000) and Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover (Steinweiss, Heller, and Reagan, 2009). Reagan describes Steinweiss as a ‘big hero’ and a ‘heavy hitter’ (White and Dazed, 2014).

Kevin Reagan, one of Steinweiss’ top accreditors, wrote a book dedicated to his work and, with the help of Greg Escalante, co-curated an exhibition called ‘A Tribute to Alex Steinweiss, Creator of the Album Cover’, which took place in the Robert Berman Gallery in 2008 (A Tribute to Alex Steinweiss Creator of the Album Cover, 2007). The gallery presented paintings, collages and over one hundred original album covers from Steinweiss. Also present, were special tribute pieces by artists such as Tommy Steele and Ron English (A Tribute to Alex Steinweiss Creator of the Album Cover, 2007). Both co-curators Reagan and Escalante have commented on Steinweiss’ body of work, saying that his work ‘began a whole new art form that is still appreciated today’ that he had a ‘huge impact on our culture’ and that ‘Steinweiss should be a household name’ (A Tribute to Alex Steinweiss Creator of the Album Cover, 2007).

Steinweiss tribute artist, Tommy Steele, and Art Director in his own right, created three pieces of art work that were displayed in the exhibition: Steinstencil (2007), Sprayweiss, (2007) and Pixel Delivery, (2007) (Steinweiss Tribute List, 2008). All of these pieces were very eye catching and thought provoking but one of the pieces really stood out above the rest in my opinion. This being the Sprayweiss (2007) (see Figure 5) piece that was a light-jet photo print, framed: 26 x 26 inches (Steinweiss Tribute List, 2008). I found this piece to be one of two things, a perfect tribute and a clear example of how Steinweiss’ influence can be seen in modern day art, due to the use of spray painted Steinweiss Scrawl in the design as graffiti, which is a trademark handwritten font that Steinweiss designed, created and often used in his own work (Alex Steinweiss – Juxtapoz magazine, no date).steele_wallAlbum covers have never been so important; designers are creating covers that reach out to viewers in an instantaneous way. Steinweiss created a platform where music and art connected, where eyes and ears molded into one, his creations enabled you to see the sound of the singles you wanted to buy and this is why he’s still relevant. In the 21st century, the online music-streaming platform is booming, with commercial giants like iTunes and Spotify racking in more and more users per day.

Album covers featuring famous faces covering the entire frames, draped in dollar bills and their names scrawled in large fonts across the headlines, is what sells. Artists of all calibers are realizing that this is the industry to be involved in; with tracks being shared over many different social networking sites in a matter of seconds and the discovering of new singles being as easy as sweeping your finger across your smartphone screen. It’s blatantly obvious that online streaming is the fastest way to get your songs noticed. Living in such a face-paced, technological world, one second truly does matters. People don’t have time to look through albums; people don’t have time to guess what genre of music an artist represents. It’s all about branding and artist’s identities. Listeners link a colour or an image to a mood and in that same second, they judge music on those tiny squares next to single’s names on iTunes or Spotify. That tiny square, no matter how small, is the crucial thing that counts and Steinweiss knew this.

However, every action has a reaction, and this shallow way of listening to MP3s
and scrolling through the UK top 40, filled with the same genres of mainstream pop (no matter how relevant), has ignited a new wave that is taking the underground youths of today by storm – the revival of vinyl. In a cold technological age where music is just something to pass time on the tube with or to get drunk and rave to, youths have gone in search for nostalgia. Vinyl is the answer to this prayer – going to East London and picking up a record in Rough Trade, has become a new trend for teens eager to reminisce is classic albums that are more than just drum and bass tracks. Owning records from the likes of Pink Floyd or Nirvana, and listening to the albums from start to finish is something special, listening to music becomes more of an occasion when you listen to an actual record.

The covers embellished on the front of LPs are statements to talk about, they’re works of art to put on your wall or to collect.Even though records may be outdated and music is becoming more of an online phenomenon, that facts still stay the same – without the innovative ideas brought forward and created by Alex Steinweiss, the way in which records can be collected and appreciated wouldn’t have been the same. Steinweiss solved a creative problem with his invention and the after math of his work has been seen and appreciated through the groundbreaking album covers that made bands like The Beatles iconic, turned music into mainstream entertainment, created joy in the midst of the somber 1930s, saw galleries, tribute artists and books pay homage to his legacy and brought pop culture to the masses that will always be respected and adored by graphic designers and music lovers around the world.

(Figure 1) (no date) Available at: content/uploads/2014/10/Alex-Steinweiss.png (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
(Figure 2) no date) Available at: content/uploads/2014/10/1089522.jpg (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
(Figure 3) (no date) Available at: content/uploads/2014/10/alex-imperial-orchestra-smash-song-hits-by-rodgers-and-hart- 1939-columbia-record.png (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
(Figure 4) (no date) Available at: content/uploads/2014/10/1941-Paul-Robeson-Songs-of-Free-Men-Columbia-Records- catalogue-no.-M-534-signed-Steinweiss.jpg (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
(Figure 5) Tommy Steele, (2007), Sprayweiss [ONLINE]. Available at: tributeworks/steele_wall.jpg [Accessed 24 November 15].
A Tribute to Alex Steinweiss Creator of the Album Cover (2007) Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
Alex Steinweiss - Juxtapoz magazine (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
Alex Steinweiss: The story of the world’s first record sleeve artist (no date) Available at: worlds-first-record-sleeve-artist/2/ (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
Carlson, M. (2014) Alex Steinweiss obituary. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
McKnight-Trontz, J., Steinweiss, A. and Heller, S. (2000) For the Record: The Life and Work of Alex Steinweiss. Illustrated edn. Princeton Architectural Press.
Steinweiss Tribute List (2008) Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2015).
Steinweiss, A., Heller, S. and Reagan, K. (2009) Alex Steinweiss: The Inventor of the Modern Album Cover, Issue 101; Issue 600. Edited by Kevin Reagan. Illustrated edn. Taschen.
White, E. and Dazed (2014) Alex Steinweiss: The art of music. Available at: (Accessed: 24 November 2015).


As part of my Research and Referencing module for Semester One, I had to create a zine with a group of other classmates, which illustrated our essays that we created! This design was a simple but sophisticated concept. Basically it opened up from the middle on both sides, using our portraits as doors into our essays. We created a red, white and black theme throughout in order to make it look clean and to have a clear theme. All of our essays were designed in the style of our chosen designers and then they were designed to all link together using the same colour theme. We printed this final version and folded it too. We were all extremely happy with the outcome! What do you think?

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