A World Without Words – International Exhibition

By Sarah Bates


world without words

International Exhibition

My 2nd international exhibition was the visual exploration and response to the city of Tronto, Italy was through a super macro lens. I used self generated data whilst investigating graphicacy (which is the ability to communicate visually) and is considered as important as literacy and numeracy and the ability to read and count.

I was inspired by this quote:

"The world around us is chaotic. In order to live in that world, we must find ways to grasp it, establish some sort of order in it. We are not alone in that endeavor. Others face the same problem. And we can make contact with those others. That contact helps us talk about the world, order things, bring order onto the chaos. We do that by naming things, so that others know what we are talking about. We do that through signs. The most familiar and complex system of signs is language. Human communities are impossible without some form of language. Language is the most highly developed sign-system, a sign-system which allows the conveyance of the most complex observations, views, thoughts." (Ball, 1994)

Visual communication as we know it today

Is the process of sending and receiving messages using images and signs, and yet it is not dissimilar to the earliest forms of communicating 6000 years ago were developed. These first symbols used in their primitive forms were called pictograms which covered cave walls and depicted early the activities of early civilization. They could be used to represent an object; fish, rain, woman etc. and remarkably pictograms are still used in our society today, as there is an ever growing need to overcome language barriers, symbols (pictograms) which can be internationally recognised are now in demand more than ever before. Examples such as men and women’s toilets, navigation systems in airports and travel systems on our roads etc. Our need to immediately recognise and navigate these systems as we go about our lives, not only enhances our lives but it makes ‘it’ more efficient.

I was particularly inspired by the Futurist archive museum where I had the privilege of viewing and handling the journals, works, designs of Depero which was truly amazing to see these things in real life and a recent book binding course.

We see so many things in our lives but don't actually see the detail and so a super macro lens is really an analogy for the media bombarded lives we live in today.







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Fantastic Day – fantastic horse!

By Sarah Bates

While at the races I also came across a fantastic sculpture. Jennifer from Lemon Zest has yet again excelled in creating a horse made from Yorkshire produce. Even on the third day of the races, having had lots of rain and sunshine the horse was still fairing well!

“To underscore the use of local produce in the kitchens and restaurants of York Racecourse Lemon Zest have staged a number of successful PR stunts that range from fanciful hats made of seasonal fruit and veg, an enormous mural of a horse and now to top it all a live size horse made entirely from food produced in Yorkshire.”

Fantastic Day – fantastic hat!

By Sarah Bates

I haven’t updated the blog for a while and it’s the same old excuse we all have, …no time! Well we all know the lists gets longer and the time gets shorter but that is down to time management, prioritising and a realisation that the list may not get done in 1 day or indeed ever…!

Anyway I was going to the races at York for the August Bank Holiday meeting, where on the Wednesday the unbeaten Frankel enhanced his reputation as one of the greatest horses in history by easily taking the Juddmonte International race. I didn’t have a hat to wear, I was tight on time and so asked Jane, who is a lecturer at Selby College and teaches millinery and has her won bespoke millinery business, if she could possible make me something in 3 days!

What a service Jane provided! I text her a photo of my dress and left it up to her judgement as to what she designed and created!  1 day later I went to collect this absolutely fantastic creation!. The skill and ability that Jane has is phenomenal and I would always recommend her – so  if you ladies out there need anything to do with head attire then look no further than – Jane – Ann, Bespoke Millinery.

Jane-Ann’s hats were also paraded down the catwalk at Selby College Fashion Show this year and she also has a range of hats and fascinators in Fenwicks in York.

Jane was also at the races on the Wednesday, as she had just won a prize for the competition organised by York’s newest visitor attraction the York Chocolate Story.

Jane’s chocolate challenge was to create a chapeau that depicts a piece of confectionery that has been produced in York over the years. Her inspiration was one of chocolate’s Christmas classics – the purple-wrapped sweetie from the Quality Street tin. Selby Times covered the story. What a great hat and it’s going into the museum for all to see!

every cloud…

By Sarah Bates

Every cloud has a sliver lining and today it did!

Sat in the garden taking 10 minutes out of a busy day I was overjoyed to see the sun shining only to be overwhelmed with a large black cloud. Rain threatened but then the sun shone out from behind and all was saved! Promise this has not been Photoshop-ed just iPhone camera – stunning isn’t it?

I looked up the meaning from “phrase finder” and this is what it said, ” Every bad situation has some good aspects to it”. This proverb is usually said as an encouragement to a person who is overcome. So for every pessimist out there this could be a new way of thinking. Generally I think it is a good way to look at things and keep you moving forward rather than looking back!


John Milton coined the phrase ‘silver lining’ in Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634

I see ye visibly, and now believe
That he, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were
To keep my life and honour unassailed.
Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
I did not err; there does a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.

‘Clouds’ and ‘silver linings’ were referred to often in literature from then onward, usually citing Milton and frequently referring to them as Milton’s clouds. It isn’t until the days of the uplifting language of Victori’s England that we begin to hear the proverbial form that we are now familiar with – ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. The first occurrence that is unequivocally expressing that notion comes in The Dublin Magazine, Volume 1, 1840, in a review of the novel Marian; or, a Young Maid’s Fortunes, by Mrs S. Hall, which was published in 1840:

As Katty Macane has it, “there’s a silver lining to every cloud that sails about the heavens if we could only see it.”

‘There’s a silver lining to every cloud’ was the form that the proverb was usually expressed in the Victorian era. The currently used ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ did appear, in another literary review, in 1849. The New monthly belle assemblée, Volume 31 include what purported to be a quotation from Mrs Hall’s book – “Every cloud has a silver lining”, but which didn’t in fact appear in Marian, which merely reproduced Milton’s original text.


Visual Creative Arts Exhibition

By Sarah Bates

As you may know I as well as being a graphic designer – I also teach at Selby College and every year the second year students have a final exhibition to show off their fabulous work. Normally, we get the students to design the poster as a competition but time was indeed pressing and so I spent an hour at my mac, producing some exhibition posters and loved every minute of it. Tutors loved the designs, vote was taken and one design was chosen – great to work with like-minded, decision making and slightly mad, creative people!

I have always been inspired by the fantastic Swiss Style Movement, also know as the International Typographic Style that developed in Switzerland in the 1950s. Joseph Müller-Brockmann was one of the famous graphic designers linked to the movement and a great inspiration. The style is known for it cleanliness, readability and primarily used sans serif typography. You will have seen many inspired designs from this style and here are mine.

The exhibition is an opportunity to come and be inspired yourself. The students are from a wide range of courses, A level Media Studies, Art & Design, Diploma in Art & Design, Extended Diploma in Fashion & Clothing, Art & Design, Creative Media Production, Theatre Studies and this year for the first time Music Technology – so it’s a great evening to see what we have been up to!

Please do come along 14th June 2012, 6-8pm Renaissance Building, Selby College.





















Banksy in London

By Sarah Bates

Love it. Just recently went to London and was shown a Banksy – a real one. The story goes that the Council didn’t quite know what to do with this “artwork” as it is deemed graffiti, writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place, but the problem was that it was most certainly done by a well known “artist”. The result was a plastic covering over the image to preserve it and much to my amusement someone had then graffitied over the top of it.

Always topical – this one has now been spotted on the streets of London and is said to be Banksy’s latest piece!

International Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair

By Sarah Bates

I was fortunate to have been invited to The 10th International Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair at Leeds University on Friday. What a joy! The whole room was full of talented and creative people who printed, designed and made books. There was a vast array of styles, sizes, purposes and every one was joyfully different.

I didn’t take may photographs but bought a few treasures. As a designer and lecturer it was a joy to see how inspired people are and inspirational!

sunny days and pantone

By Sarah Bates

Amongst other things I’ve done today – this is a first – I’ve Pantone referenced the sky! It’s 292c and with my glasses in it’s the preferred 2925c which is actually my favourite blue! I think I’m taking my design referencing to a new obsessive level!

Pantone as many of you know, is the bible of colour referencing for all designers and printers out there. I do however, seem to be getting slightly obsessed with this and have found myself drawn to everything that is Pantone, from the Rubics Cube I cannot buy, the phone cover I’ve just bought and the mug I drink from when in front of my mac. I have also noticed, which has snuck upon me, that I am obviously drawn to everything that is Pantone Orange and I thought it had always been the hue of green!

I think I am going to have to restrain myself as there are lots of Pantone things I would gladly surround myself with but I will try to be strong!

So, people out there be warned it consumes you unexpectedly!!
















































Utilizing Negative Space

By Sarah Bates

Just recently I have been working with some students on a corporate identity project, teaching them the process of designing a logo – which may surprise most people because it takes an extraordinary amount of time to get it right. Some of the simplest logos have had lots of time and effort put in to developing and refining the designs to make it that simple.

Take the Fedex logo, simple, recognisable and very sophisticated, as the E and X for an arrow in the negative space that points forwards. The amazon logo has a smiley face and an arrow pointing from a to z! This is where the logo design really works for me when there is a hidden or clever use of space.

A few of the designs are here which I showed to the students to hopefully inspire their designs…

Urban typography

By Sarah Bates

The urban space we call a city! A wealth of visual references, an exciting visual reminder of what was the past and what is the future. My emphasis was how typography integrates into our lives, our space and how we become immune to the design and it is taken for granted!

What is remarkable is that every bit of design, whether it is a road sign, shop signage, window graphics, bags, tickets, train arrivals boards, graffiti – legal or illegal has been considered and designed by someone.

A lot more skill was required in the past and homage is paid to the The Swiss Style: Eduard Hoffmann for Helvetica and Edward Johnston and Erig Gill for those beautiful typefaces I love!

We generally car less for the skills involved and used in the past, as today we can produce digital vinyl cut type quickly efficiently and with a clean cut in any shape. However, for all I am a digital freak – I do crave sometimes for the hand written signs, the wobbly line and the not-quite-so-perfect flat colour!

So this is my celebration of what Leeds offered!