University of Leeds’ Window Graphic

By Sarah Bates

The Brief

I was recommended for a commission to design a window graphic in the reception area of School of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Leeds as part of their refurbishment. The windows are incredibly large and in a prominent area and are south facing so the intensity of light was important. Full design coverage was needed but the light still had to pass through the material and so the level of opacity had to be considered.

The window graphic had to represent the Schools’ taught subjects, high level of research, links with industry – so their past, present and future vision. I researched the Schools’ history, interviewed academics and technicians, undertook photo shoots and began to understand the phenomenal research work carried out at the school, which continues to impact the industry.

The image had to have depth, so people could revisit the image and see other things they hadn’t seen before as this would be seen by every visitor, staff member and student visiting the school. I was conscious it had to reflect the history, the present and the future. The design was approved, printed and materials tested and finally installed in August and immediately boarded up for protection until the construction has finished.

The installation

Below are some of the photographs of the reception area and window – before and afer, and the full graphic – it looks brilliant and certainly has an impact when you walk in. There is a depth and talking with a few people yesterday they keep returning to see new elements in the design they hadn’t seen before!

This project has been exciting, incredibly interesting to learn of the wide range and depth of research undertaken at the School and to design a window graphic that will stand the test of time and be there to inspire future generations is a priveledge.

reception area before
south facing as it stood while the refurbishment happened
Reception area refurbishment
Window graphic designed and installed
Full scale view

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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Data Visualisation

By Sarah Bates

Using data to make imagery

Working with Dr Paul Genever and Dr Amanda Barnes at York University I was interested in how data visualisation might be able to produce imagery to raise awareness of what they do in the department. I began with a data set of 12,000 entries, results from 4 experiments using a stem cell. One of their funded sponsors is Arthritis Uk and their research explores how stem cells can be encouraged to grow into bone cells – ultimately for joint replacements in the future, instead of metal or plastic, which is revolutionary.

I visualised the data using Excel, Tableau and Raw Data to produce some very beautiful and completely different data visualisations, which were turned into postcards, as a possible promotional flyer to give away at exhibitions and events.

I was drawn to a particular image as it resonates with a person’s experience who have arthritis of suffering and pain which was the circular spiky image. A music lecturer colleague when looking at the image could resonate with the feelings of arthritis and produce a music score to the image. This was very modern score with a huge baseline beat. I experimented and explored Adobe After Effects and Premiere resulting in 3 motion graphic responses which can be viewed here.


Heritage Commercial Finance

By Sarah Bates

Working with Nigel from NJM Solutions is a great partnership as he can refer me with confidence knowing I will help his clients in anyway I can to promote, update and deliver effective visual communications. One such client is Heritage Commercial Finance, they had just had a new logo designed but wanted to take the branding further and this needed to start with some literature, ensuring their logo was correct, used in a consistent manner (so the same version all the time on whatever they needed) and a new website.

I cannot stress the importance of a logo, not only the message it communicates and reflects on your business but the importance of a designer to “get it right” and ensure they supply the clients a logo in all the correct formats so consistency of the brand is easy to implement. It should be produced in a vector based programme so it is scalable, supplied in various formats; .eps, .pdf, .jpg, .png and preferably in 2 sizes – normals size and small – perfect for emails.
Anyone reading this who doesn’t have their logo supplied in these formats, get back on to the designer who designed it and ask – it’s your right!

So, at Heritage Commercial Finance, Allison Robinson and Emma Bird were great to work with. I re-designed the application form and produced it as an interactive pdf form, which means the clients can apply in line and email back thte form making the provess quick and easy. Taken the branding using the great “h” symbol a little further, produced various proposals for a new brochure and have just delivered beautiful glossy new business cards to a delighted client.

Their web site and has now also been launched where I designed the visuals and Nick, my trusty steed, did his “magic” yet again to produce a site that is distinctive and really places the business in another league. We also had the help from Louise from Advanced Writing Solutions, a brilliant copywriter who is so good she can make “your’ words sound fantastic.

Heritage Commercial Finance has also just won an award for “Best Bridging Newcomer 2013” which is a fantastic achievement.



W A Hares

By Sarah Bates

Anne Hare approached me to design and update their website as it needed bringing up to date and flexible on all platforms. I had been recommended from another happy client and was over joyed to work with Anne & Nick. After establishing their needs and budget I recommended a Word Press web site because they are flexible, cost effective and look great.

I took some images of the team whist in the work shop – very impressed I was with the craftsmanship and quality of the work from staircases, gates to wooden windows – they do it all.

We have just relaunched the site this week and its a very effective way to promote their business, showing off what excellent builders they are. They undertake restoration projects, extensions and new builds so please click here to take a look.




By Sarah Bates
















Working with Melanie England, who is launching a new business Revamp, has been exciting and very interesting to learn what she does and how this can help all women out there make the most of themselves.

Melanie is a professional make-up artist and also qualified to work out people’s colours and advise them on what colours to wear, how to apply makeup whatever they are wanting to achieve and even assess your wardrobe and advise what goes with what – how clever is that?

We have designed the whole branding from logo design to colour cards and fliers. Stephen at Orange Crush worked with Melanie on the web site which is launched today:

The whole process was really enjoyable and this is what Mel had to say, “Working with Sarah has been a fantastic experience from beginning to end!  From the word go, she seemed to understand my design ideas and her interpretations were always spot on.  I always felt Sarah was listening to me and no matter how many times I changed my mind during the process, she was always patient and supportive.  I found Sarah to be very professional and yet she made the process fun.  I feel very fortunate to have found her!”

Melanie has already Revamped a few lucky ladies and also had the privileged to make-up some brides on their special day – so to make bookings or find out more please call Revamp 07946 461321.


inspirational typography

By Sarah Bates

I am inspired by contemporary designers, people who are producing great designs now – not just in the past. Large design consultancies tend to have larger budgets, bigger clients and can afford to do things a little differently.

I found this beautiful typography in tree trunks which were then put up in a library by no other than the great design consultancy: Why Not Associates! Don’t they just look brilliant?

They have also produced the typography for the walk way into the entrance building at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

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