Visit to Hereford Cathedral to view the Mappa Mundi

As a prelude to visiting the Cathedral we watched a film presented by Stephen Fry about the Gutenburg Press….

Johannes Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany in 1400. At that time all books were written by hand on velum and he recognised the need for a more efficient process. There were vineyards in the locality and so he probably based his design for a printing press on those that were used for extracting the juice from grapes. He also had to derive a letter set to go with it. By coincidence paper was being developed at the same time, to replace velum, which made the press viable.

After seeing the film we went to visit the Mappa Mundi permanent display in the grounds of Hereford Cathedral. Before this we were privileged to view old books in the library above the exhibition area, which has a collection of ancient books that were written by monks and nuns and then embellished with special characters by specialists. These characters indicated the beginning of new chapters (gospels).

A hand-written, embellished book of Psalms with side notes

In the middle ages most written works belonged and were produced by the church. Therefore, they had power through knowledge. Furthermore they were written in Latin which was the universal language at that time. The printed book opened up the path to knowledge to more unprivileged people.

An early printed book by William Morris

The Mappa Mundi was the largest map to be produced on a single piece of velum in about 1300. It described that world as it was known at that time.

Part of the exhibition included the chained library, where the books were secured because of their value.


Completion of Mapping Project

Today I finished designing the DIY map for people visiting Hereford College of Arts. The concept comprises a map of all floors of the building with symbols that can be cut out and applied to provide directions to young children, other language speakers or anyone with reading difficulties. The map could be assembled and then sent by smart phone to the recipient.


pdf-iconClick here to download a pdf version of the map

Contexts and graphic design

We were asked to find three examples of graphic design in the library and then describe each one in as many contexts possible.

In May 2016 the co-op unveiled a new logo which was designed by studio North. This was a revival of the original classic clover-leaf design, Which first appeared in the late 1960s. And historical context was considered after researching the company’s visual history. The logo conveys trust, nature, and purity. One of the aims was to trigger nostalgic response from customers. Whilst it also suggests a modern brand of the future in the digital age.


The contexts in this example are historic, nostalgic, behavioural, social, commercial and loyalty.

My next choice was Tyrrell’s crisps. Their design was created by the company bigfish Similar to the co-op nostalgia is used to appeal to customers.

The photographic images are typical of the postwar period and the use of matt packaging material adds to the historic effect. At this time food was wholesome and shoppers were thrifty and so the brand conveys value for money with t a product that is made to traditional standards. There is also an element of humour which will appeal to young and old alike.

The choice of packaging, it’s thickness, feel and the strong colours plus the typeface all reinforce the historic/quality message.

Like the co-op, The contexts used are nostalgic, historic, behavioural and quality.

Because I am a fly fisherman I am inclined to buy gear that is technical, has a high performance, innovative and hardwearing. For these reasons, like many of my fishing colleagues, I am drawn towards Sage, a USA company, that produces the gear that satisfies my requirements.


The main context in this companies advertising is technological but there is also an element of fashion, comfort and certainly protection against the elements. You can also throw in nature and the great outdoors for good measure.

You could say that all three examples address a behavioural context  as well and in these cases I am one of the typical target customers!

In the sage website photos of  big landscapes with solitary, small figures give the feeling of adventure, whilst the choice of lettering and a few select words convey technology and innovation.

Contexts used include the spirit of adventure, technological, emotional, fashion, high quality and exclusiveness.

3rd Alphabet

This is my third submission for the alphabet project. I was looking for something that would resonate with my fellow students and because they are always using their smartphones, this seemed to be an obvious choice. The alphabet comprises app logos some of them familiar and some of them a little obscure. I chose the iPhone 6 format because this is the phone that I use.