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Together talent with NTU: meet Joshua Mulcahy

Friday, July 4th, 2014

We’re proud to have been working with Nottingham Trent University for several years now, creating outdoor ads, brochures, digital media and more. As a creative marketing agency, we love to attend their annual art and design degree show to scope out the latest and greatest local talent – and we’re never disappointed.

Rather than keep quiet about the amazing work we’ve seen, we’ve decided to welcome local designers, marketers and creatives to share their work and ideas on the Together Agency blog.  

Meet Joshua Mulcahy

First up is graphic designer Joshua Mulcahy, aged 21 from Bristol. We first noticed Joshua when we spotted his incredible Steve Jobs portrait at the NTU Graphic Design degree show this year. 

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Your NTU course

I began studying at Nottingham Trent University in 2011, somewhat influenced by my former college teacher. Understanding my design style, he suggested how the Graphic Design course there had a great support team, with an interest in ‘out of the box’ thinking. During my time on the course I found this to be true, receiving frequent one-on-one support from course leaders to technicians. I think this suited me best, and my perhaps more ‘fine art’ style of thinking, boosting my confidence greatly.

Your work

The motive behind much of my work is the exposure of political or cultural events, taking inspiration from Russian Constructivism and the Bauhaus. This is the reason much of my work can appear very simplistic, translating complex information into a basic form. I am currently developing a professional website, but some of my work can be found at www.joshuamulcahy.co.uk

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‘Think Different’, Joshua’s degree show piece, is a physical infographic constructed from 1600 pieces. Each triangle represents an employee at Apple’s main factory, Foxconn in China. Every 48 hours, this number of employees quits the factory due to poor working conditions. The 14 missing pieces each represent an employee who has taken their own life whilst at work at Foxconn. Joshua used tones of red and yellow to reference Chinese temples, and the stained-glass aesthetic of the piece is a nod to religious iconography. 

Your inspirations

I am very much influenced by musicians, one being Bob Marley and his philosophy. He believed the influential power of music could be used to bring peace to the world. Even after being shot two days before a major free concert following conflicts at the time, Bob refused to cancel as he knew his music could bring joy to the people of Jamaica. He came on stage and said “The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking a day off. How can I? Light up the darkness.”

Similarly I believe graphic design is a powerful tool, and like weapons, power can fall into the wrong hands. I feel it is important to expose examples of negative media and hidden truths, visually, so all can access it, not just those with an academic education.

Your graduation year

The highlight of my university experience was my third year final project. This was because I feel the work best exposed me as not only a designer, but an individual, swaying from mainstream opinions. The reason I love design is that it has the ability to influence positive change, I just feel that today a lot of designers have lost touch with this fact. Today too many people play it safe, making decisions based upon fear and not love, as Gandhi once said ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’, I feel my final project captured sight of this again.
Your aim/dream in life

I am very passionate about music, film, bikes and design. Over the next 20 years or so I’d like to develop a career that allows me freedom to dabble in and out of all these areas although later in life I’d like to move away from mainstream society, set up a high quality retreat with cheap food so that all can access it as a social hub for the local community. Currently, I have plans to produce short documentaries, on ethical projects in Ghana and Germany. I am also in negotiations with an up-and-coming bike manufacturer, to become brand manager of two or more of their companies, which I feel I can help to influence people to get out of the house and get back in touch with nature.

3 designers we loved at the NTU degree show

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

We wandered on down to the Nottingham Trent University ‘About to Blow‘ degree show last weekend, and were overwhelmed by the amount of talent on display. Here are 3 graphic designers that really caught our eye.

Katie Abey

Katie’s colourful, distinctive illustration style mixes pop culture references with attitude and a touch of sweetness. She has a talent for creating statements that you identify with and want to own, with a storybook illustration style that pops off the page.

Some examples (and it was hard to choose):

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Give Katie’s website and Facebook page a visit – you’ll want to buy everything.

Jamie Haffield

Jamie’s striking monochrome designs exemplify his talent for typography and pattern. Jamie’s own business card is one of the best examples of this, although confusingly the website address doesn’t exist – thankfully we managed to track him down on Behance!

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We were also entranced by his giant pictorial poster about the history of skyscrapers. Called ‘Pierce the Clouds’, this one is best appreciated in person:

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You can find Jamie’s work on Behance here.

Christopher Worker

Another monochrome fan, Christopher’s work puts us in mind of dystopian propaganda posters and art deco architecture. Christopher’s designs include a visual history of spacecraft:

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An entire set of tarot cards:

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And several book covers that would improve the window displays of any discerning branch of Waterstones:

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We’d love to have those on our bookshelves. You’ll find Christopher’s website here.

Honourable mention

This arresting portrait of Steve jobs was created using coloured tiles as a reference to stained glass and holy imagery. Jobs is presented as a modern-day prophet, but with an edge – the missing tiles each represent a suicide at the Foxconn factory where Apple products are made.

If anyone knows who it’s by (or has a better image!), please get in touch.

Update: It’s by Joshua Mulcahy. Amazing work.

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Thank you for having us, NTU – and everyone else, give these amazing designers some work if you can. They’ll be world famous before long.

QUIT’s new ad is the perfect use of Vine

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

There couldn’t be a better platform for this message. Kudos to QUIT and M&C Saatchi.

New favourite toy: the #Siteclops giant kaleidoscope

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Wandering in to work the other day, we spotted this funky-looking thing, which had attracted quite a crowd:

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(Picture: Siteclops)

It’s called Siteclops, and it’s a massive kaleidoscope for looking around at the city through the optical equivalent of bug eyes:

It was made by Hristiyan Pavlov and Dalma Kadocsa, and you can follow it on Twitter here. We like.

We’re on the Chip Shop Awards’ Sochi shortlist

Monday, February 10th, 2014

We love a good quick-fire ad competition, and One Minute Briefs is famous for them. Last week, they asked people to come up with ads on behalf of the Sochi 2014 Olympic sponsors, showing support for LGBT rights.

We created three, and two have made the shortlist:

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This one was disqualified because – despite the Chip Shop Awards being famous for their rule-breaking ads – Skittles isn’t an official sponsor:

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You can vote for our Dow and McDonald’s ads here – just click ‘like’ underneath each one.

See you at the medal ceremony.