Tyneside Cinema Productions souvenir booklet

A souvenir gift for a long-standing client who played a significant part in kick-starting my design career.


First, some context…

As a fresh-faced design degree graduate back in 2000-2001, I was invited to collaborate on a mystery project called TCP.

TCP turned out to be Tyneside Cinema Productions; an audience development project initiated by Tyneside Cinema to commission artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians to collaborate on creative projects and create artist films – with the goal of engaging a young, contemporary audience through shared love of art, culture, movies and parties.

My contribution to the project was image-making, graphic design, adverts, flyers and posters – and making animated Flash websites (remember Flash?!). It was very loose, very creative – and I had leeway to experiment with new ideas and techniques.

And we’re back…

Through TCP, I had the opportunity to meet the Cinema’s CEO, who kindly (bravely?) offered me the opportunity to redesign the Cinema’s brochure – a job that lead to my eventual rebranding of the entire cinema and a 15-plus-years long collaboration on their graphic design.

This souvenir booklet gathers together images, designs, writing and even email correspondence from my time on the TCP project, way back in the mists of 2000-2001.

This was a fascinating project to work on, delving back in time through my digital archives. As you’d expect reviewing an inexperienced designer, some of the work was naive, some cringeworthy – one party advert was practically migraine inducing – but I was surprised at the experimentation on display; the energetic anarchy in layout and visual style that comes with youthful enthusiasm and an ignorance of typographic best practice.

Maturity and experience have brought refinement to my creative practice but perhaps at the loss of some raw energy. The rules of visual hierarchy don’t apply when you don’t understand them. The Elements of Typographic Style is a great read but it does make typesetting a text block longer than 68 characters width feel like a mortal sin.

It was refreshing to discover that the foundations of my visual practice were in place even then. Colour palettes and composition techniques are pretty similar to how I apply them today, but thankfully I’ve managed to restrain myself somewhat with visual elements. I’m a little better at following the philosophy of perfection is achieved when there is nothing left to take away.

My most surprising discovery from that era, preserved in the digital amber, was not the artwork but my email correspondence. So jovial and fun. I wonder what happened to that guy…