Ilam and Bulletin

This issue of the magazine is the final one to be designed by the students of the Ilam School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury. Bulletin’s relationship with Ilam began back in 2014, when senior lecturer in design Aaron Beehre proposed an internship programme that would allow his students to work on the magazine under his supervision. With Aaron as art director, the first issue of the magazine produced at Ilam was B.175, still in the large square format designed in 2008 by Strategy. With a few issues under their belt, Aaron and his students redesigned Bulletin into the current iteration of the magazine, which we launched in March 2016 shortly after our reopening post-quake. At the time, then director Jenny Harper hailed it in her foreword as the “first edition of Bulletin in a new world”, and most importantly with “more pages for art”.

Over the seven years and thirty issues of this highly successful partnership Aaron and his team have been the recipients of a number of important design awards, including the Museums Australasia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards, where Bulletin again won Best Magazine in 2021.

To mark the closing of this chapter, we asked a few of Bulletin’s design alumni to reminisce on what the chance to work on the magazine has meant to them.

Connie Davies

Ilam and Bulletin section

Interning as an editorial designer for Bulletin was fantastic. I learnt so many practical skills about design and typesetting, but what I found most beneficial was the experience it gave me around the process of producing a publication from a designer’s perspective. From laying out spreads and working with a head designer and editor, to creating print-ready files. Now working as a junior designer, I find myself using knowledge that I gained from my time working on Bulletin every day. The other element of interning for Bulletin that I really enjoyed was being able to work on a project alongside my classmates – we had loads of fun collaborating, helping each other out and discovering our love of Amaretto sours. Aaron was great to learn from and I am very thankful for the time he put into helping us develop our skillsets and love for design.

Narelle Denmead

Ilam and Bulletin section

I was the test-run intern for the partnership between Bulletin and the UC design school. Evidently I didn’t screw it up too badly as they kept the relationship going. I do remember putting together a Friends brochure one issue: there was a spiel about some art-in-schools thing, and one about an artist who I hadn’t heard of – the accompanying images weren’t labelled, so I did a bit of guesswork and matched up the image of the artist’s work with the blurb about the primary school kids. It was the classic “My kid could draw that” situation – not a good look for a student studying fine art! Luckily I think I worked out that I’d put things together wrong before sending a proof out.

Designing Bulletin was a great experience. I enjoyed the chance to work on something that went out into the real world, and get a bit of one-on-one mentoring with Aaron, who was great to work with. I think designing three issues of Bulletin also helped me get my first job – something that design graduates can find hard to come by.

Lee Richardson

Ilam and Bulletin section

I worked on Bulletin in 2017 and 2018. This was an internship that gave me the opportunity to learn how a publication is produced from idea to end product. I always enjoyed doing different versions for covers and seeing how far we could push things. All the interns would put our best designs up to see whose version would get the cover. Another highlight was being able to go to the printer to see the magazine being printed – this was a great insight into the printing process. Since working on Bulletin I have been teaching on the graphic design program at the University of Canterbury, worked on projects with other galleries in Ōtautahi and have set up an artist run gallery space with Liam Krijgsman and Millie Galbraith called Hot Lunch.

Libby Barker

Ilam and Bulletin section

Bulletin has been such a great project and I have really enjoyed being able to contribute to it. A highlight of my time working on the magazine was designing the covers and articles that featured works from artists William Wegman, Bill Culbert and Brent Harris – a few personal favourites. This internship allowed us to see the magazine from beginning to the end, starting out with a group of essays and images, leading to the initial layout and design, through many edits and then finally, sending it to print. It has been very beneficial to see the whole process behind a project like this while learning many new skills and techniques. Working alongside Aaron, Gallery staff and classmates was an amazing experience and I am very thankful to have been a part of the Bulletin.

Emma Kevern

Ilam and Bulletin section

When I was an intern for Bulletin I was part of the glory years, when we had metallic pantones, fold-out pages and glossy covers, all materials which were inaccessible to me, a poor student. We were even Best Award finalists one year! I particularly enjoyed ditching the exams for the subtleties of InDesign shortcuts, custom typefaces and grids.

A fond memory I have is creating the custom font in B.185 for the article ‘Hair Story’, which detailed the exhibition Bad Hair Day. I took quite a literal approach, forming the type through tiny strokes drawn in Illustrator. This heading led into a great article by Ken Hall and included some great images of Gavin Hurley’s and Ronnie Van Hout’s works included in the show.

Under the mentorship of the Michael Jordan of book design, Aaron Beehre, I learned the intricacies involved in the design process through to print. Learning how to communicate with editor and printers and bossing around junior interns has crossed over into my professional work as a designer. There were of course also the intangibles such as cocktail drinking and pizza eating – skills which improved after every issue (and I continue to hone).

Overall, I would recommend this experience. 10 / 10.

Hannah Mcdade

Ilam and Bulletin section

The Bulletin is a project that I am very grateful to have been a part of. Working on the publication while studying graphic design was a good way to apply what we had learnt in the studio whilst also gaining new skills. I especially enjoyed working on Bulletin because we were designing spreads containing interesting work by local artists, so that coupled with studying at Ilam School of Fine Arts was significant to me.

I am thankful for Aaron, who taught us how to think differently when using type, colour, grids and image placement. Each issue of Bulletin provided new opportunities to utilise these conventions in ways that felt right with the content. These are all things that are helping me now after leaving Ilam. Bulletin was a great introduction to the ways designers can collaborate with artists and galleries, which is something I would like to explore more in the future.

I enjoyed working alongside Aaron and my classmates. We made a great team, and I loved all the laughs and good times while working on Bulletin.

Gemma Banks

Ilam and Bulletin section

Looking back, working with Te Puna o Waiwhetū was quite a surreal and amazing opportunity, not only the fact of working on a real-world project, but also that we were able to play a part in the local art scene before we had even graduated. I was lucky enough to work on eight issues of Bulletin, working across both formats, and being a part of the class who worked on the redesign. This was a huge highlight, researching and presenting different iterations of what Bulletin could be, and seeing that shift into a final form after many discussions and print-outs. The discussions we had as a class were really formative, I don’t know if we would have had them otherwise. It was also interesting to work through the design guidelines; ironing out any inconsistencies and exploring which rules are fixed and immovable and which have a bit of give and take.

I really enjoyed reading through the articles and finding ways to present these that would just click into place if you worked hard enough to find the right fit. When this happened, it was so gratifying (it didn’t always happen…). I loved working on my first issue, B.179, over summer break with a few other students and working on an article called ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’ where I was able to conjure a bit of Peter Saville into the design using colour bars and record covers as inspiration.