The Mid-nineteenth century was the historical backdrop for the Cargoes project – a period when industrial activities between the two communities of the Tyne and the Thames were inextricably linked. So it was apt that participants were invited to pursue and explore related scientific discoveries and innovations of that golden age: Collodian Photography – using tin and glass plates; glassblowing; and watercolour workshops – using pigments harvested from hydroponically grown plants. 

Our creative approach

Fitzrovia Noir asked TruthStudio to create a publication that would comprehensively document every aspect of the Cargoes project. We proposed a ‘traditional’ style pocketbook – clothbound, hand-sewn with a foil embossed cover and spine, but with a playful, contemporary edge – as a counterpoint to the historical context in which the project was focussed.

The book’s head and tailbands echo the red and yellow ‘battlement’ motif of Northumberland County banner-of-arms – as does the thread in the hand-sewn pages; the front endpapers depict a floor tile design at the Banqueting Hall at Jesmond and, at the back, a reworking of the shipping fleet of collier vessels’ flag that transported coal from the Tyne to the Thames during the 1730s.  

We adapted the look-and-feel of the book across other collateral for the project – from posters and signage for the final exhibition and invitations for the launch event, to exquisite packaging for the glass and tin plate photography presented to participants of the project.  


Cargoes exceeded expectations in delivering Fitzrovia Noirs’ core approach; to encourage meaningful public engagement and broaden access to the arts. The success of the work we created has greatly increased the opportunities for Fitzrovia Noir in securing further Heritage Fund support going forward. Moreover, the book was far more than an evaluation documenting 16 months of community collaboration, it was the physical embodiment of the project itself. It sold out at both the London and Newcastle launch events.