When one admits to studying graphic design at University, the response from outsiders is often ‘So, that’s all on computers then?’ This year’s Graphic Design Degree Show demonstrates that the course is anything but confined to the keyboard, as the graduates have produced fantastic work displaying their many varied talents in print, 3D sculpture, illustration, book binding, typography, laser cutting and motion graphics, all used innovatively to solve the different briefs set.
Branding formed a strong portion of the work this year, with drinks branding throwing up some interesting design concepts. Lareida Cai’s heat sensitive bottle design was a work of beauty and was coupled with the amusing tagline “Hold Me.” Cathy Crocker created a variety of energetic motion graphics work for the energy drink brand “Effect”. The red circular logo was brought to life to defeat their rival the “Mental Block” (represented by a grey square) in a series of different clever scenarios.
One of this year’s ISTD (International Society of Typographic Designers) briefs required the students to create a book ‘all about one thing.’ Some beautiful and scrupulously researched publications were produced on various topics– from Synaesthesia to the NASA Voyager Space Program, from Dementia to the colour Red. Winning Best in Show was Andrew Golden’s entry about failed superheroes. The informative comic book style publication celebrated the unsung heroes that didn’t quite reach Superman’s level of fame. Complete with underpants sleeve, pop-out explosion, and a full set of playing cards, the piece is a joy to read.
Another interesting response to the ISTD brief was Mandi Halonen’s Quarter Life Crisis Survival Guide. Her piece was an informative and tongue in cheek guide to making it through that landmark 25th year. The different chapters give information and solutions to the many life problems which may arise, as well as a funny cheat sheet per chapter if you are looking for a quick fix. The piece was complete with a large pull out ‘Map of Life,’ which shows life’s landmarks in an intriguing London Underground style diagram.
Much of the work in the exhibition was grounded in humour, but this year’s students demonstrated that design could be applied effectively to serious subject matters as well. For the live brief set by Elastic Creative to show the importance of corporate investment in design, the students created fantastic motion pieces which made a heavy topic very accessible. The show reel showcased the many different interpretations of the tricky brief. Aileen Poe’s flight themed piece is a notable example.
Each student was required to complete a Personal Project on a subject of their choosing, and this was where the student’s individuality could really shine. Marina Monroe created ‘Cubi’ – a brand of cages for guinea pigs. Responding to the unavailability of spacious small-pet cages in the UK, Marina’s customisable enclosures allow customers to create spaces appropriate to their homes as well as their pet’s needs. The beautiful minimal design was brought to life by some photogenic models – her own guinea pigs!
Craig Morrison’s Personal Project was the branding of Randall and Rose Restaurant. He has produced a beautiful professional identity which harmonised both the traditional and modern aspects of the business, and has rolled out the concept across an impressive range of mediums, including packaging, loyalty cards, menus, and signage.
Another of this year’s D&AD briefs required entrants to create a bilingual identity for ‘Dressing the Screen’ – a high fashion exhibition. Aileen Poe’s kinetic identity combines motion graphics, various print outputs such as a catalogue and invitations, as well as 3D signage to communicate the brand successfully in both English and Russian.
This year’s Graphic Design show was a joy to view, and one could spend hours delving into the ingenious concepts that form the foundation for some highly skilled design work. The dedication, diverse talent and creativity are clear to see, and I would highly recommend a visit.