Part of me can’t believe that it’s been a year since I graduated already, but having visited the degree show of this years fresh graduates a few weeks ago I guess I’m going to have to accept the fact!
It was extremely strange being back in Thomas Parker house again, although quite pleasant as well. It felt a little bit like I’d never left. I did cheat and take the lift up though as I wasn’t prepared to handle the stairs (I’m a wimp, I know!) Upon entry the space for bright and welcoming and very open- more so than it was last year.
The show had been split into separate projects and each piece had the name of the designer who had created it nearby, so matching the work up was so much easier than it was for us (proof that experiments don’t always work). The first project we was was one about promoting the rain in Britain and there were some lovely and very varied pieces that had been created.
I think these two by Rob Woods and Oli Phillips were my favourite of the bunch, both quite cheerful and playful.
These little flip books on compulsions by Lucy Goodwin were so quirky and fun to look at, although I feel it’s a shame that they weren’t a little better presented (or at least were all on one table- that’s my OCD kicking in there!)
This series of posters by Daniel Waterhouse were very eye catching in their prominent position of around the doorway. There was a Spiderman one that I particularly liked but unfortunately because it was black print on a red background it was very hard to see and photograph.
These large scale vinyl graphics by Paul Wormleighton brought a smile to my face- they certainly ring quite true to me.
I found the Channel 4 branding work to be some of the most polished looking but also some of the least interesting. It looked very corporate and similar to what’s already about (although that’s not always a bad thing, especially once you’re out of uni).
These posters promoting the use of analogue cameras by Dan Ridgway look great- although I can’t help but be hugely bugged that the bottom one looks like it says ‘Yens’ rather than ‘Years’. The use of the film itself to create typography and the tactile feel of the pieces is wonderful.
Well I liked the light hearted nature of these lomography posters by Rachel Savoury I felt taking away any form of photography also managed to take away some of the joy and beauty of lomography itself. They also reminded me a lot of Ben Neale’s simple illustrations.
These were my favourite of the lomography pieces on display- the photography is gorgeous and the hand drawn type flows with them so well. The booklet itself was a little clunky but the posters were just stunning. I couldn’t find out whether the designer had created the photos themselves or used stock images however.
This project by Alice Hines reminded me far too much of working on the Metamorphosis- probably one of my least favourite projects while I was at uni. Each of the four books was destroyed in a different way and they all had an eerie sort of beauty to them- but I feel I would have understood the project better if I knew more about the back story.
A rather unusual format here from Melissa Edwards but the use of tissues suited the theme of OCD down to the ground. Some of the reasoning on these tissues sounded like it was written by Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory!
Finbar Moss’s Mini poster reminds me a lot of the technical drawings within car manuals or instructions for DIY furniture. Very precise and clean.
A very tactile piece here from Hannah Cobbe. I did have a strong urge to poke it but thankfully managed to resist.
An ISTD piece here from Robyn Duncan, love letters is cute, quirky and typographic. The details that have gone into the presentation are lovely.
Google were a very prominent image at the show and it’s hardly surprising seeing as a lot of this years YCN awards were won in the google category.
A look at space in typography here from Kate Johanson.
These inserts for Typographic Circle from David Morris remind me a lot of work for D&AD.
Distressed and chaotic type also seemed to feature quite heavily this year. While I can appreciate the beauty of these pieces and the amount of time and effort they must take to complete the random nature of them always puts me off a lot. But they seem to be quite popular at the moment.
I quite like fashion (probably quite obvious from the illustrations I work on!) and found this scarf from Jack Slater to be very curious. But unfortunately there was nothing to accompany it that explained what it was for!
The second years had a wall in the show this year with some quite impressive work. I do disagree with their work being included however- space is tight in Thomas Parker house anyway and for students who are coming to the end of three years at university to lose out on having a piece of their work being displayed to someone who will have their own degree show the year after anyway seems wrong to me.
Sunjay Morar’s piece shows just how much adding a frame to a piece of work can really enhance the look and feel of it. Foam board, pins and bull dog clips can only really do so much.
Dan Ridgway’s project categorising everything that he consumed made for interesting viewing and he has great choice of reading material as I’m reading the same book at the moment.
This Daft Punk based vinyl wall graphic looked fantastic. I would love to know what each of the circles and rectangles represents but even without that knowledge it makes a great piece of abstract design. Reminds me a lot of the D&AD Diesel work that my own Mathew McGinlay produced last year and I know how much pain and repeat listenings of songs went on to produce that. (Also, apologies to Mat for including a rather derpy picture of him here!)
There were a few examples of vintage almost Victorian looking packaging from Harry Winfield, David Morris and Caroline Handford, all of which looked very elegant and professional. I have quite a love for packaging in this style so they went down a storm with me.
This poster from Matthew Taylor is simply breathtaking and the type has been so well considered that it enhances the image rather than detracting from it. It really is a stunning image of space as well, I could stare at it for hours.
I didn’t catch the name of whoever created this exhibition piece of eerie painted white instruments but they have my sympathy after I painted a load of stuff white for a piece in my third year.
If anyone has any idea what happened to be stunning white granny armchair that would be great, I’d love to know where it ended up!
A curious piece from Karlijn Burn here- a day calendar which you can eat, thus causing every day to be a new beginning and the past to be consumed. I was rather disappointed that I wasn’t allowed to touch this though as I wanted to see what the inside offered! I’m also not sure on the grammatical correctness of the title which is a shame when it’s one of the only parts of this project that was visible to the public.
To stick with the food theme here is a project based around a designer’s fear of eating red sweets. The use of real sweets on the posters was a nice addition although I was extremely dubious of eating any of the skittles on offer (germs, so many germs!)
These bright and bold packaging designs from Matthew Taylor remind me a lot of the dock icons for the Adobe Creative suite. They’re certainly eye catching.
This video piece from Rachael Sivewright was really nicely done (if someone could find me a link to the actual video that would be great as the stills don’t do it justice). Some of the digitally added type could have been handled a little better as it seemed to float quite obviously but the hand rendered aspects were lovely.
A very curious packaging design here, the origami like feel to it made me think that it could almost have come packaged with a piece of Japanese technology.
The book rails that we installed last year have been put to good use again this year but rather than publications that have been specially designed for the degree show they instead contained a selection of some of the best work created throughout the three years of university. I didn’t get chance to have a look in all of the publications on offer but have included the ones that I did look and and enjoyed.
I will admit, when I first saw this book I cringed. “Not another bloody keep calm pastiche!” I groaned. But upon opening ‘A New England’ I was greeted with a very light hearted view of modern day English culture, none of that horrible Keep Calm rubbish.
This book by Caroline Hansford was so nice to hold. It’s called ‘What’s it Worth?’ and looked at what certain amounts of money would get you including strange things such as certain email addresses. I don’t know what it was about this book but I wanted to put it in my bag and take it home!
I loved the binding on this publication by Meryl van Ood. It’s both intricate to look at and very restrictive in the way it allows you to open and view the pages.
“Svalbard’ by Luke Turner is a gorgeous publication and wouldn’t look at all out of place on your coffee table. The photography within is stunning.
As well as the publications on display there was a huge selection of vinyl covers. These covered a huge range of different genres and artists and I wish I knew how they were picked- did the designers themselves choose or were they assigned by the lecturers?
Once again I haven’t included all of them- there would be another 50ish images if I had, but there are the ones I liked the best.
There was one cover that bothered me though, although for a rather unusual reason.
Holes! >< For people who don’t know me all that well I find clusters of random sized holes really repulsive, particularly when they are in skin or something that I can associate with my skin. This vinyl cover made me shudder because of this fact and I couldn’t feel anything other than revulsion (apologies to whoever designed it!)
The decoration and signage this year was quite minimal compared to the orange pillars and signs that we had last year but as the work was mixed it wasn’t that much of a bother.
This was one of my few bug bears with the degree show this year. I fought hard not to have wall mounted portfolios last year- they look tacky, they’re horrible to flick through and overall aren’t very friendly. I didn’t even bother to look through these this year, the idea of an entire wall of arm ache and neck ache just put me off. The higher line was too tall for me to have managed properly anyway. I much prefer to see portfolios on plinths or available as books to view.
Another disappointment was a lack of business cards. I came a few days into the show and the only ones that I spotted didn’t even belong to one of the members of the course but seemed to be for a photographer. If I hadn’t had a camera with me to document the work then I would have had no way of keeping track of the people who had been part of the show. I’m sure that there was a reason for the lack of cards but it seemed a little odd to me. Business cards have always been one of my favourite parts of the art and design shows, especially on years where people have been given free reign on them (which sadly we weren’t, and I HATED my business card especially as it wasn’t handled properly and was pixelated).
As an illustration lover I would have liked to have seen more illustration in the show, it was very photography and typography heavy, but overall it was a very enjoyable view and I wish everyone involved the best of luck with their futures.
If anyone would like their website links adding then please send me a message/tweet/comment and I’ll add it. As I already spent hours taking the photos, sorting them, editing and writing this I don’t really have the time or patience left to hunt out everyone.