Chelsea Graphic Design Communication show

Despite an unnerving site that greets the unwary visitor, this year’s Chelsea College of Art and Design graphics show is one of the strongest around

Despite an unnerving site that greets the unwary visitor, this year’s Chelsea College of Art and Design graphics show is one of the strongest around

Photograph by Sarah Cresswell

It’s somewhat unnerving, not to say unpleasant, to walk into a gallery and be confronted by a giant photograph of yourself (above). A few months ago, I was approached by Chelsea student Charlie Patterson who was working on a project named Creative Club. Inspired by the merit badges awarded to girl guides and scouts who have mastered a particular skill, Charlie had decided to do something similar for the design community. At that point he was still in the research stage, using his research blog to document similar ideas that had been tried before and searching for a way to make his project unique.

Yan Elliott & Luke Williamson, Directors of Fabula wearing their Creative Club shirts

The finished work is now on display at the Chelsea show: a series of badges awarded to design studios, publications and ad agencies in recognition of certain qualities Patterson believes they possess. All the badges were made by Patterson himself on a sewing machine bought specifically for the purpose. He then sewed the badges onto a shirt for each recipient and photographed them in their offices wearing it. My shirt has badges for editing and having ‘print at heart’.

Paul West of Form


Everything is documented in a newsprint publication produced via Newspaper Club.

Not only is it a really well-produced and witty project, it has also proved to be a very useful one as the project has opened a lot of doors for Patterson and resulted in several offers of paid placements.

Next to the Creative Club project was another by Patterson – a collaboration with fellow Chelsea student Jasper Van den Bosch.

Patterson and Van den Bosch won the South Bank Centre’s 2012 BOOST programme which backs young designers with mentoring support to bring their project to fruition. Their idea was Vector Designs, CMY, range of bike accessories. Inspired by old-school delivery bikes which often had a panel with the company name fitted in the space within the frame, the pair created a modern-day graphic equivalent. The range is now being sold in the South Bank Centre shop.


Van den Bosch also showed abeautifully-produced catalogue for fashion brand Volklore


Along with another Chelsea student, Jonny Holmes, Van den Bosch has also been working as a design assistant on Hole & Corner, a new magazine which celebrates craft skills


Holmes himself has one of the standout pieces in the show – Sign of the Times, a huge ‘reverse glass sign’ recalling the traditional self-promotional pieces made by signwriters and which doubles as his CV.


Photographs: David Ryle

Holmes made the sign at The Brilliant Sign Co in Buckinghamshire. It features two typefaces which he created himself – read all about the research and process involved on Holmes’ dedeicated tumblr here.


Also impressive was the craft, of a very different kind, employed in Genevieve de Rohan Willner‘s Puma Black Label project, instigated by Neighbour Design. The brief was to create new branding and an advertising campaign to promote and raise awareness of the range. De Rohan Willner used CAD to create a 3D black puma used as the key image in the project (a life-size model was on display at the show).

Photography: Dan Sakal. CAD Technician: Andrew Sutherland


I also really enjoyed Emily Crook‘s House of Billiam work – a new identity, style guide and jacket for the fashion brand


And Sophie Rotter‘s identity for record label Hakisac


There was also some finely crafted type from Joseph Egan.

Dauphin Romain is a serif revival based on the original engravings of Romain du Roi, supposedly the first typeface created using a grid system

Egan also created a contemporary sister face, Dauphin Moderne


And there ws some really interesting image-making allied to strong type in Francois Douady‘s serie of theatre posters

These are just a few highlights of what was a really strong show. Details here



Pink Floyd fans may recognise the cover of our June issue. It’s the original marked-up artwork for Dark Side of the Moon: one of a number of treasures from the archive of design studio Hipgnosis featured in the issue, along with an interview with Aubrey Powell, co-founder of Hipgnosis with the late, great Storm Thorgerson. Elsewhere in the issue we take a first look at The Purple Book: Symbolism and Sensuality in Contemporary Illustration, hear from the curators of a fascinating new V&A show conceived as a ‘walk-in book’ plus we have all the regular debate and analysis on the world of visual communications.

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