Chelsea graphic design communications degree show

Chelsea’s graphic design communications degree show featured some great interactive, print and digital work this year, from a smartphone app that encourages collaborative play, to an amusing campaign celebrating the versatility of the fax machine…

Chelsea’s graphic design communications degree show featured some great interactive, print and digital work this year, from a smartphone app that encourages collaborative play, to an amusing campaign celebrating the versatility of the fax machine…

The show is cleverly laid out with two walls of posters, large screens displaying films of students’ work and their processes, and rows of iPads allowing visitors to browse through student portfolios.

The first project to greet visitors, alongside a neon sign displaying the show’s title, Sex, Drugs & PDFs (designed by Emi Dixon, who created a bespoke typeface for the event), is Art Boddington‘s series of football shirts that comment on issues that plague the sport, such as racism, homophobia and abuse.

The shirts feature some lovely graphic patterns and embroidered badges, and Boddington has also designed cardboard packaging complete with turf inlay and an A3 poster explaining the project. The aim, he says, is not to criticise football, but to draw attention to ugly issues within the beautiful game:


Several students had designed their own typefaces – my favourite was Katherine Jenkins‘ Antonym, inspired by Matthew Carter’s 1995 design, Walker. Jenkins created several posters using the typeface, including a delicately crafted one for Antonym Outline, and describes the design as a classic stencil with innovative add-on serifs:



I also liked Nathan Matthews’ sans, William (more pics on Matthews’ website):



The stand-out digital project was Jack Hardiker’s app, Movements, which encourages collaborative play. The app shows users a movement they have to perform, which in turn activates a sound, and different users can play together using different instruments. The app’s launch is being funded by Nokia, and Hardiker has produced a short film explaining the project (below) featuring demonstrations by schoolchildren:



Josh Duffy‘s project on synaesthesia, a neurological condition in which two or more senses are joined together, featured some lovely animations and print designs. Duffy created six A2 posters explaining different types of synaesthesia, and an interactive plinth which users can touch to trigger a range of animations on an accompanying screen, providing an abstract insight into experiencing the condition:



Lucy Powell‘s Unconventional Uses for a Fax Machine is an amusing campaign to revive the fax in the digital age – although her suggestions of using it to create wallpaper and racetracks aren’t particularly eco-friendly. While the fax may seem obsolete, Powell argues that it bridges an important gap between analogue and digital, and remains a trusted tool used in many a creative studio. You can see more about the project at




One of the more unusual projects on show was Tobias Bschorr’s inspiration generator, which randomly provides three sources of inspiration. Users are then encouraged to write down these sources on the form provided, and research them.

Bschorr says the machine encourages a research-based practice for developing ideas, and highlights the fact that we are often so bombarded with visual information, that we rarely take time to seek out the inspiration for ideas, “spawning work that copies visual styles, lacking any inherent value.”



Aimed at students and young creatives, Saori Masuda‘s charming Fifty project featured a set of 50 cards beating advice from successful designers and illustrators on handling criticism. Masuda had also embroidered some flags with motivational quotes from the collection:



Another interesting design was Will Ellison‘s Waypoint system for exploring printed maps. The system included a route drawing tool and set of symbols which correspond with different activities (details on Ellison’s website):




Among the posters on show, my favourites were Aleena Jamil‘s designs for XL Records, celebrating the label’s 25th anniversary. The posters were a response to a brief set for this year’s D&AD New Blood Awards, and present a collection of objects relating to seminal moments in the label’s history.


Other great responses to D&AD briefs from this year’s Chelsea graduates included Dixon and Jenkins’ proposed re-designs of the Big Issue, a project set by Monotype. Both feature bespoke typefaces – Dixon’s is advertising free (this has been moved online), and printed in two colours to reduce costs:

While Jenkins’ re-imagines the publication as a platform for emerging creatives and photographers:


There’s plenty more on show, too, and you can see details of all the students featured and their work at, or watch this year’s showreel below:


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