Gradwatch 2017: Central Saint Martins Graphic Design

Fresh from CSM’s BA graphic design degree show, here’s a selection of our favourite work on display this year: from distressed type to ‘Kanye 2020’ Presidential branding

Andrew McClure

First up, a project that raised a wry smile: Andrew McClure’s proposed branding for a theoretical Kanye West run for the 2020 Presidency of the United States. The work includes a campaign video – with a narration based on interviews West has given – great lenticular badges, black t-shirt and cap. Whether or not a future in politics awaits Mr West, ‘A New Era of Greatness’ certainly sounds like something he would say.

Nasharla Green

Nasharla Green’s Alea typeface is made from “a collection of different typefaces layered and cut” – “it kinda doesn’t follow the rules,” she writes. It looks great though – like broken Letraset – and is distressed enough to resemble something you might have found in Ray Gun magazine in the 1990s. See

Kyra Nicholson

A designer and writer, Kyra Nicholson says that her work often ends up in the form of a handmade book. She has images from a children’s book, The Moon and the Wave, on show alongside examples from Belonging to the Land, which looks at Australian identity. Nicholson’s work is beautifully rendered throughout. See

Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore’s updating of Willam Hogarth’s famous ‘Gin Lane’ cartoon focuses on current public health issues, such as obesity and mental illness. Commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health (for their 160th anniversary), the two prints were even shown together at the Foundling Museum. Moore’s ‘Work-day Hieroglyph’ also cleverly captures the experience of 24 hours as a Londoner: from getting up and enduring rush hour, to working, enduring another rush hour and finally getting some time for some vices. See

Conor Rigby

Conor Rigby’s Frivolous Creatures project consists of an illustrated text, a book and a series of vibrant animations. The whole thing looks at the “political narrative and radical potential of drag” – with Ru Paul’s Drag Race at the crux of it all. See

Clara Bacou

Clara Bacou’s bold character designs were hard to miss. Alongside a book about what being ‘strong’ really means, she has a series of digital pieces that display a heady mix of patterned neon animals on show. Felix the Cat in various altered states is also good to see. See @clarabacou.

James Robinson

Adopting a rather different tone, James Robinson’s branding project for a proposed fossil-hunting offshoot from the National Trust is very well realised. A clean, black and white website demonstrates the idea well, while the crumbling logo (repeated over illustrated posters and online) has enough interest in it to move it away from what could be a fairly familiar craft aesthetic. If it were real, I’d join up. See

Central Saint Martins’ BA graphic design show is on until June 25 (12 – 8pm. Sat to Sun: 12 – 5pm. Last entry: 30 mins before closing). Location: Studios F & K, Floor 2, Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4AA. CSM says, “Teasing out the not-so-obvious connections between the disparate media, methods and approaches to graphic communication design shown here is the theme of 2017: Obscure Relative(s)”. See


Milton Keynes