Gradwatch 2017: New Designers

With a range of UK colleges showing work in the Visual Communications strand of New Designers there’s always a huge amount to see. Here are some of the best examples of grad work that we saw at the London group show last week

First up, these bold prints made from polypropylene plastic were shown by Oli Hudson of Bath Spa University. His Wise Man series “explore[s] the beginnings of our species”. He also makes films – check out his Vimeo page below.


Oli Hudson

Risograph projects were popular this year and Ursi Tolliday, a graduate of Cambridge School of Art, made great use of the technique in a series of characterful works that explore “how different groups of people adapt and live in extremely different environments”.


Ursi Tolliday
Ursi Tolliday

These ‘listening sticks’ were created by Sarah Dean from Hereford College of Arts. Apparently they are ready to be told stories – and were made for (and by) children during a workshop. “Based on Guatemalan Worry Dolls but without the ‘worry’, [they] are created to be used as a tool for mindfulness, meditation, calming, reflecting and resolving.”


Sarah Dean

As ever there was a strong selection of work on show at Falmouth University’s illustration stand. Highlights included well-executed ideas from Rachel Summers, Carly Diep’s dark and evocative pencil illustrations, the striking collage work of Jon Clark and Thierry Porter‘s intriguing characters that can be found in his editorial projects.


Carly Diep
Thierry Porter

At the Manchester School of Art stand, Caroline May’s map-inspired work made use of cut-out watercolour ‘washes’ to create landscapes; while Joshua Harrison’s collage pieces from his Fyfield Books Project were also intriguing.

See and

Caroline May
Caroline May
Joshua Harrison
Joshua Harrison

From the University of Portsmouth, illustrator John Lihou exhibited a series of brilliantly-realised VHS covers which “highlight the seven deadly sins of the modern world and the mayhem caused by tourists in Yellowstone National Park in the selfie generation”.


John Lihou

And from Swansea College of Art (UWTSD), illustrator Samuel Smith showed a series of risograph prints made from digital drawings that documented his kitchen, favourite bar and workplace. Check out his instagram at @sjs_illustration which shows some of his other styles and techniques, such as pen and ink.


Samuel Smith

For me, Norwich University of the Arts had the best designed stand at New Designers this year – a really well thought-through series of individual displays that hung together nicely.

Karina Sawyer’s Into_Verde journal is in the foreground of the first image, below, while there was also great work from Mollie Andrews (her series of hybrid Grotesques) and Rosie Lom whose obsession with patterning and repetition was explored in two eye-catching projects: Fights With My Photocopier and Pattern Archive, shown below.

See,, and

Karina Sawyer (left); Rosie Lom (on wall)
Rosie Lom (right); Sam Hunter (banner on left)
Rosie Lom
Mollie Andrews

Finally, Tom Kitto of the University of East London showed this huge double portrait of Parisian buildings merging with another photograph of a sunset – which looked great (detail and full installation shown, below). See

Tom Kitto
Tom Kitto


London (Euston)


Harpenden, Hertfordshire


Witney, Oxfordshire