Gradwatch: Corin Kennington

We speak to Corin Kennington, who studied graphic and media design at London College of Communication and specialises in typography and hand-painted lettering.

After touring this year’s degree shows, we’re profiling a series of graduates who we feel have produced outstanding creative work. Here, we speak to Corin Kennington, who studied graphic and media design at London College of Communication and specialises in typography and hand-painted lettering.

In his second year at LCC, Kennington founded design studio Our Place with fellow students Alex Gross and Ted Heffernan, working on an identity for London Sculpture Workshop with Anthony Burrill, another for London café the Deli at 80 and branding for creative agency Prime Cut. He now works freelance and has recently created typographic murals for Ace Hotel in Shoreditch and branding and signage for Pilau, a Soho pop-up serving Indian street food.

Branding and hand-painted signage for Pilau

How did you first get in to design, and is there anyone that has been a particular source of inspiration to you?

I have had a strong interest in design for as long as I can remember, so working towards a career in the field has always been a natural progression for me.

I’m interested in the layering and nature of materials, and find inspiration in artists and designers that work in physical forms and large in scale, for example Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein and Anselm Kiefer. I would also say that I draw a lot of my inspiration from typography and compositions found in the environment.

Lune, a display typeface created by Kennington. He also produced a set of three A3 risograph posters, outlined using bespoke woodblocks in letterpress.

You’ve worked on a lot of sign and mural painting and traditional lettering techniques – is this something you’d like to continue to specialise in, and what is it you enjoy about it?

I often work with traditional techniques such as sign painting and letterpress as I love the physical process of designing by hand, and the organic aesthetics and textures that come with it. I do push to find ways of introducing digital technology into the process, however, exploring the relationship between the old and the new. I have a strong passion for typography and letterforms, so definitely see myself continuing to specialise in the area.

A hand-painted sign and visual identity for The Deli at 80, created by Kennington, Ted Hefferman and Alex Gross

You recently studied visual communications at LCC. How was that experience, and what were the most important things you learned there?

I mainly chose to study at LCC because of their great facilities, especially in print (such as letterpress and screen printing). I feel the most valuable part of the course was the year I spent working in the industry between my second and third years.

I was able to gain an understanding of the nature and dynamic of design studios and practises, both big and small. Some of the main work I did included assisting Anthony Burrill set up his ‘I Like It, What Is it?’ exhibition at KK outlet; working on hand painted signage for the new Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, as part of a creative team with Rare Kind agency and working for 3 months at Lukecharles design agency in Barbican.

I also spent three months in India, which I spent eight weeks of working for Wieden and Kennedy in Delhi. Whilst out there, I got in touch and worked with Hanif Kureshi who runs handpaintedtype.com, and painted a mural in Times India’s offices alongside some Indian street painters.

Found, a series of paintings on found surfaces and materials

Typographic paintings for Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel, commissioned by agency Rare Kind

What are you working on at the moment, and what are your plans now you’ve finished university?

Since graduating I have been working freelance from a studio by London Fields where I have been working on various bits and bobs, including signage for Polpo Restaurants at Ape and Bird and Sloane Square, branding an Indian street food pop-up named Pilau and some freelance work for Lukecharles. I’m excited for the future now that I have finished studying. I hope to find a good balance between digital and physical work, with both commissioned and self initiated projects, and plan to focus on developing my own style of design and ways of working.

A response to a brief from Fedrigoni to promote new paper stock Sirio Ultra Black. Kennington’s submission uses letterpress, offset lithography, debossing and foil blocking

Our Place’s identity for London Sculpture Workshop, created with Anthony Burrill

Mural designed and painted by Kennington and Michael Opie O’grady for Blueberry Bar in London

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