Talent-spotters: Cardiff School of Art & Design

Promoted with a surreal video and a Graphic Spectacle newspaper, The Cardiff School of Art and Design BA Graphic Communication summer show established itself as an exhibition focused on mixing the lighthearted with the progressive…

Promoted with a surreal video and a Graphic Spectacle newspaper, The Cardiff School of Art and Design BA Graphic Communication summer show established itself as an exhibition focused on mixing the lighthearted with the progressive. Guest writer Will Humphrey reports.

One of the most immediately eye-catching pieces of work was a large chalk board, mixing hand-drawn typography and illustration. This compelling work by Joe Smith took top Twitter subjects for the day and translated them into a graphically engaging form, with each new day’s work erasing the last and embodying the transient nature of these trends.

Interesting and often media-defying typography work was very much in evidence throughout the exhibition, with pieces by Froukje Offringa and Matt Weeks being some of the most memorable. Froukje Offringa’s Deviant/Normal pairs laser-cut patterns with a stark typography, aiming to explore the idea of judgement via the terms we use to define and attribute behaviour. 

Less formalised in its outcome, but no less impressive for it, was a typographic development of a hand-drawn typeface by Matt Weeks, which uses ribbon-like forms to create a dynamic display typeface.

Another interesting piece by Matt Weeks was a cover concept for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, created as part of the Penguin adult book covers open competition. Building on the symbolic significance of hands throughout the book, it manages to be both intellectually suggestive and visually impactful.

Though the work on display in the exhibition was largely conceptual in its objectives, there were several pieces with a more direct end product. Standout amongst these was Jade Baker’s packaging series for a range of chocolate bars, made using raw Jersey cow’s milk. Each variant was packaged with a different pattern and created as part of a set, with a gentle use of colour and type.

The issue of designing responsible physical outcomes in an increasingly digital environment was succinctly addressed by Kasia Huchrak with her Think Ink booklet. Using clean typography, good colours and a highly tactile form she created a piece which embodies the attitudes it advocates, and works to sway the viewer in an unashamedly engaging way.

One of the most unexpectedly impressive and engaging pieces was from Julian Deborré, with this video about the crossing of Crwys Road, Dalton Street, and Monthermer Road in Cardiff. The video combines location timelapse footage and information presentation to create an engaging outcome that encourages the viewer to take a fresh look at the mundane. 

More work from this exhibition, as well as work form the other Cardiff School of Art and design courses, can be seen on their Flickr pages.

With thanks to Will Humphrey, who is a designer at Carrick Creative in Cardiff.

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