Sarah Snaith reports on Central Saint Martins’ graphic design degree show as part of our Talent Spotters series of reviews from around the country…
Central Saint Martins’ graphic design degree show fully embraced the wide definition of the discipline, with an exhibition that featured an eclectic mix of colour, sound, subtle contemplation and live performance.
The course has four pathways – Design and Interaction, Illustration, Advertising and Moving Image – each yielding a variety of approaches and results. London Graphic Centre awarded a selection of students from across the course and appeared to favour the work of the Design and Interaction students, who received the majority of their commendations.
Brian Lo (Illustration), who won Best in Show, exhibited Manufactured Landscape (top and below): two French-fold data visualisation booklets that explored the shipbreaking and crude oil industries. The infographics were presented on the exterior pages of the booklet and the illustrations were hidden within the fold. Lo’s hand-bound booklet design balances the fine lines and points of a graph with bold illustrations of oil barrels and a dilapidated ship.
Jordan Harrison-Twist (Design and Interaction) was the runner-up for his performative writing piece. Harrison-Twist sat at a typewriter throughout the show responding to current events (like England’s defeat in the World Cup), conversations that occurred in the exhibition space and philosophical musings. He writes that his love of language is “intrinsic” to his design and writing work, adding: “I think to be creative is to be reactive, and an understanding of this critical process is crucial.”
Jordan Harrison-Twist, taken by Joseph Bisat Marshall
Andy O’Carroll (Illustration) was one of six highly commended students. He and Jack Bedford were responsible for the Central Saint Martins degree show branding. The pair projected the college’s name onto everyday objects, including a stationary fan, a ladder and rolls of paper. O’Carroll also showed a photo-journalism project that focussed on adults with learning and physical disabilities.
Andrew O’Carroll & Jack Bedford
Joseph Bisat Marshall’s (Design and Interaction) work strikes a delicate balance between form and content. He exhibited his book and set design for Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis and “The Fragmentary Corpus”, a book design for Aeschylus’ Greek trilogy The Oresteia.
The Fragmentary Corpus, Joseph Bisat Marshall
De Profundis is hidden in the French-fold of Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. The experience of tearing open the pages to reveal the text – where each page is largely blacked-out to reflect Wilde’s restricted writing sessions while imprisoned in Reading Gaol – is an emotional experience. Marshall set The Oresteia into four books, with each one assigned to specific roles. There are no page numbers and each has only the lines of that given actor, resulting in the occasional blank page. The book utilises opposing forces of order and chaos and “enforces an enactment of the performance as it was originally intended”.
De Profundis, Joseph Bisat Marshall
Käthrine Yan (Design and Interaction) designed a piece to be installed in a hospital corridor, intended to inspire a sense of wellbeing and calm in patients en route to operating theatres. The series of white origami cranes mesmerised its audience as they “breathed” on the wall, moving up and down on a network of fishing lines powered by Arduino motors.
Käthrine Yan, taken by Joseph Bisat Marshall
Gilad Visotsky’s (Design and Interaction) business cards shuffled out of a tiny, thermal printer at the press of a button and included a black and white headshot of him smiling alongside his contact details. This was in keeping with the humorous nature of his work – ‘Joke Despenser’ was a kind of humour spilling vending machine which, for the modest sum of a penny, played video clips of people from around the college telling (mostly bad) jokes.
Katharina Gilbert branded Vienna and designed a simple wayfinding system aimed at disoriented tourists. The street-level signage includes walking maps, key tourist destinations and a logo, which incorporates the English and German name for the city.
Other notable student work came from Oliver Ballon, who showed a striking screen-printed typographic poster using his Bicentennial and Bicentennial Sans, a typeface created from Monotype’s Century Gothic and Stempel’s Century 725:
And Junwen Tan, who created a cascading concertina book based on quantum waves:
Manuela Pereira’s work provided an intelligent change in pace to the show. Her fully immersive performance piece invited viewers to enter The Cloud, where they were offered a meditative space away from the outside world.
Several collaborative projects were also dotted throughout the show. Andrea de la Concha and Joe Want invited viewers to “print their arse off at Central Saint Martins”. Their interactive chair piece, entitled ChairAXJ01, was equipped with sensors that recorded the body’s seated movements and printed a copy of the design:
The show was at once wild, intelligent, weird and exciting. The work represented Central Saint Martins’ aptitude for both conceptual development and craft, ranging from subtle, nuanced typography to immersive performance – proof that there is a bright, creative future ahead for this year’s graduates.