Talent Spotters: Gray’s School of Art

Over the course of this year’s degree show season, CR readers will be guest blogging reviews of shows up and down the UK (and beyond). Here, Iain McNair visits the Gray’s School of Art Communication Design show in Aberdeen

Over the course of this year’s degree show season, CR readers will be guest blogging reviews of shows up and down the UK (and beyond). Here, Iain McNair visits the Gray’s School of Art Communication Design show in Aberdeen

Knowing that only a few years before, it was your own work hanging on those very same walls makes reviewing a degree show a strange experience. You look at the spaces and cannot help but judge the work by what you have seen before. However, with the Gray’s School of Art Communication Design show, there’s always a fantastically broad range of work. In the one room you’re brought into a world of differences. Students are illustrating, photographing, papercrafting, building mobile apps, designing type and much more inbetween. The range of work is in fact, so diverse, that it took me a good few laps to make sure I had taken it all in.


Rachel Dixon
Amongst the varied talent on show was this year’s YCN Student Award Winner, Rachel Dixon. Rachel created a campaign to encourage customer loyalty to the Reading and Leeds festivals. Utilising both print based advertising and the use of social media, Rachel’s campaign strengthened the brand loyalty of each individual customer by encouraging them to “Earn Your Stripes”. With the clever integration of Facebook, customers were encouraged to relive their past festival experiences and share them with their friends stimulating them to do the same, and to wear their stripes with pride.


Scott Alistair Henderson
On the other side of the hall, I found Scott’s work. I was immediately drawn to the photography and elegantly simple type of his BiSpeck project, a mobile app created to work fluidly alongside an experimental new technology. The typography within the app was sharp and well implemented, and alongside the app’s clearly presented data, it all looked very good. Scott’s clean, typographic style carried through to his other project: a beautifully impactful animation visualising the worlds overconsumption.


Rachel Furness
As you walked in the door, you were first greeted by Rachel’s show which simply questioned ‘Would you change your city?’. With an aim to change the perception that today’s young people have of the city they live in, and to empower them within their town, Rachel designed an app and a billboard campaign as a platform for the community to communicate easily and get involved with their city. The mobile app looked well thought through and easy to use, and the campaign’s branding was simple and consistent, looking great both on screen and in print.


Michael Ridley
Michael’s show was hard to miss, it’s not every day that you walk in a room and you are confronted with a shed. And with a steady queue of viewers obeying the ‘only two at a time’ rule, getting a chance to have a look myself was not the simplest of tasks it was certainly a hit on the opening night. The interior of the shed was covered in doodles, scribbles, facts, jokes it was an insight into the mind of a designer, of Michael. Though not the most conventional of displays, this was not graffiti but a well thought out and well executed visual of how Michael works whlist clearly demonstrating this skill as an illustrator.

Iain McNair is a graphic designer based in Inverness and an alumnus of Gray’s School of Art



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