Talent spotters: Norwich University of the Arts

As part of our Talent Spotters series of degree show reviews, Bobby Burrage of design consultancy The Click picks out his favourite projects from Norwich University of the Arts’ graphic design, graphic communication and design for publishing shows…

As part of our Talent Spotters series of degree show reviews, Bobby Burrage, creative director of The Click, selects his favourite projects from Norwich University of the Arts’ graphic design, graphic communication and design for publishing shows…

Ahead of the doors opening to the public, I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview of this year’s graphics show at NUA. With the waft of spray mount still lingering, and several students racing around adding final touches to their exhibitions, there was a real buzz of activity and sense of energy.

Before seeing the work, the first thing that struck me was the newly refurbished Gunton’s building, which has a stunning glass atrium allowing light to flood in down three flights of stairs and through to the glass-walled studios. Under the stewardship of Professor John Last, it is evident that NUA has entered a new era. Long gone are the days of the romantic grubby art school – instead, it’s a modern centre of creative excellence. The place had a certain swagger about it and there was a clear sense of NUA meaning business, as everything was well presented and very slick. This, I’m pleased to say, was evident in the creative projects on show, too.

Armed with a camera phone and exhibition catalogue, I raced around snapping work that caught my eye. Here’s a shortlist of my highlights:

Lawrence Daykin created the wonderful piece of work above – a beautifully crafted system allowing a fisherman to keep in touch with his son whilst away from home by using his iPad to control the lights and tell stories. My son would love this. And I’d love a fishing boat…

Jenny Greenaway’s punctuation book jacket made me smile. Her Kennedy books also stood out:


James Ward created a clever interactive poster for an exhibition about touch, which people had to get their hands dirty to view – you can see more images on his website.


Norwich has always had a strong reputation for packaging, and Alex Groves’ Aspall Cider labels and campaign poster was well considered:


As was Steve Ridgeon’s beer labels for Collosal microbrewery.



A Norwich graphic design show wouldn’t be complete without Tabasco Sauce packaging. Tony Roberts obliged this year with this fun campaign and bottle design. His design for Carlsberg Menneske stood out too.


Rhian Jarvis’ identity for The Greek Olive Company was also nicely done:


And Kelly Unsworth created a striking campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of bees.


Chris Beadle’s identity and campaign for Earth Aid was well executed – particularly the advertising.


And Helen Mak must have spent ages breaking these oatcakes to get the perfect shape:


There are lots of lovely book designs on show, too. Rachel Mill’s beautifully presented book illustrates the deterioration of one’s memory.


And Jasmine Kerry’s editorial work was nicely presented.


Alex Fountain’s record sleeves included a nice range of imagery and some interesting die cutting.


One of my favourite pieces in the show was this book about 9/11 by Sarah Roberts. The format and typography is clever, I liked the restrained use of colour and the paper it was produced on was lovely to touch.


Another great piece was Sarah Strandoo’s Adapt publication. The masthead in particular is really well thought out, and the choice of image, colour and typography comes together beautifully.


Sophie Bowd’s book design is as impressive as it is complex:


Aaron Collins and Darcy Ward collaborated on Dialogue, a magazine reconnecting Norwich through visual conversation with some nice type:


And Aidan Frere-Smith’s eye-catching expressive typography made me stop to take a picture.


Ellie Lewis and Lawrence Daykin created this typeface as part of their branding for British Council exhibition Dressing the Screen, in response to a D&AD New Blood brief:


And Hannah Watson’s work also caught my eye. Her Science Museum posters made me dizzy, which I guess is engaging design – in any case, they were very well executed.


James Hamilton’s use of colour and gradients is far better than my smartphone camera can do justice:


Ben Keable would no doubt get on well with Mr Bingo – his work had to be concealed behind a warning sign.


Ashley Killen pushed the boundary of conventional poster design to get his client’s USP across.


Emma Wright cooked up a lovely range of packaging for Betty Crocker’s cake mixes with a premium finish and great attention to detail (spot the whisks).


I had to save this one for last – classic Norwich graphics. A neat little logo for Christ Church Oxford and some beautiful packaging for Fisherman’s Friend Mints by Jack Fleming.

You can see NUA students’ work at D&AD’s New Blood exhibition from July 1-3. Selected projects will also be on show at the University from July 2-8. For details, see nua.ac.uk/degreeshows

What's the story?

The Storytelling issue, Oct/Nov 2017, is out now.
We invited writers to respond to our cover image
this month: read their stories inside.
PLUS: Tom Gauld, Oliver Jeffers, Giphy & S-Town

Buy the issue

The Annual 2018

The Creative Review Annual is one of the most
respected and trusted awards for the creative
industry. We celebrate the best creative work from
the past year, those who create it and commission it.

Enter now


South East London


Burnley, Lancashire (GB)