Talent spotters: Sheffield Institute of Arts

As part of our Talent Spotters series of degree show reviews, TruthStudio’s Alex Szabo-Haslam and Michael Lindley select their favourite portfolios from Sheffield Institute of Arts’ graphic design exhibition…

As part of our Talent Spotters series of degree show reviews, TruthStudio‘s Alex Szabo-Haslam and Michael Lindley select their favourite portfolios from Sheffield Institute of Arts’ graphic design exhibition…

This year, Sheffield Hallam University’s creative courses fall under the umbrella of Sheffield Institute of Arts. We went along to see what the latest graduates of their BA and MDes graphic design courses were up to.

While we enjoyed much of the work, we did have some issues with the exhibition as a whole: while display boards were uniform, they often weren’t located near the relevant student’s portfolio. Lots of finished products and books were not labelled, which meant we had trouble identifying designers and negotiating the exhibition space itself, which felt slightly cramped.

On a more positive note, we recognised plenty of people working in Sheffield’s design community on the opening night. Several students had an enterprising outlook, using platforms such as Big Cartel and Kickstarter to raise funds, while others launched music events and magazines in their spare time. A few had also managed to get valuable agency experience under their belt. At a time when finding the right job can seem a daunting and demoralising experience, it’s great to see students striving to make their own luck.

After leaving the show with pockets full of business cards we set about discussing our favourite pieces of work. Unfortunately we encountered some easily avoidable errors – a handful of students gave out cards without a link to a portfolio and three students misspelled their own email or website address – but despite our gripes, there was some great work on display. Below is our pick of 20 graduates from the show…

Adam Beck

Adam uses playful typography across a range of print and web devices but this cover for The Outsiders using found objects has something lovely about it:


Jack Fairhurst
We could have chosen just about any one of Jack’s stunning projects – seriously, his work is very impressive – but both us felt his beautiful cookbooks deserved a special mention. Displaying patterns and colours informed by the culture of each dish prepared, Jack’s ‘CUK BUK’ series was one of our highlights of the show.

Joshua Jake
As ale drinkers, we were drawn to Joshua’s branding project for a microbrewery (top and below). Simple and understated in its application, we felt his work was of a higher standard than many established breweries.


Sophie Stones
Sophie’s portfolio contains some lovely typography and her project exploring changes in the human body was a real treat. She also likes chopping up paper.


Charlie Sherratt
Charlie’s portfolio was full of playful illustrations with a wonderfully nave quality and his website displays some great gig posters, too.

Elizabeth Parkin
Elizabeth produced a series of handmade booklets focussing on specific punctuation marks. We also liked her flying whale screenprint (more pics on her portfolio).

Samuel Johnson
With a focus on UX design, Samuel created a simple, elegant time-management app. Much of his work is wonderfully bold and colourful.

Jack Greenwell
Produced for the Secret 7″ record sleeve competition, Jack’s illustrations for a T-Rex cover were awesome. His portfolio displays a range of editorial work and silkscreen prints.

Thomas Edward Hughes

With a range of work well-suited for newspaper editorial, Thomas is a self-proclaimed geek who loves keeping things simple. His illustration, for an article about children with autism understanding body language, is one of his strongest pieces.

Charlotte Schreurs
Charlotte’s portfolio was full of magazines and booklets, including this one displaying information and statistics about diversity as a series of illustrations and typographic treatments:

Mubena Begum
With lots of illustration projects for books and magazines, Mubena’s portfolio displays a range of simple and colourful ideas.

Bethan Amy Sands
Judging from her portfolio Bethan likes rabbits – and chopping things up. Her portfolio is full of collaged silkscreen prints and pop-up style typography.

Danielle Harris
Danielle produced a series of intricate folded posters exploring the significance of hand gestures.

Punit Mistry

Punit’s rebrand of the HUBs – known as the kettles to those of us in Sheffield – is an improvement on their existing logo. Much of Punit’s work is bold, colourful, and displays simple typography.


Gemma Hardiker
Gemma’s typographic treatment of a National Trust magazine was one of our favourite pieces of work in the show. Her portfolio demonstrates a range of strong editorial work.

Jon Screaton
Jon’s portfolio contains concepts for the BBC alongside this audience feedback dashboard. He’s worked freelance for a range of companies and apparently likes climbing trees.

Laura Baker

Laura’s series of fold-out poster celebrating women and cycling was well produced, and she also has a range of hand-finished books which are worth a look.

Nikita Jones
Nikita’s work for a National Trust app was beautiful, and her portfolio displays some lovely-looking menus and stationery for a cafe.


Mark Stockill
Mark’s vehicle livery (a joint project with Joshua Press, Eddie Fowler and
Michael Kraczkowski) caught our eye. His portfolio contains well-produced infographics and exhibition work:

Conner Griffin
Conner’s lino prints and illustrations were great and his website shows various images of robots riding dinosaurs – for that reason alone you should pay a visit.

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