This summer we have been busy viewing the final year work of some of the UK's finest BA graphic design students. We attended the Central Saint Martins BAGD show and the Kingston University BAGD show in Peckham, and we were invited to be on the judging panel for D&AD New Blood 'Ones to Watch' award.
First up, we had a great opportunity to check out some stellar work right on our doorstep, with the Kingston University BAGD degree show private view at Peckham's Bussey Building, just around the corner from our office. Our first impressions were that the exhibition itself was well designed, with everything displayed and organised beautifully in a very cool space. The work on exhibit explored themes such as the current political climate, identity, social and gender issues and sustainability. This was presented through beautifully produced typography, illustration, graphic design and even some product design. Nicely done. Here are some highlights from that show, which included giant tape roll installations that the public were able to interact with.
The Central Saint Martins BAGD show seemed different from the outset. There was a very long queue to enter the building as the private view was not only for the BA graphics programme but the entire Granary Square building. It made you feel as if you were going to some exclusive gig. Random passersby even came up to us to ask 'What are you queuing for?' Well, our wait was worth it in the end.
Initially, the general set up of the CSM BA graphics exhibition did not seem to differ much from last year's show. It was the same floor, and had a similar layout and minimal show graphics. However, this year contained even more work than previous years, and the work spanned the entire floor, showcasing a range of design subjects including typography, photography, illustration, graphic design, animation and even VR. Themes touched on current events, identity, sport, culture, volcanos, robots and much more. It was a truly varied platform of work, including holographic characters, 3D illustrations, and experimentation with various media. There was even a degree show robot observing the actions of participants as they observed the work. The wide range of styles, ideas and approaches was truly eye-opening and reflected the global student body.
Finally, we had a chance to take part on the judging panel for the D&AD New Blood 'Ones to Watch' awards a few weeks ago. Dozens of schools from across the UK carefully put together their stands, showcasing the excellent work of their students at this year's degree shows. Judges had a chance to look through the entries in a particular zone of 15 or so exhibits, and had to assess which three students were the ones to watch for in 2017. We worked with a team of two other judges, with a time limit of around 2 hours to assess all of the projects. It was quite challenging to judge everything quickly and clearly in the given time frame, as there was a lot of outstanding work, with some from vastly different parts of the UK.It was a great opportunity for an industry person in London to see work that might otherwise be difficult to come across. Overall, it was a great experience to be a judge and it is great to think that this award could help a student in a competitive graduate environment. There was a buzzing atmosphere at the private view evening, with students networking with potential industry people clearly, pleased with their final work and excited for the future.
Congratulations to the graduates this year and we look forward to seeing you out in the industry. A special thank you to the D&AD New Blood team for having us on the judging panel.
CSM BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree show page.
Kingston University BA (Hons) Graphic Design show page.
D&AD New Blood page.