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Talent Spotters: UCLan Graphic Design


Last week the Creative Focus festival in Preston displayed work by graduates of the University of Central Lancashire. I was lucky enough to attend the Graphic Designopen evening – and here are a few of my highlights…

The PR1 Gallery was filled with Mike Kirkpatrick‘s book, Words of Wisdom, a collection of interviews with Preston graduates who were asked to give feedback on their careers and time at the university. Each interview is also available to read on the graphic department’s blog, thedisciplesofdesign.co.uk.

The project is a unique collaboration between the lecturers, current students and fifty leading graphic design alumni. Spanning the last forty years the resulting document on display represents the culmination of a four-year research programme into recording the experiences, knowledge and advice of these creative professionals.

The researchers intend the resulting book to act as a touchstone, informing and inspiring all our current and future students who intend to embark on a career in the creative industries.

The spreads from the book were presented chronologically in terms of when the designer’s graduated from Preston (which is also the order the book will be printed). The design of the layout utilises the space well and allows room each interview, leaving plenty of room to display different pieces of work from the designer across two spreads.

Mike also showed a self-initiated project for the Manchester ‘one foot in the past, one foot in the future’ campaign, which uses the soles of a pair Umbro shoes as a printing device to highlight Mancunian bands from the different eras.

Naeem Mitha’s response to D&AD’s Ted Baker brief – to introduce the Ted Baker brand to a country of your choice – uses different British icons and applies them to iconic Arabian items to create a humorous and witty brand campaign. This was picked for the Creative Focus award by the University.

Jenna Chatwood chose an interesting branding project to help promote Guerrilla Gardening – a movement that works to restore and maintain neglected and ignored areas within communities.

“I decided to use positive verbs and everyday phrases, within the context of gardening,” she says, “to encourage the audience to find out more information and ultimately take action within their community. I combined this tone of voice with a rustic, ‘hands on’ look-and-feel through the rough paper textures and bold hand-stamped typography.”

Francesca De Giorgio‘s Summat t’Eyt project uses beautifully hand-crafted type and northern lingo to promote the Lancashire Food Festival.

The posters were screen-printed with bold colours to stand out against the heritage style photography. This project has been selected by the University to be shown at D&AD New Blood this week.

This identity for Benidorm Beer Festival by Josh Shaw uses the stereotypes of a Benidorm holiday go’er with a very clever use of a bottle cap.

The identity was applied to beer matts and towels in a tongue-in-cheek fashion – playing on the stereotypes of Benidorm itself.

The YCN’s winning entry for Ella’s Kitchen by Lizzie Francis uses a hands-on tool kit consisting of childrens toys and games to bring brand awareness to its stakeholders.

“Ella’s Kitchen is driven by creating good food that’s not just good for tiny tummies, but also good to all the senses, enabling children to be hands-on with the food and the packaging,” says Lizzie. “The hands-on tool kit was created to provide a learning experience for all stakeholders who come into contact with Ella’s Kitchen in any capacity.”

Another interesting project was Ric Bixter and Gary Whitworth‘s response to the D&AD Ted Baker brief – they created an advertising campaign juxtaposing Renaissance paintings and sculpture with Ted Baker clothing.

I also managed to pop my head into Advertising to find this cleverly art directed poster by Cindy Ho under the brief “go anywhere on a Brompton”.

Overall, I thought the standard of work was very high and feel Preston is continuing to produce graduates that can compete with the best. Looking at the past graduates in the Words of Wisdom book, it is clear that this set of students isin good company as they get ready to enter the big wide world of design. Good luck.

Mark Arrowsmith is a designer at Detail Creative in Manchester. The UCLan graphic design course’s website is prestondesign.co.uk and features more of the graduates’ work. They are presenting their exhibition, Scenes of a Graphic Nature, at D&AD New Blood this week and at The Basement in Manchester from July 5 – more here

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