University of Brighton graduate Charlotte Bassett’s work is so carefully considered that if you saw it in an art gallery or publishing house, nobody would blink an eyelid. There’s nothing rash or impulsive about her design, which focusses primarily on “curation, interdisciplinary collaborations and publishing”; instead, she combines diverse elements and a thorough knowledge of her subjects in a measured, sensitive and effective manner to create lasting impact.
Her recent projects include exhibition graphics, catalogues and branding proposals for two other exhibitions alongside her own degree show. Impressed and excited to see what Charlotte gets up to next, we spoke to her to find out about her love affair with letterpress and who she’d show her portfolio to if she was given half a chance.
Why or who or what made you go to art school?
I have a natural curiosity and have always had a desire to line things up! But I had never fully found a way to channel that, I always felt that there was something else I should be trying or doing until I was introduced to design on my foundation year. I owe an awful lot to my foundation tutor, he taught me that graphic design ran far deeper than a logo or a poster, that instead it was what you wanted it to be; a publication, moving image, a vehicle and a way to make changes. I feel as though I’ve carried that attitude with me.
Tell us about your best project…
My best work always spawns from collaborations. I find working with people and sharing ideas hugely motivating and a lot of my most recent work has come from interdisciplinary collaborations with Katy Angus, Rachel Dalton and Elina Linina. We each have different strengths so it is always a wonderful process to see our ideas come together – despite the all-nighters we often endure to get there! Being able to work with people from different disciplines and with different skills each day is, for me, the most privileged part of a designer’s role.
Tell us about your worst…
A lot of my worst work happened in the first semester of this year. There was suddenly an unspoken pressure to produce greatness; to create show-stopping work, and it took time for me to shake that off. I needed to find my feet among the slightly uneasy turmoil and panic of it being the final year – to take a step back and to make work that I wanted to make again.
If you could show one person your portfolio, who would it be and why?
If I could cheat and show my work to two people it’d be Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright of GraphicDesign& – I find their work fascinating (I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve read Page 1!) and would love to talk to them about their collaborations and ways of crossing disciplines so seamlessly within their work.
What was the best moment of your three years at uni (extra curricular included)?
Discovering letterpress was a huge turning point for me. Somewhere between the physicality of the type, the ink and the paper I found a way to surpass any sticking points that I reached in a project. If I ever got stuck with type on a project or felt like I had begun to get tunnel-vision with it, I’d make the type up in letterpress. There’s something so satisfying about shutting your laptop and doing and playing.
A lot is changing – would you recommend art school to someone who is considering going?
Yes! Art school, for me, exists so far beyond the “school” – it’s the people you meet and the things that come from this. For three years, you are surrounded by like-minded people who are passionate about what they do, who want to push boundaries and challenge things, and there’s something magical about this. Art school gives you the freedom and independence to find yourself, to experiment and to make mistakes and as much as things change, I’m not sure that this does – or could ever – exist anywhere else.
Finally, if your dreams come true, where will you be in a year’s time?
It feels as if a year will pass in the time it takes Monday to become Sunday again – things are moving and changing fast, and that is exciting and scary in equal measure. I’d love, this time next year to be working in editorial design or publishing, but so long as I’m still collaborating and making work, I’ll be very happy.
Supported by Represent
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2014 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2014.