The Graduates 2012

In this Olympic year, we are more excited about the creative stars set to emerge over the coming months and this is our pick of the ones to watch from the class of 2012.

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    African super graphics, Peruvian guinea pigs, distasteful jokes and a Peckham bakery; with subject matter like this, no one can accuse graphic design graduate Isabel Gibson of following the tired student tropes of a tea pantone or some triangles.

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    Good ideas, especially the technical ones, aren’t always easy to explain with words and that is where Alex Walker comes in. With his precision illustration and the sensibility of a graphic designer, his all-things-considered approach means that this Nottingham Trent graduate is well placed to both display and portray information.

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    Toast-loving Brighton graduate Jake Evans has spent the last three years studying illustration, though for the final year of his studies he’s not really produced a whole lot of work that can simply be dubbed as such. What he has done, however, is a music video, an infomercial, a gargantuan physical blog (I believe we used to call that a diary), some exquisite pastel-coloured drawings and a few incredibly tasty pieces of graphic design.

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    Camberwell Graduate Ellie Andrews’ Portfolio is awash with vibrant colours, powerful fades and angular characters, all neatly aligned with obsessive precision. Ellie’s striking dioramas explore inherently masculine subjects like the off-side rule and hanging about at the bookies, yet the incongruous addition of pastel shades renders these activities instantly approachable and strips them of their gender-specific connotations.

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    When he was a kid, Kingston University alumnus Josh King painted a cow. This singular event, we are told, is to be held responsible for his artistic career to date; although we’d argue that he’s probably gone on to produce better work in the intervening years. Take for example his Par Fore project, a fully functioning mini-golf course on the roof of a derelict building – that’s better than a cow. Similarly his pun-fuelled Olympic poster is both aesthetically pleasing and hilariously funny – also better than a cow.

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    Even if you don’t have children, or know any humanoid under the age of nine, you are no longer excused for your lack of interest in children’s book illustration. Lorna Scobie, one of Kingston University’s finest illustration graduates, will knock your jaded skulls together with her particularly acerbic knack for characterising animals in a style that frequently leaves her up to the elbows in ink and glue.

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    Chelsea graduate Jack Haslehurst is a designer, filmmaker and all-round creative type with his foot already firmly in the door of the professional world. Before he’d even managed to get his degree in the bag, Jack was producing work for the likes of Oxjam, Animade, David Wilson and Agile Films, so he’s no stranger to long stints without sleep.

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    “I enjoy baffling people to see how far I can abstract an idea while still delivering its message” says Andrew Duncan, and by both counts the University of the West of England graphics graduate can declare his work as a delight and a success. Using widely unfathomable scientific notions as his subject matter, this designer utilises a universal language of “fun” and “funny” to create bold, graphic pieces of communication that the take form of posters, book works and animations.

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    There is nothing “still life” about Grace Helmer’s paintings. The Camberwell College of Arts illustrator adopted oil paints over traditional drawing modes as her narrative vehicle of impossibly rich, dimensional scenes and abstractions. The permanence of the paint compliments the nature of text – especially the likes of Primo Levi – whose stories frequently reach beyond literal interpretation but are wonderfully figurative nonetheless.

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    Nick Blakeman is perhaps the only one of our grad lineup to have surmounted a physical obstacle to achieve his place in The Graduates 2012, having (figuratively) climbed Everest for one of his final year projects. “What kind of designer engages in such a herculean feat to further his craft?” I hear you quizzically ask; well, you’re about to find out.

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    The second instalment of our The Graduates 2012 feature is dedicated to Signe Emma, a graphic design graduate from Kingston University with a portfolio surprisingly dominated by photography. Describing Signe’s work is a problematic affair as it’s thick with variety, thematically spanning everything from the lack of flavour in airplane food to the rippling torsos of female bodybuilders, partying piñatas to the mental transition between life and death.

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    So here it is, the first profile of The Graduates 2012 and we think Joshua Checkley will get the ball rolling nicely. A straight-up illustrator with a sideline in furniture, Joshua hails from Camberwell College of Arts with a portfolio bent on engagingly simplistic, expertly coloured graphics.

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    With only a week left to submit to The Graduates 2012 feature, we thought it might be good to give you the lowdown on the graduate shows happening across the UK this summer. We can almost smell the white emulsion, sticky fixers and sweaty brows quivering in anticipation so make sure check out the exciting work these bright young things have getting up to. Also, if you’d like to submit an undergraduate show for inclusion please send the name of your university, name of the exhibition, dates and location, as well as any relevant links (including Twitter and Facebook), to, using the term “listings” in the subject title.

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    Part three of our catch-up with The Graduates 2011. This time it’s Mike Guppy, who besides doing a placement with our very own INT Works has co-founded a design studio, Krystina Naylor who was selected as a Saatchi Gallery New Sensation earlier this year and Hannah Shipley who is forging ahead with her own design work and placements.

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    Here’s part two of our catch-up with the class of 2011 as part of The Graduates 2012, featuring Mia Porter, currently knocking on a year as a full-time graphic designer for Alisdhair Willis, Sarah Maycock who’s enjoyed a very exciting year as a freelance illustrator and Doug Stewart, soon to exhibit in New York and who’s just started a design position with HarrimanSteel…

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    As we launch our annual call for submissions to The Graduates 2012 supported by Represent – a showcase of the brightest new talents emerging from UK universities – we caught up with last year’s crop to get a quick sum-up of their first year out of education and into the real world.

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    Very soon, impossibly so, a very large number of illustrators, graphic designers, photographers, artists and other creatively minded individuals will emerge from their respective educational institutes – bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and questionably attired. In other words, graduate season is nearly upon us and we cannot wait to meet them all.