Our round-up of this year’s UK grad show identities and show designs

28 June 2017

Degree show season is one of our favourite times of year here at It’s Nice That, and over the last few weeks we’ve been popping our heads into various UK grad shows. Alongside the marvellous work on show are identities and show designs that are equally as juicy. Below, we take a look at some of this year’s best and brightest show identities and get a bit more insight into the decisions that went into them.

And if you’re still in the throes of creating your degree show, or are tasked with creating one next year, check out our hot tips for a stress-free show.

London College of Communication: Media School, Screen School and Design School

For this year’s show identity, the focus for designer Nina Jua Klein was to “unify the extremely diverse work of students across all courses at LCC”. Traditionally, LCC asks alumni of the college to design the overarching identity of the degree shows, which provides a framework to communicate the shows externally. This year Nina was keen on using the history of the college but also the evolving character of the institution, creating a sense of movement that runs throughout the show design. “This is seen in the animated digital invites, scrolling in visitors inboxes as if running though a printing press, to the entrance installation, where this suggestion is brought to life within a three-dimensional space,” explains Nina.

To achieve this, the designer collaborated with creative duo Isabel + Helen to realise the physical elements of the show design. A highlight in the show was the printed reams of paper cascading through a scaffold structure, evoking a giant printing press and the directional signage, which saw the team apply text directly to rotating metal rollers, and visitors could interact with it.



Royal College of Art

Royal College of Art: Show 2017

The RCA’s identity for Show 2017 adopts a clean and simple approach to its identity, allowing the work to inform visitors as opposed to the identity. The branding was designed by former RCA students Antonio Bertossi and Esa Matinvesi who created last year’s equally pared back identity.

On until 2 July, this year’s show presents contemporary art and design by the next generation of artists, designers and makers and visitors can expect the “best emerging research and practice, formal advancements and new modes of expressions” from the school’s MA, MPhil and PhD students.


Glasgow School of Art: Room to Manoeuvre, Communication Design

The identity for Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design show was worked on initially by Dominique Campistron, Rachel Hood, George Edge and Henry Spiers, who came up with concepts and ideas for the identity, and then later Lucy Watkins and Finn Arschavir joined to help develop the show catalogue. Similarly to LCC, the Glasgow students were inspired by the diversity of the people in their class. “As our practices, interests and personalities span across such a vast spectrum… we chose to create an identity that would generate an account of how we individually and collective manvouered through art school: learning, creating, growing and forming memories,” explains the group.

To sit alongside the physical identity for the show, the team took it one step further and made a film to provide an in-depth look at each students’ journey as well as a catalogue of postcards. “The format of the catalogue mimics a package of 35mm photographs and is supposed to evoke a sense of nostalgia for us all each time we look back at it,” they explain. “The outer box of the catalogue gives it an element of permanence, allowing it to sit on a bookshelf until the next time it is opened. All elements use the same typeface to unify the final product.”


Kingston University: Graphic Show

The Kingston Graphic Show identity developed from the team trying to sum up their whole year group in one word. “We stated the literal name of the event, but also invited interpretations of what our content would be: visual, exposing, detailed,” explains the group. “Entirely student-led and executed, we went on to develop a thorough branding language that was versatile enough to applied all areas of the show.” Working on the brand identity was Rachel Dawson, Ben Eager, James Richardson, Alice Dowdall, Sam Eccles, Luke Dodridge, Matthew Lewis and Jacob Wise.

Tape was chosen as Kingston’s motif due to its “functionality for the show spatially as well as digitally”, and the space and accompanying website was bold with colour. The show had a separate curation team consisting of Carol Bergin, Cecilia McCormick, Cissy Lott-Lavigna, Celia Delaney, Grace Belben, Eddie Olin, James Bull, Ellie Murphy, Danny Alvis-Cole, Esme Pryor, Lauren Doherty, Lara Bernard, Olivia Page, Rachael Archer, Rob Nicoll, Tom Mudie and Rowan Minkley. “The curation and build teams developed the aesthetic of the tape using cargo straps and draped materials to realise the branding through the show,” explains the team.


Central Saint Martins: Come

Graduating BA Graphic Design students Lorna Searl and Joseph de Weijer took on this year’s identity for Central Saint Martin’s degree shows and the result sees them combine “restrained visuals with blunt commands” in a no-frills approach. Lorna and Joseph’s identity is in stark contrast to the boldness of other identities from this year’s shows, but that point of difference is what’s driven the pair.

The main idea focuses around a “no identity, identity”, and, speaking about the design Lorna and Joseph explain: “You couldn’t encompass the entire Degree Show in one image, so if you can’t show everything then you have to show nothing… it’s been a very careful operation because it’s so easy to cross the line into something needless. We stuck to Helvetica Bold in lower case with a bit of spacing it starts to define itself visually.”


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About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

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