Degree show season might be the very best time of the year to be in the It’s Nice That studio. Not least because we have more invitations, flyers, posters and catalogues flying through the letterbox than at any other time, all plying us with free semi-chilled beers and frazzling our eyes with a wealth of new work.
Rather than sit on these like the unfriendly giant of creative goods, we thought we’d share the ten best degree show identities we’ve spotted thus far. From fluorescent type to beautiful accompanying websites, with a whole bunch of stuff in between, here they are!
Glasgow School of Art, Assembly
Graphic design is all about clear communication, and Glasgow School of Art’s invitation to both its London and Glasgow shows, titled Assembly, hit the nail on the head. The invite is divided into two by a perforation down the middle with the London invite on one side and the Glasgow on the other. It’s a neat way to navigate the confusion of holding two shows in two countries and inviting guests to one or the other, and the UV gloss in a pastel gradient is so nice we’re unable to remove it from our desk.
University of Bedfordshire, Build
Bedfordshire isn’t necessarily a key player when it comes to our annual round-up of degree show identities but they had us with this striking yellow invitation to the undergraduate art and design shows. Entitled Build, the logo is composed of a number of components which are debased in silver on the invite and scroll satisfyingly down the screen on the website.
Kingston Graphic Design, 20×15
Truth be told it doesn’t take an awful lot to grab our attention, and Kingston’s Graphic Design course smashed it with this delightfully simple identity. 3D renders of tactile-looking objects in the form of cubes float happily over a white background on the poster, while the website uses the same concept (again with the satisfying scrolling, nice one web designers!) but in blue, green and red. Everything we need is right there – no bells and whistles, no extras. In true Kingston fashion, they save those for the show.
Camberwell College of Arts, Only Tools and Sources
Quintessentially British TV show Only Fools and Horses wasn’t actually filmed in Peckham (where, contradictorily, Camberwell College of Arts is basically situated) but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the glorious pun which takes the name of the Camberwell graphic design show, Only Tools and Sources. As course leader Tracey Waller points out in her brief intro to the degree show inside the fold-out, this year’s graduates are the first to have paid the full £27,000 fees introduced by the Conservative party three years ago, which makes Camberwell’s presiding ethos of producing work that doesn’t necessarily “fit inside the expected parameters of their subject” even more admirable. The identity is yellow and silver, and based around a nicely tactile shot of various props in front of the sign bearing the show’s name, forming a kind of multi-purpose leaflet/poster.
London College of Communication, Input – Output
There isn’t enough eyeball-searing fluorescent orange in graphic design, so the publication which accompanied London College of Communication’s Design for Graphic Communication show, called Input – Output, was a welcome distraction. The book feels like it’s inside out, with its contents on a skinny front cover for all to see and its innards poking out, which is exactly the kind of process-as-practice we like to see exposed at the shows.
Brindha Kumar’s illustrations, accompanying essays on Eco-Modernism, the future role of crafts and Godard’s visual language make this much more than just a way to show off current students’ work, and instead serves to round up the DGC course as a whole.
Arts University Bournemouth, I Like It, I Really Like It!
The title sounds something like your unconvinced grandma might say when you show her your final project (we’ve all had a “so it’s the graphical design you do, dear, isn’t it?”) but the poster for Arts University Bournemouth’s visual communication course, rendered in warm grey and lemon yellow, serves well to show work by every student from the show. It arrived in this neat little card, too, changing up the format of invitations as it encourages you to stick the poster up on the wall for the world to see.
Camberwell College of Arts, Rock, Paper, Scissors
Perhaps it puts the school at an unfair disadvantage, but I can’t help but expect great things from Camberwell’s illustration course year on year, and it has yet to disappoint. This year the catalogue and invitation came hand-delivered (hand-delivered! What a joy) and included not only a considered, tactile catalogue of the work included, but also a sweet little handmade package containing cut-outs from prints by a selection of the students, signed by each – an effective and intriguing peek at the work to come, and perfect bookmark material.
Brighton University, Studio 350
The name for Brighton University’s graphic design and illustration degree show, Studio 350, came from the room the students shared for three years while studying, which I imagine as a kind of crucible of creative energy, with ideas flying off like sparks from all angles. Brighton’s course is one of few to merge the two disciplines, and flicking through the catalogue the blend seems to have benefited all of the students involved.
Made with exposed coptic binding, the catalogue feels wonderfully lo-fi in spite of its high production values, and with giant, fluorescent pink spray-painted signs saying simply “350” still lining the street outside the It’s Nice That studio (the degree show was just next-door but one) I can testify that the show itself echoed this sentiment.
About the Author
Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 as an intern before joining full time as an Assistant Editor. Maisie left It’s Nice That in July 2015.