Of Rachel Treliving’s work, our Graduates judge designer Shaz Madani said simply: “She is great.” Rachel’s work truly astonished us in the process of finding our 15 It’s Nice That Graduates. How wonderful to find someone who is so passionate about typography that every single project she has created is a gesture of love towards a subject that, judging from the 600 or so Graduates entries we had this year, is becoming less and less important to learn in a graphic design degree. The depth Rachel travels to in the research for her projects in unparalleled, and the beauty of the work she creates is equally as strong. This girl is gonna go far.
Why or who or what made you go to art school?
I have to thank my Grandma Hilda for my setting me on the path. Growing up I spent a lot of time after school and on the weekends painting and doing pottery with her. After my GCSEs I went straight into a graphic design National Diploma at Plymouth College of Art. The course gave me an insight into what university could be like; setting us live briefs, group projects and teaching skills like calligraphy and screen-printing. Growing up in Cornwall I became obsessed with moving to London, so my pining for the big city and the great tuition on my National Diploma meant art school in London was a natural progression.
Tell us about your best project…
Gray. I’ve spent the most amount of time on it, it’s been my life for the past few months. I’ve enjoyed spending hours on each of the characters in the typeface; I get real satisfaction looking at the progress of a letter, how it improves the more time is spent moving the tangents on a single line. Gray is an interpretation of the serif typeface used in the body text of the 1890 version of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I was interested in using the appearance of the doppelgänger or evil twin in literature to mirror the concept of an imperfect copy. The Picture of Dorian Gray tells of how the beautiful protagonist is captivated by his own portrait, uttering a wish to trade his soul for eternal youth and beauty. With his wish fulfilled, Dorian is drawn into a double life, maintaining his magnificent looks while the portrait bears the truth of his age and scars of his decadence.
When I found the crumbling 1890 edition locked in the vaults of the British Library it was frail and decaying with the first six pages so brittle they had snapped from the binding. I wanted my typeface to attend to the original artefact, taking a close up snapshot of its pages, pulling the tiny ink blotted letters out of the book, releasing the rarely seen item from institutional chains.
Tell us about your worst
Gray. I’ve spent the most amount of time on it and it’s been my life for the past few months. I’ve spent hours on each of the characters in the typeface, sometimes asking myself, “Why do I care? it’s just a semi-colon!”
If you could show one person your portfolio, who would it be and why?
Grandma Hilda. Whenever I try to explain to her what I do at art school she’s never impressed and asks what kind of beautiful paintings I’ve been making. I’d like to talk her through all of the drawings and sketches I do in the process of making something before it’s finished.
What was the best moment of your three years at uni (extra curricular included)?
In February I went to Type Clinic in the snowy mountains of Trenta, Slovenia. You go there with a typographic problem you want to solve and the idea is that you create a body-text typeface with a minimum of 40 characters in 7 days. It’s my best moment because not only did I have a brilliant winter holiday sledging and eating čompe s skuto (potatoes with fermented cottage cheese) but I made my first fully working typeface, Kink. Everything I learnt in that intense week massively informed my work when I got home. I’d recommend it to anybody interested in type design.
A lot is changing – would you recommend art school to someone who is considering going?
Definitely! Going straight into work from school I can’t imagine I would have managed to have enough time to play and experiment with my work. I’ve only really begun to find my feet with what I really love doing in the past year or so and don’t know how I could have done that outside of my art school bubble.
Finally, if your dreams come true, where will you be in a year’s time?
I would love to be working as a graphic designer integrating type design into my practice. I’d love to have a studio to work in. I’ve got a couple of ideas for typefaces that I’d like to get started on. In a year’s time it would be nice to see somebody else using one of them!
I’m going to continue working on Gray, extending its character set and get it working for other languages so it would be amazing if I could publish it one day. I don’t know if a year seems bit ambitious – I feel like I need to do a masters first!
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.