A noticeable shift is emerging within Graphic Design. Graduate designers are collectively turning away from the modernist/bauhaus/futurist influenced typography motifs which have dictated graduate visual communication shows in the past. This year, designers have shown a conscious move towards a much more clean and contemporary typographic aesthetic.
Conceptual and research based pieces were amongst the strongest on show. A well informed and deeper understanding of each designer's subject matter has lead to some incredibly strong pieces.
Duncan of Jordanstone graduate Liam Bonar explores the inherent imbalance within the international diamond trade, presenting the two sides of the business in a dual bound book. One side shows the perceptions of diamonds as a luxury item in the West, while the other gives insight into the working conditions of diamond miners in Sierra Leone. Typographically lead, the book lays down the facts of the diamond trade without political bias, leaving the viewer to draw their own conclusions from the piece.
Research took centre stage at several stands with the most notable being the UCA Rochester CG Arts and Animation display. Pushing their development work to the foreground, the focus was more on the pre-production drawings, concepts and storyboards as opposed to technology, computers and the final pieces.
Contemporary craft techniques have found their way into various fields of Visual Communication too, with hand-made figurines, textiles, knitted scarves and cardboard cut-out characters gracing many of the stands.
Possibly the most encouraging trend which was evident across the board was the embracing of print on demand technology. The introduction of online POD services have been of huge benefit to graduate designers, resulting in highly polished and professional looking pieces.
Self-published highlights came from South East Essex College (Richard Smith, Lucy Player and Anna Knight) and Blackpool & Fylde (Dave Kennedy).
With so much passion for printed media on display at New Designers 2010, one can only hope that their collective talents might one day re-invigorate the publishing industry.