Best of the Grad Shows 2017: UAL Central Saint Martins

Known to be one of the best grad shows in the UK, once again the quality of work from these students did not disappoint. Check out their offerings.

Central Saint Martins has a reputation for producing graduates across graphic design, illustration, animation and advertising whose work is more conceptual than commercial. 2017's grad show was remarkable for including a wealth of work that was both – featuring fully formed graduates destined for high grades (I assume) and ready to hire or commission.

There was particularly strong (whisper it) traditional illustration, powerful copywriting and branding work taking on the challenge of some fundamentally uncool brands (and succeeding).

So here's our pick of seven graduates we expect to see great things from in the future. Here's a full list of this year's Central Saint Martins BA Graphic Design Degree graduates

Thomas Moore

Occasionally at grad shows you'll come across a designer or artist who's talent is obvious from the moment you see their work (Edward Monaghan at the CSM 2013 grad show is an obvious example). This year's 'you gotta check out his work' is Thomas Moore, whose densely packed, large-scale artworks bring Hogarth into the now.

Gin Lane 2016 is a reimagining of Hogarth's work, but much of Thomas' work on show also takes a railing satirical look at a modern London.

The six-foot wide artwork above Gin Lane shows a city of overcrowded public transport, and selfishness set against what can be called quiet desperation (or sometimes not so quiet). It's the London of the manspreader, the outside seat hogger and the 'oh shit, I'm going to be late again'.

The piece was commissioned by the Royal Society for Public Health. Read more here.

Maria Isabelle Becker

Also wonderfully drawn is Maria's #CropTillItsHot project. Rendered in both now-hip-again coloured and traditional pencils, this series of illustrations depict how the happy, beautiful and satisfied versions of ourselves we show on social media can hide how we're really feeling. Read: Why Coloured Pencil Illustrations Are On Trend Right Now.

Obviously, Maria isn't the first illustrator to tackle this subject – but her technique is on point, and we like that she's concentrated on people hiding debilitating conditions such as depression, which is a worthy subject but a rather over-subscribed one. Instead she shows the more pervasive, subtle adjustments that are made by the wider population to mask humdrum reality – hiding that we're sick, or that it's raining.

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Amy Bushill

Amy’s response to a very open brief (to advertise IKEA not using traditional media) is playful, clever and humorous.

She says IKEA treats its products like babies, by carefully selecting names for each of them, so Amy produced an IKEA baby names book. This developed into a campaign which ties in with the fact that one in five children are conceived in an IKEA bed.

Amy is studying graphic design specialising in advertising.

Amy Bushill

See here Amy's baby names book for IKEA.

Adrienne Whitworth

Adrienne has exceptional talent as a copywriter as you’ll see here with her Cancer Research press advertisement.

She works solo, but says she is happy to pair up with an art director. As well as writing eye-catching signs for a homeless man which raised a substantial amount of money from by-passers, Adrienne is creating a wider research documentary for Shelter charity.

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James Robinson

With a brand that can be rather dull – The National Trust – we were blown away with how James transformed the visual identity and subsequent association of the trust into a sophisticated and likeable brand inspired by the British coastline.

James Robinson is a BA Graphic Design student at CSM.

Clara Bacou

Clara is a graphic artist whose flamboyant 3D illustrations are full of fantastical beasts, beautiful flora and surreal patterns.

Her first solo show is to be held in Toronto at Robert Kananaj Gallery, dubbed Digital Spheres. It’s a digital exhibition inspired by the world of online avatars and personalities.

"The line between online and offline is becoming remarkably thin in our minds as we increasingly create digital representations of ourselves online. Avatars, gifs, memes and emoticons help us to visualise who we are and how we feel in a digital realm where we cannot observe facial expressions or body language,” she describes on Instagram.

Nadia Hudiana

We loved the concept and physical manifestation of multi-disciplinary designer Nadia Hudiana’s 'Penny Assets' project. She describes her practise as evolving around people, and "creating work that make people’s lives more exciting and meaningful". This translates as experimentation with many different techniques and materials.

For this particular project, Nadia re-imagines the importance of pennies, an underused coin in the UK since inflation (and frankly, a complete and utter waste of time). However, Nadia managed to persuade us of its value. By placing a coin into the box, a 'Penny Brief' will be released in the form of a receipt. Each brief is different, and she encourages people to email through their ideas and projects. Our particular brief is: 'Use design to trade happiness'.

Check out her website for a range of impressive interactive design and brand and identity projects.

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Emma Cresswell

Emma is a multi-disciplinary designer that appreciates narrative, typography and print. She likes to work across a range of different mediums.