UK grad shows 2014: the best of New Designers

Here are our top 10 picks from New Designers 2014 across graphic design, illustration and advertising.

Taking place the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, the New Designers multi-institution grad show gives a chance to see some marvellous work from the next generation of creative talent from universities from around the UK – from Portsmouth to St Davids to Hull.

Over the past couple of years we thought the New Designers grad show was on the wane for us, with less and less space given over to graphic design, illustration and animation in favour of the show’s primary focus: product design. This year we were really pleased that there was a whole extra room given over to the things we cover here at Digital Arts, and the work was of a very high level – though not as outstanding as that on show at the D&AD’s New Blood a few days earlier.

Each institution has more space at New Designers than at New Blood, so there was a lot more large-scale physical work on show. This really helped showcase the physical craft work of graduates who had produced dioramas, homewares and books.

Here are our top 10 picks from New Designers 2014.

Hannah Calverley – Nottingham Trent University

While it was this intricate diorama that caught our attention, it’s actually the setting for a 20-second sting for the Sky Arts channel. Based on a line from the brief she was given – "A place where creativity lives” – Hannah has built an art gallery in the shape of the word ‘Arts’, full of figures, well-known artworks and some well-fashioned details from a cafe to fire extinguishers.

You can watch the film above.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see more of our picks from New Designers 2014.

Tatjana Lugoveca – Coventry University

We really thought we were over our obsession with beautifully drawn portraits of people with animal’s heads – but Tatjana’s work has won us over. Her illustrations mix considered linework with beautifully crafted repeating patterns – which are quite marvellous in their own right – and wonderfully messy daubs of watercolour.

Ryan Killick – University of Hertfordshire

Ryan's National Trust campaign is very clever, and sure gave us a good laugh. It uses the tagline 'Better Out Than In' and a series of funny photographs to demonstrate why outdoor activities just don't work in the house.

There campaign includes posters and spots. Our favourite is the one that shows a man attempting to kayak in the bath.

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Ollie Arthur-Banes – University of Portsmouth

Ollie’s grungy Great Dictators project could be seen as derivative, but it has a hand-made feel that matches the zine and grunge design cultures it draws from without being a direct copy. And Kitler and Mutler a just great, especially as large posters and badges.

Emily Richards – UCA Maidstone

Emily's 'The Black Sheep' food packaging campaugn turned our heads with a beautiful combination of watercolour and black line art.

Claire Stevens – Northbrook College

Claire's fabric design was to a brief set by Cath Kidston and is completely brilliant. The pattern depicts several murders from the Miss Marple novels of author Agatha Christie.

Normally, projects that hide violent scenes within traditional mainstream art styles are attempting to subvert those traditions, but by using scenes from the iconically English world of St Mary Mead, Claire has created something that’s very much in keeping with its subject – and great fun.

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Eric Downer - University of Portsmouth

Eric’s Pylon book project was the best example of ‘traditional' graphic design at New Designers. It charts the history of electricity pylons and the people who designed and built them.

The book pairs stark black-and-white photography with simple, elegant type in a way that perfectly  complements the design of its subjects.

Claire Thomas – Trinity St Davids

We were drawn to Claire's cute illustration and pattern work first due to the wonderful display she had put together, filled with picnic baskets, cosy cushions and pretty fabrics. Upon closer inspection, we saw that the quality of the display matched the quality of the artwork, which would be perfect for children's books, bedrooms and clothing.

Victoria Cassanell – Hull School of Art and Design

We’ve seen a lot of strong work in children’s illustration this year across the grad shows, and Victoria’s was the best at New Designers – featuring some great character design and use of texture. I Don’t Belong Here, which Victoria wrote and illustrated, tells the story of a tiger who escapes the circus and goes in search of where he belongs.

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David Gan – University of Hertfordshire

Trying to read Malaysian designer David Gan’s hardback version of Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 is a ludicrous act of folly – much like most of what happens in the book itself. The text runs across the edge of the page onto the next – created using French binding – and never ends. The book is also styled like a WWII pilot’s flight log, with contrasting fonts used to separate the Bureaucrats (Courier) from Yossarian and his fellow air force crew (Jensen Pro).