The Best New Illustration and Graphic Design Talent from the Middlesex University grad show

Our pick of the best new designers and artists from last night's grad show private view.


Part of the Free Range group of art and design grad shows currently clustered around the Old Truman Brewery in east London, the Middlesex University show brought a host of new talent to our attention. Here we've picked our favourite six across graphic design and illustration - including one from fine art as her work sits in that strange place between art, graphics and illustration.

The work we've picked out has differing ideas about the commercial world most of us create our work within. Some embrace it, using their art to improve corporate environments.

Others have more of a social purpose at their core - but are very aware that that sometimes needs to translate into saleable objects to keep a roof over the heads of their creators. Even at a grad show, a sale can be made - as with this wonderful jumper by graphic designer Noemi Balint, yours for just £20.

The typography on the jumper only comes together when you give someone a hug, encouraging you to give more hugs to others (others who consent of course, don't be John Lasseter).

Photos from the show shot on the Huawei P20 Pro phone. Read our P20 Pro review.

Laura Daisy Cowley is a fine art graduate, but her work could easily have been part of the illustration or graphic design courses. Her bold sew-on patches celebrate the Union for the Useless - an imaginary workers collective for those called scroungers by our government and anyone who capitalism finds no value in.

This union has an 11-part manifesto that ends, 'Don't Buy the T-shirt'. Cheekily, Laura is looking into selling the patches online.


There's something deeply uncomfortable about Cat Ellams project about the kidnapping of women - especially when displayed without context at a grad show. But as editorial illustration that aims to explicitly show the horrors that trafficked women experience, it feels justified.

The simple and direct use of contrast and colour only adds to its visceral nature.

Advertisement. Article continues below

By contrast, Jack's crowd drawings are much more pleasant. Including when he does them with dinosaurs.

Though small and simply rendered, there's a real sense of personality or identity to each of the characters, which your eye picks out as it glides across the artworks.


This series of illustrations were created in response to a brief from the D&AD's New Blood programme for Intercontinental's Hotel Indigo brand, based on the history of various hotels' location.

Courtney's vibrant artworks draw on the music heritage of New York's Lower East Side. They've been drawn over photos of the hotel from a particular point, with the aim that they could be projected onto the building from that point and bring some of the heritage back to the current corporate veneer.


Over on the graphic design course, Misa Murata also worked to the Hotel Indigo brief. Working on the hotel in her home country of Japan, she wanted to represent the relaxing and curative properties of Hakone's hot springs and views of Mount Fuji.

She dropped Chinese ink onto Japanese paper to represent the run of water, and then showed how these could be used as artwork and panels in the hotel.

Thanks to illustration course leader Nancy Slonims and Alex Moore for showing us round.

Middlesex University also produced one of the winners of this year's RSA Student Awards, Catarina Rao Vieira. See the winning work here.

Advertisement. Article continues below