Bright Young Things

The design industry welcomes some exciting new names with the recent University of South Australia Visual Communication graduate exhibition.

The design industry welcomes some exciting new names with the recent University of South Australia Visual Communication graduate exhibition. For recent graduates across the country, the New Year brings with it a raft of opportunities. It won’t all be smooth sailing, of course, as the usual stresses and obstacles involved in launching a professional career threaten to unnerve even the most optimistic amongst them. Taking the good with the bad is something they must all simply take in their stride – but it’s also what makes this heady time of transition so intoxicatingly glorious. The latest crop of new talent is already receiving some well-deserved attention, in particular the 77 Graphic Design and Illustration students featured in the University of South Australia’s 2014 Visual Communication graduate exhibition, 2:34. Installed within studio spaces across two levels of the university’s Kaurna building, this exhibition instantly appealed due to the high quality of work on show. Wonderfully lo-fi tables (comprised of wooden crates and a square sheet of balsa), each displaying the work of two students, along with a double-sided poster featuring their name and images of their work suspended above, meant the exhibited prototypes, mock-ups and models were easily accessible. As a simple, yet effective, display device these tables made the exhibition easy to navigate. The installation itself was tightly curated not an easy task, considering the number of students involved, and this also encouraged viewer engagement. In any one given room the range and diversity of work on show provided visitors with a spectacle, encouraging them to spend time with each students’ work. It is difficult to only highlight a few, but Thomas Elliott stood out for his utterly infectious sense of humour and Lorell Lehman’s sculptures were an unexpected delight, while Sarah Hocking’s clever approach to packaging was hard to ignore. It’s a testament to the course that each student has been encouraged to find their creative voice and managed to exhibit such bold individualism as a result. Rebecca Grant’s elegant textile designs combined ink and digital media, while Emmy Alice new technology to produce ‘creepy cute’ designs that have incredible commercial appeal. It was refreshing to also discover Lehman’s paper and coloured pencil works, which are mesmerising in their precision, Amanda Ng’s expert watercolours and Jessica Lewis’ moody mixed media pieces. It seems that wherever one looked, there was something to catch the eye; a well-considered colour palette, smartly designed book covers or a striking array of brand identities. The mix of skills and techniques on display would have been enough to impress any prospective employer. The exhibition’s accompanying catalogue was a cleverly designed boxset of cards, each featuring a graduate’s biography. It is an invaluable promotional tool that also reflects the level of professionalism with which the exhibition was executed; the care and thought that has gone into its organising is to be commended. As a way of introducing new talent to a broad audience, 2:34 – a reference to the students’ long working hours – successfully delivered. These graduates have a lot to offer.

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