Continuing our series of reviews of the 2013 degree shows, Barry Strachan, senior designer at Avian and founder of Eager Creative, examines the work on display at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee. If you would like to review a show for us, email email@example.com.
In what is the 125th anniversary of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, this year's DJCAD degree show provides an occasion of real celebration in a year when 290 new artists and designers join the professional world.
For the 290 it is an opportunity to shine, a springboard for some of Scotland’s most exciting emerging artists. It’s a chance to catch the eye of talent spotters from top employers and other industry organisations looking to uncover the best in art and design talent. Four years of hard graft, stressful days and late nights all culminate into one final end of year spectacular… and spectacular it is indeed.
A part of Dundee's Ignite Festival 2013, a celebration of the hive of creativity in the city, the DJCAD Degree Show is one of the highlights of the city's cultural calendar. The show attracts some 10,000 visitors each year generating in excess of £1m for the local economy in the process. As you enter through the stunning new glass entrance and wander round the great corridors it comes as no surprise.
With stunning concepts, thought provoking ideas and an abundance of creative talent throughout, it's plain to see why DJCAD remains one of the most respected art schools in the country. There is a real sense of understanding within DJCAD of how not just to create visually inspiring pieces/solutions but also of collaboration between disciplines and the importance of self promotion and branding. Be it in artistic menagerie of life-sized animals, techniques (based on Chinese torture methods) to fight smart phone addiction or simply an intricate piece of jewellery to admire, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Here are three standout pieces:
Andrew Leitch's submission to the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) is a visual investigation on how we typographically present how we read in the 21st century. The methods of how we search, scan, skim, refer to and compare before finally immersing and engaging ourselves in our preferred content are beautifully represented in a historical typographic journey. The excellence of the piece is further supported by its well considered production with simplistic die cuts, intriguing reveals and transparent overlays that compliment the message within.
The D&AD Student Awards brief 'Make your Mark!' gave students the opportunity to design a piece of work to catch the eye of a dream employer/design hero. Aspiring type designer and DJCAD graduate Jason Aitcheson's response was to create a typeface named Début Sans, a 'Grotesque' Sans Serif typeface in the hope of catching the eye of Jason's hero Bruno Maag, co-founder of heavyweight type foundry Dalton Maag. The result is a beautiful and highly useable face boasting a family of three weights and matching obliques. The supporting promotional print material shows the flexibility of the typeface and creates an exciting brand that any creative could indulge in.
Alice Newman is a Dundee-based illustrator who creates beautifully energetic and considered illustrations through the forms of drawing and printmaking. As you browse her work it is easy to see she takes her inspiration from everyday goings on, showing the charm found in ordinary places, such as pubs, streets and coffee shops. Alice's promotional piece entitled 'The Illustrated Weekend' (a direct self-sell approach to reach the editorial team at The Guardian and The Observer) showed how her quirky, free and adaptable style of illustration could be used as a successful alternative to that of a photography commissioned approach.
There is a real buzz around Dundee right now. With the forthcoming build of the V&A on the city's regenerated waterfront and a well-backed bid to become UK City of Culture 2017 it makes Dundee an innovative hub of creativity. The 290 can feel proud that they are part of this.
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