In the first of our 2013 student show reviews, Pete Bastiman, until recently creative director at BJL, visits the Traverse Theatre to check out the work on display from the HND Visual Communication students at Edinburgh College. If you would like to review a show for us, or have your show reviewed, email email@example.com
So there I was, quietly going about my freelance business when The Drum called to ask if I'd like to review the 2013 show at Edinburgh College. I've been away from Edinburgh's advertising and design scene for five years, so Cameron Clarke at The Drum thought it would be good to get a fresh perspective on what's happening.
This could go two ways, I thought. I'll either be blown away by the high standard and have lots of great things to enthuse about and in the process people will think "what a nice guy, it's good to have him back". Or I'll struggle to find a good word to say and people will think "Who is Pete Bastiman anyway? Knob".
So let’s see which way it went. Am I safe to stay or am I on the first train back down to Manchester?
I'm pleased to say, and all those students exhibiting will be pleased to hear, that I thought overall the quality of work was of a high standard, with many standout pieces, which I will come on to soon. There was a lot of craft on show, attention to detail and the standard of finish was at a level I could have only have dreamed of when I was putting my final degree show together with rub-down Letraset and Pantone film that you peeled off. But that was 20 years ago. Technology and design has moved on, thankfully, and it showed here.
My only criticism, without risking being run out of town, would be that there was some style over substance. There was a lot of re-skinning websites, or applying a design to an app on a mobile phone, which looked nice, but will nice get you anywhere? Very rarely. I overheard someone say "ooh, I like the colour wash" which to me summed up what I mean. I wanted to see more ideas; they are what engage consumers whether in advertising, design or digital.
Talking of digital, I also felt much of the design was for print, which isn't a bad thing; I would have simply liked to have seen more design for web and more motion graphics, which feels more current. That's just my broad brush stroke of an overview. Overall, there was a lot of great work on show, including my top three, which are in no particular order.