DMU student designs merchandise for the National Gallery


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Striking designs of London landmarks by Elliott Sharp will feature on a range of merchandise sold at the National Gallery in London.

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The final-year Graphic Design (Illustration) student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) was one of 15 students who had the chance to work on a live project set by the gallery, which houses more than 2,300 paintings and is among the most visited art museums in the world.

Students were invited to the gallery and briefed on delivering five original designs inspired by London, Trafalgar Square (the gallery’s location), the gallery buildings, or the permanent collection of paintings, which includes masterpieces by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Leonardo da Vinci.

Elliott impressed the gallery’s buying team with his design of the London skyline, which features key landmarks such as the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Big Ben - within the abbreviation ‘LDN’.

“The design definitely reflects my style. I like to pair a limited colour palette - this time blue, red and white - with geometric shapes, using thin lines to create details,” said the 21-year-old from Cheshire.

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Nathaniel Mobbs, Head of Buying at the National Gallery Company, said: “We really like Elliott’s design and thought the layouts on products that he'd produced were well thought through and commercial."

During the creative process, students were asked to keep designs gender neutral, consider their base product, think about how their designs could be adapted for different products, and carry out competitor research.

At first, Elliott found the project ‘a bit daunting’, particularly producing high quality work in a short period of time.

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He said: “As an artist, I’m never 100 per cent happy with the final product, but I’m so glad they liked my designs because it showed me that my work is going in the right direction.

“It’s quite surreal that my design will feature on merchandise at the National Gallery. I’ve never had my work out there in this way before, so it’s a great achievement to add to my portfolio and CV.”

This was just one of many professional practice briefs set by external agencies and organisations that Graphic Design (Illustration) students can choose during their final year at DMU. 

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“It felt good to have free reign, to an extent, and to be myself,” said Elliott.

“Working on a live brief like this gives you insight into the world you’re going into – things like how to communicate your ideas with clients and how they react to your work.” 

Elliott originally planned to study biology at university, but taking a year out to work helped him realise his true passion.

He said: “I’ve always been an illustrator and during my year out I filled my free time with drawing, which made me happy. That’s when I knew I had to do a relevant degree. 

“One of the best things about coming to DMU was becoming more independent. I’m much more confident now and I think it shows in my work too.

“We have a great studio environment on our course, so there’s always talented people around to inspire you and give you valuable feedback. The tutors are also really helpful and so passionate about what they’re doing.”

Posted on Wednesday 15th January 2020

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