National boost for DMU designers ahead of digital degree show

Graphic Design (Illustration) students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have had their work plastered on billboards around the UK, thanks to winning a national competition.

Agata's collage-based visual identity for Leicester's waterside area was shown in London

Agata Tomaszek and Fiona Morris were selected from hundreds of hopefuls who entered the Nationwide Degree Show competition, set up by prominent designers to boost creative graduates whose end-of-year shows have been cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus.

Displayed on a billboard in London for two weeks last month, Agata’s work is a collage-based visual identity of the historical waterside area of Leicester, which utilises traditional letterpress printing to emphasise its industrial heritage.

The 23-year-old from Poland said: “It was an amazing opportunity as our work was shown on a bigger scale than what is possible with a traditional degree show. Several studios and designers helped to select the winners, so it became a great chance to make industry connections too.

“I found it so encouraging and heart-warming that our efforts got noticed nationally and the industry we aim to work in is so supportive.”

Inspired by poetry, Fiona's lino print was displayed in Glasgow

Fiona’s work was shown on a billboard in Glasgow, also for two weeks last month, and is a lino print of town houses with just one light illuminated, inspired by The Good Morrow, a poem by John Donne.

“It felt really good to be selected. Graduating in the midst of a global pandemic is very difficult, so anything that showcases our work is incredibly helpful,” said the 23-year-old from Colchester, Essex.

Also successful in the competition was Owen Mountfield, whose work was selected and promoted across social media by the Design Bridge studio. His digital print involved mono-printing shapes that he found in DMU’s laser cutting lab recycle bin to create a visual representation of music.

Owen's digital print is a visual representation of music

The 22-year-old from Wirral, Merseyside said: “I feel very honoured that my work was selected by a design studio, especially one that is so current and successful.

“The idea that other studios and creatives can experience this together is amazing, especially considering the lack of accessibility due to coronavirus. Just being a part of the whole project feels special. It has been extremely valuable, not just for exposure but for confidence and inspiration too.”

Agata, Fiona and Owen join more than 100 final-year Graphic Design and Graphic Design (Illustration) students at DMU, who have created their own opportunity to present themselves to prospective employers despite the global pandemic.

Tackling climate change is the inspiration behind Katie's work

With support from their tutors, they have developed a digital degree show to celebrate their work with industry professionals, family and friends. Show Your Face will launch as a dedicated website at 7pm on Friday 3 July.

Katie Pearce, one of the five students on the digital degree show steering committee said: “It’s important that the class of 2020 feels celebrated and knows that it hasn’t been forgotten. Our digital show reflects the community spirit of our two courses and the hard work of all of our coursemates.”

She will be showcasing work that uses traditional materials such as inks and lino prints, including a design for a grassroots organisation tackling climate change, for which she has created a short guide on effective communication, as well as posters, stickers and fliers.

Jaleel's mouth-watering illustrations for her Leicester food directory 

Jaleel Hudson and Muhammad Umar are also among the students looking forward to showcasing their work online.

Combining interviews with restaurant owners, reviews and illustrations, Jaleel’s work is a digital food directory of places to eat in Leicester.

The 21-year-old from Wellingborough, Northamptonshire said: “My art always reflects what I like personally. I used to be a very picky eater, but since coming to DMU and being exposed to so many different types of food I’ve enjoyed trying new stuff.”

Beautiful paper packaging solutions by Muhammad

Muhammad is showcasing packaging and branding designs, including work he completed as part of a brief from fashion and homeware brand Oliver Bonas.

“I love playing with paper crafts and 3D modelling as an alternative to single-use plastic, as well as a way of making the opening of a product an experience in itself,” said the 23-year-old from Leicester.

The students were mentored by Andy Leitch, director of Leicester-based agency Cite and part-time tutor at DMU, who shared his skills in website building and hosting.

He said: “What a fantastic way for students to celebrate each other and their incredible achievements over the course of their university years. This is history in the making and to be part of such a talented team of ambitious students is a privilege.”

Posted on Thursday 2 July 2020

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