Let’s forget the Olympics – and check out student work

Let’s hope that next week’s D&AD student fest brings welcome relief from the logo mania that’s beset the media

Let’s hope that next week’s D&AD student fest brings welcome relief from the logo mania that’s beset the media. As long as no tutors set the 2012 London Olympics branding as a project, London’s Old Billingsgate should be a games-free zone.

What we can look forward to is a glimpse into the future, with the cream of this year’s graduate crop, particularly in graphics and communications, showing off their wares. The New Blood show is always a stimulating event and, like next month’s New Designers and other graduate showcases, makes it easier for would-be employers to suss out new talent for their teams.

Over the past year or so there has been a growing trend among colleges to engage more directly with clients on real projects. Last week we reported on collaborations between London Metropolitan University and Latimer Films on a branding project, and the Royal College of Art and neighbouring Imperial College with Umbro on future concepts for the sports brand. These aren’t isolated examples.

This week we examine Audi Design Foundation’s work with five colleges to address the problems facing people living in the township of Mdantsane on South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Not only could the students’ ideas help to change lives there, but the winners will gain invaluable experience that should broaden their outlook and help them find work in the overcrowded job market.

Meanwhile, we have seen the RCA celebrate its 150th birthday in style, with its ongoing Great Exhibition in a tent in London’s Kensington Gardens. This serves design well, by bringing it literally into the public domain and because an increasing number of the students explain the process behind their designs rather than present each object as a fait accompli.

Giving the public tangible ideas, rather than surrounding projects in mystique, is a great way to further design’s cause. Lifting the veil on the design process can only increase design’s influence on clients and consumers alike.

Lynda Relph-Knight, Editor

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