Royal College of Art releases GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years book

The Royal College of Art has created an accompanying publication for its current exhibition GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years.

RCA book cover

The publication, GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond, was designed by RCA graduates 27-year-old Antonio Bertossi and 31-year-old Esa Matinvesi, and edited by Teal Triggs, Adrian Shaughnessy and Anna Gerber. 

It includes commissioned essays by graphic designers including Mike Dempsey and Shaughnessy, and interviews with past students, such as actor Alan Rickman, and staff members.

RCA book spreads

The book also includes artwork, including poster designs, installations and digital experiments. It has a gatefold cover, and foldout inner pages.

Many of the visual essays in the publication are based on Professor Richard Guyatt’s concept that graphic designers should have a balance of head, heart and hand in their work. Guyatt’s original essay is also republished in the book.

GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond includes a Beginnings section, looking at the roots of graphic design, a Directions section, looking at possibilities for the future, and a central Timeline section featuring interviews and visual essays. 

RCA book gatefold

The book was intended to focus on the history of graphic design, but also connect with the future, graphic designers Bertossi and Matinvesi say.

“We wanted to express this duality and create something contemporary that would last,” Bertossi says. “In fact, some of the strangest design elements in the book are linked to time.” The centrefold of the publication has a timeline listing the names of previous RCA graphic design staff and students of the last 50 years.

The designers used two fonts throughout the brand identity, including press releases, the website, the publication and the exhibition.

“The more informative typeface is New Rail Alphabet, created by Margaret Calvert and Henrik Kubel, who are both strongly connected with the college’s history,” Matinvesi says. ”To reflect the more conceptual side of the exhibition, we developed a slightly modified font, Simoncini Fifty – an adaptation of the well-known Simoncini Garamond.”

The exhibition, currently running until 22 December, has been set up to present work made by RCA students over the past 50 years.

It features work from artists including Rolling Stones lips logo designer Jon Pasche, and RCA alumni such as Graphic Thought Facility, A Practice for Everyday Life and Troika. 

The book is £25 and is available to buy here.

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