So for the first time in years, I went to have a proper look at design graduate work (CSM & RCA) as this is the perfect opportunity to take a snapshot of design education before the scary rise in fees when most UK students might apply outside of the UK and schools start to panic.
What I saw was alright mostly, with some flashes of brilliant and brave work. My favorites were the ones that clearly owned their experience and turned it into opportunities for themselves. Students who took the attitude of “the best time to look for a job is when you have one” and created businesses or support opportunities within the framework of education.
Alexander Groves (Design Products) made some fantastic Hair Glasses but also and mostly created a project called Sea Chair where he proposes to turn a retired fishing trawler into a plastic chair factory, fishing the plastic from the polluted seas around the South West coast of the UK.
Mohammed Daud (Design Products) developed a solution to help urban farming less painful physically with a redesigned hoe design. He is also looking for funding to implement the idea at scale in Pakistan where he went to do user-research. This is ideal for Kickstarter.
I also looked at work which clearly made a huge step in making new techniques feel familiar with the language of design. Studio Koya‘s beautiful and delicate fashion and textile work doesn’t even seem futuristic because of our now common acceptance of Lady Gaga-generated dada fashion.
It’s hard in design at the moment, but these kids will make it.