Bold illustrations and captivating design: Graphic Communication & Illustration’s Ones to Watch
Arts University Plymouth’s range of graphic design and illustration degrees offer students the opportunity to characterise moments, evoke emotion and propose alternate realities whilst exploring the fundamentals behind meaningful design. Aspiring illustrators, designers and media makers learn how to balance creativity and technical skills to play crucial roles in modern communication and reinvent the social interface between maker and end-user.
With a strong presence at international showcases such as New Designers, Arts University Plymouth’s Class of 2023 have collaborated with leading charities such as National Trust and campaigned on issues ranging from self-censorship and improved wellbeing for women with ADHD as well as working together on a recipe book for those in food poverty. From illustration to graphic design, here’s a roundup of some of the most innovative and ambitious graduates from Arts University Plymouth’s Summer Shows and Class of 2023:
Indra Brooks is a versatile illustrator known for her bright and bold illustrations, using a mix of digital and analogue media. Based in Plymouth, her work features eye-catching colour, shape and detail accompanied by handwritten typography. Through her unique style, she skilfully illustrates non-fictional content, drawing inspiration from natural ecosystems around the world.
Indra enjoys creating work that celebrates different cultures, using her final major project to write and illustrate a cookbook called ‘Tastes Like Home’. This passion project pays homage to her Indian and Malaysian heritage, illustrating simple and full flavour recipes shared across countries, cultures and generations by her family.
Adam James is a mixed-media designer with a special interest in traditional print-based aesthetics, drawing inspiration from dada, punk, grunge, pop art and propaganda works.
During his time at Arts University Plymouth, Adam has developed a passion for branding, publishing and editorial, bringing energy, attitude and plenty of subtext with every new piece of work. His work focuses around the questioning of polarised ideologies of post-covid western culture and examines our ability for independent thought in an ever increasing automated and self-censoring society.
His final major project, 'May Encourage Independent Thinking: Volume 1' is the first of a series of flash card sets and accompanying books designed to promote and develop critical thinking skills, facilitating purposeful dialogue and discussion.
Archie McKenzie is an illustrator and activist from Plymouth with work comprising nonfiction and fiction drawn from personal experience and an interest in biology. Archie’s illustrations explore themes of identity and emotional connections with society and nature. Using acrylic inks, pencils and markers, Archie’s final major project, ‘Weird or Wonderful?’, is a concertina book about saltwater clams and shipworms. The book is over two metres long and created for both children and adults, with a focus on neurodiverse readers.
Throughout their time at Arts University Plymouth Archie has worked closely with clients including the Students’ Union and Plymouth Trans Pride. Archie is keen to pursue more research-based illustration and continue to make books and stories that seek to capture the human experience, working predominantly with organisations focused on positive change.
Passionate about branding and visual identity, Jennifer Bates is inspired by the natural world, everyday experiences, music and fashion, which often flows into her design and illustration. She is currently working towards her goal of being a business owner and freelance designer, with her most recent project being an advertisement and poster campaign for a band based in London.
'Harmony' is a collective which campaigns for women with ADHD and autism. Harmony encourages relaxed attitude and positive energy through balanced living and music. Its aim is to provide a safe communal space, through the use of playlists and discussions, 'Harmony' provides friendly, impartial and practical advice on topics such as; social media, tips & tricks, mindfulness and simple to implement toolkit strategies for dealing with overwhelm and other related challenges.
Originally from Greece, Nefali Naoum is a highly skilled and enthusiastic graphic designer with a passion for innovation and meticulous attention to detail. With growing knowledge and experience in print and digital design, she is always eager to expand her skill set and adapt to new software and techniques.
Her latest project, 'Creative Careers', is a brand that assists people interested in pursuing a career in the creative field but require guidance in making a decision. They offer a variety of services, such as career assessments, advisors, an online public forum and mentorship programs. Each resource is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of every creative industry, including the necessary qualifications, skills, software, job responsibilities, and entry-level salaries. Whether someone is transitioning from another field or completing their education, 'Creative Careers' is a helpful resource for those seeking a creative career.
Lucy Hartman is an illustrator based in Devon who creates detailed artwork that is inspired by her passion for nature, specifically birds. Lucy spends most of her time painting and exploring new traditional techniques such as Riso printing, ink and watercolour.
Lucy’s motivation is found within limited colour palettes, patterns and detailed textures, and she is currently creating a series of non-fiction picture books, educating readers about Devonshire birds, ornithology and the importance of rewilding.
Earlier this year, Lucy took part in a Green Minds project, supporting National Trust property, Saltram House, to create a range of displays to educate visitors about the benefits of helping nature. Lucy used her keen interest in ornithology to create bird illustrations for physical display boards around the country house grounds.
Fashion and photography have been a lifelong passion for Zoe O’Callaghan, and throughout her time at university, Zoe has developed a new love of editorial, branding and publishing design.
Her final project, 'Finders Keepers', seeks to redefine the way sustainable fashion is perceived. Breaking away from the conventional and tired neutral aesthetics of other ethical brands, focusing on a 'teach don't preach' attitude to sustainability and fashion. The brand embodies vibrancy, playfulness and innovation, capturing the intended attention of the Gen Z and beyond. 'Finders Keepers' goes above and beyond selling clothes by actively engaging with its community through educational campaigns, workshops and online content raising awareness about sustainable fashion and inspiring positive change in the industry.
Abi Brown is an illustrator based in Gloucestershire, with a keen interest in print, design and children’s illustration. Her work combines traditional and digital techniques creating nostalgic, charming illustrations. Abi is inspired by memories of childhood, nature, faith and culture, as well as sustainable living.
In her final major project, she strikes a more personal chord by illustrating how people of different faiths can find community and acceptance with each other. Where children are leading the way in accepting people for who they are, the project focuses on enjoying each other’s company without questioning their differences. This work was inspired by Abi’s local church community in her hometown, where they have embraced a recent influx of refugees from Ukraine. She has also recently collaborated with a charity she is passionate about, the National Trust at Saltram House.
Saowalak Jansongkroh has a background in fine art, with a particular focus on mixed media, which influences her style as a graphic designer.
For her final project, Sao explored various creative applications and processes including illustration and laser cutting, resulting in a passion for branding, packaging and transmedia marketing. Through the interplay of mixed media, texture, and colour, Sao aspires to tell stories through visual narratives that captivate, engage and leave a lasting impression. 'Reflection' is an innovative and educational platform, designed to raise awareness about body dysmorphia amongst teenagers and parents. This project aims to empower younger individuals to develop a healthy body image as well as promote an open dialogue within families, fostering understanding, support and acceptance.
Natalie Dunwell is a designer from South East Cornwall with an interest in branding, pattern making and UX/UI design. She has a keen interest in sustainability and animal protection and likes to explore how this can be implemented in her work.
'Fourteen' is a brand aimed at aiding communication, instilling confidence and shining a light on food allergies. Using personal experience as well as survey data, this project aims to help people who have food allergies or intolerances. The brand is split into an app that provides trusted and reliable translations for people with allergies to communicate dietary requirements when they are travelling abroad, alongside a partnership program with hospitality businesses to provide education on allergies to staff members, tools to help manage allergens and branded products to advertise their partnership and create conversation about allergies. Natalie is currently being supported by the Prince’s Trust to develop Fourteen into a working business.
BA (Hons) Illustration and BA (Hons) Graphic Communication students at Arts University Plymouth have opportunities throughout their studies to collaborate with students with other specialisms on campus, including fashion designers, photographers and filmmakers. A limited number of Clearing places are still available on undergraduate courses at Arts University Plymouth, starting as late as October 2023. If you want to begin a BA (Hons) degree this year, call Arts University Plymouth on +44 (0)1752 203402 or Whatsapp on 07722 744184. There are also opportunities to speak to expert academics and current students at the next Open Day on Saturday 23 September.