New talent: Leeds College of Art degree show

Elmwood's Ruth Wood and Stephanie Oglesby discover 10 of Leeds' finest graphic design graduates.

If you're looking for exciting new graduates for your studio or agency, don't miss Computer Arts' New Talent special, issue 230, featuring our handpicked selection of the UK's best graduates - on sale 24 July.

Last week Ruth Wood and I visited Knock Knock, the end-of-year exhibition at Leeds College of Art. As a recent graduate of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course, it's always exciting to see the new talent emerging from this course and watch it grow from strength to strength, creating dynamic groups of graduates.

It was refreshing to see such a high standard of work across the course and a show buzzing with talent. We were interested to note an increasing amount of digital work in students' portfolios, showing flexibility and an eagerness to learn in an ever-changing industry.

Entitled 'Spaces', the BA (Hons) Graphic Design show reflected on the university's studio environment as a space to work individually, collaboratively and innovatively over the last three years.

Leeds College of Art

Leeds College of Art

Oversized neon graphics and raw materials provided a subtle yet stylish backdrop for the work – some of the strongest of which evolved through collaboration, with some exciting new start-up studios emerging from this year group.

At Elmwood we've built a close relationship with the LCAD Graphic Design course and have worked with the students over the year on live projects, portfolio sessions and placement opportunities.

It was inspiring to see the final show and witness the progression they've made into young professionals. Here are some of our highlights from the show...

Thomas Squire

Thomas Squire, Morrisons Shoppr app

The Welcome screen of Thomas Squire's Morrisons Shoppr app
  • Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Website:
  • Projects: Morrisons Shoppr; YouTube Kaleidoscope

One of the future thinkers! Thomas' work stood out as taking an educated and informed look into the digital world, designing interfaces that ease and aid everyday life.

His work is innovative, stylish and simplistic. It's not often you find a student with such a diverse portfolio - covering everything from branding and packaging to digital work - at such a high standard.

Morrisons Shoppr

Large imagery and touch-areas enable ease of use while shopping

Thomas Squire's Morrisons Shoppr app envisages a social future for the supermarket, where users are welcomed in store, targeted with personalised offers and meal suggestions, and alerted if any of their friends are currently shopping in-store.

Multiple users can contribute to a pictorial shopping list, which can be ordered by product or contributor, while meal planner functionality lets the user plan for the week.

The Meal Planner tool automatically adds required ingredients to the shopping list

YouTube Kaleidoscope, meanwhile, explores how YouTube might look in the future, envisioning an experience in which content is easier to watch, discover and enjoy, no matter what device is used.

Thomas Squire, YouTube Kaleidoscope

YouTube Kaleidoscope asks the question: what will YouTube look like in the future?

Thomas Squire, YouTube Kaleidoscope 2

Thomas Squire, YouTube Kaleidoscope 2

Sam Lane

Sam Lane, Wigan Little Theatre

Sam Lane's brand system for Wigan Little Theatre is applied across print and web

This is one of the most inspiring portfolios we've seen this year. It's full of strong, diverse concepts that really get to the heart of a brand, brought to life through a range of exciting and innovative visual outputs demonstrating a great understanding of branding.

Sam Lane, WLT

WLT's house-shaped logo was dissected into shapes and reassembled into the new logo

Sam's Wigan Little Theatre brand system and campaign was a particular favourite project of ours, with an eye-catching use of colour and geometric shapes, and an engaging use of language that enables a deeper connection with the brand.

Abbas Mushtaq and Sam Lane

Typecast on show at the Knock Knock exhibition

Typecast on show at the Knock Knock exhibition

The level of thought and research Sam Lane and Abbas Mushtaq have put into their Typecast project is impressive.

They describe Typecast as an "experimental typography service" that creates typefaces based on user's handwriting. Two typefaces were produced, Kröwen Bold and Singular, and brilliantly presented on Perspex sheets.


Kröwen Bold is constructed from circles and 120-degree cut-off angles

Abbas Mushtaq

Abbas Mushtaq, A

Abbas Mushtaq's personal identity immediately stood out

Abbas Mushtaq's self-branding project involves a simple and effective idea. A 'plus' sign is combined with his first initial, acting as a mark of excellence and also creating "an immediate relationship and feeling of collaboration".

Applied in striking red and utilising a minimalist layout, the identity has great standout.

Abbas Mushtaq branding

The plus sign in Abbas' identity also signifies collaboration

Stephanie Pickard

Stephanie Pickard

Purdey's Repackaged project is her response to D&AD's packaging brief

Stephanie works predominantly in packaging design, using the field as a platform to explore branding and illustration in a number of her briefs.

We particularly liked her work for D&AD's Purdey's brief, which explored the idea of inner youth through subtle yet stylish illustrations. Her additional use of direct mail builds on the interaction with the consumer. Stephanie's work is warm and playful with a touch of charm that leaves you smiling.

Chris Shuttleworth/Shuttlefingers

Camp Three Points evokes a rustic feel through clean imagery and a limited colour palette

We were instantly drawn to Chris Shuttleworth's Camp Three Points campaign. His wonderful illustrations stood out immediately due to their bold use of colour, type and layout.

There is something about Chris' playful style that really makes you smile and evokes the fun of camping.

Chris Shuttleworth, Camp Three Points 2

The Camp Three Points on display at Knock Knock

Eve Warren

Eve Warren, Pronto

Eve Warren's Pronto identity cleverly substitutes the last 'o' for a clock icon

Eve Warren has a number of well-executed projects in her portfolio. Her identity for Pronto, a tailoring and dry cleaning service, caught our attention with its striking use of blue and neon green. The logo and icons she developed as part of this project were very well crafted and thoughtfully applied across various touchpoints.

The Hungry Sandwich Club

Postcards and the iPad installation on display in Hungry Sandwich's area of the show
  • Names: Andy Forster and Martin O'dea
  • Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Website:
  • Projects: Postcards; iPad installation

Two to watch out for are Andy Forster and Martin O'Dea who, together, have set up an image-based design studio called The Hungry Sandwich Club. They made great use of their space to show off some lovely vinyl graphics, postcards and digital animations.

The work felt really modern and fun thanks to their bold use of colour and flat vectors. And particularly entertaining was their iPad installation, which showcased a series of animations across multiple screens.

Ross Francis

Staaay is a hotel for dogs

The work of Ross Francis stood out with its charming, tongue-in-cheek language. We really liked the witty tone of voice used in his branding project with Joel Burden for 'Staaay', a hotel for dogs.

Imogen-Mary Hoefkens

Posh Nosh is a cheeky campaign designed to promote the food court section of Selfridges

Imogen-Mary Hoefkens also caught our eye with her amusing campaign for a basic food range at Selfridges. We particularly liked the name 'Posh Nosh', and thought both packaging and advertising were well executed.

Another image from Imogen-Mary Hoefkens' Posh Nosh project

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We know it isn't always easy being a recent graduate. So to help - and celebrate the 2014 degree show season - we're offering an incredible 50% off an annual subscription to Computer Arts magazine.

For just £39 you'll receive an entire year of industry insight, opinion and inspiration, delivered directly to your door.

Plus: sign up by 10 July and you'll receive our New Talent issue, featuring our guide to 2014's most outstanding design graduates - and a very special cover designed in response to a joint brief with D&AD New Blood.

Words: Stephanie Oglesby and Ruth Wood, Elmwood Leeds

Stephanie Oglesby graduated with a first class honours in Graphic Design from Leeds College of Art in 2012 and has since been working at Elmwood Leeds. Her work covers a range of disciplines from packaging to interior and experiential branding

Ruth Wood graduated from Nottingham Trent in 2012 with a first class honours in Graphic Design. Since then she has worked as a designer at Elmwood Leeds and been involved in a variety of branding and packaging projects.