New talent: Edinburgh Napier degree show 2016

Discover 10 outstanding projects from this year's Edinburgh Napier graphic design graduate exhibition.

Edinburgh Napier: Scott Farquhar

Edinburgh Napier: Scott Farquhar won Best in Show for graphic design

If you're looking for the best new graduates for your studio or agency, don't miss Computer Arts' New Talent special, issue 256, featuring the team's handpicked selection of the UK's best graduates – on sale 22 July 2016.

At the end of May, Edinburgh Napier's talented final-year graphic design students showed off their finest work as part of a packed, week-long programme of creative events involving workshops, performances and talks from leading creatives across the industry.

Once again, there was some fantastic work on show from Edinburgh Napier's emerging designers and artists.

Special mention to Scott Farquhar, above, who won this year's graphic design Best in Show category for his gender-bending barbie fusion project, which investigates the stereotypes behind children's toys.

If you missed it, don’t worry: Edinburgh Napier has a stand at D&AD New Blood 2016 – held from 6-7 July in London’s Old Truman Brewery, Shoreditch – where you can meet some of the students and see the work in more detail.

In the meantime, here's a taster of what to expect. We present 10 more highlights from this year's show…

01. Lewis Brooks

  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: Studio Alfresco

Lewis Brooks' project Studio Alfresco poses questions on how a graphic design graduate can forge a meaningful career in the 21st century.

"Design has the power to do a great deal of good," he says, "and to really help small businesses and social enterprises get off the ground, and create community."

Edinburgh Napier: Lewis Brooks

Lewis Brookes' the little caravan proved a hit on the streets of Edinburgh

"The project considers what we may be asked to do as designers, and how we can think of alternative ways to use design to make a living, for example doing some pro bono work for people who really need your help."

Rather than simply designing things, this project asks young designers to consider their future in the industry in a delightful and playful way.

And it got a response from Milton Glaser himself:

"Lewis, thank you for the sweet and well-made film. Best wishes, Milton."

02. Sabina Friman

  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: Touchpoint

"Touchpoint – my alopecia story – is the result of a cross-disciplinary creative process," says recent graduate Sabina Friman, who translated her own battle with alopecia into "every-day armour" – making for a striking, emotive final year project.

Edinburgh Napier: Sabina Friman

Sabina Friman's posters are beautifully crafted

Her journey is represented by five interactive wearable pieces, screenprinted with thermochromatic ink and art-directed into a poster series depicting the emotional transformation from wanting to conceal her hair loss, to revealing it.

"With my project I hope to re-imagine Alopecia Areata and raise awareness, de-stigmatise it and empower others living with the condition," she says.

03. Kirsty Struthers

Edinburgh Napier: Kirsty Struthers

An image from Kirsty Struthers' project In Cold Blood
  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood highlights the elemental power of the cold in Scotland and how vulnerable people live with it every day, through the exploration of key statistics including fuel poverty and hypothermia.

According to Struthers, between 2000-2012 there were an average of 80 deaths per year from hypothermia, while today around 1.8 million people in Scotland currently live in fuel poverty.

Edinburgh Napier: Kirsty

Kirsty Struthers' final year stand

This project displays the findings of its reseach through a range of media, from photographic posters to packaging, newspapers and hand-stitched paper duvets.

"The work forms a social justice campaign asking the question: which is it for some people – heat or eat?" she explains.

04. Natasha Broomfield

Edinburgh Napier: Natasha Broomfield

Editing Humanity explores the theme of beauty and insecurity
  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: Editing Humanity

Editing Humanity showcases a shocking perception of beauty, and explores the pressures and insecurities of real people.

"It delves into dangerous places and uncovers just how insecure people of all ages can feel about the way they look, and their quest to fit in," says Natasha Broomfield.

Edinburgh Napier: Natasha Broomfield

A striking exhibit from Broomfield's final year show

"The work questions the boundaries between beauty and modification, and why we feel the need to change ourselves."

Using references from classical sculpture, warped bathroom mirrors and semi decaying fruit, the work invites viewers to consider alternatives to unachievable forms of beauty.

05. Joanne Myerscough

Edinburgh Napier: Joanne Myerscough

Joanne Myerscough's final year project explores brand authenticity
  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: Authenticity & Branding

How can a brand turn that tiny piece of grit into a pearl? How can it weave its unique story and project it to its audience? And what happens when a brand's reputation starts to unravel?

Edinburgh Napier: Joanne Myerscough

This typographic piece is made entirely from thread

This project explores brand authenticity, what the concept means and how it can be achieved. "It also explores the problems facing brand authenticity in the 21st century," says Joanne Myerscough.

The piece featured in these images shows a bold and unique typographic statement. Made entirely from threads, it weaves and forms a statement in extraordinary detail and depth.

06. Arnas Samuolis

Edinburgh Napier: Arnas Samuolis

Arnas Samuolis shows beautiful execution in Self Help Self Harm
  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: Self Help Self Harm

"For years, popular wisdom has dictated that strong feelings of anger should be expressed," syas Arnas Samuolis.

"There is a general assumption that every now and then we all need to let out some steam. For example, you might hit a pillow or shout to release your anger."

Edinburgh Napier: Arnas Samuolis

Samuolis explores his theme with handcrafted typography on 3D surfaces

"People assume that this process, 'catharsis', is an effective way of dealing with their anger issues. Unfortunately, it does not work."

"This project explores different types of anger management and the common misconceptions that come with it, through bold, hand-crafted typography and a series of 3D outcomes."

07. Chloe Kinsella

Edinburgh Napier: Chloe Kinsella

Chloe Kinsella's space at the 2016 Edinburgh Napier degree show
  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: The Overlooked Casualties of Conflict

"This project explores the reality of growing up in a military family, where insecurity, loss and frequent movement make it difficult to form lasting relationships or have a sense of home," explains Chloe Kinsella.

Edinburgh Napier: Chloe Kinsella

A close-up reveals stunning attention to detail

"When we think of the armed forces we tend to think of brave military personnel – we very rarely think of their children, whose lifestyle often acquires a great deal of suffering and sacrifice."

"Based on personal experience and research, this project takes the often ignored stories of service children and reimagines them in a series of poignant graphic artefacts that reveal the dark underbelly of a military upbringing."

08. Nicola Laurie

  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: To Be - Or Not . . .

As Nicola Laurie points out, life requires decisions to be made constantly – especially within a creative career. What's the right thing to do at any given time? What if I do the wrong thing? What is the wrong thing?

Edinburgh Napier: Nicola Laurie

Posters exploring a more positive side of indecision

This playful design project explores the brighter side of indecision, explains where it stems from and encourages the positive, brave attitude needed to overcome it.

It is not always easy to set aside the debilitating fear of failure and judgement, but in the end, the key to solving your indecisiveness is just to be... or not to be.

09. Mary Jo Daly

  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: John AKA Elvis Aaron Presley

Mary Jo Daly's project John AKA Elvis Aaron Presley celebrates John, a Glaswegian man living with schizophrenia, and the extraordinary poetry he produces.

Challenging misconceptions and stereotypes, the project offers a greater understanding of the disorder by showcasing John's creative writing.

Edinburgh Napier: Mary Jo Daly

Posters providing an insight into schizophrenia

"Full of Glaswegian wit, John's poems, stories and thoughts use powerful description, metaphors, humour and darkness to give a unique and accessible insight into schizophrenia," says Mary Jo Daly.

"These are translated visually into posters and a projected animation that use photography, live footage, animation and typography to highlight John's unique and bold character and the richness of the world he is sharing."

10. Jake Bown

Edinburgh Napier: Jake Bown

Jake Bown's final year project takes a hands-on approach
  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: What does it take to be successful?

The project highlights ambition, knockbacks and success in a physical environment where users can play in Jake Bown's 'Has The Penny Dropped Arcade' and discover what's required to be successful by playing in an arcade of games.

"Each game shows a specific facet of success, and the marriage between the graphic language and the physical function of each game has been specifically designed to allow the player to see the chances of getting there," says Bown.

Edinburgh Napier: Jake Bown

Bown's exhibition space at Edinburgh Napier's 2016 degree show

"Users of the game have found it a fun and engaging environment, and have forgotten about whether they are successful or not because they were having so much fun."

"If they were to take this experience into all walks of life, it would be hugely beneficial," Bown continues. "After all, success is a game of chance, and it's best to have fun along the way."

Half-price CA subscription offer

We know it isn't always easy being a new graduate. So to celebrate 2016 degree show season, get an incredible 50 per cent off an annual subscription to Computer Arts magazine. For just £39 you'll receive an entire year of industry insight, opinion and inspiration, delivered to your door.


Julia Sagar is a commissioning editor and writer for Creative Bloq, Computer Arts, net, 3D World and IFX magazines. Tweet her @JuliaSagar