Summer's almost here, so it's time to go check out the fresh meat being served up by the country's design colleges. There are 984,623,888 Art & Design students graduating this year in the UK alone (probably), and it can be tough to find the best cuts. So here's our entirely biased selection of the shows we think you should check out for 2008.
Since you're unlikely to travel all over the UK checking out student work, they've decided to all get together for you in London. Free Range is a rolling selection of shows at The Old Truman Brewery, featuring work from colleges right across the country, and is on from 30 May to 21 July, with private views on Thursdays 6-10, main shows on Fridays to Mondays from 10-7. Check the site for the full calendar.
Central Saint Martins always gives good show. First up we're going to be checking out the BA Graphics exhibition at the OXO Tower Bargehouse (Blackfriars tube), from Saturday 14 to Thursday 19 June, from 11-6.
We're also going to scoot along to their big brothers and sisters on the MA Communication Design course, who are getting all posh and smart at the Mall Galleries from Friday 13 to Thursday 19 June, with various opening times.
Once we're done with that lot, we'll be checking out their big smoke contemporaries from the London College of Communication, particularly the BA Graphic and Media Design kids. They're doing their stuff at the college in Elephant & Castle from Friday 20 to Friday 27 June, with the private view on Thursday 19.
Once we've seen what the new graduates can do, we're going to check out the post graduates at the RCA SHOW (Part 2) - that's the show that features various departments, including Animation, Architecture, Communication Art & Design, Design Products, Industrial Design. They're having a Preview weekend on 21 & 22 June (to coincide with London Architecture Festival), then the show re-opens from 24 June to 5 July (closed 4 July).
If you haven't got time for all that, then why not just go straight for the high-achievers? The D&AD New Blood show features work from some of the best students in the country, particularly those who have won D&AD student awards. The show is at Brompton Hall, Earls Court; with a private view on Monday 23 June 6.30-10, and the exhibition is open on Tuesday 24 from 10-9.30, and Wednesday 25 from 10-4.
It's spread across the web like wildfire, though nearly all the comments left by readers are saying it's a big old hoax. A lot of people are saying that either the GPS signal wouldn't transmit through the metal exterior of a plane, or that the flight plan would simply be too damned expensive, even if DHL are footing the bill.
So did it actually happen, or is just a (rather finely crafted) viral? The site seems oddly free of the expected background to the genesis of the project, and Nordenankar seems to have very little web presence before doing it... though he did win a D&AD student award in an advertising category last year...
Either way, both as a viral and an artistic project it's a neat concept, and it's certainly created a lot of web buzz. It'll be interesting to see which way this one goes.
UPDATE: Erik Nordenankar has fessed up, (possibly a bit of gentle pressure from DHL?) admitting that the piece is a graduation project on his Advertising and Graphic Design course: "This is a fictional work. DHL did not transport the GPS at any time. DHL has kindly allowed me to film parts of their facilities and distribution. This is a personal graduation project."
The folks over at the achingly hip Lazarides Gallery have got a new permanent space opening on Charing Cross Road, and are kicking things off with a new show called Outsiders, featuring bits and pieces from the gallery's entire roster of artists, including Bast, 3D Del-Naja, Stanley Donwood (above), Faile, Conor Harrington and Paul Insect.
The show launches on Friday 23 May, will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 to 7, and runs through to August 23.
Applications have just opened for this year's RDI Summer School, and anyone with between 3 and 15 years' professional design experience can apply.
The RDI are the Royal Designers for Industry, a gang of the brightest and best from the worlds of design, architecture and engineering. They include Jonathon Ive, Derek Birdsall, Peter Blake, Thomas Heatherwick, Alan Kitching, Marc Newson and Mary Quant amongst their number, as well as a host of others.
The school takes 12 or so of the RDI, throws them together with 30 young(er) designers, and then basically lets them play for four days. The exact nature of the school changes each year, so it's tricky to explain exactly what happens. But, heck, four days in the country doing creative stuff with incredibly talented people - what's not to love?
The school runs from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 September, down at the stunning Dartington Hall in South Devon. Because it's subsidised it only costs £100 per person, which includes transport from London, food and accommodation. The deadline for applications is 25 July.
You can find out more at the RSA website, and can check out some of Alistair's photos from last couple of years here.
We made our way along to the St Bride Annual Conference at the end of last week, and we were going to post a long, fascinating, detailed and critical analysis of it all, but fortunately Ministry of Type has beaten us to it.
The event was a bit of a hit and miss affair, with moments of brilliance mixed up with moments of not-so-brilliant, and we agree with pretty much everything Aegir at Ministry of Type has to say about it, except that we thought Lizzie Ridout's talk was really interesting, and that she's lovely.
We particularly liked the talks by typographers Jeremy Tankard and Rian Hughes. We'll post later about the gorgeous stuff Rian Hughes showed, but in the meantime, here's some shots of the book TypeBookOne that Jeremy Tankard gave out free to everyone (how great is that?) featuring a variety of his typefaces.
Dear Internet. We find that we have waaaay too much time on our hands. It would be really splendid if you could find a way to suck away some of that time. Perhaps a few hours each day? Or, you know, more? Excellent, thanks!
Oh. Dear. Lord.
Say goodbye to lunch breaks, coffee breaks, tea breaks, going home early, idle chit chat, or frankly, any semblance of a life. Those clever kids (well, actually, the insanely clever Rob Meek) over at FontShop have created FontStruct, a quite brilliant online type generator.
It's a very Web 2.0 UGC (User Generated Content for the lo-tech among you) kinda thing. You play around with a deceptively simple interface to create your own geometric letter forms. It uses a set of 'bricks' and... well, heck, go take a look. You have to register, which only takes a minute or so, and then you're off. You can browse other people's (frankly astounding) efforts, and even download them (as a .ttf file) for free. Or go the whole hog, and create your own typeface. You can keep it just for yourself (if you're a bit of a grouch), or share it with the world.
We’re not going to be posting for a few days, as we’re heading down to the Isle of Wight. (We’re convinced that it could be the UK’s version of The Hamptons, but no-one’s agreeing with us on that one so far.)
We’re not just heading down for seaside rock and coloured sands though – on Sunday we’re taking part in the first Tour De Blanche, a round-the-island cycle ride in aid of the wonderful Teenage Cancer Trust. If you’re a good cyclist it’s a pleasant day's ride; if you’re not so hot, it’s a gruelling 8 hour marathon up and down an exhaustingly hilly coastal route. We’ll leave it to you to figure out which group we fall into.
If you feel like donating a bit of your hard-earned, just go to our Justgiving page and punch in your details.