This week Newenglish visited the Wellcome collection to see their ‘Can Graphic Design Change Your Life’ exhibition. The exhibition explores the relationship between graphic design and health through six different sections: Persuasion, Education, Hospitalisation, Medication, Contagion & Provocation, through a collection of hard hitting posters, packaging, signage, video and publications. The examples of graphic design in each section shed light on how graphic design has a very real impact on all health related ares from preventing epidemics such as the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa (with pictorial motifs and posters for communities with low literacy) and AIDs education campaigns in the west, to how interior graphics and way finding in hospitals can help patients genuinely feel better.
We loved seeing such a bold celebration of graphic design’s often understated daily triumphs. Thanks to the confident curation of the show we were hit by this as soon as we walked in with the beginning section both shaming then applauding graphic designer’s long and complicated relationship with the tobacco industry – first encouraging the habit through slick packing and advertising and to the present day where design is used to encourage smokers to quit. Addressing what is often a taboo subject in design history. We also felt uplifted by reminders of how graphic design can help an ambulance get through rush hour (those fluorescent vehicle wraps are near impossible to miss) and patients navigate the hospital and feel safe when they arrive – we particularly loved the graphics at the Katta Civic Polyclinic, Shiraishi, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan (perhaps the nicest place to get sick for any graphic enthusiast).
Looking forward we will definitely take on board some of the gorgeous examples of typography seen across the entirety of the show as well as, the clean, instructive yet personable interiors of the various Japanese hospital and clinic interiors exhibited. Most importantly, we came away with a refreshed sense of pride in our discipline; as the unsung heroes of keeping us all well. The type of good old moral graphic design seen at the Wellcome collection reminded us of the work we love doing so much with libraries. More Libraries in the works now!
Loved our annual visit to Design Junction in London! Here’s a few of our favourite lighting designs from the show.
Newenglish recently visited Grayson Perry’s : Julie Cope’s Grand Tour : the Story of a Life at The Gallery at Leicester’s De Montfort University. The exhibition is comprised of a biographic ballad and tapestries telling the beautifully ‘extraordinary, ordinary everywoman’, Julie Cope. Perry’s ballads are presented on large painted wood tablets in a pleasing to read subtly gothic yet modern feeling serif font. The complex tapestries were drawn digitally using an interactive pen display, giving them a very illustrative feel, these vector drawings were then threaded and woven by Flanders Tapestries. It’s probably the digital origins of the two tapestries that gives them their incredible depth and layers of colour and detail. We were all fascinated by the use of iPads; which gave interactive versions of the tapestries allowing us to select specific people, places and scenes in each tapestry and have either that part of the narrative or textile explained on screen. This use of tech was a refreshing move away from the usual dependance on the viewers artistic intellect to pick apart the piece they are looking at (yet another thing which has been ‘democratised’ by technology?).
It was lovely to visit something glorifying the lives most of us live – opposed to an extreme of success, hardship or political views. Although the Julie Cope’s story was undoubtedly tragic in its ending, we found it to be a pleasant reminder of how special all of our lives are (it’s nice to think that we’d all have the potential to become a good story!).
Looking forward we find ourselves excited by the prospect of using textile in a graphic context, inspired by the richness of colour and textures achievable in this media. In a graphic landscape seemingly landlocked by the adobe suite this offers an interesting new creative outlet for Newenglish’s graphic minds. We also loved the story told in Grayson Perry’s ballad, imprinting on us the power of narrative in visual arts. How could we incorporate this into a project?
Well, it’s not everyday we get to nip out of the studio to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh!
The Royal couple we’re visiting Leicester to attend the Maundy Service at the Leicester Cathedral.
Team Newenglish were stood on the corner of Humberstone Gate near the Clock Tower when the Royal Limousine drove past. Helen and Brian even scaled a nearby statue to getter a better glimpse of Her Majesty! (See below).