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Central Saint Martins

Johnny Hardstaff

BA Graphic Design Alumni
Central Saint Martins
Johnny  Hardstaff


I studied Graphic Design at Saint Martins School of Art (1989-1992), my distinctive approach to graphic media clearly originated from within the ambitious leftfield climate and maverick creative entrepreneurship that typified Saint Martins in the late eighties.

I am a director and designer represented by Ridley Scott Associates (London) and Little Minx (Los Angeles). I have directed and designed innovative moving image work for clients such as Sony, Radiohead and Orange. I have exhibited at major museums of modern art and cultural institutes including Tate Modern, The V&A and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Some of my most notable pieces are 'History of Gaming' and 'Future of Gaming' (two politically provocative short films designed to test corporate patronage, now inducted into the National Film Archive), the Radiohead film 'Like Spinning Plates' (long format experimental music video), and a contemporary raft of innovative design based commercials.

Visit Johnny's website


Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

I didn't really understand what Saint Martins was. I hadn't attended an open day or visited, and I didn't know anyone who studied there, and yet there was no other institution I was prepared to apply to. Saint Martins felt like the deep end of all things fashion and design. It felt dangerous, like something could and would happen. It felt perfect.

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

London is the best bit about living and studying in London. I still think it's the most creatively subversive capital city anywhere in the world.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Be dangerous. Be subversive. Be unique. Confound and confront. Have an agenda. Have a mission and stick to it. Be ready for a fight.

And for students about to graduate?

A: No one owes you a thing. You have to do it all yourself.

B: Understand the law of averages.

C: Very simply, just make work that no one has ever seen before.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I direct and design short films, commercials, music videos and the like. I got to do this by working extraordinarily hard, and then remembering to show someone this hard work.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career path?

Saint Martins instilled a degree of self-sufficiency and confidence. Confidence above all else has helped me. Knowing the value of my creativity.

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