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Bringing the boing

pink background with dark pink springs
pink background with dark pink springs

Written by
Teleri Lloyd-Jones
Published date
16 June 2022

The graphic identity for this year’s end-of-year show focuses on collective energy and joy. We speak to the BA Graphic Communication Design student team behind it.

Three Gleave, Sahar Mangal, Georgina Pratt and Yume Watanabe were friends but they had never collaborated before this project. All four had taken a year out between their second and final years and on their return to College post-pandemic felt strongly that we be marking our new-found togetherness with fun.

Their initial ideas for the identity started during an evening in the College bar. “We began by making it really informal,” recalls Georgina, “We had some paper and a big catch-up because we haven't seen each other for a whole year. Then we just went for it, and eventually stumbled upon that energy within us as what we wanted for the identity.”

They alighted on the spring as a visual metaphor for the energy of graduating students, coiled and ready to propel forward into the next stage of their lives.

Sketchbook image with different images of springs and iteration around that concept
Work in progress for Central Saint Martins Shows 2022
It was genuinely just four people asking ‘how do we make this playful? How do we make something that we would enjoy?’ And I think that's the beautiful part because we didn’t add pressure to it.

— Sahar Mangal

This year’s show is the College’s first since 2019 and it is also the first time that students from all disciplines are showing in the building at the same time. The identity embraces that collectivity but with a nod to the multiplicity of our community with each spring drawn by a different graduating student.

    Work in progress for Central Saint Martins Shows 2022
  • MicrosoftTeams-image.jpg
    Sahar Mangal, Yume Watanabe, Georgina Pratt and Three Gleave, BA Graphic Communication Design students

As the project moved from concept to delivery, the identity deepened. One such moment was relating the stretch and compression of the spring to the typography.

“It took us so long to get away from generic type,” reflects Sahar, “but when we added the stretched type it added that personality we needed.”

Working on the digital interactive elements, Yume found herself pushed by the process: ‘It was hard for me to get my head around because it was the first time I’d used that specific physics engine to get the boing interaction happening. I was just really lucky to have my old tutor from the Creative Computing Institute, connect me to Liam the founder of Matter JS, having a conversation with him about how to improve the code. That was such an opportunity and now I feel more confident in my skills.”

In a final flourish, the team extended the playfulness of the visuals with sound designed by Three (who had spent part of their year out interning at a record label).

Pink and orange image reading 'Central Saint Martins Shows 2022'
Central Saint Martins Shows 2022

This year’s show identity has also brought lots of collaboration with technicians and workshops within Central Saint Martins. In-house expertise has also meant pushing responsible production methods: the window signage for the Foundation Show was screen printed, our hand-out map has been riso-printed in our Publications Workshop and any new-built furniture has designed as flatpack, to be stored and re-used for future exhibitions.

That was one of the things that was really important to us from the start. We wanted to be more conscious about the production of everything; that should be part of any graphic design practice.

— Georgina Pratt

The team are handing their individual graduating work this week while also watching the elements of their collective design appear – from the wayfinding in the building to the interactive digital website imagery. While they have no concrete plans for the future, their experience as a team has been positive:

I’m really proud of us. We've been learning as we've been doing it. I didn't know if I could screen print on a window and Yume didn’t know if she could do that interactive coding… We've learned so much as well as how communication works and what's expected of us as designers. I just feel like it's been such a rewarding process.

— Sahar Mangal

Central Saint Martins Shows 2022 is on show 16-22 June and online now.