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A section of a poster with two hands clapping

The Chelsea alumna using her creative powers for good during the pandemic

Written by Kat Hassan
Published date 04 June 2020

The life of an artist or designer is often a life of uncertainty and creative adventure, but the Covid 19 pandemic has presented challenges far beyond anyone’s expectations.

Creatives from all over the UK, including Chelsea students and alumni, have been managing to continue their practice as well as reaching out to celebrate key workers and their local communities.

One of these is BA Graphic Design Communication alumna Jacqueline Colley. We spoke to her about how she has used her creativity and skills in lockdown to show support for the NHS.

a photograph of double glass doors with brightly coloured hand painted decorations including a flamingo flowers fruits and rainbows
Mural painted by Jacqueline Colley on the entrance door of Great Ormond Street Hospital - Credit: Jacqueline Colley

Illustrator and designer Jacqueline Colley graduated from Chelsea in 2008 and earlier this year completed a commission to paint the entrance doors of Great Ormond St Hospital (GOSH) in London: "It was such a rewarding job, as you could feel the effect it had on children and parents: making a hospital visit or stay a little less scary.”

A graphic poster design that says thank you in bold retro font surrounded by four pairs of hands clapping
Poster design by Jacqueline Colley commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital Arts - Credit: Jacqueline Colley

As Covid-19 progressed, she was commissioned again by the hospital to create a poster celebrating the work of their NHS carers.

Jacqueline shared the poster design on social media and was surprised to be contacted by doctors from other hospitals asking if they could buy a copy to put up in their staff room to raise morale. “I didn't want to charge them because of the amazing lifesaving work they are doing,” she said, “despite my freelance work facing its own set of challenges during the pandemic". Jacqueline managed to get sponsorship from Printed.com and DPD UK to print and deliver 50 A2 posters to NHS staff across the country.

The image is also available as a free downloadable colouring sheet on the GOSH Arts Programme website, inviting the public to colour it in and send it to an NHS worker, local hospital, GP Surgery or display in their window. "I wish I could send a poster to every single NHS worker, but being able to send out a little love is awesome!”

graphic poster design with a pink old fashioned telephone on a table with a mint green background and retro style lettering saying phone a friend and check in on them
Poster design by Jacqueline Colley for Life On Hold - Credit: Jacqueline Colley

Since she left Chelsea, Jacqueline has built her illustration career, working with clients such as, Twitter UK, Derwent,  Kate Spade, FLOW magazine, and Refinery29.  Recently she’s been selected as one of six designers to create a design of luxury brand Hermes’s iconic silk scarves.

As well as working commercially, she has an online shop and takes part in fairs. She describes how the impact of the pandemic on small businesses has proven the value of having multiple income streams and of the digital marketplace, with lots of customers choosing to support independent makers: “Some areas of my income have completely shut down since March, whilst my online shop has been much busier. I already valued and prioritised maintaining multiple income streams but moving forward I will aim to give this more attention.'’

It’s not surprising that Jaqueline is thriving: her designs are bold, colourful and striking and have a popular appeal that she says she can trace back to what she learnt as a student:

“Chelsea broadened my awareness of visual language, it was the beginning of a journey of understanding which led to an ability to break down visual styles, manipulate type and create new modern visuals!”

Find out more about studying BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea College of Arts.

Follow Jacqueline on Instagram @jacquelinecolley

We’re encouraging students and alumni to share the work they are creating from home using the hashtag #CreateFromHome