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Interview // Tara Hanrahan on designing for LCC Degree Shows 2016

Lewis Bush 2016,
Written by
Helen Carney
Published date
20 May 2016
With LCC’s Degree Shows 2016 season beginning next week, the students’ work is being showcased this year by a Degree Shows identity from Tara Hanrahan at Think/Do. Tara is also Co-founder and Researcher at Conscientious Communicators, LCC.

We caught up with Tara to find out more about how she approached the project and what visitors can expect to see at the College.


External signage. Image © Lewis Bush

Can you tell us how you approached the brief for Degree Shows 2016 – what were your priorities at the start of the project?
I wanted to communicate the multiplicity of creative potential at LCC. My priorities were to generate an aesthetic that represented this diversity and had sufficient breadth to work across a variety scales and formats.


Digital branding

What were the greatest challenges in producing a Shows identity?
Creating an identity that represents such a multidisciplinary cohort is tricky, so I chose to focus on their common objective – to become the future generation of the media and design industries.

The flexibility of the brand to work in different scenarios was also a challenge and for it to be loud when used to market the event, but sit more quietly once inside the exhibition allowing the work of the students to take centre stage.


External signage. Image © Lewis Bush


Posters displayed around the College

How do the finished designs encapsulate the spirit of the Shows?
I became interested in how the future (indeed many futures) might be represented. This led me to think of aposiopesis “wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination.” I loved the idea that the students were on that precipice, about to realise their future.

This inspired the use of ellipsis (…). I began hunting through different typefaces to discover and select these wonderful forms, which imply ‘what’s next?’ The final collection of punctuation marks, sometime used together and sometimes used individually to represent courses, suggests the imaginative diversity of degree show time.

In keeping with this theme, as visitors enter the building over their heads 3D type states that “ The future starts here…” and as visitors leave is proposes that “ The ending has yet to be imagined…”


Internal signage. Image © Lewis Bush


Internal signage. Image © Lewis Bush

You’ve worked with sustainable materials – can you tell us a bit more about this?
Sustainable approaches and materials are an essential part of my design practice. Degree Shows 2016 applies this in various ways – sizes were informed by efficient use of substrate sheets and formats have been determined by utilising existing structures or designing for multipurpose.

Signage throughout has been created from honeycomb cardboard with a 100% recycled core, fixings have been designed for reuse across shows, window graphics are made from a PVC-free film, and print is on recycled papers with a high proportion of post-consumer and post-industrial waste.


Internal lettering. Right image © Lewis Bush

Your design extends beyond the building itself to the area in front of the College – what can people expect to see outside?
I wanted to invite students to participate in suggesting what their future might hold. Inspired by Chinese wishing trees, there will be a tree filled with tags containing the handwritten aspirations of graduating students. This tag-covered tree will sit alongside the ellipsis graphics and typography that have been applied to the building windows.


Tree tags completed by students

What stage is production at now – and how do you feel at this point in the process?
We are almost there. The invites and marketing are in circulation, we are collecting tags and the large scale graphics have just installed.

It is always exciting at this point, because you begin to observe the interaction of your design with others. I am now interested to see the work of the media students populating the galleries and then that of the Design School next month.


Show booklet/invitation

What advice would you give to designers working on future LCC Degree Shows?
Having taught at and designed for LCC previously gave me an advantage in terms of insight, understanding and empathy. I would advise future designers to immerse themselves in the College, to research the mix of subjects, people and spaces so that it can inform and inspire their work.


Tara Hanrahan

LCC Degree Shows 2016

School of Media Private View: Thursday 26 May 6-10pm
Exhibition open: Friday 27 May – Saturday 4 June

BA (Hons) Sound Arts and Design Private View: Friday 27 May 6-10pm (at Copeland Gallery, London SE15 3SN)
Exhibition open: Friday 27 May – Saturday 4 June

School of Design Private View: Thursday 16 June 6-10pm
Exhibition open: Friday 17 – Saturday 25 June

Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday 11am – 4pm, closed Sunday


Read more about LCC Degree Shows 2016

Visit the Think/Do website