The central narrative

Each year, our first year students embark on a project that explores the idea of storytelling – the foundational premise upon which most graphic design (and arguably communication in general) is based. Understand the place of storytelling in our craft, and you are likely to build strong, believable visual narratives.

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We explore pace, flow, rhythm and tone of voice to aid the engagement with (and comprehension of) a given story or message. We encourage the students to begin with a personally authored piece of writing, to then research within and beyond graphic design (film, poetry, creative writing, photography, and so on…) and experiment with a wide variety of visual responses. The hope is to nurture diverse and experimental approaches to narrative and move beyond conventions of (in this case) the traditional book.

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At the end of the module this year (as is our practice), we created an exhibition of the work and invited the rest of the course to share in the fruits of the first year’s efforts (and scare a few second and third year students in the process!). Of particular note this time around was the care in production of many of the books (thanks again to Megan Stallworthy for the workshops), and the time spent considering the initial stories – many of which dealt with sensitive or poignant moments. The samples shown here were all produced by our first year students (who have been with us for just under 20 weeks), and they wrote, designed and hand-made the books in just 5 weeks!

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