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Best in Class: The Derby University Degree Show 2016


Want to check out a selection of the latest (and newest) design talent Derby has to offer? Then look no further than the University of Derby Arts Degree show.

Last week we were invited to attend a private viewing of this exhibition at the Markeaton campus, comprising the work of students studying animation, illustration and graphic design. As a former graduate of Derby University myself, I was keen to see the work this years students had produced.

On viewing the work exhibited at the degree show, it was tough to decide which work stood out the most. My personal highlights demonstrate inquisitive thinking, exceptional technical skills and attention to detail – all of which I feel are important qualities in practice:


Piotr Maczko

Piotr Maczko’s work, ‘Typebeat’, instantly grabbed my attention, for its colour and interesting typeface. It was one of few project that needed no explanation. Displayed on screen, Piotr had designed an interactive web experience, allowing you to type out letters to create different beatbox sounds. This was great fun, well displayed and typographically interesting too. Sometimes keeping things simple and well designed is more than enough.

Typebeat - by Piotr Maczko
Typebeat – an interactive web/music experience by Piotr Maczko

Ryan Tranter

Another favourite was Ryan Tranter’s ‘Youtilse’ campaign – aimed to tackle household food waste. Alongside traditional campaign material, Ryan put together a simple app, designed to recommend food recipes based off the users remaining ‘food waste’ ingredients. Overall I really enjoyed this piece. It is clear that this project shows great attention to detail and is proof of another simple idea executed well.

Ryan Tranter - Youtilise
Youtilise – a mobile app and campaign concept by Ryan Tranter.

Natalie Fearn

Finally, Natalie Fearn’s paper quilt installation ‘Self Construction’ was not to be missed. I was impressed by the 3D paper installation alone and even more so by the level of detail spent putting this together. The installation describes her journey, development and progression as a designer and an individual at university, including personal diary entries and influential locations she has visited. Ultimately this was a great personal project, well displayed and one to remember.

Natalie Fearn - Self Construction
Self Construction – a paper installation by Natalie Fearn

It is clear that this year’s graduates have spared no detail, explaining and showcasing their work to a high standard. The students above are my highlights from what was a strong show and has served as an exciting starting point for the young new graduates.  I wish all the creative final-year students the greatest possible success as they embark on their future careers ahead.

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