Existence Exhibition

Last night I went to a design show at Kosmonaut in Manchester’s Northern Quarter to support third year students of Staffordshire University. The theme of the show was ‘exploring the idea of branding humanity’

Kosmonaut was a great backdrop for the work with its rough brick walls and wooden floors; it gave the event a great feel. It was a buzzing atmosphere of like-minded creatives talking about their projects and celebrating their achievements. All the work was of a great standard and really displays the quality of work that comes from Staffordshire University. All had great thoughts and insight behind them. Here are just a few that stood out to me from talking to the students.

Jamie Robinson

Jamie’s project centred on the idea of discovery being what separated us from any other living things. The poster he created has an amazing attention to detail. The inner circle represents discovery on a cellular level. The middle circle represented global discovery and the outer circle space exploration. His large cut out of the spaceman really drew attention to his work and made you want to engage with his work more. Again for something that was at such large scale it had such brilliant attention to detail. His final world in his communication is, “”Where to next?” I’m sure it means for Jamie a great career in design and illustration. Check out his website www.jamietherobin.com for more of his work.


Corey Turner

Corey’s project was about Human Virtues; the four cardinal virtues: Fortitude, Justice, Prudence and Temperance and that they are ‘universally accepted as the basic qualities required for our well-being and happiness.’ The display Corey did using the table looked really effective, his illustrations detailed and really uniquely stylised. From looking at Corey’s website he has created a brilliant concept of Corey-land with creating ‘a fantasy land where all the things I love and create come together in one place. Go to his website at www.coreyturner.co.uk to see more of his great work and learn more about his fantasy island.

Corey-TurnerMatt Nolan

This piece of work is using humour at its greatest. Showing my studio a picture of this, this morning we all thought it was such a unique way of looking at the world and our relationship with cows. Matt’s project was about ‘if cows could communicate as we do, what would they say about us? We eat their beef, wear their leather and drink their milk, so would they view us as their oppressors? Their enemy?’ My first thought was wondering if matt was a vegetarian, on speaking to him I found out he wasn’t. Check out his portfolio at Behance.


Blue Golder

Blue’s project ran very close to my heart, care for animals. Blue’s was titled 777 it was about ‘how humans have caused the extinction of seven hundred and seventy seven animal species’ She built a skull shape then made up on 777 animal shapes to represent each one. Beautifully executed, from talking to Blue she said it took about 4 hours alone for the laser cutter to cut it out. I wouldn’t want to imagine how many hours to lay them all out. It’s a great piece of work and communicated a strong message. Have a look at other projects shes done at Behance.


Lauren Turner

This project had the title ‘Grandmothers help us live longer’ looking at it, it was like you where in your grandmother’s kitchen when you looked at the display, such amazing attention to detail. Lauren explained to me about the project, explaining that humans live longer due to us having grandparents to look after infants, so parents can invest time in having another baby. So she worked on creating a guide to primates on how to have there own grandmother in 4 easy steps. The illustrations where using great humour, I especially love step 4. Laurens Nan also kindly donated to her all the things for her project, which was a very sweet touch. You can see more work at Behance.


Sam Owen

Sam’s project was all about what Humanity Values and ‘focuses on key values that we- as humans hold’ It was a wonderful piece of design that you could interactive with. It explored ‘the theories and unique questions that provoke nostalgic questions that provoke nostalgic memories for the audience. These questions allow the audience to look at how their values have changed over time and how they might develop.’ You can tell a lot of hours had gone into the piece with working all those boxes to work and flow. Sam was telling me for the degree show he’s developing it to be bigger than this display and is also designing an app to support it. So excited to see this develop at the degree show in June. Check out Sam’s other work at www.samowenstudio.com


Matt Brighton

This project was another great example of humour in design. Titled Extraterrestrial* it was ‘promoting earth to any form of life out there who might fancy a holiday ’ but also takes a dig at reality of humans destroying the earth. It had a holiday postcard feel about, it like a ‘wish you where here’ feel of we are all having a great time. You can see more of Matt’s work at www.mattbrighton.co.uk


Ed Jones

It was nice to see a piece of design not just traditionally printed but sprayed, Ed said he loved doing it this project with spray and had produced many of these to get this one just right. His work centred on a quote he had found ‘If in the history of earth was compressed to a simple year modern humans would appear on 31st December at approximately 11.58pm’ Check our Ed’s portfolio at Behance.


These are just a few pieces of work from the evening from students I spoke to. The quality of everything exhibited was really high and well executed. It was a really great touch that on the rationales for the projects it included an image of the designer, it was great because you could put a face to the design work and I thought it added a personal touch.

Spending the evening with these new budding designers student it was amazing to see such passion for creative work, being a past student from Staffordshire I know how hard the tutors work to help and support the students, helping them succeed and fill their potential.

I have no doubt that these designers will go on to do more and more amazing work as they all fly the student nest and into the world of creative industries. There degree show is called Afterlife and is on at Staffordshire University from 12-20th June.