Emergence – Typography Degree Show 2024

Every year, the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication holds a showcase to display the works of their graduating undergraduate class and celebrate their achievements. This annual show serves as a platform for students to exhibit their finest work from the past three years and is a celebration of creativity and accomplishment, where each student designs a display that encapsulates their best efforts. It presents an opportunity for the students to introduce themselves into the professional realm and in a way that aligns with their specific interests and aspirations for the future. Industry professionals are also invited to witness the remarkable achievements of the students. The attendance of industry professionals not only serves as an acknowledgment of the graduates’ diligent efforts and commitment, but it also presents a valuable networking opportunity that could potentially lead to collaborative endeavours. This showcase is a stepping stone for students to transition from the academic world into the professional design industry. It opens doors and creates valuable connections that could kickstart their careers as up-and-coming designers.

A team of third year students undertakes the role of branding and promoting the event. This year’s team has worked tirelessly to bring their creative vision to life, ensuring a memorable and impactful experience for all attendees. The following blog post offers an inside look at how this has been created, developed, and put together.



We were tasked with creating a coherent brand identity for the Typography Degree Show 2024. The show aims to display and showcase the graduating students’ work through engaging design material that effectively promotes the degree show. The design of the show should symbolise the graduating year group and their time at the university. Additionally, by using a diverse range of media to promote and showcase the event enables the graduating students to gain exposure to emerge into the professional world.



  • Branding – The branding for the degree show needed to be created to establish the overall visual theme and identity of ‘emergence’. This involves the creation of a logo, colour palette, typography and other design elements to be consistently applied across all materials. The branding for this degree show sets the tone for the event and ensures a unified and recognisable aesthetic that would resonate with our year group.
  • Print Invitation – The print invitation was one of our main deliverables, designed to formally invite guests to the show. It features our branding along with key details of the event. This print invitation serves as a first point of contact and was created to leave a lasting impression.
  • Digital invitations – As well as the print invitation, 3 email invitations were designed to coincide this, to ensure that recipients could easily RSVP and stay informed on any updates.
  • Entrance Panel – Our entrance panel is a large prominently placed display that welcomes guests to the degree show. It is placed directly opposite the entrance to introduce the event and aims to catch the eye of attendees as they arrive in the department and guide them into the exhibition space.
  • Poster – A poster was created to promote the degree show across various locations, mainly throughout our department.
  • Instagram – As a social media presence, we decided to create an Instagram page dedicated to the show. This space is for us to share updates, content, introduce the undergraduates and highlight some of our work. This deliverable helps in building excitement leading up to the event, engages an audience and shows individuals what to expect by complementing the physical exhibition.
  • Website – A website was created which is the prime way student work is highlighted. Our website includes profiles of the participating students and galleries of their work. This deliverable ensures accessibility and provides a comprehensive resource for those interested in the show.
  • Drinks table poster boards & vinyls – Vinyls were designed to decorate the drinks table outside the front entrance of the department as well as table poster boards to display the longer version of the show’s logo at the front of the table.
  • Window decals – Another derivable we created to brand the space and promote the degree show, to be placed in the windows of the entrance to the department.

In addition to these deliverables, we proposed the idea of an A5 booklet that would showcase each of the students, featuring a selection of their best pieces along with a brief introduction of themselves. This booklet would have been a valuable takeaway for employers and industry professionals, giving them a lasting reference of us students. Unfortunately, the department did not have the budget for this deliverable, so it was discarded.



Creating the branding was a challenge, as it entailed developing visuals for an abstract word. Through multiple rounds of ideation and feedback, we were able to finally hone in on our final look and styling of the branding. There are two main elements that make up the branding; the type and the shape weaving through it, both with blend effects to emulate a halftone style. The reason for using this kind of style stemmed from a feedback session with Rob, who presented the idea of using different types of halftones, which related to the word ‘Emergence’ in the sense that halftones are used to make up an image, hence making it ’emerge’ from the combination and spacing of dot patterns, originally. Rather than using the traditional CMYK halftones, we experimented with using lines of the same colour to replicate this.

The display type, Pilowlava (found here) was chosen for its uniqueness, and it’s relation to energy, which is a callback to the first themes we thought of when deciding on a name for the show; “Pilowlava seeks a balance between viscous energy and controlled geometry.”. Thankfully the typeface was free and has an open licence, which allowed us to use it and modify it however we wanted to. This freedom with the typeface lead us to discover a blend effect that made the letters using evenly spaced lines. Due to the drastic variations and inconsistencies of the glyph structures, applying this effect meant that the lines would converge and disperse and various places, creating an added interest to the type. Although this did look fine, at a more detailed level, you could see a lot of inconsistencies in the lines, which had to be corrected by hand; this created a good opportunity for having and refining our eye for detail and learning how to fix these issues. The overall effect created an illusion of the typeforms emerging from certain starting points where the lines were the most dense, which added a subtlety of the show’s meaning into the type itself.

The creation of the shapes related back to our initial idea for the branding, however after countless trials of experimentation with different concepts, we came back to the concept of flowing shapes as we found it best conveyed the show’s meaning. Having the shapes grow from one point and flow across the design clearly showed how it is ’emerging’ and represents the students themselves. The blend effect was also applied to this to add a sense of dynamism and movement. There was a concern of the shape and type overlapping in terms of legibility, however, it created an engaging moiré effect, which we were assured was fine and added another layer of interest, and legibility wouldn’t be too affected by this. Another element of the shape is that it is the only coloured part of the branding. This was done to reflect the students themselves, and how we are emerging into the professional realm, and bringing our unique colour into this world as we graduate.

In terms of the colours used, we used an adapted CMYK palette with an added green. This was done to give us bright colours that would stand out, and we wouldn’t have to worry about them being dulled down when printing. We also decided on a black background, as the blend effect translated better this way and felt brighter than it being dark on a lighter background. To ensure that our colour choices would work well for print deliverables, we did multiple test prints to ensure that the colours are as bright physically as they were digitally. This provided us with better knowledge of how to test for these aspects, but also how to improve on them. For example, with the help of Geoff, we were able to alter the values of the back that we originally had to certain values that would allow it to be deeper and richer once printed, this gave us valuable knowledge that we can use for future reference.

By intertwining the shape with the type, a sense of interaction of the elements was created. This was done to again, show the dynamism and energy of our cohort, but also our interaction with the design world and each other as students. It allows for an interesting element to notice, and a way to further integrate the meaning of the show into the design.

figure 1 – initial branding exploration


figures 2–4 – branding explorations 2–6


figure 5 – final logo



In accordance with our goals for the Degree Show, the main target audience were the guests themselves. This involved friends and staff of the department, as well as friends and family of the graduating students and potential employers. Additionally, earlier during the beginning stages of the planning, we had sent out a form to the year group to put in names of designers that they would personally want to invite to the Degree Show and therefore, we aimed to include them as well within our target audience.


Research and ideation

When approaching this project, we decided it would be beneficial to research other existing degree shows and exhibitions. We looked at the archive of Typography degree show invites, websites and Instagram accounts and took away points of things that worked and things that didn’t work. For example, we identified the effectively using the created branding throughout visually brings everything together. We also identified things that made deliverables appear less interesting, including lack of typographic differentiation and no opportunity for potential guests to interact.

Once we decided on the name, we created a variety of mood boards of different ways of visually representing the term ‘Emergence’ (Figures 6–14). This led us to decide what themes were most appropriate and also what would be most visually appealing.

figures 6–14 – mood boards that represent ’emergence’ in different visual forms


Design Development

Print invitation

The printed invitations started off with ideas of a folded poster around an invitation card, and we continued to experiment with this at different sizes and different methods of folding (Figure 21). Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were unable to move forward with this initial plan, as the time it would take to get the invites printed, folded, assembled and sent off greatly exceeded the time we actually had. Additionally, through feedback we evaluated the realities of this concept, and how likely people would be to keep the poster up or go back to look at it. An issue of the colour also factored into this, as having a black background meant using black toner, which cracks when folded, leading to a poster with cracked toner along the folds. Because of these reasons and the time we had, we decided to have a simple card invitation and use print finishes to make it more special and memorable. This experience was critical in learning to face the reality of time constraints and user experience, and adjust plans accordingly by thinking on our feet to create a deliverable that would work just as well.

figure 15 – printed invitation v1


figure 16 – printed invitation v2


figure 17 – printed invitation v3


figure 18 – printed invitation v4


figure 19 – printed invitation v5


figure 20 – printed invitation v6


figure 21 – initial idea for folded poster around invitation


Email invitations

This deliverable brought challenges as we had to learn how to use Mailchimp, the system used to send out the email invitations. With feedback, the designs gradually more visually interesting with every email, creating excitement for the guests that the event is getting closer and closer. Ways in which this was achieved was using an extended version of the logo in each case (long version > 3×3 > animated), making the background colour black for a more dramatic effect when the email is opened, and typographically getting bigger and bolder. In order for our body typeface, Space Grotesk, to appear on the invitation, we had to implement it through HTML. This brought valuable experience that will come in useful in the future.

Figures 22–24 – v1 of Digital invitations 1, 2 and 3


figures 25–27 – v2 of digital invitations 1, 2 and 3



Once we’d created the branding, we began applying it to the Instagram posts. Before uploading the students and their work, we wanted to launch the brand identity to Instagram first to showcase and set the tone for our brand; emergence. Showcasing the brand across the bottom of the feed, provides details about what the event is and what it entails. These launch posts help engage potential followers and build excitement about what’s to come. Furthermore, the accounts bio is an essential part of the account, helping the followers understand the purpose of the account. By ensuring the bio has all the essential details about the events, enables followers to attract followers to our event and act as a valuable space for e-invitations (Figure 28).

By utilising Instagram’s grid format, we were able to visually link the students work to their portrait by placing the portrait on the left-hand side of the students two pieces of work. This format was chosen was it was the least confusing option for the followers, as we read left to right. By doing this, the followers can make a quick association with the student and their work (Figure 29). In addition to showcasing the student work in the feed, we also utilised Instagram highlights. Different highlights were made in relation to the type of work being showcased, as well as links to the students’ portfolios. This helps to keep the followers engaged with our content and enhance the students work.

Figure 28 – Emergence instagram account profile


figure 29 – Instagram profile, showing launch posts and post format



With the website being the prime way student work is highlighted (as it is not limited to the amount of work displayed), this had to be designed in an effective way where all work looked of an equal importance and is easy to navigate. Firstly, the website required a loading page which indicates the launch is being awaited and content will be coming soon (Figure 30). The main home page when the degree show has launched will host all student work, and is divided into realms of design. The initial sketches for this highlighted an obvious route in terms of layout as we needed to ensure all student’s work was showcased equally (Figure 31). In order for all users of the website to understand the purpose of it, an ‘About’ section was created, which describes the details about the degree show and the meaning behind ‘Emergence’ itself. The last type of page is one where each student has been given a page that displays a portrait, bio, social links, and 3 pieces of work.

All of these pages have been branded in line with the rest of the deliverables, making use of all 3 versions of the logo. At first, the website had a black background, reflecting the branding, as well as the other deliverables. However, this was later changed to a white background as it gave the website a lighter, and more professional feel.

figure 30 – website ‘coming soon’ page


figure 31 – website student page v2


Promotional poster

To keep the consistency across all deliverables, the promotional posters were designed in the same style as the printed invitation. This meant that the poster had the same design as the front of the invitation. Additional elements added included the time and dates of both the private and public viewing of the Degree Show. The posters were designed in A3 format. The posters were designed with the intention of putting them up around the department, and potentially around the university campus as well to allow further reach. As the posters were yet to be printed at this stage, mock ups were created to visualise how the output would look (Figure 32).

Figure 32 – promotional poster mock-up


Entrance panel

The design of the entrance panel aimed to create a visually striking first impression for guests as they enter the department. We collectively decided that using the full version of the word rather than being broken into three lines was the most appropriate design for the panel. This way the panel effectively conveys the theme of our degree show. Initially, the design of the entrance panel included the full logo, a welcome message and a brief description of the show. We soon found that guests would have been provided with a copy of the explanation in their printed and emailed invitations. Therefore to avoid repetition and create better space on the panel, we decided to remove this information and just provide a friendly welcome message.

figure 33 – Entrance panel v1


figure 34 – entrance panel v2


figure 35 – entrance panel v3


figure 36 – entrance panel v4


Table poster boards and vinyls

Another deliverable for this project was creating vinyls and poster boards to decorate the drinks table that would be outside the front entrance of the department. The vinyls for the tabletops contain only the shapes, as it is being used for drinks, there would be no reason to add anything else as it will not be looked at in detail for very long by attendees. On the contrary, poster boards will be used to display the longer version of the show’s logo at the front of the table, which will be the first thing that attendees see when coming to the table. This starts pushing the branding towards people attending as soon as they arrive at the event.

figure 37 – Table poster boards design


figure 38 – table vinyl design, with guides to show where they would fold around the table



Another possible deliverable we thought about making was an animation what could be used in the social media and the digital invitations. The shapes and styling of the branding lends itself well to movement, and presents many possibilities of animating. An animation adds another layer of interest to the artworks and shows viewers a new elements of the show’s possibilities. Additionally by animating the shape and, or the type, allows us to directly show the word ‘Emergence’ visually through motion.


Personal reflections


I have learnt and improved on lots of skills throughout this project which I will be able to take forward and build on in future projects. I took the role of project manager which brought challenges whereby I was working with designers who had not worked with each other before so I had the opportunity to guide them through it. Additionally, I led meetings both with designers and supervisors, as well as taking minutes and adding them to an ongoing document. We learnt to collaborate effectively by identifying each other’s strengths and using them to our advantage to efficiently create these deliverables. Working with supervisors within department was a positive part of the experience as communicating was quick and easy. Another skill I have had the opportunity to improve is how to present work in a professional manner to the tutors. As we were working for tutors in department, we were able to show our work in person every time and verbally go through the reasonings behind design decisions, meaning the supervisor could understand the justification and edits we made. Additionally, regarding file management, we had a shared folder that contained everything we created and needed for the project which ensured for a coherent experience when designing collaboratively. Due to the nature of this project, I gained a deeper understanding of the depth of branding and designing an exhibition, which I can apply if I get the opportunity to do something similar in the future. It helped that we as designers were often communicating with one another as well. One thing we could have improved on was time management as we did not stick to the schedule in the end.



This project showed me what it takes to organise and create an event from scratch. By creating a consistent platform to showcase the student work, we were able to create content that keeps the audience engaged with the upcoming event. This experience enabled me to help showcase my peers work, providing them with the opportunity to ‘emerge’ into the careers and goals.



Overall, this Real Job has been a novel challenge, however very rewarding at the same time. Creating the branding for an annual event was initially rather intimidating, as it is made to be seen by not only staff withing the department, but industry professionals and anyone else who comes to the show or browses the website in coming years. It is something that lasts beyond our time at the department and is made to represent our cohort for years to come. The responsibility of designing something on this scale was not only a challenge in its capacity as a legacy, but in the design itself.

Creating a visual representation of an abstract concept was difficult, however it taught me skills that will be very valuable in the future such as methods of ideation and critical thinking in terms of what to consider when deciding on concepts. We spent a lot of time deciding on our branding concept, however this has taught me to start off with a wide range of ideas and not be set on one particular idea at the beginning. Additionally, the production side of the physical deliverables made me realise areas where I am lacking in my skill set, for example not being able to create the invitation concept I had worked on for a couple of weeks due to time constraints. On the other hand, having to change plans taught me to be flexible with designing and my way of thinking, and being able to come up with a contingency plan. This project has taught me to not be afraid of feedback and changing plans, but most importantly to set deadlines according to each deliverable, and prioritise how I work based on this. We should be sure to learn what these deadlines are at the beginning of the project and discuss them in great length if need be, so that the whole team can work together and help each other if needed.

 Working on this Real Job has been a great learning opportunity that has provided me with valuable experience in working towards a live brief. It has also improved my skills in working as a team to listen and respect each other’s ideas and feedback and working together to create something amazing.


Reflecting on this project, I found it both rewarding and challenging. I thoroughly enjoyed brainstorming ideas and experimenting with different visual styles and seeing our concepts evolve into a cohesive identity that represented the class was very rewarding. However, one of the main challenges we faced as a group was managing our time effectively. With tight schedules due to our slow start on finalising the branding and the need for multiple iterations based on feedback. Finalising the branding required a high level of collaboration and compromise. Throughout the project, I learned invaluable skills in teamwork and communication. Working closely as a group highlighted the importance of clear and open communication especially when coordinating different tasks and responsibilities. Each member’s unique strengths and insights contributed to the success of this project. Despite the challenges, we maintained a positive productive working environment and working as a team made the experience enjoyable. Overall working on this Real Job has been super rewarding and a great opportunity as I have been able to harness new skills that will be valuable in my design career.



Working on this Real Job was personally a very challenging but rewarding job. Creating different deliverables was daunting at first, as the thought of having industry professionals and people outside of the department visit the show as well as the potential of the website being browsed in the future felt intimidating. Furthermore, the designing and planning of this event also meant this was something that would be representing us as a year group and having the responsibility of this was intimidating, however, this very thought was the driving force for going forward with this Real Job. Being able to be a part of the team for the Degree Show is something that is valuable to me for the future as it allowed me to improve and learn new skills such as critical thinking i.e. looking at design from a critical point of view to allow making design decisions.

Being involved in making the print deliverables for the Real Job also allowed me to learn more about printing methods and this was very valuable to me as I enjoy working with print processes and being able to design and work on the physical deliverables meant that I was able to improve my understanding of print specifications and how colour spaces impact the finished product, depending on the output. Despite an extended time being spent on deciding the branding, this taught me the importance of brainstorming ideas and having multiple ideas for one concept, as it allowed flexibility. The time constraints within this Real Job also taught me about time management and how to be flexible with my design and also being able to adapt to changes rapidly.

Overall this Real Job has taught me to receive constructive criticism and most importantly, working together as a team. Being in a team meant that all of us had our own duties to fulfil and though those duties, we were able to work towards the deliverables and prioritise our work around it. Working on this Real Job has been a great learning opportunity as it allowed me to gain valuable experience that will be beneficial to me in the future, such as respecting each other’s ideas and helping each other where needed.