Celebrating fifty years of graphic design with the RCA



Today, few activities can survive without graphic design: from the creation of corporate logos to the look of the user interface on your smart phone; graphic designers are shaping the world we live in. This year, to mark the shift from commercial art and its emphasis on brush script lettering and decorative borders to graphic design, the RCA displays a narrative of graphic design in GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond.

The exhibition features original, rarely seen works from the RCA archive, including designs made at the College by RCA alumni who have gone on to become leading practitioners. Over 120 designers are featured in GraphicsRCA50+ with works ranging from printed posters and books to moving image and digital projection.

Other works include RCA Film Society Posters, stamps commissioned for the Royal Mail, the infamous student magazine Ark, typographic experiments, the rise of interest amongst students (and staff) in social issues such as sustainability and consumerism, and early examples from pioneers of digital design and print. 

GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond, reveals the rich history of graphic design at the Royal College of Art and demonstrates how, for the past half century, the RCA has been at the forefront of major developments in graphic communication. The exhibition celebrates the 65 years since the creation of a graphic design course. The course heralded an era that saw graphic design emerge as a major force in business and culture.

Designers and design studios include: A Practice for Everyday Life, AlexanderBoxill, Phil Baines, Jonathan Barnbrook, Sophie Demay, Daniel Eatock, Dan Fern, FUEL, Graphic Thought Facility, Michele Jannuzzi, Julia, Jack Llewellyn, Morag Myerscough, Kyuha Shim, Sophie Thomas, Jeanne Verdoux, and Why Not Associates.

GraphicsRCA50+ is the product of a team collaboration led by four primary curators from the Royal College of Art with assistance from their current students and alumni. Professor Teal Triggs is Associate Dean School of Communication, RCA, and a design writer and historian; Richard Doust is a graduate of the RCA (1963) and guardian of the GraphicsRCA archive; Jeff Willis is a graduate of the RCA (1984) and visiting tutor for MA Visual Communication; and Adrian Shaughnessy is a design writer, publisher and visiting tutor for MA Visual Communication.

The exhibition opened in London in 2014 travelling to the National Museum of the Republic in Brasilia in 2015. This current and expanded exhibition in Dubai features new works by more recent graduates.