AboutA major new exhibition reveals the rich history of graphic design at the Royal College of Art. âGraphicsRCA: Fifty Years' will illustrate how, for the past half century, the RCA has been at the forefront of all major developments in graphic communication.
In 1963 the first ever exhibition of graphic design took place at the Royal College of Art. âGraphicsRCA: Fifteen Year's Work of the School of Graphic Design' looked back to the founding of the School in 1948, and a period when the School taught some of the most recognisable names in the profession amongst them Alan Fletcher, Ridley Scott, David Gentleman and Len Deighton. The 1963 show aimed to capture the new direction of the craft as it emerged from its Victorian roots in the pre-industrial world, and adapted to the new professionalised landscape. It also marked the culmination of a pivotal period in British history, where Modernism gave way to Pop, and the beginnings of the rise of Post-Modernism.
Over 50 years later, graphic design education and the profession finds itself at a crossroads once again. The complexity of the contemporary social and technological landscape means the role of graphic design has by necessity evolved. âGraphicsRCA: Fifty Years' tells the story from the point where the 1963 exhibition left off and traces the development of the School, through the impact of digitisation, the influence of RCA graduates on the creative industries and the role of graphic design in the future.
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. Other exhibits 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.