Excited to be profiling another recent grad from the London College of Communication DVC course. The calibre of designers that emerge from the program is always high and Caley Dewhurst is no exception. His work demonstrates a great eye for type, proportion and space. He loves photography and recognises the importance as craft and making in creative process. His portfolio of work is well-executed and full of beautiful editorial and print design - it is a visual feast!
Tell us a little about yourself and your creative journey that led you to the DVC program?
Hi Nicole, it’s great to be chatting with you I’m a big fan of your blog! So since taking the course I’ve definitely ended up becoming a bit of a graphic design geek. I’ve always liked learning the processes behind things so I can give it a go myself – I think most of all I just really love making things.
I guess I’ve always had an interest in graphic design. I remember at school I wanted to be good at art but I wasn’t very confident and always got creative block. It was only when I had to design some magazine adverts for a Media Studies project that first I understood how to be creative – for some reason it was just so much easier when I had a brief.
I studied Philosophy at uni and had various jobs afterwards and during that time I taught myself Illustrator and Photoshop. I designed some basic branding for my mum and step dad’s little online shop and really loved the whole process but never thought I’d be good enough to do it professionally.
Anyway I guess the seed had been sown. I’d heard about the DVC program at LCC through a friend a while back – It seemed like the perfect way to finally get a proper understanding of the fundamental principles of design and maybe even get a job doing something I love.
What about Type, calligraphy and/or Lettering specifically turns you on/excites or interests you?
It’s amazing how much information is communicated through very subtle differences with type. I’ve always loved doodling letters but it was early on in the DVC course that we learnt to look more deeply at the visual forms of letters and words, momentarily forgetting their meaning and simply treating them like shapes to be placed in composition. Once you start to think in this way it opens up this whole world of typographic possibilities and allows you to be really expressive with a limited number of visual elements. Being able to communicate meaning, not only through the letters and words themselves but also through the composition of the type, is something that I find really inspiring.
I LOVED your 4 Aphorisms cards! Can you tell us about the brief for this project and what lead to your expressive use of type?
Thanks! So for this project we were simply asked to explore the qualities of different typefaces using phrases from a set of given aphorisms. I chose the word I felt was the most expressive from each phrase and then thought about a typeface and composition that would best capture its essence.
As we only had one word for each card I really wanted to push the expressive nature of the type so that it could stand on its own without relying on the supporting text. I wanted people to immediately understand what it was about. It took a lot of experimentation and iterations to get to the final versions but I found the addition of graphic elements to the type really solidified its message. I think it’s really important to use both digital and analogue methods when your designing as you never know where inspiration will come from; the tearing effect on the ‘anger’ card actually came about after I’d ripped one of my prototypes and I really liked the result!
I was also super impressed with your use of print media in your Brutal screen print. Can you describe your process for this print - and also how the traditional processes you used enriched the design outcome?
Well, I’m a massive fan of brutalist architecture and I’d been keen to try screenprinting for ages so decided to experiment with some photo collage. For this particular print I used Photoshop to cut out and manipulate a vintage photograph of a building that had been stuck in my mind (the sports hall of the Middle Eastern Technical University in Turkey).
I used a detailed halftone for the building layer to maintain the rawness of the concrete and then tried to frame this using these bold shapes and complimentary colours. I really like the idea of abstracting images from their original context so that you can reimagine them or focus on different aspects and I felt this building had an almost Samurai feel to it, which gave me the idea for the rising sun. Finally I used heat-transfer gold foil to highlight some elements of the building – I did this before the ink was fully dried to give a glittery effect across other parts of the print, giving each one a completely unique look. I love the richness you get from the bold coloured ink combined with the slight imperfections that give screen prints a much more hand-crafted feel than anything you can achieve by printing digitally.
Your found alphabet is a collection of characters discovered in brick Lane. What did you learn about the vectoring process (or what surprised you) about translating these found forms into a digital medium?
When I did the found alphabet I started by just taking photos of letterforms around Brick Lane. It was great putting all the different letters together but I wanted something a bit cleaner where you could really focus on the shapes of the letters so I ended up tracing each letter from the photos, which got rid of the distractions and allowed you to compare each letter on a level playing field. In the end it was definitely worth the extra effort – I found the vectoring process gave me so much more flexibility when it came to designing the final outcome for the poster.
Do you have a particular medium or tool for design that you gravitate toward or enjoying working with most?
Good question! I guess whenever I have to do some research the first thing I reach for is usually my DLSR. I really love photography and I’m not great at drawing, so when it comes to documenting the world, taking photos is the medium I’m most comfortable with. I love looking through the lens and trying to find exciting ways of framing everyday things and digital photography gives you the ability to quickly find and document new ways of seeing things, which can really help get ideas flowing. Then, once I get the photos onto my laptop I have loads of source material that I can use for editorial work or as a basis for making prints.
At the end of your post grad program you collated all your research into a visual summary document (which looks fantastic!) do you have a favourite piece or something from the course that stands out now as being valuable?
I think the project that I’m most proud of is my editorial piece on The National Theatre. I originally planned to produce a piece on London’s brutalist buildings, as I mentioned before that’s a big passion of mine. As I read more about Denys Lasdun’s masterpiece I became totally besotted with it. It just has such incredible architecture and an almost obsessive attention to detail.
It was brilliant having total editorial control from beginning to end, bringing together so many different aspects of design from the photographic layout to the typography and the print finish. I also loved having the freedom to use techniques that might otherwise be commercially challenging like embossing the front and back cover with the wood grain impression of one of the actual concrete boards from the theatre. It was great to make the most of the amazing facilities at LCC.
It was a real challenge pulling together all these different aspects of the project into a coherent final outcome, but it was such a valuable experience to understand how these pieces fit together.
What are you next steps career wise? What does your dream job (or enterprise if you’re planning on creating your own business) look like?
I’m currently on the look out for work, freelance or otherwise, and I’m keen to continue working on interesting projects that push the boundaries of what graphic design can do. I’m interested in how design can be used to help people, and would love to work with organisations that support positive change in society. I guess the dream would be to one day to set up a little studio to be able to give other people the opportunities that I’ve been lucky enough to have.