The atrium windows of Central Saint Martins at Granary Square near King’s Cross have been transformed into a gallery displaying 80 posters, the work of graphic designers and typographers from around the world, on the theme of ‘London’.
This exhibition, organised by Show Us Your Type, is an international art project showcasing and relating type and cities. Although at first glance this seems like a small exhibition, the posters certainly merit a closer look.
Designers were asked to submit pieces based on a typographical representation of London. Many of the entries reveal much about the cities’ diverse character, in addition to presenting some iconic design motifs. Lines from the Clash’s anthem ‘London Calling’ are repeated in various typefaces and colours. Red, blue and white concentric circles predominate, as do such typically “London” visual motifs as bowler hats, Big Ben, tea cups and telephone booths. Also represented are ‘London Grays’ in a Pantone colour chart, a nod to the craft of graphic design itself. Nods to the Underground appear in works where colourful lines representing a Tube map spell out ‘London’, and also by the logo of the Tube itself, the familiar red circle and blue stripe morph to create letterforms. Some of the posters are textual infographics of the many cultures and languages found in London, or depicting statistical representations of the city.
Although the exhibition is of interest, it’s slightly overshadowed by the fantastic architecture of the building now housing Central Saint Martins, part of the new University of the Arts London and a major part of the regeneration of King’s Cross. It is a perfectly balanced juxtaposition of the historic and the modern, resulting in a vast and dramatic space. The original industrial brown brick of Lewis Cubitt’s 1840s Granary Building has been combined with a starkly visual addition of concrete, glass and steel by Stanton Williams Architects. It is a powerful structure, resonant and inspiring, and definitely worth a visit for creative types.
Show Us Your Type is on show in the atrium windows of Central Saint Martins Granary Building at 1 Granary Square, N1C 4AA from 20 August until 12 September. Admission is free.