Graphic Gathering

Graphic Gathering is the Victoria and Albert Museum’s annual graphic design challenge for secondary school students. The competition is designed to give students a taste of professional practice and help prepare them for higher or further education and work in the creative industries, through answering a real life brief.

Creative & Cultural Skills (CCSkills), recently highlighted that the creative industries in the UK have doubled in size in the last ten years and are set to grow significantly in the next ten. With particular growth linked to digital, graphic and games design, it is important that we equip our young people with the skills and knowledge required to navigate this thriving industry as it rapidly changes. This, coupled with an expanding request from teachers to support specialist teaching in the area of graphic and digital design, is one of the key reasons the V&A schools team launched Graphic Gathering three years ago.

Working with Professional Designers to Develop Design Ideas

Activities in the galleries to generate ideas for the brief

Creative workshops at the briefing day. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Last year we delivered a live brief in collaboration with the V&A’s Commercial and Digital Development Department. Students were briefed by the Buying & Design team from the V&A shop. The brief was to; create a design for a tote bag which will be sold in the V&A shop in 2015. The bag will be priced between £3-5 and will need to have unisex appeal. The design should use a typographical or illustrative solution and encourage V&A visitors to buy the bag in place of a plastic bag.


Pierre Rolle presents his idea at the presentation day. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

After a strong response, there was much deliberation by the panel who selected a worthy winner at the final presentation day in February this year. Pierre Rolle from Raines Foundation School presented his winning design to over 250 other participating students and the judging panel and was selected as overall winner. Pierre’s design is now on sale in the V&A shop, you can view it here.



It has been a great opportunity to show off my talents and progress my work doing something I am really interested in. I’ve got interviews at the London College of Communication and Ravensbourne College and will be using this project in my portfolio to stand out.’ (Pierre Rolle, Overall Winner)

This year we will be working with an exciting new live brief provided by Art on the Underground.  Art on the Underground (AOTU) launched in 2000 and is London’s largest art programme. The programme includes commissions, such as the Pocket Tube map cover series, artists’ posters and the ongoing Line Series, inviting artists to make new artworks across entire Tube lines.

2015/16 Brief:

Design a poster for the London Underground that conveys the ‘language of London’. The poster will go on display around the Tube network and will be seen by millions of people each day.


Bob and Roberta Smith (artist), Platform for Art (published), 2006 (published) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Bob and Roberta Smith (artist), Platform for Art (published), 2006 (published) © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

‘The opportunity for the students to present their work and gain feedback from industry professionals has been invaluable. I think this is a fantastic competition that gives young talent a platform to shine, this is something that will open doors for these kids for the rest of their lives and is a great experience for all the kids not just the winner.’ (Lejla Kevric, Raines Foundation School)

To book places for this year’s design challenge, contact our bookings office on 020 7942 2211. Places are free but limited to 20 schools with a maximum of 2 teachers and 25 students per school.

Scroll down to see some of the nominated work from the 2014/15 participating schools.


Alexander Warder Ramage, Bedford Sixth Form College


Kara Stapley, Rainham Mark Grammar School


Emmanuel Adjei, St Aloysius College