Graphic Gathering – V&A Competition Winner Revealed

Graphic Gathering is the V&A’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.

The Design Council recently reported that ‘exponential growth of design roles means that our businesses need an increasing supply of design talent. This presents a challenge…to help schools and parents understand the potential career pathways that design offers to increase the talent pipeline and ensure our companies can find the home-grown skills they need’ (Annabella Coldrick, Director, Policy & Research, Design Council) This, coupled with an increasing 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 four years ago.


This year’s competition kicked-off in October with an exciting briefing provided by Art on the Underground. The brief was to design a poster for the London Underground that conveys the ‘language of London’. The poster will go on display this May across the Tube network and will be seen by millions of people each day.


Over 450 students from 17 schools got involved in the challenge this year and the judging panel was overwhelmed with the design solutions presented. Each year we set the brief to focus on a different area within Graphic Design from digital to print. The focus of this year’s challenge was to raise standards in typography skills. The brief also gave students an opportunity to experiment with social and communication aspects of design through giving them a voice to speak to Londoners via their design work. To help facilitate the brief, we led a number of creative sessions on the briefing day with typographers and graphic designers whose work crossed both typography and social design. Students were also shown poster designs from the V&A’s collection to help inform their ideas and give them starting points into the brief.


The winning student, Tod Tewson from Waddesdon C of E School, was chosen because of his bold typographic approach, nod to popular culture, inspiration from the V&A’s 20th century poster collection and on point message for busy Londoners. Tod is in Year 10 and currently studying a GCSE in Graphic Communication. On winning Graphic Gathering, Tod said: ‘I was delighted when my design was selected and I’m really excited that it’s going on display throughout the London Underground. I will definitely be taking down my family to see my designs and I hope the message of the poster gets across to people using the London Underground every day.’


Following the presentation day, Tod visited designer Fraser Muggeridge at his London studio to prepare his artwork for print production and display. Tod was able to discuss some of the final tweaks needed to make his design print ready such as selecting the specific pantone colours, paper stock and use of the iconic Johnston typeface which we associate so well with the London Underground.


Tod’s teacher, Laura Lenander commented: ‘We were really excited about the opportunity to work with the V&A on a live brief, especially with such a prestigious organisation such as Art on the Underground. The students were buzzing with ideas and developed a really interesting range of responses to the brief. At such a young age to have this opportunity is fantastic and the students all rose to the challenge of the brief. They hadn’t worked too much with typography based work before, most of the work had been image based so they had to rethink their approach to work with the brief which was very good design experience. When Tod’s work was selected we were all thrilled for him and really excited to see his work on the underground this summer’.


If you are interested in taking part in Graphic Gathering 2016/17 please contact

2 thoughts on “Graphic Gathering – V&A Competition Winner Revealed

jane tewson:

Hats off to Waddesdon C of E school and Tod’s Graphic’s teacher, Mrs Lenander, for entering the Graphic Gathering competition and providing such an enriching graphic design experience for the students!

Georgianna Spencer Bernard:

This is a great poster, well done Tod. We could do with versions of this in every town in the UK. STOP to look at the wonderful world we live in. STOP to look at the person near us. STOP to feel the stillness within us which makes us feel alive.

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