The meticulous, unique talent that pours from the graphic design school at the École cantonale d'art (University of Art and Design) in Lausanne is being celebrated in an exhibition at Gallery l’elac, together with a striking new publication. Both titled ‘ECAL Graphic Design', they explore a refined selection of student work in eclectic, vibrant presentations.
Following on from a similar photography version back in 2014, both delve into a visually compelling, colour-coded display of projects from the last five years of the Bachelor Graphic Design and Art Direction Master courses (including work by one graduate, Anne-Laure Fuchs, promptly poached for the Wallpaper* Art desk). The book is introduced by ECAL director Alexis Georgacopoulos, who asks the fundamental question, ‘What does it take to be a good designer these days?’ The answer: ‘It may be an over-simplification, but basically a computer, a printer and a modicum of talent!’
In an exhibition display designed by Adrien Rovero, we are led through typographic and symbolic works encompassing everything from magazines and books, to posters and signage. Shifting from monochrome through tonal blues and then into warmer shades of orange and pink, there is a subtle synergy across all of the works. ‘We aimed to park dialogue between them and read each work in light of the others,’ explains Angelo Benedetto, the head of ECAL's Bachelor Graphic Design course.
In the back of the book – designed and edited by the Gavillet & Cie studio – a list of featured works appears alongside the name of their student creators and supervising professors, allowing the reader to track any running themes informed by specific teaching. ECAL has worked with the likes of Bibliotheque and OK-RM in special workshops – a method of practice-led teaching that further shapes several of the artful works.
Taking us on a teaching history of 'ECAL Graphic Design', both the exhibition and book allow outsiders to experience a little bit of the heralded creative culture that exists at the school.
Of the institution's contemporary visual evolution, Professor François Rappo concludes: ‘The works of the most recent generation of ECAL designers seems rather to embrace the aesthetics of minimalism, stripped of the codes of postmodernism, while retaining the import of some of its critical values, remixed with aesthetic outlooks that aim to be more universalist in perspective.’