MA Communication Design
For my final MA project I created a new visual identity for an exhibition of artefacts from The Gloucester shipwreck, as shown at Norwich Castle Museum in summer 2023.
The work included designing a new logo, catalogue, alternative exhibition guide (zine) and a poster for the show. I based my design on the links between the Duke of York, on board the ship when it sank in 1682, and the English slave trade. (The Duke was governor of and principal shareholder in the Royal African Company which at the time had a monopoly on the English trade in enslaved people.)
Without undermining the beauty of the barnacle-encrusted wine bottles recovered from the wreck site, the designs draw attention to the activities of the Royal African Company. Inside the bottle, a cartouche from a 1675 map printed by John Seller shows the Royal African Company’s elephant and castle crest and a crude depiction of two African men.
My design practice is research-led. The logotype uses a font based on the Fell Types, a contemporary typeface created for the Oxford University Press in the decade before The Gloucester’s final journey. I have experimented with layouts in the exhibition catalogue and zine, incorporating images and artwork that appear to have sunk to the sea floor, with diagonal captions listing underwater. The names of some of the RAC slave ships operating in 1682 appear in the waves of the catalogue header, and as logotypes in the zine, as visual reminders of entirely different journeys made by sea in the year The Gloucester sank.