Royal College of Art students and staff combine to create an endless, modular set of numerals
Every year, London’s Royal College of Art hosts a three-day ‘Work in Progress’ exhibition to highlight the work of second-year MA students across architecture, arts and humanities, communication, and design. It usually takes place at the beginning of the calendar year, allowing students to test and develop their projects ahead of their summer degree show.
Tasked with creating the identity for the 2020 edition as second-year MA students themselves, George Dutton, Philip Jay Veech and Sean Steed decided to embrace the unfinished nature of the work on show. Using the repeated numerals of the year in question as a starting point, they invited a multitude of RCA students and staff from the college’s three campuses to generate their own unique ‘2’ and ‘0’ glyphs by using a modular, laser-cut perspex stencil. The result is an archive of hundreds of individual glyphs, with no two instances being the same.
Inspired by architectural template rules, Dutton explains that “the process of creating the stencils involved a lot of experimentation with various forms, shapes and mark-making techniques”, often involving strenuous testing on friends and family to guarantee modular, building block-like alignment.
“We wanted students to have creative freedom, take the lead with the forms and use the toolkit in conventional and unconventional ways”, Dutton reveals, before adding that “we wanted to hold physical workshops to ensure there was a strong student engagement”. To create consistency between them, the glyphs were drawn directly onto a grid with a regimented height and width before being scanned in and tidied up digitally. Ultimately, the stencils provided the basis for a collaborative process that saw multiple disciplines collide to create a fluid, challenging and unpredictable identity system.
Typeface: Untitled Sans by Klim Type Foundry