York/Sheridan Design Showcase on now in Toronto’s Distillery District

The next generation of remarkable young graphic designers showcase their talent in &CO., the graduation exhibition of the class of 2011 of the York/Sheridan Joint Program in Design (YSDN). The outstanding work of this year’s 93 graduates will be on display April 18 and 19 at the Fermenting Cellar in Toronto’s Distillery District.

The show, which launched with an evening reception for family and friends on April 17, is now open to the public for a two-day run. Members of the professional design community are invited to meet the rising young talent and view their work at a special industry reception April 18. On April 20, the show will be closed to the public as 32 professional designers will be reviewing and assessing the students’ work, which will help prepare students as they move forward to new opportunities within the profession.

As in past years, the show is completely organized by the students. Co-chairs of tFrom left, show organizers Sally Fung  and Leah Fergusonhe YSDN Graduation Show, classmates Leah Ferguson and Sally Fung, have been involved in every step of organizing the show along with their peers.

Right: From left, show organizers Sally Fung  and Leah Ferguson

The title and brand, &CO. and the tag line “Between Everything and Everything Else”, symbolize the cooperation and collaboration of the YSDN graduating class.

Each student contributed a personal artifact, from wind-up tin robots and VHS tapes to matchboxes and porcelain teacups. The resulting collection reflects an amalgam of their individual voices and personalities. These sentimental, random objects are depicted on the exhibition poster, in a digital video, on the &CO. website – where the students are featured with their items – and in a series of limited-edition hard copy and digital trading cards distributed with the invitations.

A second digital video introduces a number of the designers as they chat about the medium of print, their collections and their favourite typefaces.

“We are a big class and we have different styles, tastes and thoughts about design, so we picked these objects to reflect ourselves,” said Ferguson. “Together, our influences connect us as a graduating class, as well as connecting us outwardly to the world around us.”

For their major gala fundraising event, Limelight, the student organizers donated money to the Red Cross to help with humanitarian efforts in Japan after the earthquake. The young designers are also building their own display boards for &CO. and after the show they will donate the materials to Habitat for Humanity, a charity dedicated to affordable housing.

Over the past decade, the stellar achievements of YSDN students have been recognized through a host of awards from leading provincial, national and international design organizations and publications, including the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario, Applied Arts and Coupe magazines, Advertising & Design Club of Canada Student Awards and Society of Graphic Designers of Canada National Scholarship Awards.

A selection of student work from &CO
Above: A selection of student work from &CO.

In 2010, three members of YSDN’s graduating class were finalists in the international Adobe Design Achievement Awards – one of the world’s most prestigious international student design competitions. Two of the 12 prizes went to the freshly minted YSDN graduates: Edeline Bernal took the award for motion graphics and Linna Xu won for package design. Bernal and Xu are now working at CTV and Berlin’s Illustrative Festival, respectively.