Manchester School of Art is, outside of London, the oldest art school in the UK. Founded in 1838, it quickly became an important, internationally respected institution in the development of artists and designers, and played a key role in the evolution of the Arts & Crafts movement. Now a part of Manchester Metropolitan University, the School of Art recently underwent a £34m development programme, including the construction of the Stirling Prize-nominated new Benzie Building by Feilden Clegg Bradley architects.
David Crow, Dean of the School of Art, commissioned us to create a new identity for their printed Prospectus and pocket guide. We began with extensive research into the history, alumni and former faculty of the School of Art, to build an understanding of the key principles that characterise its approach to creative education. We created a range of illustrations to use throughout the Prospectus – contemporary re-drawings of those that appear in the writings of Walter Crane,1 a key figure in the Arts & Crafts movement who was Director of Design at the School from 1893–98. We proposed that a large proportion of the text content of the Prospectus would be written by current students and recent graduates, offering a first-hand perspective on the experience of study there.2 In 2016, a second edition of the prospectus was produced, featuring a new colour scheme and set of cover illustrations.