Erica Ciuffreda, a second-year student on the Graphic Communication Design BA Honours course, has received a Merit award and professional membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) as part of their Student Briefs Assessment Scheme for her design project.

Erica Ciuffreda - International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD)
A page from Invisible Cities

This year Westminster students were offered a selection of three ISTD briefs from which Erica Ciuffreda opted for Brief 3 ‘Invisible Cities’, which required a radical retelling of the iconic book by Italo Calvino through typography. The ISTD Student Briefs are launched annually to inspire students to create skilfully designed typographic work that informs, persuades and delights. These well written and structured Briefs set high standards and are internationally renowned within the industry.

Invisible Cities was producedas part of the Live Projects module on the Graphic Communications Design BA Honours course, which runs in the second semester with teaching support from Iwona Abrams, Senior Lecturer and Module Leader; Hans Reichert, Senior Lecturer and Practice Tutor, and Katie Hayes, Senior Lecturer and Theory Tutor. The module offers students an opportunity to test and put into practice their existing design skills as well as developing an application of rigorous typographic design skills.

For over 46 years, the ISTD student assessment scheme has been one of the most important student awards in the international visual communication industry. Judged by a cohort of eminent professionals and academics, the competition runs in the UK, Ireland, the Middle East, North America, South Africa and Australia, and attracts submissions from across the globe.

Erica has been awarded a membership certificate which entitles her to add the MISTD affix to her name, and has also been invited to make contact to any other ISTD quality company in the sector. The 2021 ISTD online student presentation took place on 2 July 2021.

Talking about her approach to the brief, Erica said: “The book Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino is exemplary in dealing with the concepts of the visible and invisible, explored in the structure of language, in the meaning of words and in the construction of cities. My edition of the book presents itself as an exploration of five cities through the lenses of memory. Every strong sensation perceived by our senses is impressed in our memory with a certain level of precision and intensity and, thanks to those senses, we are able to recall memories of places and cities we travelled to. To visually represent the feeling of memories fading away as well as to emphasise the visible and invisible in the text, the publication uses an alternation between tracing and non-transparent paper.”

She added: “Working on this project challenged me to create something I had never done before. Literature and typography are two great passions of mine, therefore creating a project that combined them both was the most enjoyable and stimulating experience of this year. Throughout the process of research and creation I grew immensely and learned a lot about the craft of making a book, from the quality of paper to the different binding methods, but most of all I started to have a clearer picture of who I am as a designer. I see myself working in the field of typography and editorial design, therefore I receive the ISTD recognition with amazement, excitement and pride. It encourages me to believe in my ideas and to work even harder to pursue my dreams.”

Iwona Abrams said: “The ISTD Student Briefs Assessment, as an internationally esteemed competition, is a true challenge for the students to measure their work against their peers. Great rigour in the approach to research, including high quality literary sources, guided this highly crafted typographic outcome. As Erica has just completed her second year, this is an even greater cause for celebration. The GCD department congratulates Erica on this great achievement and recognition received for her outstanding quality project.”

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