The V&A’s record-breaking current exhibition, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, is the first and largest retrospective of the late designer’s work to be presented in Europe.
LCC alumna Jo Glover, who graduated from BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design in 2006, is Senior Graphic Designer at the V&A, and has been in charge of developing the design identity of the exhibition. Jo has been involved in every detail of the show from the selection of the lead image and designing the promotional campaign, to perfecting the details of the guides, leaflets and invitations.
The exhibition will showcase McQueen’s visionary body of work. Spanning his 1992 MA graduate collection to his unfinished A/W 2010 collection, McQueen’s designs will be presented with the dramatic staging and sense of spectacle synonymous with his runway shows.
We caught up with Jo to find out more about her journey from LCC to the V&A.
So Jo, can you tell us a little bit about your role as senior graphic designer at the V&A? How did you get to this job, and what do you enjoy about it?
I got the job in 2011 after working at ad agency Wieden+Kennedy and doing my MA at the RCA. I also worked in branding for three years at Venturethree which helped with the more commercial work I do for marketing.
The job at the V&A combines the parts I loved from the advertising and branding jobs with my first job in the arts and cultural sector designing books for the likes of the RA. I love the variety of working on beautiful luxury print through to exhibition design and way finding. It never gets boring and is always a challenge.
Can you explain your involvement in the Savage Beauty exhibition? What excited you about it and what you were nervous about?
I worked closely with marketing and press and the curatorial team to make sure we told the story of the exhibition through the print and digital campaign. I had to really fight for the very macabre savage image because it could be seen as intimidating but I think the lead image encapsulates the whole idea of both savage and beauty.
So what was important to you in your approach to the designs for Savage Beauty?
In my approach to the savage beauty designs it was important to capture the slick high end luxury feel whilst retaining the darkness that comes through Lee McQueen’s work. We also really wanted to highlight the less known collections as well as the obvious ones. The events like the dinner are very high profile with a number of celebrity guests so we used lots of beautiful embossing, matte and gloss contrasts, and great paper.
How would you describe your style and design sensibilities?
I’d say my style and design sensibilities are very pure, clean and quite classic but this obviously depends on the brief and market I’m working to. You have to be able to adapt and embrace styles that work with the audience or visitors you are targeting.
How did LCC prepare you for life in the working world?
LCC prepared me so well for the working world because I did the industrial placement year where I got valuable experience from Elle magazine in London, the Chase in Manchester and Storm design in Melbourne, Block Branding in Perth and Principals branding and 2Birds design in Sydney. I also worked at Why Not Associates in London when I got back. This allows you to work out what you like and don’t like and also to travel and experience many different ways of working.
Can you give one piece of advice for an aspiring graphic design student?
My one piece of advice would be to work hard, don’t be scared to make mistakes, and make lots of tea to get involved if you’re on a placement!