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RCA Students Create Christmas Cards for Tate

Royal College of Art School of Communication students have, for the second year running, created Christmas card designs exclusively for Tate. 

The designs are the result of a competition to support emerging talent, judged by Paul Neale of Graphic Thought Facility, illustrator Marion Deuchar and Tate Merchandise Director Rosey Blackmore.

The seven designs this year include a digital collage of the nativity, an illustration of a Christmas rose, a pencil drawing of a dystopian future Christmas, a couple of trees decorating each other and a cat looking out of a snowy window. 

Here, selected students and graduates describe their approaches:

The First Christmas by Hayley Warnham, Visual Communication student: 'My design combines found imagery with digital collage to create a playful twist on the origins of Christmas. Through an application of contrasting colours and textures I aimed to inject a new sense of life into the original image, highlighting the presence of each character whilst emphasising the celebrative and joyful nature of the traditional scene.'

Christmas Eve by Lara Lee, Animation graduate: 'The idea of holidays may seem arbitrary and artificial especially when we are in a foreign land. Christmas, like other holidays, is a time when everybody is "forced" to have a nice time with their family and friends. Homes are turned into "temples". The illustration is of an awkward corner of the temple, painted with gouache on paper.'

Hellebore, A Christmas Rose by Tamsin Nagel, Visual Communication graduate: 'Flowering in the heart of winter, the Hellebore, or Christmas Rose, is said to have sprouted from the teardrops of a young girl who was unable to offer any gifts to the Christ Child in Bethlehem. Drawn with pencil and soft pastels, inspired by botanical illustrations and the sombre sentiments of winter. It is a nod to the beautiful and resilient flower as well as to the poignant legend of its namesake.'

A Snowy View by Anna Suwalowska, Visual Communication graduate: 'This illustration captures a brief moment of my cat observing the outside world out of the kitchen window. These were poetic and mysterious minutes: the blustering wind and rain banging against the windows contrasted with the harmonious and intimate atmosphere of my flat. The walking couple were photographed in Green Park, London during a snow storm. I brought those two experiences together to create the collage.'

Three Kings by Signe Kristjansen and Esa Matinvesi, Visual Communication students: 'According to the Bible, a group of distinguished foreigners, also referred to as the three kings, visited Jesus after his birth, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Our conceptual approach merges this traditional Christian tale with imagery from modern Christmas symbols – turkey, trees and baubles. With the bold use of non-traditional colours we wanted to break away from the common aesthetics associated with Christmas. Stylistically our design pays homage to the late Portuguese graphic designer Sebastião Rodrigues, whose mixed media collage techniques we love dearly.'

TV Star by Billie Muraben, Visual Communication student: 'TV Star is a pencil drawing with a dystopian view of Christmas future, where the television is the centre of the home and the event.'

Get Dressed My Love by Yingqi Wang, Animation student: 'I think the Christmas tree is the most fascinating aspect of Christmas, especially when they have been decorated in different styles. I think the decoration shows the personality of the tree. I designed the card to depict a scene of a tree couple decorating each other to celebrate Christmas. It’s a day for dressing up and sharing love.'

The RCA Christmas cards for Tate are sold in packs of six and cost £4 or £5, available from Tate gallery shops or online here.