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Laura Gordon

MA work

Austerity → Prosperity

Since 2010 we’ve been stuck with the austerity narrative – the idea that austerity is an economic necessity and not a political choice. In the lead up to the #GE2015 the story shifted from austerity to prosperity. Now the story is that austerity has worked and we just need to finish the job.

To document the subtle shifts in narrative I analysed the rhetoric week-by-week in the lead up and aftermath of the election. I analysed the @Conservatives twitter feed for 12 weeks of election fever, and producing a line of austerity lifestyle products in response. The products are designed to read as a chronology of the narrative, as well as making tangible some of the most slippery rhetorical devices, like idiom and euphemism. Their aspirational nature calls in to play some of the questions surrounding the designer commodification of post-2008 austerity.


  • MA Degree


    School of Communication


    MA Visual Communication, 2015

  • I am a research-led graphic designer, exploring and attempting to challenge dominant social and political narratives through active research and communication.

    Building on my background in editorial design, I am interested in applying the communication methods of graphic design to fields outside of usual practice – with a particular interest in the areas of education and political rhetoric. 

    My ongoing education research focuses around fear of failure in creative learning. With the help of ReachOutRCA and the Durham Wharf Foundation Residency, this became a series of workshops with five London schools exploring risk and experimentation within the national curriculum.

    I also work closely with students as a co-founder of Crowd Talks, along with three other Brighton graduates. Crowd Talks is a design discussion group facilitating conversation between students, graduates and industry in order to break away from a traditional lecture format. Crowd Talks’ first book will be published this summer, surveying the graduate landscape and encouraging students to craft their own learning and working experiences.

    Building on my dissertation ‘Keep Calm and COS: The Visual Language of the Austerity Narrative’, I have been tracking and analysing the austerity narrative following the 2008 financial crisis. Following a shift in the narrative in the lead up to the 2015 general election, the project ‘Austerity → Prosperity’ is now focused on making tangible the most slippery elements of political rhetoric. This research will continue as the austerity narrative evolves over the next political term – hoping to raise public consciousness and understanding of the rhetorical strategies at play in public discourse.

  • Degrees

  • BA Graphic Design, University of Brighton, 2012; Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, London College of Communication, 2009