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Visual Communication (MA)

Callan Pratt

I am a UK-based graphic designer, whose practice aims to create conversation around current societal issues through typographic outcomes and responses. I currently have a BA in Visual Communication from the University for the Creative Arts and have previous experience working in the branding and packaging industry, with clients such as EA, New Balance and Royal Canin. 

The designer letterpress printing.

My practice combines both analogue and digital techniques, such as printmaking and typographic design within my day-to-day work. Whilst many of my outcomes are produced using traditional processes, I try to use them in a variety of experimental ways, straying from their original purpose, allowing me to play around and create pieces that reflect my way of thinking. My practice attempts to shine a light on societal issues, usually from my own perspective or from the views and experiences of a range of communities by working collaboratively. I like to put a lot of focus on typographic design, viewing it as an effective and powerful method to create awareness and spread the message intended from each project by presenting first-hand opinions of others and giving a flavour of their experiences. 

After spending most of my early years of design education focusing on working digitally, it wasn’t until starting university that a switch flicked and I fell in love with working with analogue processes. As a naturally methodical person and someone who can always be found tinkering around with something, I found that analogue processes really resonated with me, and the freedom involved stood out and provided a platform to create personal work and experiment until my heart’s content. My foundation in digital design never went to waste though, these skills became a big part of the groundwork for each project. Constantly trying to push the limits and boundaries of what typography can offer, both in appearance and impact, I love the long experimentation process within each project, where often these weird and wonderful outcomes unexpectedly become a large feature within the work. 

Collection of letters used within the work.
A collection of the individual typographic letters used within the project
Close up of the 'Frame of Mind'
A close-up of 'Frame of Mind'.
First hand quote displayed using natural light and shadows.
First hand quote displayed using natural light and shadows.
First hand quote displayed using natural light and shadows.
A collection of quotes based around men's mental health, displayed using natural light and shadows.

Frame of Mind

For this project, I worked on creating a variety of typographic responses based on men’s mental health. I wanted to create work that is based on quotes from myself and other men whom I spoke to which are impactful, to start conversations about an issue that is not addressed as much as it ought to be. A key question that I aimed to answer throughout this project was how can I break the stigma surrounding men's mental health and masculinity using typography and design.

Due to my intention being that I wanted this project's content to be from a variety of men, I decided that I would like one of my outcomes to be an interactive piece that changes the message displayed. With this in mind, I chose to create a structural framework that housed movable type, allowing the message to change frequently. The idea was that the type displayed would combine with natural light, casting the meaning in shadows. I felt that this was a powerful way to produce these outcomes as just like mental health, it would be very unpredictable from day to day, with some days being good, and other days being bad.

A letterpress print of a first hand quote.
A letterpress print of a first hand quote.
A letterpress print of a first hand quote.
A series of letterpress prints, displaying quotes about men's mental health.
A letterpress print of a first hand quote.

Letterpress Printed Quotes

My role within this project was to try to spread awareness about the severity of the issues surrounding men's mental well-being. At the same time, I was using it as a tool in my own journey to better my own mental health. My stance on this project was that I wanted it to be completely organic, I did not want to filter or water down any quotes that I collected. By creating work that is impactful and cuts through to the observer, I hoped it would break the taboo. By forcing myself to be vulnerable in my pieces of work, I hoped to show others that it is ok to open up and talk about feelings, causing others to do so too. 

This series of letterpress prints were designed to allow me to express myself through the application and use of the inks. Each piece reflects how I was feeling when I created it through the use of colours and the way the inks have been applied to the type. The typeface used throughout this project was designed using a variety of statistics about men’s mental health in the UK so this added another personal layer to the project.

A series of relief prints of drain covers.
A series of relief prints produced from drain covers in a public space.
A series of photographs from the workshop.
A series of photographs taken before and during the printmaking workshop.
A series of relief prints produced from the workshop.
A series of relief prints that were produced by the participants during the workshop.


During my day-to-day life, I notice that the majority of people are oblivious to their surroundings and stare at their phones whenever they are moving around. For me, I take in all the shapes and colours around me and I wanted to try and show others this unseen beauty. One characteristic of the urban landscape which had stood out to me around the time of this project was the forms seen in both drain covers and manhole covers. 

I decided to make this the focus of my project and take this forward in two ways; I wanted to create my own pieces by going out in public and relief printing a variety of drain/manhole covers, and I also wanted to host a workshop, allowing people to do the same. I decided to host a workshop as I wanted to encourage conversations based on different views about modern society. I also wanted to experience each participant’s initial reaction and how their opinion developed throughout the process. 

To make this successful, I wanted to provide a variety of different printing surfaces so the participants were able to create unique prints, hopefully helping to alter their perspectives. I decided to provide three different drain/manhole covers to be printed on and once these were acquired, I created a base for each to make it easier to print and to make it more enticing. As well as variety in printing surfaces, I wanted to provide a selection of inks that would allow people to layer up their designs and see past the fact they are these standard, everyday objects.