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Visual Communication (MA)

Ilka Gilvesy

Prior to her Master's at the Royal College of Art, Ilka attended Toronto Metropolitan University to study Fashion Communication (2021). She took a semester off from her studies to work as a model in Japan and Italy (2018). Within the same time span, she completed her internship with the upscale, eco-friendly clothing company Nanushka (2018). After receiving her undergraduate degree, she was employed as a design assistant by New York-based graphic designer and creative director Taylor Franklin (2021). As a freelancer, she has enjoyed designing wine labels and identity for a popular wine producer in Hungary.

A young woman in a pink hat and a brown wool jumper smiling and looking to her right.

Isn't it strange…

How hair follicles grow endless strings of hair?

To see clouds holding ponds in the sky?

How our sad eyes embellish wells of salty rivers?

To derive meaning from unseen sounds?

How tiny units compose all there is?

To ferry through the air and shuttle underground?

Isn't it strange?

'Weird things' inspire me. Instant noodles. Odd. A woman's watermelon rolling away as the tube gains speed. Particular. A cyclist flipping off a driver. Zesty.

The weirdness of existence often makes me worry. When I begin to panic, I write.

Sometimes I write about random things like kefir and gut health, other times I write down all the things I overhear on the tube. I wrote Pepper Cake, my thesis publication, fearing my thoughts may not be my own. This fear spilled out of me as a monologue on the subject of existence. I then unpacked those thoughts and found they were linked to my media diet. Please refer to chart below:

----> Consciousness ----> Media----> Consciousness ----> Media ---->

I then traced the root of these thoughts to specific sources, and compiled them into a conversation constructed entirely of stolen words. In other-words, I stole 'stuff' to make a point around the illusion of autonomy, underpinned by a post-structuralist, auto-ethnographic journalistic approach.

Writing allows my visual output to be varied yet precise. Simply charted:

Thoughts -----> Feelings -----> Words -----> Design -----> Output

Pepper Cake book cover.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Rotating sheets of custom "LSD" (not real just visually similar)
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.
Pepper Cake book layout.

Pepper Cake

‘Pepper Cake’ is a book that catalogues where and how thoughts emerge by creating a visual composition containing “stolen” sentences and images which leap from source to source, discussing the nature of existence.

It contains a confusing composition of stolen words and 'cursed image' that make more sense than you'd think. The composition is designed to provide insight into the structures of how our moderately unique media diets shape our perceptions of reality; and how we may end up unintentionally reproducing what we consume.

Isn't that odd?

Do you trust me?

Are you sure we are awake?

Are my cells conspiring to create my being?

You know what?

If reality is constructed then it is important to ask who is doing the constructing and how it affects those who aren't participating in its construction.

'Pepper Cake' was printed and bound at the London Centre for Book Arts. For the sake of the environment 'Pepper Cake' was printed using a Risograph (RISO). Riso is one of the most environmentally friendly printing methods. 'Pepper Cake' contains over 100 pages and there is only a limited run of 15 signed copies available.

Scan of distorted portrait.
Scan of distorted portrait.
Scan of distorted portrait.
Rotating animation of distorted portraits.
Scan of distorted portrait.
Scan of distorted portrait.

"It's not what you look like" said the spoon, "it's that you are".

Throughout the day my mind blabbers on and on but at times I unexpectedly lock eyes with a stranger. For a moment I don't recognize the person staring back at me. And for a split second, there is silence and then I realize that it is me who is looking back at me. That I am the stranger. And the world is strange, and I am a part of the world.

Could I ever convey to you the vividness of my existence? Could I imagine yours? Where do I end? Where do you begin?

As we speed through our day and though our lives, at times the shiny surface of a spoon, water tap or a piece of glass echos our image... not as we are, but as we exist within the world. "It's not what you look like" said the spoon, "it's that you are".




Teaser GIF for Digestive.


Digestive, born (2022) out of love of biscuits and chatting, is a monthly reflective publication from the Visual Communication BR13 studio at the Royal College of Art. We create content based on the collective theme of the month – designed, collected, and shared on a single piece of paper.

Previous issues of Digestive include Digestive, Tunnelling, Leftovers, Collective Mapping and Crusty Sunburn where we explore the gut, crumbs of conversation(s), parasites, tunnel-vision, pockets, the weather, rock pools, tubes, ideal holidays, nostalgia and revel in the sharing of nan’s recipes.

Find out more:

2:13PM Cover
2:13PM Layout
2:13PM Layout
2:13PM Layout
2:13PM Typeface
Process images for 2:13PM.


Emerging from covid isolation, this early project was a collaborative and explorative discourse on play and touch. Content was generated though a series of exercises delivered in a workshop and designed to facilitate playing together creatively. There was an emphasis on play, both on the part of us, the 2:13PM group, and the workshop participants.