Hello Europe!

A new exhibition opens in Chorlton on the day we’re due to leave the European Union (though who knows what may happen?). Linsey Parkinson meets one of its creators, graphic designer Dave Sedgwick.

Dave (on the left) is a successful graphic designer, in demand for his strong typography, bold design statements and vibrant use of colour. Illustrator Stan Chow (right) has a talent for capturing an uncanny likeness using flat colour and shape. You’ll have seen his work all over town, from his Great Northerner series at Great Northern to his grown-up cartoon visuals for Metrolink.

Their first collaboration, in 2015, was Manchester With Love, in aid of the charity, Forever Manchester. A series of must-have limited-edition prints celebrated the city’s landmarks – the Hacienda, Hulme Arch, the Toast Rack and others – in a style reminiscent of the vintage railway poster, but with a uniquely modernist perspective.

Their new project, Hello Europe, which opens in Electrik on Brexit Day, conveys a similar pride in cultural identity and sense of place.

“We’ve wanted to work together again for a while now,” says Dave. “March 29th is such a momentous occasion that we wanted to mark it creatively.

We’ll be saying goodbye to 27 countries when we leave the European Union, so we thought it would be nicer to celebrate them by saying hello instead.”

Each of the 27 works in the exhibition will feature characteristics of an EU member state; whether that relates its geography, architecture, trade or cultural icons. Dave will create bespoke typefaces for the word ‘hello’ in every language and all will be created using the colour palette of each nation’s flag.

“The prints may look simple, but that’s deceptive. There’s an awful lot of work goes into each one. Designing bespoke fonts can take a long time – I’m always glad of short words and repeat letters,” he smiles.

“There’s a lot of gloom in the creative community and beyond about everything we’ll be leaving behind after Brexit, but this isn’t so much about the politics of that situation. We wanted to create something more joyous, with striking images that will resonate with people who know the various places.

“Whatever happens in the negotiations – if things stall completely and Brexit is delayed or even cancelled, we still want to celebrate Europe’s brilliant diversity. We’re losing such a lot. We believe that it’s always better to say hello than goodbye.”

Hello Europe opens on March 29th 2019 at Electrik, on Wilbraham Road and runs for four weeks. Prints will be available to buy.