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Last week saw the opening of the sixth year of the graphic design and illustration show Pick Me Up at London’s Somerset House. It claims to feature ‘a fresh-line up of artists and designers’, so of course I get excited every year to see the new design trends and who are the talented brains behind them.

The show itself has been building a curation- style that has evolved over the years that means as an attendee, you can slightly anticipate the hipster style of work you’re likely to see. However, this year was the epitome of style over content.

The show compromises multiple areas:

Pick Me Up Selects (Ground floor)

Features 12 international illustrators who have been chosen by an industry panel. I struggled to see why half of the individuals were chosen as they were limited in pleasing aesthetics, narrative or even skill.

On a positive note, I do recommend seeing Hattie Newman, Laura Callaghan and the wonderful oddness of Rop van Mierlo. A new addition that really added to the space, was a set of cabinets showing some of the work in progress including sketchbooks or equipment used to create the work.

Collectives, Galleries & Studios (First floor & upper – mezzanine) 

Multiple spaces line the walls of the main walkway curated by each collective or gallery. The collectives were far more interesting than the galleries and personable too. It was great to talk directly to the creatives behind the work and their processes.

I thoroughly recommend talking to Gabriella Marcella, the Glaswegian face behind Risotto who can talk ten-to-the-dozen and has lots of collaborations under her belt to keep her studio commercially viable.

However, overall there was a lot of overlap in styles and offers. 50 posters of brightly coloured blobs are visually impactful at the show but buy one, put it on your wall at home and you realise you’ve spent £50 on a red dot. Again, style over content. The last room featured a single long desk along one side of the room with three computer screens set up – the wrong way round. As a viewer you were made to feel like you’d taken a wrong turn and stumbled into a Shoreditch ‘protection through occupation’ studio. I stumbled out apologising for disturbing the one boy in the room with a Ron Weasley hair-do who was sat 3 inches behind one of the screens.

The new arrival of businesses like Lazy Oaf, Not Another Bill and Ohh Deer added more of an entrepreneurial vibe about it and the screening of ‘Made You Look Documentary – A Film About Creativity in the Digital Age’ on the 1st May should be interesting.

I look forward to being surprised next year…

Here is a quick overview of the main themes/trends at this year’s show:

All sorts of handcrafted typographyPick Me Up Handcrafted TypographyPick Me Up Pocko


Very serious textures

Pick Me Up Handcrafted Typography

(Studio Fludd)

Naïve doodles

Pick Me Up Niles Collective

Pick Me Up Wanna Date

(Wanna date)

Bauhaus geometry

Pick Me Up La Tigre Habitat

(La Tigre – Habitat)

Pastel squiggles

Pick Me Up Peckham Print Studio

(Peckham print studio)

Blog written by Bella.