Graduate Ben Hunt joins us at Baseline to discuss his latest project, Multicultural London English, which he completed during his final year studying BA Graphic Communication Design at Westminster University.
Definition: Multicultural London English (abbreviated MLE) is a sociolect of English that emerged in the late 20th century. It is spoken authentically by working-class, mainly young, people in London (although there is evidence to suggest that certain features are spreading further afield). (Wikipedia)
Interview with Ben Hunt for the Baseline blog.
Origins of the project
‘I took it upon myself to apply “Multicultural London English” to graphic design because of a fascination in the effect the sub-language is having on the youth, at this time, in London. I heard the language being spoken in nearly every part of the city whether it was Notting Hill, Hackney, Soho or Southwark. With the development of technology, it has meant MLE has spread across the world and grown more popular in pop-culture. Grime music was chosen as the content of study as it is rich in the language and artists are native to MLE. Grime is a genre that holds incredible strength, emotion and power through its lyrics. It is a collective of artists who have experienced the struggles in life: crime, money, death, authority etc. I wanted to present the expressive genre to a wide audience and educate those who have little knowledge of the subject.
‘I discovered a keen interest in “word” related design when I began with a final major project proposal that intended on changing the public’s perceptions on dilapidated areas of the urban environment using typography.
‘Cities are fascinating environments, rich in spoken and visual languages; accents are formed to distinguish specific areas of the world. I am interested how words emerge; languages influence other languages and create bridges between multicultural communities. The origins of words have always amazed me but it is the method in which the language spreads which was the main reasoning for my study of the subject. Through the rapid development of technology and an influence of new music, MLE has gained immense coverage over the world in recent years.’
‘The three years of studying graphic design have been a valuable experience. It has solidified my love for design and given me the chance to meet some inspiring student peers, staff and guest lecturers. I have developed new skills in design and discovered the relevant subject areas that influence me as a designer. It has been an incredible learning experience that I will hold on and apply to rest of my life.’
Reflecting on completion
‘Studying Multicultural London English allowed me to build knowledge of the origins, facts and etymologies of the words used. Alongside creating a typographic major project, I learned a massive amount on the subject; definitions of the words, the effect it has on the youth of London, the history, the force in which Cockney English is being driven out and the studies given by linguists investigating the language. In acquiring the vast amounts of information on the language I was then able to create a solid, effective and informative concept.
‘The last few years have been enjoyable, however, I found the final major project to be the most stimulating. By giving me freedom and scope to develop and expand ideas. Having complete control over the topic, the concept, a large level of independence and full reign over design. During development the tutors and I had a series of constructive critiques, as well as with my peers, which aided my design process and strengthened the overall outcome.’