The main reason for my recent ‘cultural awareness trip’ to London was to have opportunity to visit the highly anticipated D&AD New Blood exhibition held at the Old Truman Brewery.

Showcasing the work of universities and their graduates across Britain, New Blood has gained an excellent reputation for high quality and is always attended by a whole spectrum of top agencies hungry to snap up the next ‘big thing’.

The standard of work was outstanding with over 40 colleges and universities and around 80 courses represented. Here’s 10 of the best pieces I saw displayed – I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about some of these creatives in the coming months and years!

No. 10. Smile for London by Jonathan Stanbrook

Sussex Coast College Hastings, University of Brighton

Sneaking into my top ten is this ray of positivity by Jonathan Stanbrook. A nice idea at which you can’t help but smile!

[Jonathan's website]

Smile for London
Smile for London
Smile for London

No. 9. Do What You Love, Love What You Do by Jonny Aldrich

Burton & South Derbyshire College

The quality of Jonny’s technical skills, particularly this series of two pieces of illustrative typography, really took me by surprise; not least because he is still a year away from even starting a university course! With some development and the right course Jonny could well find himself a star of the future.

[Jonny's Behance profile]

Do what you love, love what you do

No. 8. Optical Illusion (FRANK) by Rich Williams

The Arts University College at Bournemouth

This bold optical illusion, perfectly executed and dangerously wobbly (!), was a great idea for a poster for Frank, a drugs information service.
Frank - Optical Illusion

No. 7. Geometric Experience by Callin Mackintosh

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee

The magnificently named Scottish college (that I’d never heard of) had one of the finest stands of the whole show. This set of two posters for a lecture series demonstrated Callin’s abstract thinking and sound technical skills and resulted in one of the most unique and memorable pieces of work in the building!

[Callin's website]

Geometric Experience
Geometric Experience

No. 6. Positive View by Matthew Irwin

Northumbria University

As a logo designer myself, this piece of clever design really caught my eye. Intelligent use of negative space and layout gave the Positive View word mark a lovely depth of meaning.

Positive View

No. 5. Unfamiliar magazine by Jamie Scott, Alex Renfrew, Freddy Taylor, Sarah Fox and Lisa Henderson

Edinburgh College of Art

Fantastic production values and collaborative thinking give extra weight to this clean and simple piece of industry standard editorial design.

[Jamie's website]


No. 4. Girls Like Type Too by Lucinda Ireland

Nottingham Trent University

From the looks of things Nottingham Trent have a typographic focus to their Graphic Design degree course; their stand really stood out in that respect. Lucinda’s work showed excellent craft and simplicity and would look at home on the wall of any gallery as well as plenty of stylish living rooms!

[Lucinda's website]

Girls Like Type Too
Girls Like Type Too

No. 3. Picnic Concerts by Dominic Wilson

Northumbria University

The branding work at Northumbria was among the very best on show, and Dominic’s witty logo for Picnic Concerts really stood out. Reminiscent of 300million’s modern classic logo for the Guild of Food Writers in style and thought process, the fork blends perfectly with the treble clef and results in a dream combination.

[Dominic's website]

Music Picnics

No. 2. Share by David Tolmie

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee

Another excellent example from Duncan of Jordanstone, David’s vibrant branding for a fictional TV, phone and broadband provider goes well beyond the colourful logo and is expertly carried through to print and web based applications.

[David's website]


No. 1. Various by Jamin Galea, Heather Elliott, Tristan Dunbar, Richard Lawton, Micaela Swift and Rachel Gidlow

Norwich University College of Arts

I found it so hard to choose between the wonderful pieces on the Norwich stand that I decided the whole stand should get my top spot!

Particularly impressive were the packaging projects but some excellent illustration and brand identity gave the whole display a great variety and range. My favourites included:

National Maritime Museum
(a) Jamin Galea’s logo for National Maritime Museum;

James & The Giant Peach
(b) Heather Elliott’s book cover for James & the Giant Peach;

Snack a Jacks
(c) Tristan Dunbar’s packaging for Snack-a-Jacks;

(d) Richard Lawton’s clever Sainsburys dip packaging;

Cathedral City
(e) Micaela Swift’s stained glass window inspired Cathedral City cheese packaging and

M&S Tea
(f) Rachel Gidlow’s fantastic M&S Tea range!

Jamin’s Behance profile
Heather’s blog

Well done to everyone at Norwich as well as Nottingham Trent, Duncan of Jordanstone and Northumbria for what I found to be amongst the best exhibits at the show. All in all the show was a great example of the sharp end of the new wave of the creative industry. Highly inspirational and very encouraging.

Did you go to the show? Or even exhibit/win an award? I'd love to hear your comments on my opinion as well as what you think should have been included. Feel free to get in touch.

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