D&AD crowns 186 pencil winners at its annual celebration of emerging creative talent

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Today, the third all-virtual New Blood Festival comes to an end. The festival, intended to accompany graduates on leaving their studies and taking their first steps into the professional world, is one of the highlights of the design calendar. And this year, it started off with a bang by awarding 186 pencils to the best up-and-coming designers.

As you know, if you’ve followed the New Blood Awards over the years, participating creatives are tasked with responding to a series of briefs set by the world’s biggest brands. This year, Audible, BBC, Disney, Duolingo, Google Fonts, Netflix, Penguin and Snapchat invited creators to showcase their design prowess across a variety of disciplines including UX/UI, animation, advertising, typography and public relations.

And it seems the next generation of designers have been more than up to the challenge. An impressive 186 crayons were awarded in recognition of outstanding creative responses to these memoirs, including a black crayon—D&AD’s most prized honor, awarded only to the most impressive groundbreaking work. There is no quota with the distribution of black crayons, so if someone picks one up, they really deserve it.



Image courtesy of D&AD

Other rewards included 27 yellow pencils, 46 graphite pencils and 108 wood pencils. Meanwhile, four white pencils were also awarded for outstanding work that uses the power of creativity to do good.

As if this pencil haul wasn’t impressive enough, the black pencil winner also picked up a white and yellow pencil. The standout entry came from Clout, who created a project in response to a brief set of Do The Green Thing and Pentagram.

The work of Sam Pilkington-Miksa and Holly Killen of the School of Communication Arts 2.0 has shed light on the impact of fast fashion with a piece that empowers people to extend the life of their clothes through upcycling. By teaching people how to sew and mend their own clothes, Clout hopes to inspire people to keep their clothes on longer as part of the fight against fast fashion.

Another white pencil has also emerged thanks to the Do The Green Thing brief, this time in the form of The Conscious Merch. Miami Ad School Madrid’s Sergio Del Hierro and Elena Casas Espejo have created a new way to sell fast fashion that turns any second-hand item of clothing into a piece of merchandise simply by stamping them with eco-friendly inks. In doing so, he hopes to combat impulse buying of unnecessary clothes through the power of “fandom”.

The third White Pencil was awarded to Belong Here, a project created in response to a brief set of Google Fonts and HMCT. The graphically-led campaign by Will Engebretson and Flavio Arnizant de Zorzi of Miami Ad School in New York used typography to promote peace, dignity and universal rights around the world. To do so, he drew inspiration from Google’s Noto typeface to show how a technological achievement can translate into a humanitarian endeavor.

belong here



belong here

The latest White Pencil went to Matthew La Croix from the School of Communication Arts in London, for his response to the Penguin dossier. His project identified an opportunity for Penguin to create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community in the metaverse, so he created reading rooms dedicated to queer literature and classic books. In doing so, it aims to connect new audiences to amazing books for the first time and give them the chance to interact with each other.

Rebecca Wright, President of D&AD, said, “D&AD is committed to nurturing the next generation of creative minds by bridging the gap between creative education and creative industries and improving pathways to industry for emerging young creatives. New Blood is a great example of this working in practice. Last month, a winning memoir from last year was released by Kraft Heinz, for example.

“Having witnessed 181 winning entries, chosen by 168 judges from over 5,000 entrants and submitted from 57 countries, I’m thrilled that the next generation of creative talent is pushing the boundaries when it comes to applying creativity to briefs. live and to tackle the great issues of our time. The fact that we have awarded four coveted white pencils this year is proof of this, and it was a joy and a privilege to see this ambitious creativity first hand.

penguin metaverse



penguin metaverse

Conscious merchandising



Conscious merchandising

Paul Drake, Director of Foundations at D&AD, said, “Creative thinking has the potential to unlock a more sustainable future. D&AD is dedicated to nurturing and celebrating innovative ideas that have a positive impact on the planet, so we’re thrilled for being able to award four white pencils this year, two of which dealt with the climate emergency. It was wonderful to celebrate such incredible works alongside our other honorees at our digital ceremony this afternoon, and we hope those who joined were inspired by what they witnessed.

“I would also like to thank everyone who joined our digital festival this week, including our amazing speakers. We hope the program has invigorated those entering the industry, providing them with ideas and practical tools to move forward. ‘before.”

In addition to handing out pencils to worthy winners, this year’s New Blood Festival gave budding creatives the chance to attend inspiring talks and gain hands-on experience with hands-on tools. Graduate exhibitions and portfolio presentations also allowed emerging talent to share their work and network with like-minded people.

And even though it was a virtual event, five in-person portfolio events were hosted by industry agencies in London, São Paulo, Berlin, Edinburgh and Liverpool, along with 400 online portfolio reviews 1:1 matches that took place throughout the week of the Festival. For more on the winners and everything that happened at this year’s festival, head over to the D&AD site.

Conscious merchandising



Conscious merchandising

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