Last week, the Old Truman Brewery in East London opened its doors for the 2017 edition of the D&AD New Blood Festival. The festival showcased some of the best creative work from more than 1,000 students at design colleges and universities all over the country. Spread across two days, the festival, which also featured talks from the likes of designer Craig Oldham and The Dots’ Pip Jamieson, saw young creatives from all over the world responding to briefs set by the likes of Amazon, Monotype and The British Army. The annual awards look to act as a platform for students, recent graduates and other young creatives aged 23 and under to showcase their talent across disciplines including graphic design and animation. 173 pencil winners were selected out of thousands of entries from more than 40 countries by a judging panel comprising industry experts and brand representatives. Brand representatives and industry experts decide the winners selected from thousands of entries from over 40 countries.
The winners, which were revealed as part of a ceremony on Friday night (July 7), included one black pencil (the highest accolade at the awards), which was awarded to Kingston University students Hannah McNally and Martha Halliday. The students’ animated project Mm-hmmm, (below) was based on a brief from The National Austistic Society and features conversations with a carer and a young autistic person speaking about what everyday life is like with autism.
McNally and Halliday said of their work: “We know there are many joys and sorrows to autism, much like the ups and downs of life. Therefore, we did not want to sugar-coat the daily thoughts and concerns of the carers. We feel the hard-hitting message we are giving must be expressed more; to showcase the help and understanding The National Autistic Society provides families and individuals when they face the transition into adulthood.”
Bruce Duckworth, president of D&AD, added: “The word on everybody’s lips when it came to the Black Pencil winner was ‘beautiful’. An emotive and intelligent campaign, Mm-hmm united the judges almost unanimously when it came to choosing this as the winner. It was not only a great showcase of raw talent, it was produced brilliantly and with passion. You really feel like the students put everything into it.”
White pencils, which recognise social design excellence, were awarded to projects including Sian MacFarlane’s Fabric of the Nation campaign (below), which uses clothes labelling to question British identity today; Jingwei Liang’s typography project that promotes gender equality through the use of Chinese characters; and Snap Together for Animals (above), an anti-fur campaign that disrupts people’s social media channels such as Snapchat.
Yellow pencil winners (awarded to pieces of “outstanding” work) included a campaign for Amazon Fresh called “Local Just Got Closer,” a Crowne Plaza campaign (below) by students from the University of Technology Sydney targeting business and pleasure-seeking young professionals; and a series of posters by Denmark-born Jeppe Vidstrup based on collected receipts and other items featuring “inventive” spellings of his name.
All New Blood pencil winners are eligible to apply for the WPP New Blood Academy, which provides an opportunity to learn from the best in the business at a two-week creative bootcamp, with attendees working alongside WPP agencies on a live brief in order to secure a foot-in-the-door with a series of paid placements up for grabs. You can see the full list of winners on the official D&AD website HERE.