Best of the Grad Shows 2017: D&AD New Blood

A mixture of excellent illustration and graphic design student work we discovered at the graduate show.

D&AD New Blood exhibition is always a visual overload – hundreds and hundreds of incredible work packs out the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, and we usually have a hard time picking out the best. This year was no different. 

New Blood brings together a bunch of universities from around the country, to showcase the best graphic design, illustration, animation and photography work. I bumped into many different creative directors and founders of agencies who were looking for fresh talent.

The exhibition is open to the public all of today and tomorrow. I was lucky enough to be a stands judge with others from the industry, and then had a look around last night.

Here’s a mixture of excellent illustration and graphic design student work I discovered. These projects stood out to us due to originality, clear concept, how realistic the design is and how it caught my attention. 

Keep an eye out for our round-up of New Designers coming soon. 

Read on to see our pick of 2017’s best new grad talent.

Image: Calum Heath

Calum Heath

Calum Heath’s bright and colourful illustrations follow narratives relevant to today’s issues. He specialises in editorial and narrative work, and won Falmouth University’s Outstanding Achievement in Illustration award this year, which is no small feat. Falmouth University has strong illustration talent, such as the likes of David Doran.

Lucia Rossetti 

We loved the original concept behind graphic design student from Sheffield Hallam University Lucia Rosetti’s dollhouse. Tackling the difficult topic of child abuse, Lucia created a house that represents the six most common forms of child abuse.

Each room represents a different one – online, domestic, sexual, neglect, emotional and physical abuse. In her project outline, she says the clues are purposefully subtle to reiterate that child abuse is not always easy to spot, such as a cut phone wire or ripped up schoolwork.

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Ryan Hammond

And while we’re appreciating talent from Sheffield Hallam University – here’s another. Graphic designer and illustrator Ryan Hammond aims to benefit people and "make them smile" with his projects. The self-taught knitter prefers to use hand-made approaches in his work, such as this Commuknity knitted bench (we like what you did there). 

Ryan says over 1,0000,000 elderly people haven’t had a conversation with anyone in over a week. By 'yarn bombing' benches on high streets, in parks and at train stations, he hopes to grab attention to passers by and stimulate conversation between strangers.

Joel Sleet

Joel’s typographic presentation was impressive. Tying recent political woes and the rising fear of untruth, Joel designed Certain, a typeface “that seeks to build trust between the communicator and the reader by taking a step away from corporate style, whilst still remaining consistent and grounded”. In his interactive installation, viewers could place a sticker under the headings seen in this image, to represent the current levels of certainty.

Joel says he has a passion for typography, branding, iconography and layout.

Corrie Gorman

Corrie is a Dundee based illustrator and printmaker from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design.

She likes quirky and humorous projects, using lots of bold colour and pattern making as we can see in her book Feet are Disgusting

The interactive book details the many reasons why people are so afraid of feet, including toenail-growing pull-tabs, magnetic blisters and 3D printed toenail clippings – all very disgusting, as the book suggests.

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Rosie and Kirsty

Rosie and Kirsty are a team brought together at Falmouth University whilst studying creative advertising.

Their tongue-and-cheek ode to the notoriously sexist advertising of the 60s is just great.


Jemima Newberry 

All of the illustration students from Plymouth University had their work showcased in newspaper style – the Plymouth Post

Jemima is interested in using her illustrations for educational purposes. She works in detail using gouache and colouring pencils (which are on trend right now).

Jemima’s Chloe’s Countryside Code children’s book mock-up is simply beautiful. It’s definitely worth seeing the illustrations inside this book which are featured on her website.

Danni Tostevin

Visual communication grad from Arts University Bournemouth Danni Tostevin captured a brilliant concept with this project, even if it's a little unrealistic. 

Lifesaving Gum is a campaign for the Anthony Nolan register (an organisation that provides bone marrow or stem cell transplant to those with blood cancer). As Danni explains – gum packaging is as easy way to send off the gum as a DNA sample. Wrappers act as mouth props encouraging engagement in social media sharing.

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Luke Knight

Luke describes his visual language as "normally quite dark, dystopian and humorous (or at least he thinks so)". He ink drawings are incredibly intricate, as seen here, but he also turns a hand at model making and installation.

People who inspire Luke are the likes of Le Gun, Chris Riddell, Luke Dixon and Will Sweeny. Luke studied at Northampton University.

Alice Belvoir

Arts University Bournemouth illustration grad Alice Belvoir is influenced by human behaviour and day-to-day life. 

She enjoys injecting humour into the mundane, making her characters and illustrations fun, realistic and very relatable.