UK grad shows 2013: New Designers

We round up the best work from 2013's New Designers grad show, where the latest batch of graduates from universities across the country came together to showcase their talent.

New Designers may be seen as the lesser cousin of the D&AD's New Blood – for graphic design, illustration and animation anyway, for product design it's the leading show in the UK – but there is still much hot new talent on show.

There's a broader feel to New Designers too, with a wider range of styles that adds everything from TV graphics to fantasy book cover art to New Blood's focus on high-end advertising and publishing work.

The more expansive layout of the Business Design Centre in Islington means there's also more work on show per institution – even if the work feels slightly hidden away from the main hall's reinvented tables, baby buggies and supercars.

New Designers runs until Saturday at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London.

In this article are some of our favourite works from the show. Use the slideshow controls above and right to see them.

Alice Bourne: Portsmouth University

For her final project, Alice Bourne decided to look at the development of the foetus inside the womb during pregnancy. Here is her series of nine embroidered illustrations that show how a baby grows.

Bethany Kemp: New College Nottingham

We were drawn to Bethany's children's book, Strange Things, thanks to the adorable Duck that the story centres around.The book aims to highlight the effects that littering has on the environment, to encourage children to put their rubbish in the bin. Overall, the book has a textured style that continues to work well even when the storyline takes a darker turn. The illustrations have been created using a mix of traditional and digital media, such as watercolour paintings and photographs.

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Cere Mae: Cambridge School of Art

Cere Mae's eye-catching box frame pieces were inspired by Mexican Folk Art, and combine collage and hand-drawn elements into one, three-dimensional space. The series of six 'shrines' tell the story of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Ella Bailey: Falmouth University

Ella Bailey's charming illustrations include character designs for children's books and her illustration for Falmouth University's Quotes and Sayings book (below right).

Hugh Cowling: Falmouth University

Hugh's artwork appeared on the cover of the Book of Illustrated Quotes and Sayings, a promotional book created but Falmouth's illustration graduates for this year's New Designers and New Blood shows – with each student illustrating wise or witty words from sources both known and unknown.

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Kate Beavis: Northbrook College Sussex

Kate Beavis has created these bold book covers using lino-printing techniques, the results of which have then been digitally composited to create the final cover designs for these classic books.

Lee Court: Swansea Metropolitan University

We saw Lee's Lunar piece (below right) on a vinyl-cut board that's somewhere between a skateboard and a totem.

We're also quite taken with his The Hoopoe and the Arrow (above right), which was created for the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition earlier this year.

Maria Valiji: Brunel University

Good interactive work was scarce at New Designers, and Maria's AR project Smartmenu easily stood out as the best. It's an app – and a real one, not just a concept – that overalls information over a menu without having to use ugly QR codes.

At it's current stage, it provides only images, info and reviews – but we could see it being adapted into something more exciting or useful, such as competitions or to order in fast food joints without having to queue. (which Maria tells us will be launched in the next few days)

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Martha Anne: Falmouth University

We met Martha at the D&AD's New Blood 2013 exhibition, but her work's prominently on show at New Designers too – so here she is again.

Most graduates who want to work in narrative illustration have their eyes on comics, book covers, editorial work and children's picture books – but Martha wants to reclaim the place of illustration within the pages of adult-focussed novels. And we wish her all the best with this as it's a form that could with more popular revival, especially now full-colour reading devices such as the iPad mini mean digital books aren't confined to the Kindle's black and gray.

Martha has created illustrations in this form for the likes of the Kama Sutra (right), Lady Chatterley's Lover, and Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

Natalie Faith Turner: UCA Maidstone

Natalie makes intriguing patterns by applying beautiful arrangements and drawing techniques to traditionally ugly things: wasps, spiders, moths. The results could be applied to statement scarves or other odd accessories.

She'll probably have more commercial success if she turns her attentions to more subjects with more positive associations: bumblebees rather than wasps, for example – but we'd still like to see more of her juxtaposition of appealing and appaling.

Sophie Willcox: Plymouth School of Art

We really liked the look of Sophie’s fashion illustration, and it turned out the scarves they are based around are designed by her too. Colour casts are usually a no-no in fashion illustrations, but here Sophie has maintained the colours of the scarves and used these to hue-shift the rest of the composition.

She told us that the use of geometry to obscure the model’s faces was in reaction to the model’s faces dominating the images – drawing attention away from the scarves. Her response to this keeps the scarves in focus, while still offering an eye-catching element to draw viewers in.

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Vladimir Kuchinov: University of Hertfordshire

Vladimir’s brilliant Generative Gatsby is equal parts F Scott Fitzgerald and Mark Z Danielewski. It takes the text from The Great Gatsby and uses the rhythms and structures of 1920s jazz to create typographic layouts that read like musical notations.

The cover of the book features stitched illustrations and type – a probable nod the Danielewski’s The Fifty Year Sword. Suffice to say, if Vladimir could find a publisher to make this into a commercial product, I’d buy one.