UK grad shows 2014: the best of D&AD New Blood

Check out amazing art, design and advertising work from the D&AD's New Blood graduate exhibition.

The D&AD’s New Blood exhibition is the best of the grad show season. It can’t quite match the cache of Central Saint Martins’ own show and the likes of Brighton and Middlesex Universities no longer attend (CSM either) – but the quality and breadth is broader and wider than any other single institution or group show.

As we do every year, we descended on the private view last night to pick out the best work and the most creative individuals we expect to do well in the industry – across graphic and interactive design, illustration, advertising and even a bit of making. Over this feature, we’ve picked the 12 best.

This year we saw strong and mature work in all categories – with especially individual work from graduates unafraid to experiment and build their own clearly defined identity. The institutions that produced these students included Falmouth – whose illustration course is always full of top talent – The Arts University Bournemouth, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design; Lincoln University, the Universities of Brighton in Hastings, Central Lancashire, Dundee and Westminster; and Blackpool & The Flyde College.

We were surprised about how many students had already sorted their next moves. A few years ago, the majority of graduates we met at New Blood – and other shows – would answer the question of “what are you doing next?” with “trying to get a job”. Most we spoke to last night had already got jobs or placements – or were already working freelance and had even build an enviable client list while still a student.

New Blood can be seen at Spitalfields Market in London until the end of tomorrow.

Maddie Taylor and Tom Bartlett – Falmouth University

The advertising duo of art director Tom and copywriter Maddie were noticed by everybody. Their witty, fully-formed ads for Playdoh nailed an important part of how children play with that product – as a way to be more creative with other toys, to build worlds and scenarios that don’t just include the squidgy clay.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see more of the best work from the D&AD New Blood exhibition.

Katie Ponder – Falmouth University

Illustrator Katie works primarily in collage, mainly focussing on subjects related to music and theatre. Her work is artfully composed: simple and textured, often character-led but favouring animals over people.

She needs to update her website as soon as possible, as much of excellent work we saw at New Blood is missing from her site.

Jessica Kettle - Edinburgh College of Art

Children’s illustrator Jessica’s illustrations are beautifully hand-drawn – often warm and engaging. Like the best picture books, there’s more to them than pure aesthetics – a depth that comes from a thoughtfulness about what a story or artwork is exploring.

For example, her Idem project Idem (right) is based on the theories of sociologist Erving Goffman, who describes a person's identity as being like a theatrical performance.


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Megan Farrow – University of Central Lancashire

We almost didn’t include advertising graduate Megan as she has almost no online presence, but this thoughtful campaign for Barnardos needs to be seen.

Megan, if you’re out there – do you know how easy it is to set up a site on Cargo or at least set up a Behance account?

Kristi Michin – The Arts University Bournemouth

Made from laser-cut plastic, illustration graduate Kristi’s Greeting Machine is exactly that. It offers you a wave, and handshake or – my personal favourite – the fist-bump.

It appears to serve no purpose apart from being fun – and that makes it even more wonderful.

David Doran – Falmouth University

Despite only reaching the end of his days as a student, David Doran has already got an impressive list of clients under his belt. He's an editorial illustrator, and has produced work for The New York Times, Nobrow, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired and more.

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Tori Pickford – University of Dundee

We were drawn in by Tori Pickford's creepy Rusalka illustration. Tori's brilliant character design skills are shown off in this depiction of the Russian folktale character, and also in her Iniquitous playing card project, which was created around the theme of criminals throughout history.

Iida Lanki – Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design

Iida Lanki describes herself as a ceramist, illustrator and printmaker, but won her New Blood Best In Show award for her slip cast ceramic dogs (right).

The quirky pair of pooches were inspired by the classic Staffordshire dog figurines and the folk tales attached to them. The dogs come complete with a 'Certificate of Adultery.'

Tom Lodge – University of Westminster

There were a lot of graduates exploring the darker side of illustration, and pen-and-ink illustrator Tom Lodge was by far the best.

His project The Hanged Man is stark, brutal and looks especially good on the skateboards he’s had his work printed onto. We could see a lot of commissions from ‘socially acceptable metal’ bands for album and apparel artwork – as well as editorial work.

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Right: More of Tom Lodge's The Hanged Man project.

Robbie Anson Duncan – University of Westminster

Illustration graduate Robbie’s work was one of the best presented at New Blood. He printed his Labyrinthine Coral project drawn from reef patterns onto neckties and displayed them in their own reef built from painted plaster and kitchen roll tubes.

Yeah, we’re suckers for the obviously homemade.

Aidan Croucher – University of Brighton in Hastings

Graphic designer Aiden’s work first caught our eye with a subtly effective poster (right), whose statement is only visible from a distance. What you can’t see until you get close is the single question mark that’s a different colour from the others.

The poster is taken from Aidan’s project about Malaysia Airways Flight MH370, which disappeared in March with loss of 239 lives.

Aidan says that the project represents his own amazement at how a flight could go missing when we expect that satellites are watching our every move, and a tribute to the individuals  who died as being more than just part of number of counted deaths.

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Right: More of Aidan Croucher's LOST: The Mystery of Flight MH370 project.

Lindsay Hardy – Blackpool & The Flyde College

Illustrator Lindsay Hardy's editorial pieces use anthromorphism to highlight issues in politics and business.

Right: Breakfast Meetings is an editorial illustration designed to sit alongside an article that discusses whether business should really be mixed with breakfast.