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The D&AD New Blood Festival is the most prestigious grad show for new talent across advertising, branding, illustration and graphic design, with possible exception of Central Saint Martins' own exhibition.
After missing the private view due to us needing to nip to New York for the Apple MacBook Pro launch and Nottingham for Affinity Designer, we descended on the show proper on the look out for the best of the best.
The show featured grads from 71 courses at universities across the UK from Falmouth to Dundee – which we whittled down to 10 designers and artists whose work we loved most of all. For some, it's their whole body of work that we appreciated, for others a single piece drew us in.
We kick off with Christina Dias Andrade, because her surname begins with an 'A'.
Image: Edinburgh Napier University, which won the D&AD's Best Stand award - photo supplied by the D&AD.
It's not often we get to feature kinegram work on Digital Arts, so it's a pleasure to feature Christina Dias Andrade's barrier-grid work, as featured on a snazzy-looking record sleeve no less.
Christina's showcase piece at New Blood was vinyl packaging for rock band Nothing But Thieves self-titled debut from 2015. Not a big name, but we're sure Christina will be with her immaculate work and very stylish use of colour.
The project incorporates a 12-inch record sleeve, poster prints and a boxset version of the album with the tracks laid out over four 10-inch records. All come with a kinegram effect, with the boxset offering 4 different swirly animations when taking out the 10-inches from their pack; a neat little idea that makes use of an almost forgotten art form. We particularly loved that the individual colours and spirals from the sleeves appear on the disc's corresponding label, too, in another example of Christina's great attention to detail on this work.
Music illustration could be a future niche for Christina to work in, but we're sure she can shine in whatever design medium she chooses to specialise in.
See more fresh design and art talent in our pick of the Middlesex University grad show.
You can't not be drawn in by Simon's hypnotic kaleidoscopes, the first one noticed being built from the symbols of social media – emojo, logos and the like. Part of his Present Shock final year major project, it represents the overstimulation many of us get from a barrage of social media channels – often with the same information coming to use from different media.
Simon has drawn his ideas from Alvin Toffler's 1970 book Future Shock, arguing that the future Toffler predicted – with a population in thrall to technology – is our present.
He also designed the University of Portsmouth's small show guide, which stylishly uses the symbols of star charts in a dark blue foil on the cover – harking back to Pompey's naval heritage.
Heather's project is based around a single wonderfully simple idea – to get you to go outside. She's combined bold use of type with charmingly irreverant wording to create something that could easily be a real National Parks campaign.
We particularly liked her 'I Went Outside' badges, laser cut silhouettes of the landscape and a community Instagram for people to contribute to.
We don't know much about Jasper Novakovic beyond his Instagram - there seems to be no online portfolio yet - but we do know we like his intricate, almost Byzantine-work.
Jasper's art pulls from the mixed matter of riverbeds and rock layers, cells and whirlpools, creating highly-detailed prints and picture books with some finely soft and subtle colouring.
The picture books we saw were nicely idiosyncratic, with Jasper showing off his writing chops in surreal short stories about 'Cloudmantas' and magic bananas. Their tone matches the art, with Jasper giving a microscopic gaze on a world of magic, mazes and the milieu of Mother Nature.
Of all the artists whose work we saw at New Blood, Tom Peake was the most directly commissionable for editorial illustration. His textured vector style isn't groundbreaking, but there's a clarity of vision and deft use of metaphor that marks his work – and each image has at least one element that inspires a feeling of delight when discovered.
Rosanna Rossetti seems to to have finely grasped the power of eye-catching design and on-point social campaigns.
The nesting dolls Rosanna made for her Autism in Females project caught our eye, especially in the sea of prints and books that make up the majority of New Blood. Each doll represents a characteristic of autism, and the concept itself was chosen to represent how some autistic women choose to conceal their behaviour by 'hiding in plain sight.'
While the paintwork may not be finely tuned, it's still nice to see the use of different physical mediums at showcases like this. We're also impressed by Rosanna's Synesthesia Colouring Pencils project. A novel idea, this concept pairs colouring pencils with the corresponding taste e.g. to Rosanna's subject on the project, James, the colour white 'tastes' like fried egg, and orange like vomit.
The pencil pack and photo series created for the project nicely convey the sensory mix-up associated with synaesthesia, and shows Rosanna could carve an interesting foothold in the future between aspects of both message and the mind.
Also, in an interesting twist of fate, we featured Rosanna's sister Lucia on last year's New Blood feature. The Rossettis have this thing down pat, obviously.
One of the names who got us most excited at New Blood was illustrator and print-maker Jo Ruessmann. Her work was hard to miss, with two large books by Jo taking up the main desk at the Edinburgh College of Art stand. The college clearly has a lot of pride in this one, and it's not hard to see why.
Joe's work is informed by old myths and a modern, sketchy style of irreverent drawing; genitalia seems to be a common hallmark. Her colours meanwhile are quixotic, making mountains purple and skin as red as blood.
The definite highlight was Jo's oversized hardcover take on The Epic of Gilgamesh, a beauty of a beast that best exemplifies her style. We'd call it her magnum opus, but there'll surely be more to come from this promising young star.
Created to a brief by Penguin and award second place in the children's category of its Student Design Awards for this year, this is an inventive concept beautifully executed by Lucy Scholes for Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses.
Lucy says that the idea came from a quote from the dystopian YA novel about two characters – Callum and Sephy – whose lives become increasingly connected as the book progresses, "All our lives criss-crossing but never really touching. A world full of strangers living with all that fear."
The black strips feature text from Sephy's internal dialogue, while the white are Callum's thoughts.
This is either an ingenious response to the worst nightmare for a designer or artist preparing for their grad show – or a well-considered response to an earlier problem. Having hardware you rely on fail on you just before your show is up there with your work getting lost in shipping or giant spiders eating it as things to terrify new grads.
You can check out the rest of James Kellaway's portfolio for some appealing zine art.
All photos from the show were captured using the Huawei P20 Pro, except where noted. Read our P20 Pro review.