Nick Carson picks out three talented graduates from the annual maelstrom of D&AD New Blood
We visit D&AD New Blood and Glug London
Every year, D&AD New Blood Festival is inspiring and exhausting in almost equal measure. The vast Old Truman Brewery in London's Shoreditch plays host to top graduate talent from design courses across the UK, creating a sensory overload of young creatives competing for the attention of the creative press, and agencies looking for that spark of potential in their next junior hire.
This year, CA's annual New Talent issue went to press before New Blood took place – but don't worry, we've brought you the highlights to add to last month's inspirational extravaganza.
Three students in particular caught our eye – two for their forward-thinking, ideas-led approach to pressing social issues such as disability and accessibility, and the third for her versatility, and overall quality of work.
Elena Kidman studied Design for Publishing at Norwich University of the Arts, and the relatively open brief for her final project was to design the layout for a new non-fiction book. She chose Sound, by Bella Bathurst – a first-hand account of the deterioration of the author's hearing.
Throughout the book, Bathurst makes specific references to the frequencies she is able to hear as her condition worsens. 'This gave Kidman the idea to translate the frequencies into graphic patterns – achieved by playing specific frequencies through a metal plate underneath sand, before recording the resulting shapes.'
These patterns are printed in translucent white ink to interact with and distort the text of the book – a graphical representation of the sounds that Bathurst can hear. The book concludes with Bathurst having an operation to restore her hearing, illustrated with the only full-colour spread in the book.
Christina Dias Andrade, a Graphic Design graduate from Middlesex University, had two very different, but equally strong projects on display. The first, Bitter & Twisted, is an illustration-led branding scheme for a fictional brewery. Inspired by the weird notion of 'beer cocktails', Andrade created a quirky collage of old Victorian woodcuts to showcase the various ingredients.
Her second project, self-titled album Nothing But Thieves, incorporates a
10-inch vinyl cover, a seven-inch limited-edition box, a CD cover, and a promo item. Inspired by a recurrent theme of the music of feeling lost, she used Kinegram animation techniques to create eye-catching illusions created by the listener's movement – whether walking past the promotional frame, or pulling the vinyl sleeve out of its box.
Last but not least is Edinburgh Napier graduate Rebecca Watt, who chose to explore Type 1 diabetes for her final-year project. "My younger brother was diagnosed when he was four, and has now lived with it for 11 years," she says. "I wanted to use the knowledge from his life to express how Type 1 diabetics have no option but to live with this autoimmune disease 24/7, 365 days a year."
Aware that her close personal experiences of the condition might lead her to make references that the general public wouldn't understand, Watt was careful to test her ideas on a wide range of people. "This also allowed me to see where any confusion was in the understanding, and helped me pinpoint what areas really needed focus," she adds.
At the core of the project is a collection of 'paper foods', covered with nutritional information – including grams of fat, sugar, protein and carbohydrate – to show the constant need to keep track of your body's intake as a Type 1 diabetic. Also on display was an unsettlingly large rack of needles, to represent one week's worth of injections - which couldn't fail to catch the eye when walking past.
Clockwise fromabove: 2018 festival attendees; Kidman's book representation of frequencies; Andrade's Bitter & Twisted and Nothing But Sound; Watt's diabetes project displays a striking rack of needles.