Last week I had the opportunity to take part in D & AD’s New Blood festival, taking groups of students from the exhibition to workshops at agencies around East London. I was hoping for a chance to revitalise my enthusiasm, expand my design knowledge and meet other young designers before I head back to university for a Masters course in September. It was a busy, brilliant, info-packed four days that I will attempt to organise into one (not too long) blog post…
Monday was spent getting to know other volunteers, learning how to present ourselves with confidence in a very useful professional development session and figuring out where the heck we were going in Spitalfields.
Following this professional development confidence boost I was psyched to visit my first workshop, on Tuesday afternoon at Wilson Fletcher. Digital strategy has never been at the fore front of my interest but the short intro and brief I took part in reminded me of the importance of research, and I have no doubt the insight into their process will be in my mind when I start design projects in the future.
Wednesday started with a captivating talk by Christine Donnier-Valentin. Her advice to freelancers was of particular interest for me, ‘don’t forget tax, because they will not forget you’ being my main take-away!
My next event was possibly the highlight of my week, as a Little White Lies subscriber and general fan of the magazine the opportunity to see the process of creating the illustrated covers was totally inspiring.
From this highlight I went onto another, Alphabetical‘s ‘College to Industry’ talk, which was absolutely packed with useful information about approaching studios, getting placements and what to expect as a design graduate. This was topped off with a copy of their ‘College to Industry A to Z’, collecting together all the info in the talk alongside quotes and advice from graduates, designers and creative directors. They were a hot property among graduates and I am pleased to say I bagged one for myself!
Thursday was the last day of the exhibition and festival, and I was determined to fit in as much as possible. As my first event wasn’t until midday I tagged along with the group heading to a print workshop KK Outlet. This workshop was part of KK Outlet’s ‘What’s Next?’ series of exhibitions and workshops. Unfortunately I had to run out early for my next event so I missed a crash course in risograph and screen printing, but I still enjoyed the chance to work alongside students and graduates on a short illustration project.
What was next for me was a short introduction to new online platform Creative Mapping. Creative Mapping is a location-focussed network, and what I thought was particularly useful about this talk was the brief overview of East London’s history and status as a creative area. For students and graduates visiting from outside London this context helped ground them in what can be a totally overwhelming area.
And then it was time for the final event, answering a technology-focused brief at LBi. Watching students work on the brief for a couple of hours really jolted my brain back into the design process that I left behind at university, which was the outcome I’d really been hoping for at New Blood.
So there you have a very brief recap of my week at New Blood. As well as the workshops and events I fitted in plenty of private-viewing, graduate-socialising and business card-distributing, and came back to Manchester feeling inspired, revitalised and super excited to design, make and illustrate!