Thoughts On New Blood

A couple of us went over to the D&AD New Blood exhibition today (we are on the lookout for a talented junior art director as you may know). Here are some random things that occurred to us, unedited and without fear or favour...

– New Blood is 'a good idea'. We give D&AD some stick about their awful awards scheme, but what they do for new talent is great. Is it possible to support the D&AD that does New Blood but not the one that does the awards?

– There was a good energy about the place; excitement, nerves, fear, confidence, anticipation.

– How many students are coming out of these colleges each year now? It's ridiculous. One tutor we spoke to had 78 graphic design students graduating this year - 78! In one graduating class. The competition for jobs is intense. Are  courses taking too many students?

– Some courses do a much better job than others at packaging and displaying their students' work for easy consumption.

– In general, graphic design students are way ahead of advertising students in terms of the level of their work. I don't mean level of finish - I mean sophistication of thinking, and how close they are to being ready for professional work. The advertising lot are miles away. We don't expect people to come out of college fully formed, but I was genuinely surprised at the poor general level of advertising work. That's really depressing. Quite a few talented designers who could potentially make good advertising art directors though.

– The level of writing from the advertising courses is particularly depressing. Where on earth is the industry going to find the next generation of great writers? Not from advertising courses by the look of things. We need to find a route into the industry for writers that doesn't count on art colleges.

– If I never see another fucking Facebook app in a portfolio I'll be a happy man. Where are these poor people getting their guidance that this is a good way of showing how you can think?

– There is a fair amount of developed craft skills amongst graphic designers.

– The gap between the best and the worst is surprisingly wide. Are courses being less strict about paring down course numbers by losing weaker students as the course progresses? Are the finances of colleges playing a part in this?

– The 'idea' of your stand isn't important. Making it easy to find the talent, is.

– Too many QR codes, gimmicks, trying to be wacky ambient ideas, not enough proper thinking.

– Too many typos and spelling mistakes.

– It was bloody hot.


  1. "Too many typos and spelling mistakes."

    Call me a nazi, but that's inexcusable. In a situation where you're trying to impress, to potentially secure employment, making simple errors is a crime that should be punished with the most chafing of Chinese burns.

  2. I was at New Blood as an exhibitor yesterday, and I definitely have to agree about class sizes and universities maybe not whittling down the weaker students.

    You haven't mentioned the illustration stands, but I think our stand was possibly one of the ones where it wasn't easy to find the talent. We had over 50 individual portfolios in a tray on the floor and I can't imagine many of them actually got seen!

  3. To be a good writer, first you need to be a great reader. These kids don't read. I fear writing is becoming a dying art. And I find that professors teaching the courses lack the kind of thinking that suits one in advertising.

  4. Adrlap - we would have loved to spend some time looking at the illustration and photography courses, looking for new talent to commission, but we had one hour to try to get an idea of anyone we thought could be a good candidate for our junior art director's job.

  5. I agree with a lot of your thoughts...especially the typo comment. That's the main thing I took out of the exhibition...apostrophe errors and typos.