Over the past week I had the pleasure of being included in this years New Blood exhibition at D&AD in London. I wasn't sure what to expect, but prepared myself to feel small and inferior to the other exhibitors due to the amount of talent and drive that would be in the room. However, not only did I enjoy the experience immensely more than imagined, but I came away feeling inspired and excited rather than intimidated by the work I saw and the designers I met.
The atmosphere during the exhibition was one I won't forget, seeing so many designers starting out after university, and working their arses off to be there, made it feel like a community I just hadn't met yet. Speaking to students from other courses and universities added to this, and made it clear we were learning from each other. Some of the designers I admired in the exhibition included Stee Shaw, who specialises in Motion Design and created a series of clever of motion typography pieces, something that has since made me want to delve deeper into making typography animations (extending from my collaboration with Vince Daga on our project Mo-Type). I also enjoyed the work of Kayleigh Gough who displayed interesting typography work using hair to form the letters for a book cover on "How to be a Woman", which was hair raising (both pun and fact).
Not only did I see amazing pieces of work in the exhibition, but outside of the show was a world more of inspiration. The streets of London displayed an array of mural work and graffiti coating the walls and shutters of shops and windows. I was lucky enough to pass a mural by one of my favourite typography muralists, Gary Stranger, for Rich Mix - an independent arts venue. I also came across an intriguing piece of protest art... if that's what it could be called, by SubDude depicting a kinky Theresa May going "All The Way". Seems she's swapped the fields of wheat for dirty sheets (ha).
I also had great fun creating the hand outs for my work at D&AD, designing the front cover with the title of "Play" in mind, involving playing with a variety of tactile mediums to create the type. I used a yellow background to stay in theme with D&AD, which I later edited to become the exact yellow of D&AD. I attempted burning coal, tying string, green beans and using sprinkles, but the most striking effect came from the freeze dried raspberries.
Overall the whole experience was eye opening, both in terms of taking inspiration from the work exhibited unofficially in the streets and in the show. The whole event made me realise that it wasn't about asking "why am I not good enough?", but asking "what can I learn?". Which is something that applies to everything really. A topic came up among friends that it would be natural to develop an ego when you gain highly credible work, which angered me because that should never be the case. It is inexcusable to think you are better than anyone else, and that because you have done any one thing that it makes you the expert of it. Nobody should think they are above learning, I certainly never will.
I saw work that made me want to try new things and develop myself, and had a bloody good time as well - despite almost melting in the heat having only brought jeans. I also cycled around the mad roads of London in Flip Flops with my dog’s face on and without a helmet, which I was quite proud of.