2021 D&AD New Blood Awards includes briefs from Penguin and Disney

The 17 briefs for the 2021 D&AD New Blood Awards have been announced, set by brands including The Walt Disney Company, Penguin, Spotify, BBC, Burger King, Xbox, Audible and Tesco.

Giulia Teruzzi and Joshua Mancini, 2020 New Blood winners in the Durex brief

Giulia Teruzzi and Joshua Mancini, 2020 New Blood winners in the Durex brief

The awards, which have been running since 1980, are aimed at helping aspiring students designers connect directly with the creative industries and garner a better understanding of how a live brief works. They span disciplines including game design, experiential, advertising, branding and typography.

The 2021 edition of the awards also sees the launch of New Blood Shots, a new series of New Blood briefs set over six weeks to offer new opportunities for people to showcase their skills and enter employment during the pandemic. The idea is that these short, dynamic projects give emerging creatives a faster way to develop their portfolio, impress employers and land a paid commission or role while job opportunities are difficult to access.

According to D&AD, "it is more important than ever this year to nurture the talent pipeline, whose entry into the creative industries will be seriously affected by the ongoing disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic." As such, there are no formal education requirements: anyone aged 18 or over without significant paid creative experience can enter. D&AD also offers an online resource library featuring portfolio tips, ideas and examples of what the organisation terms "the very best in creative design work to provide additional educational resources and inspiration for prospective entrants."

Examples of the briefs include The Walt Disney Company's advertising sector task, which asks creatives to formulate an "evocative" campaign celebrating the company's 100th birthday. It suggests the campaign should "turn well-loved 90s and 00s Disney nostalgia into hyper-relevancy for today."

Penguin Books' brief, meanwhile, asks entrants to "reimagine the role of books, reading and authors for school students in the UK and enable young adults to engage with a wider range of diverse and inclusive literature."

Additional briefs, which range from commercial challenges to using creativity to address social issues, including changing the way that skin cancer is diagnosed in people of colour with 21Grams, repositioning menopause as an issue affecting people of all ages with The Case for Her and Refinery29, and encouraging more sustainable habits in sports fans in collaboration with Connect4Climate.

The briefs can be downloaded now from the D&AD website, with entries opening in January 2021 and closing in March 2021. Winners will be revealed next summer, and will receive a New Blood Pencil alongside a place in the D&AD New Blood Academy, a "creative boot camp".

"This year's creative cohort will face more barriers upon entering the industry than ever before," says Paul Drake, foundations director at D&AD. "The pandemic has completely shifted the way our sector works and valuable opportunities to connect and network with creative practitioners have been lost...Through the briefs, we aim to give emerging talent a platform through which to stand out and impress the industry, alongside a taste of what the industry is really like."

D&AD President Naresh Ramchandani adds, "new voices are needed more than ever".


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