The best emerging creative talent has been recognised at the D&AD 2022 New Blood Awards, with 186 highly coveted Pencils being distributed to the lucky winners. Among them are four White Pencils that recognise creativity being used for good, and one Black Pencil, the award's highest accolade.
Today sees the third all-virtual New Blood Festival come to a close. The festival, aimed at supporting graduates as they emerge from their studies and take their first steps into the professional world, is one of the biggest highlights of the design calendar. And this year, it's gone out with a bang by awarding 186 Pencils to the best up-and-coming creators.
As you'll know, if you've been following the New Blood Awards over the years, participating creatives are tasked with responding to a series of briefs set by leading global brands. This year saw the likes of Audible, BBC, Disney, Duolingo, Google Fonts, Netflix, Penguin, and Snapchat invite creators to demonstrate their design prowess across various disciplines, including UX/UI, animation, advertising, typography and PR.
And it looks like the next generation of designers were more than up to the challenge. A whopping 186 Pencils were awarded in recognition of the exceptional creative responses to these briefs, including one Black Pencil - D&AD's most prized accolade, which is only awarded to the most impressive of the groundbreaking work. There's no quota to be met with the distribution of Black Pencils, so if someone scoops one up, they have truly earned it.
Making up the numbers of the other awards were 27 Yellow, 46 Graphite and 108 Wood Pencils. Meanwhile, four White Pencils were also awarded for outstanding work that uses the power of creativity to do good.
As if this haul of Pencils wasn't impressive enough, the winner of the Black Pencil also picked up a White and Yellow Pencil. The stand-out entry came from Clout, who created a project in response to a brief set by Do The Green Thing and Pentagram.
The work of Sam Pilkington-Miksa and Holly Killen from the School of Communication Arts 2.0 highlighted the impact of fast fashion with a piece that gives people the means to extend the life of their clothes through upcycling. By teaching people to sew and repair their own garments, Clout hopes to influence people to keep their clothes for longer as part of the fight against fast fashion.
Another White Pencil also came about thanks to the Do The Green Thing brief, this time in the form of The Conscious Merch. Sergio Del Hierro and Elena Casas Espejo from Miami Ad School Madrid created a new way of selling fast fashion that transforms any pre-owned garment into a piece of merch simply by stamping them with eco inks. By doing so, it hopes to combat the impulsive buying of unneeded garments through the power of 'fandom'.
The third White Pencil was awarded to Belong Here, a project created in response to a brief set by Google Fonts and HMCT. The graphically-led campaign by Will Engebretson and Flavio Arnizant de Zorzi from Miami Ad School New York used typography to promote peace, dignity and universal rights worldwide. It did this by using Google's Noto typeface as its inspiration to show how a technological achievement can translate into a humanitarian endeavour.
The final White Pencil went to Matthew La Croix from the School of Communication Arts, London, for his response to the Penguin brief. His project identified an opportunity for Penguin to create safe spaces for the LGBT+ community in the metaverse, so he created reading rooms dedicated to queer literature and classic books. By doing so, he aims to connect new audiences to amazing books for the first time and give them the chance to interact with each other.
Rebecca Wright, president of D&AD, commented: "D&AD is committed to nurturing the next generation of creative minds by bridging the gap between creative education and the creative industries and improving routes of access to the industry for young and emerging creatives. New Blood is a great example of that work in practice. Just last month, a winning brief from last year was commercially released by Kraft Heinz, for example.
"Having witnessed 181 winning pieces of work, chosen by 168 judges from over 5000 entrants and sent in from 57 countries, I am excited that the next generation of creative talent is pushing the boundaries when it comes to applying creativity to live briefs and to addressing the big issues of our times. The fact that we awarded four coveted White Pencils this year is evidence of this, and it has been a joy and a privilege to see this ambitious creativity first-hand."
Paul Drake, foundations director at D&AD, said: "Creative thinking has the potential to unlock a more sustainable future. D&AD is dedicated to nurturing and celebrating innovative ideas that make a positive impact on the planet, so we are delighted to have been able to award four White Pencils this year – two of which addressed the climate emergency. It was wonderful to celebrate these incredible works alongside our other winners at our digital ceremony this afternoon, and we hope those that joined were inspired by what they witnessed.
"I'd also like to thank everyone who joined our digital festival this week, including our amazing speakers. We hope the programme has invigorated those entering the industry, providing them with insights and the practical tools to forge ahead."
Besides dishing out Pencils to the worthy winners, this year's New Blood Festival gave aspiring creatives the chance to attend inspirational talks and get hands-on experience with practical tools. Graduate shows and portfolio showcases also allowed emerging talent to share their work and network with like-minded individuals.
And even though it was a virtual event, five in-person portfolio events were hosted by industry agencies in London, São Paolo, Berlin, Edinburgh and Liverpool, as well as 400 online 1:1 portfolio reviews taking place across the Festival week. To learn more about the winners and everything that went down at this year's festival, head to the D&AD site.