Graduates must try harder to display work at its best

Lynda Relph-Knight

Last week a select group of international creatives celebrated the first Cannes Lions design prize – and the outstanding Grand Prix win for Turner Duckworth for its work for Coca-Cola. This week the focus is closer to home, on the student awards meted out by D&AD to top-flight graduates.

Monday saw the opening of the D&AD New Blood show at London’s Earls Court and tomorrow evening the creative crew will gather at Shoreditch Town Hall to honour the best emerging talents at the D&AD Student Awards.

The awards fall within the season of degree shows, when the hottest stars are snapped up by consultancies looking to boost their teams. Whatever the economic scenario, there are always jobs for the most creative graduates.

But competition can be rife for work among the mass of college-leavers, who need to make every effort to show not just what they can do, but who they are. After all, consultancy bosses hire people, not just skill sets, however impressive.

Some colleges have this sussed. Take, for example, the stunning Made in Brunel show held this month at the Business Design Centre in London. A clear layout and appropriate information about each project made it a pleasure to visit. Having attentive graduates on hand to explain their work if required was a bonus.

How different this was from some of the stands at New Blood. In some instances, assessors selecting work to go on the website – an invaluable start to any career – had to pick their way through unmarked portfolios on stands littered with great, but anonymous work.

The D&AD assessors were spurred on to dig deep to identify the work by the desire to award the best. But would a busy creative director with half an hour to spend at a show do the same?

College tutors work hard to ensure that creative standards are upheld year after year. But it is also important that their protégés get the recognition they deserve. Tutors and graduates need to make the work easily accessible to would-be employers.

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