Now’s the time to find the creative stars of the future

The degree show season is at its height. Individual college events have been upon us for a while and the veteran New Designers show at London’s Business Design Centre is yet to come. But the focus given to graduates at the D&AD Congress in London’s Old Billingsgate and the Royal College of Art’s MA show makes this week particularly crucial for aspiring designers and creative heads looking to hire the best.

Assessing the scene is the only way to tap into the energy of a new generation and assure your team’s future as a creative force.

It is a time too to assess the education system in design. What better opportunity for Paul Priestman and the Design Skills Advisory Panel to arm themselves for the task of boosting skills in design. The launch of D&AD’s graduate placement scheme on Monday makes a welcome contribution to this end (DW 23 June).

So what of the work this year? College contenders for D&AD’s Best New Blood left the design assessors disappointed with standards from graphics courses. The graduates selected for the organisation’s on-line portfolio jumped out from the rest, many of whom appeared to be trying too hard for commercial success, rather than flexing their creativity. Let’s hope that creativity will be key to the winners of the D&AD Student Awards, announced tomorrow.

Work by RCA students is more encouraging, evidenced in the winners of the lucrative National Grid Transco Awards, now sadly in their final year (see News, page 3).

Joel Dunmore’s winning Grief or Relief centre – combining DNA testing and grief tourism – is not for the squeamish. Nor is Kyla Elliott’s commended Baby’s First Dissection kit. Both question current social and medical interventions.

This is the kind of challenge we expect, along with elegant solutions such as those suggested by Maxine Ann Sutton, commended in the NGT Awards. Her artefacts made of recycled fabrics combine aesthetics with social responsibility. That’s not a bad model for design.

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