This summer, New Designers gathers more than 3,000 of the brightest and most radical new creative minds under one roof to launch the next generation of thinkers, makers and disruptors onto the UK design scene. Opening on Wednesday 27th June, the exhibition is a two-week celebration of visionary design that sees students of 200+ creative courses unveiling never-before-seen work to thousands of industry professionals and design lovers.
It’s in this creative hotbed that the national design scene is fuelled, challenged and refreshed by ambitious emerging talents and where career-making connections and commissions are made. For its participating graduates, New Designers acts as a vital bridge between design education and professional design success.
New Designers has a 33-year history on the cutting edge, uncovering and launching countless stars of UK design. Recent editions have featured the likes of Vicky Cowin (an Elle Decoration award winner), Katie Gillies (who went on to win commissions from Larson & Jennings and Dezeen Watch Shop), Jackie Lennie (snapped up by Warner Brothers) and Charles Dedman (now honoured with a Design Guild mark). Look back 25 years and you’ll find ambitious graduate Thomas Heatherwick, spotted by Wilfrid Cass during the 1993 show, on the cusp of becoming one of the most celebrated designers of his generation.
‘New Designers is a celebration of creation and connectivity. The event is a vital platform for the design of tomorrow – ensuring the industry is constantly revitalised with fresh ideas and creative energy. Design education and society’s needs are continuously changing, and every year New Designers responds to and anticipates this shifting landscape.’
Chris Hall, Event Director at New Designers
Creativity is not confined to the graduates – as many universities cut back on programmes in design and the arts, others are reshaping their academic offering to accommodate the changing professional design climate. This year sees more than 10 courses joining New Designers for the first time. The University of Gloucestershire introduces the stars of its Product Design, Fashion Design and Interior Design courses; Swansea College of Art is adding to the ever-growing Visual Communications showcase with Advertising and Brand Design; and Falmouth returns to New Designers with a roster of talent from its innovative BA in Sustainable Product Design.
In response to the fresh ideas and innovation fuelling this year’s show, New Designers launches a bold new visual identity created by its recently commissioned agency, Village Green. This updated branding is inspired by and reflective of the breadth and substance of the exhibitors’ fresh thinking and original design talent.
New Designers takes place in two, four-day parts, each devoted to a different set of design and craft disciplines:
WEEK 1 (27th – 30th June)– Textiles, Fashion, Costume Design, Jewellery, Glass, Ceramics and Contemporary Design Crafts
WEEK 2 (4th – 7th July)– Product, Furniture, Industrial, Automotive, Interior Design, Graphic Design, Animation, Illustration, Gaming and Motion Arts
In addition to the graduate exhibitors, other key features of the show include the newly named ‘One Year In’, a curated section showcasing the work of 100 design entrepreneurs who have recently launched their businesses. Here, design-hungry visitors can browse and buy original pieces directly from their makers. Each ‘One Year In’ exhibitor has been selected by curator Rheanna Lingham for the originality of their thinking, the quality of their work and the viability of their business. The 2018 cohort is One Year In’s biggest to date, with a record number of applications received during the open call – a striking demonstration of New Designers’ importance as a professional launchpad in our increasingly uncertain economic climate.
Throughout the event, visitors can also discover a schedule of original short films, including animation, documentaries and moving-image works in the exhibition’s Screening Room – with the announcement of the show’s Short Animation Film Awards being announced in Week 2.
Drawing on the wealth of expertise surrounding the event, a rich programme of talks, events and workshops runs alongside the exhibition, complementing the work on display and covering a wide range of design disciplines. Guest speakers include leading figures from across the spectrum of the design industry, branding, education and media.
New Designers 2018 is organised by Upper Street Events and will be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Tickets are available online from £7.50 at newdesigners.com.