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D&AD New Blood Festival: talent spotting 101

The New Blood Exhibition is a one-stop-shop to hook yourself fresh talent. Whether you have placements to dish out, want a freelancer to inject a little energy into a project, or need someone amazing to be a permanent fixture, you'll find them there. And we have the stories to prove it, plus tips on how to snap up the best up and coming creatives around. 

D&AD New Blood Festival

Alex Fowkes knows all about the opportunities you can generate from taking part in the New Blood Exhibition. As a 2010 exhibitor he still finds himself reaping the benefits. 

Alex: New Blood gave me a platform for other people to see my work in the real world, that little bit of confidence, and pushed me to interact directly with industry. London’s such a hub for creativity and creative businesses you want to like your work. I had a lot of interest for freelance work and job offers, however at the time I wasn’t living in London. It was actually two years later when I received an email from the Creative Director at Sony Music who'd seen my work at the Exhibition. He’d kept my business card and wanted to take me on for a six-month project. The brief was to typographically represent every musical artist that has ever worked with Sony and its affiliated labels for their HQ in Kensington.

D&AD New Blood Festival

It’s a timeline that starts from 1889 and runs up until the present day, with over 1000 names over 125 years. Sony was amazing at marketing the making-of video and it exploded online, gaining over 20,000 views. I’ve basically been running off the back of it ever since.

Alex has since gone on to create amazing stuff for the likes of Urban Outfitters and Artsac Workshop. Check out what he's up to now right here.

D&AD New Blood Festival

Whilst Senior Designer at SapientNitro in 2013, Ros Horner met Jen Crewdson, a Teeside College student, through the porfolio crit session the agency hosted as part of the Festival Fringe. Jen made a serious impression, winning herself a placement which soon became a job. And here's how.

Ros: We saw a lot of portfolios that week, and all the student's work was really strong, but I specifically remember Jen's work being really well crafted and the calm way she explained each piece. Amongst all the great work Jen stood out above everyone we met because of her attitude. It was the simple things like handing us beautifully designed business cards as she sat down, and really listening and responding to our feedback. Although Sapient are always looking for Digital Designers, we knew we could teach specific 'digital' skills to people with a solid foundation in design and a good eye for detail, which lots of the graduates had.

Jen: I didn't know what to expect, but I wanted to hear honest feedback about my work from designers in the industry. I talked through my portfolio and received positive and incredibly valued feedback. The session also gave me the opportunity to ask questions and get a sense of the culture at SapientNitro, which after doing so very much made me want to be a part of it. We spoke about a potential placement and everything else went from there. I moved down to London a month later to start my internship.

After a successful placement Jen was offered a full time Junior Designer role. Since then she's been giving talks about her experience, been promoted and become a huge part of agency life.

"For us New Blood is a yearly pilgrimage to mine for the best talent. The best people produce the best product, as a creative agency we’re all about the people. What we see at the Exhibition are people that can generate ideas and apply them across a wide and diverse array of media, and for us that’s really interesting".

Spencer Buck, Creative Director and Founder at Taxi Studio, is a regular at the New Blood Festival. Last year he scouted for talent and he sure found it. He picked up Ryan Panchal, a New Blood Pencil winner, and snapped him right up.

Ryan: I entered the New Blood Awards as a third year student and was fortunate enough to be awarded Pencils for both briefs I tackled. Spencer and Ryan from Taxi Studio picked me up on their radar and invited me over to Bristol to interview for my dream job. After I was offered a Junior Designer role I made the big move from Essex and haven’t looked back since.
My favourite project since starting at Taxi has been our rebrand for washroom suppliers, Dolphin. As part of the new identity I helped create a set of abstract textures for Dolphin's sub-brands, representative of the patterned skins of different breeds of dolphins. To launch their new brand, Dolphin invited their existing customers to an event where we created custom BOTTLEnose dolphin labels for the wine on offer. This is a project that myself and Taxi are really proud of.
D&AD New Blood Festival

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