16th July 2009 Jonathan Harris

New Designers 2009

I went to Part 2 of New Designers 2009 at the Business Design Centre in Islington this week. Having been an exhibitor myself (let’s just say it was over a decade ago) in the past I was interested to see how it had developed. My overwhelming impression was that the 3D disciplines were better represented and much better presented. The amount of time, effort and enthusiasm on the furniture and product design stands was markedly better then their illustration and graphic design cousins.

Illustration was much more prominent than graphic design, I suspect that part of this was due to the nature of their industries, with illustration you’re showcasing yourself for agents and your future freelance career. With graphic design naturally there’s the freelance option but most graduates are looking for a job within a swanky new design agency and approach them through different channels. Regardless of where the art school is based there’s still a trend for a dedicated London show to show your wares to potential employers rather than academics and proud parents back at college.

New Designers is meant to be the best of the best of each college. I don’t know how to get a better balance of all the disciplines, the costs of using the BDC may well be prohibitive over a longer period. I’d like to see a better representation of graphic and information design, and separated out from illustration. While it’s a great showcase for individual creatives, it could also serve as a shopwindow for potential students considering such courses coming out of Foundation or 6th Form. This would give those thinking of a career in design the chance to talk to graduates, or those about to graduate, tutors and some practicing creatives. I’d make the proviso that ‘student day’ was separate from general admission so you don’t have potential employers discouraged by hordes of school kids.

I really enjoyed chatting to the grads, collecting the postcards and business cards of some really talented people. I’m kinda itching to have a project that will give someone their first professional job and start them off in their long and profitable career.

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