Gradwatch 2017: D&AD New Blood

A look at some of the highlights from D&AD New Blood festival – including a typeface inspired by Trellick Tower and a community cooking group

D&AD’s New Blood Festival took place at Truman Brewery in Shoreditch last week, showcasing work from over 40 universities and colleges. Here’s a look at some of the projects and portfolios that caught our eye. It’s by no means an exhaustive list but includes editorial illustrations, dynamic typefaces and some slick animation…


Calum Heath

Falmouth graduate Calum Heath has created editorial illustrations for Politico and Creative Review (his artwork accompanied Daniel Benneworth-Gray’s April column on sharing your work on social media). He has already built up an impressive portfolio and his illustrations feature some strong ideas.

See more of his work at or @calumheath_


Molly Fairhurst

There was some great work on show at Leeds College of Art’s Illustration stand. Molly Fairhurst’s Kick, Don’t Twist zine explores physical expressions of anger while her personal project Trees And The Men Who Love Them explores our relationship with nature. Fairhurst has developed a distinctive style and her website is filled with imaginative artwork – including a charming entry to the Carmelite Picture Book Prize (shown above) and drawing experiment 1000 Tigers.


Melanie Edwards

Melanie Edwards’ paper art portfolio stood out for the level of craft and her attention to detail. Edwards – a graduate from the University of Leeds’ Graphic Design & Communication course – creates paper illustrations based on news articles for her Instagram feed @paperarticles. She has also created a bonkers snacking invention from paper (shown below) and some Arabian Nights-themed lanterns.


Stee Shaw 

Stee Shaw is a graduate of Nottingham Trent University’s Graphic Design course. His Opposites Attract project (a response to a brief to “create something beautiful from two opposing things”) features some great motion design and his ‘6 steps of animation’ film explains the animation process in 812 hand-drawn frames.

See more of his work at Shaw also posts motion design experiments on his Instagram feed (@steeshaw).


Hannah and Bec



Creative team Hannah & Becci’s portfolio includes some clever print campaigns (the pair have just graduated from Falmouth’s Creative Advertising MA course). Copy-based ads for Jus-Rol highlight the range of no-fuss dishes that can be created using the ready-made pastry, while a campaign for Mooncup uses some powerful images to highlight the fact that many UK schoolgirls can’t afford sanitary protection. Check out their portfolio for more projects – including a witty campaign for Fulton’s umbrellas and typographic ads for Tabasco.


Dan and Roan

Dan and Roan’s portfolio includes some strong digital work. Their Tough Love campaign for Nationwide (created in response to a New Blood brief to create a new service using data) connects users’ bank accounts with data from their mobile and penalises them for bad behaviour. People can programme the app to send money to a friend when they hit snooze on their alarm or freeze wager money if they fail to hit fitness targets. (Users are asked to choose from a series of options when they set up their account to determine what data the app can access). They can also devise their own punishments for bad behaviour. Their campaign to promote Spotify’s codes feature – which allows users to discover playlists and tracks by taking a picture of a graphic on their phone – includes some clever programmatic ads and billboards.

I also liked the pair’s campaign for Bounty. Inspired by the fact that the coconut bar is generally considered the worst of the Celebrations mix, they came up with the idea for a website that lets you customise a Bounty wrapper – adding an insult of your choice – and send it to friends and family (or anyone you don’t like).


Maarit Koobas

Arts University Bournemouth graduate Maarit Koobas’s Beat typeface is an interesting typographic experiment. Koobas created a typeface that responds dynamically to a users’ heart rate (the design is generated when people place their finger on a heart rate monitor). Her portfolio also includes an idea for a digital edition of Adolf Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf that replaces Hitler’s words with stories from Holocaust survivors when readers turn their device upside down. His words are eventually erased and replaced by accounts from survivors.

Zante Tolley

Zante Tolley’s Tower typeface was another highlight from AUB’s visual communications show. Tolley created a font inspired by Balfron Tower and Trellick Tower, the iconic Brutalist buildings designed by Erno Goldfinger. Tolley says the design reflects “the dynamic nature of the Brutalist movement”. The typeface includes two weights and terminals and crossbars in alternate glyphs match the position of service lifts on every third floor of the building.

Emily Redfearn

Sheffield Hallam University graduate Emily Redfearn’s portfolio features some skilful hand lettering. She created 101 alphabets in 7 days and has produced typographic murals for Sheffield health food cafe Nourish and The Archer Project, a day centre for the homeless. Her Instagram portfolio features some charming hand-drawn illustrations.

See more of her work at or on Instagram (@emredfearn).

Nourish mural by Emily Redfearn


Hamish McEachern

Hamish McEachern’s Fair Food Union concept – a community cooking group that aims to tackle loneliness – was one of the stand-out projects from the Edinburgh Napier University stand. The identity for the group features positive messages promoting sharing and togetherness and McEachern designed wall hangings as well as tables, plates, chairs and chopping boards. His work includes a hand-drawn identity for a fish-and-chip shop and a campaign to tackle the overuse of antibiotics.

Fore more info on D&AD New Blood see