They were the future once: how CR’s Creative Futures gave young talent a boost

Creative Futures was CR’s new talent scheme, many of whom went on to great things. From the CR Archive, here’s a look back at some fresh-faced young hopefuls making their first appearance in CR, bad haircuts and all

We got off to a flying start in 1990 with something of a vintage year for Creative Futures. Among the group selected were photographer Nigel Shafran, digital designer Alasdair Scott-Goddard (he dropped the Goddard later), designer and Turner Duckworth co-founder Bruce Duckworth (above) and Angus Hyland, who went on to become a Pentagram partner. Two pages away from Hyland was illustrator Marion Deuchars – not that we can take any credit, but the two were later to get married!

Graphic Thought Facility’s Paul Neale was selected for our 1991 list, while 1992 saw Graham Wood nominated for print design, Walter Campbell for art direction and Ian Swift for typography.

Other notable Creative Futures alumni include Scott King (1993), Peter Hale and Mark Bonner (also 93), Tiger Savage (94), Nik Studzinski, Fleur Olby, Warren Du Preez, Chas Bayfield and Jim Bolton (all 95), Tom Hingston, Anthony Burrill and Ed Morris (96), Sean Ellis (97), Daniel Eatock, Chris Cunningham, Kam Tang, and Dom n Nic (98) and, from 99, Dawn Shadforth, Daniel Brown, Fredrik Bond and Sølve Sundsbø.

Learn more about the CR Archive here

By now you may have noticed a pattern forming – they are nearly all men. In the early years of the scheme, we asked people in the industry to nominate our Creative Futures. The resulting lists were predominantly male. That imbalance is compounded when looking at who went on to have high-profile careers. Even when women were nominated, few of them maintained high-profile careers over the long-term, reflecting a long-standing problem around women taking time out to have families and then finding it very difficult to re-establish their career path at the same level.

Anthony Burrill (second left), Creative Futures 1996
Mugshots from our Creative Futures, 1998

In 2002 we tried to address the imbalance head-on and made Creative Futures women-only for just that year. Among those selected, many have gone on to have highly successful careers, including the designers Kerr Noble and Manuela Wyss, photographers Elaine Constantine and Valerie Phillips, and illustrators and designers Lizzie Finn and Frauke Stegmann.

Subsequent years had a much better male-female ratio and also gave a first nudge along the career path to now-familiar names such as Kirsty Carter and Emma Thomas (Apfel), Chris Bovill and John Allison, David Pearson, Alice Tonge, Saam Farahmand and Neil Blomkamp.

Creative Futures 2002, women only

Our last Creative Futures scheme ran in 2008, with Kate Moross and Roel Wouters among the nominees. For 18 years it provided a platform for young talent via a special issue of the magazine and an exhibition – for two years we even put our Creative Futures in the windows of Selfridges thanks to their sponsorship.

We still support young talent today, of course, through schemes such as New Talent, Talentspotting and our extensive graduate coverage. But it’s still great to meet some senior designer or creative today who will still remember fondly that “Oh yes, I was a Creative Future once!”

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