Unsigned was established in 2018 by ad agency BBH London as a way for the advertising agency to reinstate its commitment to discovering and collaborating with undiscovered and unrepresented talent, including photographers, directors and illustrators.
Some of the artists discovered to date have gone on to find representation by the likes of Black Sheep Artists and RSA, received commercial commissions from brands such as Nike and Chanel, and had their work featured in publications ranging from the Guardian to the New Yorker.
This year, BBH is expanding the annual showcase’s remit by roping in five other top agencies: Wieden + Kennedy London, Lucky Generals, Mother, New Commercial Arts and Leo Burnett.
Featured work includes Heather Glazzard’s striking portraits demonstrating the diversity of the queer community, Chilean illustrator Maria Conteras Avena’s colourful works, and US-based student Eric Hart Jr’s accomplished images which explore Black identity today.
The agencies have also expanded the showcase’s reach with Unsigned Union. The Union will meet on a monthly basis, and participating agencies will be encouraged to host their own Unsigned events over the course of 2022, take part in the Unsigned mentoring programme and help to raise the profiles of underrepresented creators across the industry.
Stephen Ledger-Lomas, head of production at BBH, says: “We started Unsigned with the singular ambition of putting diverse talent on the radar. We wanted to look outside of the traditional channels and elevate the most exciting emerging talent to bring it into the spotlight.
“Unsigned has now also expanded its reach beyond the BBH’s annual showcase with the formation of a broader Unsigned Union, which aims to dismantle some of the barriers which have prevented us from moving forward collectively as an industry.”
The Unsigned Union is welcoming more agencies to pledge their support by joining the collective. Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact email@example.com