D&AD Announce Programme for New Blood Digital Festival 2020

&AD today announces details of its New Blood Digital Festival, running from 6-10 July 2020. Due to the ongoing disruptions caused by COVID-19, D&AD will host a virtual Festival in place of its annual physical Festival which takes place at London’s Truman Brewery. 


Since 1980, New Blood has celebrated and inspired the next generation of talent, supporting young and emerging creatives as they enter the workforce. 2020 marks 40 years since the launch of the programme, and the anniversary comes at a particularly significant moment for the creative sector, as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to affect educational institutions and creative businesses. It is therefore more important than ever before to nurture emerging talent and provide opportunities for learning and development.


This year’s New Blood Digital Festival and Awards will celebrate the organisation’s continued support of new talent and create a platform for the emerging creative voices to engage with the industry they are about to become a part of. In addition to a showcase of over 1000 portfolios in partnership with The Dots, D&AD are drawing on their network of leading thinkers and practitioners, to feature a range of informative and inspiring online sessions aimed at young and emerging creatives to bridge the gap between education and the creative industries.


New Blood Digital Festival 


To capture the spirit of New Blood, D&AD has designed the Digital Festival programme to offer inspiring learning content that is responsive to the needs of the industry and provide a space for graduates to forge lasting relationships with industry leaders. New Blood is also partnering with The Dots to showcase student work in a virtual format, alongside collaborating with YCC to help recent graduates access job opportunities and placements.


The Festival will orbit around five daily themes in the form of “This>That” statements, which highlight key topics of debate and discussion in the creative industries today: 


  • Practice>Theory: Knowledge is power, and practise makes perfect, but to thrive as a creative, what is more important - practice or theory?

  • Tenacity>Talent: Is creativity an innate talent that can be unlocked, or is it learned over time? What really makes us stand-out - our craft or our passion?

  • Mind>Machine: With digitalisation and automation becoming more prevalent, what does this mean for creativity? Who will triumph - mind or machine?

  • Generalist>Specialist: Is breadth and diversity of skills more desirable and employable than narrow, deep expertise and craft?

  • Define>Reflect: Should the commercial creative industry be innovating and defining culture, or is it our role to reflect and comment on the world around us?


Designed to encourage open and fruitful conversation, the themes will invite seasoned creatives to share their advice and experience, as well as help new creatives continue to navigate the constantly changing industry landscape. This will take place in the form of live sessions accessible via the D&AD website, including debates between industry voices on either side of the “This>That” provocation, keynote speeches and practical workshops offering advice to emerging talent.


Industry leaders will contribute to these conversations, including the following speakers: Sir John Hegarty, Ben Hughes & Sandra Nam (VP Brand Design & Creative Production Director, Squarespace), Lydia Pang (Creative Director), Eva & Marta Yarza (Founders & Creative Directors, Yaza Twins), Craig Oldham (Founder & Creative Director, The Office of Craig Oldham), Nate Agbetu, Ayo Fagbemi & Jojo Sonubi (Play Nice), Aurelia Durand (illustrator), Naresh Ramchandani (Partner, Pentagram), Simon Richings, Dan Noller & Sara Pouri (Analog Folk), Tyrone James Drake (Art Center College of Design), Stefanie Sword-Williams (F*ck being Humble), Fail Better Talks and Richard Brim (adam&eveDDB).


As part of the New Blood Digital Festival, D&AD are partnering with Squarespace, the all-in-one website building and ecommerce platform, for the third consecutive year and will be releasing Season 2 of the 'By the Book': a three-part video series where top creatives offer encouraging advice to graduating students and emerging creatives on how to stand out through their online portfolio. This year, D&AD and Squarespace have taken a deeper dive to provide discipline-specific advice from those at the top of the game in art direction, graphic design and illustration. Following an open call to emerging designers for portfolios on the Squarespace platform via the D&AD social channels, Squarespace will also be featuring a selection of online portfolio ‘Ones to Watch’ at the Digital New Blood Festival.


New Blood is also calling out to industry professionals to submit opinion pieces and articles in response to the five themes, designed to offer practical tips to emerging creatives derived from personal experience. The articles will be published on the D&AD website and hopes to spark interesting conversations around what is useful as a creative practitioner in the industry, and how the shape of the industry is changing. Interested creatives can submit article ideas via the following Typeform: https://d-and-ad.typeform.com/to/dqP5Rv


During this time of uncertainty, D&AD wants to ensure that new talent can still have the chance to connect with leading industry professionals, get advice on their portfolios and gain important insights. Following an appeal to creative professionals to help nurture emerging talent by generously donating their time and expertise, D&AD received an incredible response from the industry and will be running more than 600 portfolio reviews with support from more than 200 creatives. 


The New Blood Awards


New Blood Awards digital ceremony will take place on the evening of Thursday 9 July (BST). We will be broadcasting winners via Instagram, and contacting winners via email beforehand.


Dara Lynch, Chief Operating Officer at D&AD, commented: “As New Blood celebrates its 40th anniversary, it is equally important to reflect on what the next 40 years of creativity will look like as our industry undergoes immeasurable change. The ideas and insights of emerging talent will define the future of creativity, so it is fundamental that D&AD continues to support and inspire young creatives through the New Blood Digital Festival. We are excited to create a platform which connects emerging creatives with the industry through inspiring online sessions and portfolio reviews from creative practitioners. D&AD hope to spark innovative conversations around our five “This>That” themes that pave the way for our industry moving forward.”


David Lee at Squarespace commented: "As the all-in-one platform that powers the online presence for anyone who wants to stand out, Squarespace is excited to partner with D&AD to celebrate and shine a light on the next generation of creative talent. We are proud to be able to provide the tools for creatives to showcase their work online, and are looking forward to taking a closer look at the carefully curated portfolios that have been brought to life using our platform."

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