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Opinion: Why we're launching a D&AD student brief

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Editor Rob Alderson explains why the time felt right to take part in the D&AD student briefs for the first time this year and asks how we should best approach the judging process to make sure we hold the work up to the right standard…

Tomorrow sees the launch of It’s Nice That’s first ever D&AD brief, which focuses on promoting our content specifically to the student audience which has always been an important part of our DNA. Some may be surprised to see us lining up alongside brands like Unilever, Oakley and the V&A in the annual awards scheme and it was a decision that was discussed at length in the studio.

We pride ourselves on our meritocratic approach, giving a platform to any creative whose work excites us, whether they’re a big-name professional or a student just starting out – it’s the end product we’re interested in. Because of this we are also sensitive to the difficulties students have standing out in a crowded marketplace and the ensuing danger that people may take advantage of them.

But the decision to team up with D&AD this year was based on two key factors. Firstly we were increasingly getting asked by students if we might think about setting briefs as they felt we were an organisation that could bring something to this process. And secondly, crucially, we were really impressed by the D&AD people we sat down with.

The biggest challenge we’ll now face is how to approach the judging process. Should a student’s work be looked at in the context of their discipline, the stage they are at in university and the potential it shows? Or is it more worthwhile to hold it up to the exacting professional standards of a highly competitive industry?

And what about the students themselves? Do they feel taking part in competitions like this is a necessary step in their education? Or is it a distraction from their other work and personal creative development. Are we even a brand they find interesting enough to take on? I suppose that we’re about to find out…

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.