• Opinion1
Opinion

Opinion: Why the D&AD New Blood scheme is the perfect way to get ahead

Posted by It's Nice That,

This week creative director Craig Oldham looks at getting your foot in the door of the creative industries and makes the case for the D&AD New Blood scheme as the perfect place to start. As ever you can add your thoughts using the discussion thread below…

It can be a difficult thing to get your head around, education – especially when you’re still in there. But education is much more than just stocking up the toolbox, ready to head off into a job. The thing is – as I’m sure you’ve already been told – you need to be thinking about the industry whilst still in education. And although I’m probably evoking images of those daft dogs that chase their own tail, it’s always important in those formative years to incorporate what’s going on outside the classroom. Because experience, good or bad, has value.

Perhaps now more than ever, experience and exposure to industry practice is vital to a young creative trying to get ahead. In truth it can be the difference, but the dilemma often feels a little chicken-and-egg. “I need experience to be experienced, but to get experience I need to be experienced.” (There’s that dog again.)

I know it will feel like ice-skating uphill, particularly with competition so fierce these days. But as far as opportunities go, I’d say D&AD New Blood could be just the thing to get you going.

Now, tending to the elephant in the room, yes I’m a trustee of D&AD, and I did indeed recently create the campaign for New Blood 2014. But I want to assure you that this isn’t just me toeing the company line. The truth is, I mention the New Blood scheme because I believe in it. I know first-hand how it can help. Not all that long ago I was in that position, eager to break through into industry but equally daunted at being able to make it happen. Exhibiting at New Blood not only opened a lot of doors for me; it was a great boost personally at what was a crucial time of the year.

“You have to believe in yourself, in your ideas, and then back that up with some pretty hard graft and a pretty good understanding of what it is you want.”

Craig Oldham

Today, I couldn’t tell you all the things New Blood does – the industry-led briefs, portfolio crits, workshops, industry mentors, talks, placement schemes with top creative agencies, the New Blood Academy… the list goes on, but the most important thing to take away from it is the pretty damn good symbiosis they’ve obviously managed to strike between education and industry. And that’s a pretty big gap to straddle.

Take this year’s briefs for example. ASOS, BBC, XL Recordings etc etc – we’re not talking hypothetical exercises here, just for the fun of it, they’re genuine challenges they’re outsourcing to you: the next generation. (Personally, I’d be all over the DCM cinema brief. As a film lover, it’s always good to start with something you know enough – and are keen to know more – about.)

If you’re a student or young creative, it’s a given to me that you’re going to need this exposure to industry and that’s experience that D&AD can give you.

You’ll also need all those other crap cliché attributes too (which I won’t repeat for fear of sounding like a shit football pundit) but one to mention is ambition. It’s not easy out there, I won’t lie to you. You can’t just meander through the industry seeing what will happen.

You have to believe in yourself, in your ideas, and then back that up with some pretty hard graft and a pretty good understanding of what it is you want. That’s what ambition is, knowing what you want, so you can figure out how to get it.

But whether this is getting a placement, landing the first job, setting-up on your own, or just to constantly improve, without understanding what you want to do, you’ll never know how to achieve that ambition. 

And we all know the best way to understand something—experience it.

comments powered by Disqus
Nice

Posted by It's Nice That

The It’s Nice That byline is used on posts that relate to the site in general, specific announcements or pieces where there is no clear single author. Contact us using the email address below if you have questions, feedback or complaints.

Most Recent: Opinion View Archive

  1. Marcel-ingloriousfruits-itsnicethat-list

    After the Design Museum names its six category winners for the 2015 Designs of the Year, Rob Alderson argues that the victor in the graphics section is a very worthy winner. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below.

  2. List

    Ben Tallon’s new book explores the difficult transition to going freelance which many in the creative world make, and by which many more are tempted. To mark the publication of Champagne and Wax Crayons Ben has written a piece about how he found taking that giant leap. You can add your thoughts below…

  3. Grayson-perrys-dream-hous-007-list

    A few years ago, you wouldn’t have expected Channel Four to show a documentary about a cross-dressing artist making a house in Essex on a Sunday evening. But that’s the magic of Grayson Perry: there’s no such thing as low and high culture, no such thing as people not being “into” art, no such thing as stereotypes.

  4. List_sarah_lucas_i_scream_daddio_its_nice_that_

    One of my favourite exhibitions of the last few years was Sarah Lucas’ Whitechapel show, described by The Guardian as “Breasts, bums, blokes and their bits.” Naturally, I was thrilled when Sarah was announced as the artist creating the British Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale. Like the work of Jeremy Deller, the artist chosen in 2013, Sarah’s art can be messy and funny and fearless. It’s hard to make sense of, and big issues are frequently masked with a wry humour. Britain could be said to be the same; for all our perceived stuffiness, as a nation there’s a gloriously dishevelled side – a bold sense of “why the fuck not,” experimentation and our famed eccentricity which has made such a small place such a big deal when it comes to creativity.

  5. Oliviacharlesworth-itsnicethat-1

    At a time when debates surrounding art and design education and the way they prepare students for the creative industries are intensifying, Kingston University tutor Zelda Malan explains why it’s still so important that creative courses continue to teach ideas. You can add your thoughts using the comments thread below…

  6. Marianbantjes-designawards-itsnicethat-list

    It’s design award season (like the film world equivalent but fewer red carpets and more pictures of people staring at posters) and as ever the winners will be much discussed across the creative industries. But genuinely useful advice for those who enter has been thin on the ground, until now. Having relaunched her website, the brilliant Marian Bantjes has also started a new blog (huzzah!) and recently wrote a series of tips for those designers putting their work up for awards, based on her extensive experience as a judge. You can add comments below, or just soak up the wisdom…

  7. Newswall-itsnicethat-list

    Yesterday saw the launch of a brand new form of news presentation by Channel 4 in 4NewsWall – a Tumblr-hosted website dedicated to the day’s top news stories, listed chronologically, with each presented by a GIF. Thought up by 4Creative’s Jack Croft and Stacey Bird and developed by the creative team, it’s flashy, image-led and uncluttered – with each GIF offering a click-through button to a more detailed report – and looks set to be an interesting and exciting progression for news journalism.

  8. Graphicdesign_-opinion-itsnicethat-list

    A couple of months ago there was a lot of interest in this survey in which clients described the four worst types of creative agencies as they saw it. Now we have a chance to hear from the practitioners themselves, by way of Graphicdesign&’s in-depth industry study. Lucienne Roberts and Rebecca Wright have partnered with social scientist Nikandre Kopcke to create a questionnaire which explores “practice, perceptions and prejudices alongside the usual questions about age, education, work and pay.”

  9. List

    It’s fast approaching the time of all-nighters (not the fun ones), tears, last-minute panics and all the other things that come with the end of learning and the impending beginning of the terrifying thing they call real life. But like the mum that tells you you’re always the best and most talented and most beautiful, or the best friend that bursts into your house and pops the kettle on/pours the gin, we’re here to remind you of some of the advice that might be able to help you.

  10. Stevedaniels-hero-list

    There is an awful lot of discussion around starting a new magazine and for many creatively inclined people it remains one of their foremost ambitions. Last week Makeshift founder Steve Daniels wrote an excellent blog about the things to consider when planning a new publication, and in doing so summed up many things we too feel are important. Steve’s now become an advisor to the title he founded, a move which maybe gives him a little extra distance to write “not a guide to the nuts and bolts of finding a printer and selling subscriptions but a contemplation of the major elements that will set you up for success.”

  11. Kingadz-autenticity-list

    In the branding and advertising world, authenticity seems to have become the Holy Grail. Seemingly melded to whatever people need it to convey, it’s become a buzzword whose significance has mushroomed while its meaning has all but vanished. With this in mind King Adz, aka Adam N. Stone – whose new book Unbrandable is out this summer – considers what authenticity really means in a contemporary creative context. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…

  12. Kinfolk_14.cover

    The latest issue of Gym Class magazine has an eye-catching cover; with bold block capitals on a black background spelling out: “Nobody cares about your oh-so-cool, Kickstarted, tactile, minimalist unoriginal magazine.” It’s intended as a “call to action,” Gym Class editor Steven Gregor told MagCulture, “make magazines, and make them exceptional.”

  13. Applewtach-list-int

    The Apple Watch was officially unveiled yesterday (as was a super-thin 13.1mm new MacBook) and as ever the internet is awash with run-downs and reactions slobbering over the new products. For Wolff Olins design director Jan Eumann though, the imminent arrival of the new timepiece got him thinking about logo design, and in particular how app buttons have rehabilitated the logo. You can add your thoughts using the comment thread below…