New Designers returns, with a focus on sustainability and innovation
Uncover the talks, workshops, shows and awards you can find at the UK’s unmissable graduate design event in 2023 – from how to avoid creative jealousy to reimagining the humble kettle.
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- 13 June 2023
This June will see the return of New Designers, the UK’s largest graduate design event, taking place at the Business Design Centre in Islington on 28 June and 1, 5 and 8 July. The event will play host to 3,000 creatives and a plethora of mediums, from ceramics, fashion, furniture design and graphic design to jewellery design, product design, textiles, illustration and animation – all whilst celebrating up-and-coming creatives. Running for the past 38 years, New Designers has boosted the careers of some of the UK’s most exceptional design talent, including Bethan Gray, Jay Osgerby, Stella McCartney and Lee Broom. For emerging and established designers alike, it really is the most unmissable event on the calendar.
Always aware of the changes and shifts in the design world, New Designers will this year place special focus on sustainability and innovation in design to account for the rise in designers incorporating sustainable ideals, ethical processes and circular design principles into their work. Visitors will discover Erica Earle-Roberston’s Kuruka jewellery, a beautiful collection centred on the traditional craft of Zimbabwean weaving, which uses indigenous materials and sustainable methods. On display will also be Peter Warrington’s reinvention of the kettle – reported to be one of the most discarded pieces of domestic technology – which includes an entirely replaceable heating element.
What’s more, the Design Council will host a sustainability-focused talk, with the theme also being reflected in the event’s Awards Programme. The judges of the Creative Conscience Ethical Makers’ Award, for instance, are on the look-out for designs that will improve society for the better, while the Decorex International Sustainability Award will provide winners with the opportunity to exhibit at Decorex design fair in the autumn. So if you’re looking for ways to make your practice more environmentally conscious, look no further.
The event will also delve into a number of other important themes and topics relevant to any creative. For example, looking at inclusivity and social mobility, University Of Northampton student Natalie Sherlock’s project Tattwo Stories – a campaign designed to eliminate tattoo discrimination within the workplace – will be on show, alongside a panel on working towards Diversity & Inclusion in the design sector. To support creatives in their health and wellbeing, New Designers will also host a talk by artist and graphic designer June Mineyama-Smithson and typographer Dani Molyneux on the ever-tricky topic of how to manage creative jealousy. Elsewhere, Carrie Slinn, a Graphic Communication Design student at University Of Northampton, will unveil ‘Unpack’, a campaign created in response to the mental health and wellbeing crisis at university.
There’s also a series of talks and awards directly catering to all you budding illustrators out there – and for all those looking to commission an exciting new artist on a project. The Association of Illustrators will be hosting a Mini Business Masterclass, which will include vital advice on how to tackle the transition from student to freelance illustrator, including how to set yourself up, manage your finances, promote yourself, reach out to clients, and how to commission. For their Spotlight Award, they’ll be offering a one-year complimentary illustrator plus folio membership to a graduate who has built an “industry-ready” portfolio. Alongside her talk, June Mineyama-Smithson will also be hosting a workshop on how you can ‘train’ your creative muscles, helping you to find inspiration in the most ordinary places and cultivate your artistic intuition. Plus, the London Illustration Fair will be awarding one of their highly coveted stands at their autumn fair.
If this weren’t already enough, New Designers will be hosting their ND Selects exhibit, a space at the event dedicated to shining a light on new businesses in the design industry, hand selected by industry experts and curated by Louisa Pacifico, founder of Future Icons. Always one of the most anticipated aspects of New Designers, it’s a brilliant way to see what products are on the market and what’s expected to be the next hottest design trend. So, if you’re looking for an event for some networking and for seeing some brilliant new work and getting your creative juices flowing, look no further than New Designers 2023. You can buy tickets here.
Full of disruptive thinking, ambitious ideas and fresh approaches, New Designers presents the work of 3,000 hand-picked graduate design talents, exploring every corner of design from around the UK. Week 1 takes places 28 June – 1 July and Week 2 from 5 – 8 July 2023 at Islington’s Business Design Centre. Find out more at newdesigners.com.
Neha Viswanath: Slow Mornings (Copyright © Neha Viswanath, 2023)