D&AD Announce Programme for New Blood Digital Festival 2021
Posted on 2021 Jun,22

D&AD announce details of the New Blood Digital Festival 2021, running from 5-8 July 2021 in partnership with giffgaff, IBM and WPP. The festival will once again take place in a digital format due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19, and will provide a virtual platform for emerging creatives to showcase their work and connect with the industry during what has been another challenging year for graduates. The festival will culminate with the annual New Blood Awards digital ceremony, a closed event for this year’s winners, judges and sponsors that celebrates this year’s winning work. 

Across the 4-day festival, leading industry professionals will get the chance to share their advice and experiences through a series of talks aimed at helping emerging creatives navigate the constantly changing industry, as they launch their careers. Each day of the festival will consist of a different session covering a variety of topics including:

  • Be your own career matchmaker – how to find work and workplaces that reflect who you are
  • Have a laugh – how to use humour in your creative work
  • Stop comparing yourself – how to build a career in your own time and in your own way
  • Role reversal portfolio reviews – flipping the portfolio review on its head by chatting to a big name creative about their portfolio and how they got to where they are now

A variety of creative voices across a multitude of disciplines will participate in each talk and will include: Josh Akapo (Co-founder & Head of Strategy, archtype), Nicky Bullard (Chairwoman MRM Europe and Chief Creative Officer MRM UK, MRM), Sherry Collins (Founder, Editor, Writer & Creative Director, The Pitch Fanzine), Jayanta Jenkins (Head of marketing, Disney+), Oliver Knowles (Co-Founder, Led By Donkeys), Grace Lister (Designer & Researcher), Nikky Lyle (Director, NIKKY LYLE CREATIVE), June Mineyama-Smithson (Artist/Graphic Designer, MAMIMU), Ben Mottershead (Founder & Creative Director, Studio BND), Murugiah (Artist & Designer, MURUGIAH), Craig Oldham (Founder & Creative Director, Office Of Craig), Jessica Pettway (Photographer & Director, Scribble Scrabble Productions). 

As part of the festival, D&AD will run Portfolio Picks, a competition aimed at helping recent graduates and emerging creatives have their work noticed and stand out to potential future employers. Submissions from across multiple disciplines including Advertising, Animation, Illustration, Graphic Design / Communication, Digital Design and Mixed Discipline will have an opportunity to be viewed and judged by some of the industry's biggest names. Select winners will be eligible for a place on The New Blood Academy with WPP, a two week creative bootcamp with some of the world’s most awarded creative agencies.

The past 15 months have presented significant challenges for emerging creatives to access and network with industry professionals. In response to this, D&AD will curate a compendium of upcoming degree graduate shows on their website, allowing industry professionals to contact and access the work of graduating students. 

As a partner of this year's festival, giffgaff is offering New Blood talent an opportunity to run its own business. “The mobile network run by you” is funding free access to the D&AD Startup School, aimed at budding creative entrepreneurs. The short course covers the first crucial steps to take to get the next big idea off the ground, how to tell those ideas that are worth pursuing from the rest, how to start-up a side hustle and how to realise ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur.

During the festival D&AD will also release the third of its New Blood Quickfire briefs with festival partner IBM. Quickfire briefs are short-form briefs set over 6-weeks with an accompanying online short-course to guide participants through the brief. Quickfire offers more flexible opportunities for emerging talent to impress industry leaders during the pandemic. A briefing session for this new creative task will take place as part of the festival, with IBM.

This year's festival will once again culminate with the New Blood Awards digital ceremony which will take place on the evening of Thursday 8 July (BST), this year a closed event to facilitate networking between winners and the judges who chose their work. The awards, which are open to advertising, design, digital and marketing students, recent graduates and emerging creatives worldwide, presents an opportunity to get a head start in the industry by gaining the exposure to kick start a creative career. The ceremony will reveal to winners which level of New Blood Pencil their work has been awarded. 

The creative campaign for this year’s ceremony, festival and academy was designed in collaboration with Studio Nari, a creative consultancy and branding studio that aims to bridge the gap between design and art. Named ‘Your Butterfly Effect’, the campaign delivers a message of optimism at a time of continued uncertainty for the creative community.  

Paul Drake from D&AD commented: “The New Blood Festival has always celebrated the importance of nurturing and amplifying the next set of creative minds breaking into the industry. 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 programmes. The festival is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight the amazing talent that we will see in the future and we are extremely excited to continue building a platform that can connect emerging creatives with those in the industry. Allowing them to build meaningful relationships with experienced creatives is a key step in developing their creative passion and allowing them to be successful across the industry in the years to come, and we are proud that New Blood can continue to be a part of that process.” 

The daily talks can be accessed for free via the D&AD website.