D&AD New Blood 2009

D&AD New Blood the annual exhibition for design graduates.

D&AD New Blood exhibition birds eye view

This years New Blood took place at Kensington Olympia a very nice space for such an exhibition. Scroll down for photos (click thumbnails for full version).

Thanks to D&AD’s profile within the design and advertising industries, the exhibition is the most effective graduate recruitment fair for would-be creative practitioners. quote source

Is New Blood a Recruitment Fair?

I showcased my work in 2008 and ultimately felt unsure about the experience. At first seeing the thousands of students there was overwhelming. I thought - how am I going to stand out above the rest? Well, I wasn’t going too; no one is. Over the two and a bit days of New Blood you’ll be lucky if 100 people stop for longer than a glance at your work. Maybe ten or so business cards will be picked up (triple that if they’re shiny). New Blood is a show by students, for students. There are of course the lucky few who get picked up by design studios but the exhibition in its current format seems outdated and, dare I say, irrelevant?

Suggesting that New Blood is irrelevant is quite a bold statement. I certainly applaud what D&AD is trying to do for students (despite faulting on the pretentious poster campaign by a clueless LBi) but it’s becoming a cattle market with no buyers. New Blood is built up at University to be this big once-in-a-lifetime event. Students (myself including) lose sight of the real goal (employment) because of the glitz and glamour of New Blood. We pack our bags for London hoping to walk out with a job only to leave disappointed and slightly bewildered. Sure, it’s a great day out, but it’s not a recruitment fair.

Seeking Employment

New Blood is an exhibition and celebration of the always impressive graduate work but it rarely helps towards employment. I’ve spoke to many students over the past two years and the consensus has been the same - New Blood was disappointed - there is a more effective way to exhibit with huge employment opportunities - design blogs. Setting up a portfolio website and having it posted on websites like AisleOne, Dirty Mouse, Fleuron, FormFiftyFive, Grafikcache and It’s Nice That (to name a few) provides a huge return. Getting “blogged” can see anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 visitors to your website. That’s far more people than will pass through New Blood; and they’re all looking at you.

Walking around New Blood this year I heard the same story again and again, “no interest here but I’ve been contacted for a placement after being posted on Form Fifty”. New Blood is an annual event but creative professionals will visit these blogs daily. It’s evidently a far more effective way to self-promote which I believe makes New Blood increasing irrelevant.

What’s Next for New Blood?

I would hate to see New Blood disappear it’d be a real shame but D&AD needs to revitalize it somehow. I don’t know what the answer is but my advice to students is focus on self-promotion through blogs and have a great day out at New Blood.

There is some hope though. It was interesting to speak to these guys about their proactive approach. Shellsuit Zombie had a workshop at the back of the exhibition hall. It’ll be interesting to see what they get up to and how successfull it may be.

Our aim is to pioneer new ways of promoting and encouraging self-promotion amongst students and graduates while producing inspiring articles and content.

Shellsuit Zombie's stand at New Blood

Read more about Shellsuit Zombie.


Some of the work shown here belongs to: Cara McFadyen, Gary Austin, Rick Banks, Sroop Sunar, and Toby & Luke. Apologies to the others whose names I’ve missed.

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