Aspiring young creatives will be hoping to catch the judges’ attention at the New Designers fair that gave a leg up to some of Britain’s top artists, such as Thomas Heatherwick and Ella Doran, when it opens its doors in Islington later this month.
The New Designers event has served as a launchpad for thousands of careers across disciplines as varied as industrial design, fashion and illustration. Many of them have gone on to occupy the most coveted spots at the heart of the British design industry, shaping our everyday lives through innovative household objects and personal effects.
The 30th annual show gives young design graduates the chance to win awards sponsored by some big industry names such as John Lewis, Sky and Hallmark. The inventors and designers showcase their best work in the hope of being rewarded with a work placement and a cash prize that will kick-start their career, spurred by the remarkable successes of previous winners.
These include Bethan Gray, the most prolific British furniture designer of the last few years who shaped dozens of Habitat collections, Thomas Heatherwick, the creative mastermind behind London’s planned Garden Bridge, and Deadgood, the furniture and lighting creative company who may have designed your entire office.
Charlotte Beevor had just come out of Leeds College of Art when she showcased her colourful prints at the New Designers fair in 2014. She was awarded the most coveted prize – the ‘New Designer of the Year’ award, a combination of cash and essential legal and tax advice that a young graduate is seldom able to afford.
Above all it seems that validation from a panel of experts is just as valuable as funding: “I’m excited that someone has noticed my work and that all my hard work has paid off,” Beevor said.
A confidence boost can go a long way in paving the road into the notoriously fickle design industry. The New Designers fair is also a chance for the public to hand out praise to the young creative talents that might one day revolutionise and embellish our lives.