The Drum Design Awards introduces young designer of the year award: entries open

The Drum Design Awards introduce a new category to champion young talent: 25 under 25

Are you a budding young designer? Or do you know anyone who fits the bill? The Drum Design Awards has created an new award to encourage and reward young talent under 30. Nominate yourself, or someone else in the design industry, with the winner selected by the Design Awards judges.

The Drum spoke to four industry experts on how they are supporting the younger generation.

Design Bridge, for instance, runs several initiatives to encourage and campion young talent --including an annual student design competition, “The Dog’s Bollocks Student Awards”, where the winners are invited to the studio for an interview, with the chance of a placement to go and present; a Bursary Scheme in the UK for final year students, which has led to a few designers gaining employment.

Taxi Studio, executive creative director, Glenn Tutssel says that the way that agencies can bring new blood into the industry is by being proactive in engaging with art schools.

Pearlfisher fosters relationships with universities and colleges nationwide, continually increasing its reach by visiting the institutions to lecture or critique and inviting them to the agency for group visits and portfolio evenings. Futures director, Sophie Maxwell says: “We believe in offering educational and cultural opportunities over and above the day-to-day role – both internally and externally."

Williams Murray Hamm creative partner, Garrick Hamm, recalls how almost three decades ago, he was given a break when someone recognised his potential at school and gave him his first interview and job. WMH run an internship programme throughout the year, with students coming for a two week/month period, and who are sometimes invited back to stay on for a further month. In the past, around 86% of the creative people Hamm employs, have been through the programme.

But as with any industry, recruitment is followed by various challenges. Design Bridge's creative director, Chloe Templeman explains that as there is so much talent out there, the main challenge is seeking out the people who are the best fit.

Both Tutssel and Hamm say that there is a lot of technical ability, but it is the big ideas that adds value and makes people employable. “I probably only see maybe one or two graduates a year that I think I might hire and we see around 20 students,” says Hamm. “Whilst the intake of universities has gone up, and there are more people studying graphic design than when I was at college, that doesn't mean to say that there are more gifted designers. It's exactly the same. It's more difficult to find because there's more of them out there.”

Designers fuse their knowledge of design with cognitive abilities, they are solving the issues that clients have creatively, which can involve various skills like drawing, coding or modelling. The latest software skills are becoming a necessity and young designers are making it their business to be as proficient as possible, says Maxwell.

Film and animation also seems to be a hot topic with many graduates, as well as having a good grasp on branding. Templeman says “This is reflective of the world we live in now with social media and the shift in how brands are expressing themselves – not just through their logo, pack and comms, but also through digital content in a more 360 way.”

Work/life balance is a challenge that many young designers are facing right now expresses Hamm. He explains. “To concur and master being a designer, it takes an awful lot of hours. There's a slight re-education that needs to be done. To be fair, I had the same, I didn't realise how many hours I had to put in as well.”

Templeman’s advice to young designers who are taking the next step in their career is to really think about how they can stand out. They need to demonstrate a real passion for their work and how their skills can be put to good use on the brands and projects a design agency works on.

The Drum Design Awards 'Young Designer of the Year' is an opportunity for designers, 30 and younger, to stand out from the competition and show of their skills to a global platform. The entry extension deadline is Friday March 23. You can nominate yourself, or someone else in the industry now.

Sponsors of these awards are Tomorrow London and NB Studio

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