Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman, former Universities and Science minister David Willetts, and chair of the Labour Arts, Craft and Design in Education All Party Group Sharon Hodgson MP were among the 17,719 people who visited the 29th edition of New Designers at London’s Business Design Centre.
New Designers, which brought together 3000 of the UK’s best emerging designers from 25-28 June and 2-5 July 2014, welcomed these key parliamentary figures who met with designers from colleges in their constituencies, as well as with New Designers Award winners, other graduates and tutors.
Isobel Dennis, director of Upper Street Events, commented: "It is crucial that the design industry is supported on a political level and the main parties understand and acknowledge the importance of this sector. Therefore, these visits to New Designers were really important to ensure that we are raising the awareness of the exceptional talent at the show with senior government officials. Many of our exhibiting graduates will go on to join the creative industries which continues to be a strong contributor to the UK's economy. We look forward to building on this interest in our 30th anniversary year in 2015."
New Designers was also visited by buyers, manufacturers, senior designers and talent spotters from major brands including: Arcadia, BBC, Debenhams, Dyson, Foster + Partners, Foyles, Habitat, Heal’s, Hemmingway, Jaguar Land Rover Design, Liberty, Made.com, Marks & Spencer, Nokia, Sainsbury’s and Sebastian Conran.
Taz Pollard, winner of the One Year On Award, commented: "Before being part of New Designers I had no idea. The experience has made a massive difference to my business and to understanding where my work fits in the market place. The introduction to Heal’s at New Designers was a turning point and I wouldn’t have had a clue how to approach a big company such as them on my own. New Designers has changed everything."
At two prestigious award evenings on Wednesday 25 June and 2 July, graduates were presented with awards and prizes by celebrated jewellery designer Alex Monroe and designer and campaigner Sir John Sorrell respectively. These awards included work placements and support from industry sponsors such as John Lewis, Wilko, The Goldsmiths' Company, Hallmark, Procter & Gamble, Harlequin, Mars, Sanderson, Sky, Pentland, Weston Beamor and Tigerprint. The coveted Business Design Centre New Designer of the Year Award was won in Part 1 by Charlotte Beevor of Leeds College of Art, for her vibrant ‘Expressionist Colour’ printed textile and surface pattern designs, and in Part 2 by typographer Eric Downer of the University of Portsmouth, for his pylon-inspired presentation piece ‘Everything About One Thing’.
“Meeting the designers is vital,” said Kelly Jones of Hallmark, “it gives us a sense of what their career aspirations are and whether working in a studio environment is right for them.”
“New Designers 2014 has been absolutely fantastic,” said John Lewis’ Philippa Prinsloo, design manager, Home, who also presented two awards. “There have been a lot of exciting designers and, as ever, we had some intensive debates and some tough decisions to make.”
For the first time, New Designers hosted two Creative Saturdays in partnership with The Sorrell Foundation, which offered children and young people their first taste of the professional design world through a series of creative and making workshops.
For two Thursday Late events, New Designers partnered with Absolut, who hosted their popular Absolut Art Talk, and the Design Council, who celebrated the announcement of their 2014 ‘Future Pioneers Discovered at New Designers’.
Every year, New Designers showcases the work of over 3000 of the very best graduates across a host of creative disciplines from 200 of the UK’s leading art and design universities, colleges and courses. It is an essential event for those who wish to see iconic designs of the future before they hit the high street, buy original design, commission work, or meet and recruit the design world’s rising stars.
The 30th edition of New Designers will take place at the Business Design Centre from 24-27 June and 1-4 July 2015.