Upper Street Events has claimed this year’s New Designers is a success in the face of difficult economic conditions after attracting 16,000 visitors.
The two-stage graduate design show celebrated 27 years at the Business Design Centre from 27 to 30 June and 4 to 7 July. This year, 200 individuals from UK design courses as well as 3,500 designers were on show.
Among the more interactive elements of this year’s edition were an Absolut Blank campaign, giving designers the chance to create a newlook for the vodka brand’s bottle, along with a Design a Day competition organised by Tigerprint.
A sewing bonanza organised by prison social enterprise Fine Cell Work also encouraged exhibitors and visitors to stitch a message for a prisoner, attracting 90 messages.
“New Designers is an important event as demonstrated by the number of visitors and the breadth of their interests – prospective employers and prospective students,” event director Isobel Dennis said. “The Business Design Centre was filled to maximum capacity with university and design industry exhibitors.
“These incredibly talented new graduates will fuel our creative industries and be significant contributors to the economy.”
The event incorporates a two-part awards programme, with award winners revealed at preview nights on 27 June and 4 July. Upper Street Events flagged several new companies among this year’s 27 award sponsors including John Lewis, Made.com., Sanderson and Warburtons. The awards were presented by jewellery designer Theo Fennel and Olympic torch designer Jay Osgerby.
Other show features ranged from a ‘One Year On’ zone showcasing 58 designers in their first year of setting up business, to an expanded talks programme and the Design Advice Hub, which provided assistance to graduates and visitors planning their future.
The ‘Secret Walls Pro Series’ initiative also saw graduates pitted against creative industry player Debut Arts to create a black and white graphic display in 70 minutes. The graduates were declared the winners by the Association of Illustrators.