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Stories from Design Bridge: Melissa’s advice for D&AD New Blood 2016

We’re sure that most of our readers will be familiar with the D&AD but, just in case, the best description comes directly from the D&AD website; “inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising. The D&AD Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, entered and attended by the best from around the world.”

New Blood is the D&AD’s student programme, and this year we’ve set an awards brief. It’s all about breaking new ground in beauty branding, and we caught up with Melissa Preston – ex-D&AD New Blood award winner, current Designer at Design Bridge London – who helped put the brief together and will be on the judging panel later this year…

Melissa Preston

Hi Melissa! First things first, tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up working in Design
I was born and bred in Scotland, and studied graphic design at Edinburgh Napier University. To be honest, when I started I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just knew that I loved art and design and wanted to carry on doing that, and turn it into a career.

Where does D&AD New Blood come in to your story?
I won a D&AD New Blood yellow pencil award in 2012 and it still feels very surreal to see it sitting on my bookshelf. A dream that I had throughout my 4 years at uni had finally become reality, and it was a truly life changing moment.

Melissa when she won her Pencil

Melissa when she won her Pencil

Had it not been for this award I wouldn’t have caught the attention of Design Bridge and ended up on a three month placement… that led to my dream job of working here.

How did you get involved in creating this year’s New Blood brief?
Towards the end of last year, Asa (Creative Director at DB) mentioned to me that we were creating a brief for the D&AD New Blood Awards 2016 and, as a past winner, if I could have a think about what it could be. I thought back to my student days and the kind of packaging brief I would like to be given. It was that simple, really!

Where did the idea of ‘beauty’ branding come from?
Cosmetics was one of the first things that came into my mind as an interesting area for design. As beauty products aren’t a necessity, it seemed to me that there could be lots of different ideas for branding in this category.

After a short brainstorm about beauty branding with Asa and Graham (Chief Creative Officer at DB), the brief was formed.

This brief is all about moving away from industry clichés and breaking category codes – why did you choose this theme?
I think people can become blinkered to what they are used to seeing on the shelves, so we have an opportunity to break the ‘normal’ and say something different. Maybe even stand up for what we believe in. I think this brief has a really interesting and relevant topic that will give entrants the opportunity to create something very powerful.

Can you give us an example of  a brand that you think has done this successfully?
TAPPED Birch Water. It’s not only a really cool product but I think it stands out in the water/ health drink category.

D&AD New Blood TAPPED range

The norm in this category is provenance or how it is filtered. TAPPED takes a different approach, focusing on the natural feel and using a simple structure that stands out from the conventional water bottle/ tetra pack crowd.

What do you think the judges will be looking for from entrants this year?
Originality. A strong, clear message and an excellent idea that is well crafted and beautifully presented.

Why should design students enter D&AD New Blood?
I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for D&AD New Blood, and I would strongly recommend all students to enter it and to show their work at the New Blood exhibition. Even if you don’t win anything you still get the opportunity to meet some of the most talented Creatives working in Design, and get your work in front of some really important people in the industry. The opportunities are there, you just have to put yourself in their way.

Any final words of advice for students entering this year?
Keep it simple, clever and, once you have the idea, run with it. Put it through its paces and give it all you’ve got!

Thanks Melissa!

Find out more about D&AD New Blood here, and access the Design Bridge beauty branding brief for 2016 here – deadline is Wednesday 16th March 2016, 5pm sharp.

D&AD New Blood

by Anna Stanford

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Bronze, Silver and Gold for Design Bridge at DBA Design Effectiveness Awards 2016


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