Young designers to watch in 2015: Aileen Poe

The D&AD New Blood Academy is the ultimate prize for young creatives. Open to application from the brightest stars at the New Blood Awards & Exhibitions from around the world, the Academy is an intensive two-week industry crash-course designed to springboard new talent into industry jobs and placements.

In this series of interviews, we're going to present some of the ones to watch from this summer's New Blood Academy, supported by WPP. And first off the mark is graphic designer Aileen Poe...

  • Course: BDes Graphic Design
  • University: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee
  • Achievements: First Class Honours, Nominated Best in Category D&AD Student Awards 2014, Awarded a Pass in ISTD Student Assessment Scheme 2014, Semi Finalist in Adobe Design Acheivements Awards 2014 for Motion Graphics

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Graphic designer Aileen Poe

Graphic designer Aileen Poe

I've just graduated from art school in Dundee and I've moved to London to try my hand at some of the agencies down here and find where I fit in in the design world. I've spent a lot of my life living and working in Glasgow – primarily hospitality jobs to fund the never ending studentship! I like to try and experience as many things as possible, so you'll usually find me spending money on events, trips or fancy food rather than clothes and shoes.

What inspires your work?

I have a bit of a sculptural background from when I left school – I originally started (and dropped out) of a scultpure degree at GSA but I've found that it has worked its way back into my creative process later in life. I have a real focus and passion on how design can work in three dimensions and across spaces, and it's a path I want to progress on in my career.

It's something I only developed on in my final year at art school and is prominent in my thinking behind the Dressing The Screen project (see below). I think there is such a wide scope to how a 2D brief can be transferred across 3D platforms and the potential of this is what inspires me in every project.

What's been your career highlight to date?

D&AD's New Blood Academy was a dream come true for Poe

D&AD's New Blood Academy was a dream come true for Poe

Securing a placement with my dream agency through the D&AD New Blood Academy, and meeting a bunch of amazing people through it that are all at the same point in their career as me.

I know I will still be bumping into these people for years to come and it was a great start for me moving to a new city to have an instant network of like minded people!

What's the biggest lesson you learned from this summer?

Nothing will come to you without trying. Before I came down to the D&AD exhibition and academy, I was pro-active in sending work out to people and asking if I could come and meet them, and I gained a lot from that.

There is a lot of competition out there and you need to make yourself seen. I don't think that should stop as soon as you get a job either – I'm still looking for competitions and other work to do outside of work that show where my interest lie and what I'm capable of.

What's next for you?

I'm currently in a three month internship that will take me up to the end of the year and then who knows. Another thing I've had to learn since graduating is that you need to just go with the flow and not think too much about a plan – the best things are unexpected and opportunities are everywhere if you look for them!

Overall I'm planning on staying in London for a while and build up my skills before trying to get a job overseas in a few years.

Finally, we asked Poe to talk us through three recent projects...

01. Dressing The Screen

Response to the 2014 D&AD brief Dressing The Screen to create a bi-lingual identity for the exhibition which reflected the high-fashion and moving nature of the content. I wanted to create a kinetic identity that would be displayed as an installation in the foyer of the venue.

A large wall of motorised pins would move back and forth displaying the identity in different languages, and switching between text, image and video.

Taking inspiration from retro pin art toys, the installation reflects the ever-changing nature of fashion and the driving force of the new medium of fashion film.

The exhibition willl feature three dimensional static wayfinding that will echo the installation in form, but will display both languages back to back as they protrude from the centre board leaving the audience free to walk around the whole piece.

The printed materials again echo the kinetic aspect of the identity, with diagonal sections of film cropped as images and placed alongside thin silver pin lines.

The bilingual content in the catalogue is displayed back to back within the pages, just as the three dimensional wayfinding does.

02. Living In Fragments Of Time

My subject matter for the ISTD brief 'Everything About One Thing' is dementia and the manifestation of its symptoms. The publication takes the reader through progression of the disease, beginning with the science behind it, to declining cognitive functions, and ultimately the care of the patient.

The book replicates the gradual decline seen in the patients. As symptoms progressively worsen, so too does the condition of the book; the stock lighter in weight, and the binding gradually looser.

Additionally, the reader in turn has to interact with the book more as they progress through it, reflecting the increasing level of care-giving a patient requires over time.

The typography also undergoes a gradual change. Beginning structured and organized, it purposefully becomes more erratic in reference to the symptoms that it describes and the changing condition of the book.

As the content moves to care of the patient, so the typography reverts to a more structured appearance and reflecting how care can assist in an improved quality of life.

The narrative throughout humanizes the book as if it were the patient itself. This is juxtaposed with the medical information, prompting the reader to feel as if they themselves are the carer.

03. Learn To Fly

An external brief set by Edinburgh based company Elastic Creative to interpret what return on investment meant by way of a three dimensional model or animation.

The final outcome was an animation in the style of a flying manual. It referenced design as being an integral part of the pre-flight checklist that businesses need to do in order to take off.

To find out more about the D&AD New Blood programme, visit

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