New talent: 7 shining stars from D&AD New Blood 2016

If you're looking for the best new graduates for your studio or agency, don't miss Computer Arts' New Talent special, issue 256, featuring the team's handpicked selection of the UK's best graduates – on sale 22 July 2016.

It's that time again: D&AD New Blood 2016 kicked off this week, bringing together the very best new design and creative graduates from across the UK.

Once again Computer Arts was honoured to join the judging panel. Yesterday, the team spent hours analysing a dizzying array of exceptional design and illustration work in search of some of D&AD New Blood 2016's Ones to Watch.

We've collated a handful of handpicked highlights for you here. Whether you're looking to hire or be inspired, our pick of D&AD New Blood 2016's top graduates are ambitious, commercially aware and fully equipped to deal with the changing demands of an ever-evolving industry.

(For Computer Arts' definitive guide to the UK's very best graduates, pick up a copy of issue 256, on sale from 22 July.)

01. Leah Bravo

D&AD New Blood 2016: Leah Bravo

Front cover of Fläk magazine
  • University: Loughborough University
  • Course: BA Graphic Communication & Illustration
  • Project: Fläk magazine

Influenced by her Swedish heritage, Leah Bravo designed a stunning film photography journal, Fläk, juxtaposing contemporary design with a traditional practice.

D&AD New Blood 2016: Leah Bravo

Inside spread from Fläk magazine

The final publication marries a great concept with remarkable craft and an incredibly professional finish.

D&AD New Blood 2016: Leah Bravo

Three Sans Serifs: Adrian Frutiger poster design

Bravo's response to the ISTD brief is also notable. A rotating poster title Three Sans Serifs: Adrian Frutiger, it pays homage to Frutiger's Swiss background and working practices.

And Bravo's hand can also be seen in Loughborough University's exhibition catalogue, which she co-designed.

02. Bethan Richardson

D&AD New Blood 2016: Bethan Richardson

An array of print finishes were used across Influence: Women in Design
  • University: University of Sunderland
  • Course: BA (hons) Graphic Design
  • Project: Influence: Women in Design

Bethan Richardson created a campaign to raise awareness of gender inequality in the design industry. "I created a laser-cut promotional mailer, with each page named after an unknown influential woman who changed the course of history,” she says.

D&AD New Blood 2016: Bethan Richardson

Overlaid infographics raising awareness of gender inequality in the design industry

She also created two infographics: a UV screenprint showing statistics on women in the industry; and an acetate print showing statistics on men – "to represent how males are more easily seen in the industry”.

03. Jennifer Zheng

  • University: Kingston University
  • Course: BA (Hons) Illustration/Animation
  • Project: Tough (teaser above)

"My mother was born in cultural revolution China, and I was born in suburban Northern Ireland. My film explores our cultural differences,” explains Jennifer Zheng.

"Because the film's subject matter was very personal, I wanted it to look like I had touched it. After I had animated the lines in Photoshop, I printed out every frame and animated the shadows frame-by-frame with pencil on tracing paper, and scanned them back in.”

04. Jessica Johnson

Leeds College of Art degree show 2016: Jessica Johnson

Seven Wonders conveys the architectural detail of the seven wonders of the world through screenprinting

  • Course: Graphic Design
  • University: Leeds College of Art
  • Project: Seven Wonders

We included Jessica Johnson in our highlights from Leeds College of Art. At D&AD New Blood 2016, her impressive grid-based screenprints stood out as a true testiment to her skill as a graphic designer.

Her project conveys the architectural detail of the seven wonders of the world through screenprinting: "Although we see these seven spaces celebrated and advertised through a photographic medium, my aim was to convey the architectural detail and the in-depth construction measurements, using the traditional method of screenprinting to represent the long standing and original features," she explains.

Leeds College of Art degree show 2016: Jessica Johnson

This abstract set of prints explores the geometric elements of the landmarks, displaying significant attributes through line and colour

"Using measurements from the dimensions of each wonder, a grid was composed to create the structure of the prints," she continues. "On the second layer, a multitude of colours were used to show the vibrancy and variation of each location."

"The foiling created highlights demonstrating the spectacular aspects, and the letterpress represents the longitude and latitude of the wonders, giving the key clue as to which is being visually represented."

05. Kasia Serafin

D&AD New Blood 2016: Kasia Serafin

Illustrated window display

University: Gray's School of Art
Course: BA (Hons) Communication Design
Project: John Lewis - Looking Through Binoculars

Kasia Serafin's illustrated window display for John Lewis, part of a D&AD New Blood brief, makes viewers feel as if they're peeking inside the scene through a pair of binoculars.

D&AD New Blood 2016: Kasia Serafin

This project was created as part of the D&AD New Blood John Lewis brief

"The longer they look, the more they see,” she smiles. "This design reflects the cross-category nature of the brand, as well as the changing shopping habits of its customers.”

06. Aidan Cooke

D&AD New Blood 2016: Aidan Cooke

Synaesthesia publication
  • University: University of Huddersfield
  • Course: BA Graphic Design
  • Project: Synaesthesia

Aidan Cooke's project explores the neurological condition synaesthesia, targeting three individual types – lexical gustatory, chromesthesia and grapheme colour.

D&AD New Blood 2016: Aidan Cooke

Aidan Cooke's icon set

He visually interpreted the daily experiences of individuals through an in-depth, beautifully designed publication and a comprehensive icon set.

07. Sabina Friman

  • Course: BDes (Hons) Graphic Design
  • University: Edinburgh Napier
  • Project: Touchpoint

We highlighted Sabina Friman in our round-up of new talent from Edinburgh Napier – and were once again drawn to her posters, when we saw them at D&AD New Blood 2016.

"Touchpoint: my alopecia story is the result of a cross-disciplinary creative process," says Friman, who translated her own battle with alopecia into "every-day armour" – making for a striking, emotive final year project.

Edinburgh Napier: Sabina Friman

Sabina Friman's posters are beautifully crafted

Her journey is represented by five interactive wearable pieces, screenprinted with thermochromatic ink and art-directed into a poster series depicting the emotional transformation from wanting to conceal her hair loss, to revealing it.

"With my project I hope to re-imagine Alopecia Areata and raise awareness, de-stigmatise it and empower others living with the condition," she says.

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Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.