D&AD celebrates the finest in design and advertising. As a non-profit organisation, their surpluses go into programmes such as the New Blood Awards. Our Design Director Lizzy Fisher, sat on the New Blood Awards judging panel for the Monotype brief, so we caught up with her to find out more about the process.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you ended up working at Webb deVlam?

When I was fresh out of University, I took an internship at the Webb deVlam office in Sydney, where I then took up a permanent role for 4 years. I freelanced for a bit after this but after moving to London, I joined the Webb deVlam office here and after 7 years I haven’t looked back!

Tell us about the Monotype brief, what were the students being asked to do?

The Monotype brief asked students to present a cause they believed in through the power of typography. They had to use typography to help people believe in their cause and its purpose, and to make an impact. The students also had to consider how it could be used as part of a campaign and applied to a number of different touch-points, such as online and print.

What were some of the challenges you were faced with when judging?

I had to keep reminding myself that these are students and to judge their work on the strength of the idea, how it was presented and how it answered the brief! I tried not to get too nit-picky, executional or to expect the work to be perfect, these are students who are at the beginning of their career and have limited experience to produce beautifully refined work – a lot of it was quite raw but that’s okay.

There was also a real danger of getting emotionally wrapped up in the causes themselves and being moved by the sentiment rather than the actual work. Some causes resonated with me more than others, but I had to keep reminding myself to step back and not let this unfairly affect the judging process. Many of the entries had moving music or digital effects that weren’t anything to do with the typography, but were incredibly captivating, so it was hard not to let this sway my vote!

What were some of the key things you were looking for from the applications?

As a judging panel, our group mainly focused on the fantastic ideas, how successfully they answered the brief and how best they communicated their cause. If we believed in their cause and were inspired by their work, we knew we were onto a good thing!

Tell us more about the judging day and the processes involved?

It was such a fabulous day! It was so fun and inspiring to be in a room full of fantastic judges who had fresh perspectives – it wasn’t just new blood for the students but for me too!

We had an online judging process where we had about 350 – 400 applicants, which we whittled down to around 50. These applications were then presented in front of us on judging day. We went through several rounds of judging to narrow these down even further and eventually award the different levels of D&AD pencil awards. Especially towards the end it was tricky narrowing down the candidates, but it sparked fun, lively debate and discussion with my fellow judges.

What did you enjoy the most about taking part?

Seeing all the entries! I was so inspired seeing the student work because it was so creative and passionate, they haven’t had the corners knocked off them yet – the sky is the limit and I could feel the energy coming through their work.

Why should design students enter D&AD New Blood Awards?

Even if you don’t win, you’ll still be getting your work in front of a lot of creative professionals and important people within the industry. It’s a great learning curve to have to work on briefs that are set by real companies.

Any advice for students looking for a job in the design industry?

Just to get as much experience as quickly as possible. University is Part 1 of your training, there’s so much more learning and development once you start working in a practical environment. So I’d say do whatever you can to continue the learning; whether it be work experience, internships or a junior role – just get out there!


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