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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

D&AD New Blood 2009 - I'll be there

I'm really excited about this. I'll be exhibiting at D&AD New Blood with some others from my course, from 29th June to 1st July. It's going to be so awesome, and possibly overwhelming... there's going to be so many talented people in that place. I usually visit New Designers every year and so haven't ever been to New Blood any previous years - the closer it gets, the more excited I'm getting.

The advertising campaign theme for this year's show is 'I'll be there' - if you go on the site it shows loads of successful design-type-people pledging that they'll be attending the show, plus a facility to upload your own photo and be part of the happy 'look we're all together in this isn't it great we're all gonna be there!' collective.

At first glance, it struck me as pretty cool, everyone saying they're gonna be there - the important designers pledging that they will so all us student plebs go "omg so-and-so is there that makes me feel uber special and talented" and then we can spy on our competitors - sorry co-exhibitors - and everything is awesome and SO design-y.

Creative Review have an article talking about the advertising posters and show images of them (below). What's really interesting is the general feedback about the campaign - read the comments, they're well worth it.

Images robbed off the creative review post - I ain't taking no credit for 'em.

My first reaction agreed with a lot of what people were saying - they look like they take themselves way too seriously. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I know who all of them are (I know a few) because I don't really believe in celebrity-fying artists or designers or whatever - they're just normal people like us who are very good at what they do. It's great to aspire to and be inspired by these people, you should really, but I don't deify any of my inspirations.

So was that the intention of the images? To make themselves appear really lofty? To me it kind of says "I'll be there - how lucky are you! I'm awesome, you'll get to stand in the same room as me." But then a part of me thinks that maybe they're meant to be a bit spoof-like, sort of taking the piss out of the fact that people do deify top designers sometimes, and just using a nice bit of sarcasm.

I honestly can't tell, to be honest. I do like the idea... but maybe it just failed to get across somehow. I don't think the intention was to make these designers look like pretentious bastards. It makes me a bit wary of them actually, as another person who will 'be there'... I'm a lowly illustration graduate, not worthy. They might rip me to shreds... or at least they look like they will from these photos.

I won't go so far as to agree with everything that a lot of people said in comments over on Creative Review, but I have to say that I don't love these photos. One poster sums it up really well, he didn't have a link, just called Edward:
'I have a slight issue with the whole concept, it reminds me of Grafik a few years ago with the 'celeb' shots on the front. 'Industry professionals' should have a responsibility to provide a correct image of what students and designers alike should aspire to be i.e. Designing work which makes an impact inside the public realm, not just as a self gratifying means of gaining recognition and respect from their peers. Designer are just workers, the same as everyone else, perhaps we should all think about getting our priorities straight.'
I remember those Grafik covers actually, they were portrait shots of various designers and photographers running over about issues - much like these photos; beautifully shot but coming across a bit pretentious:

I much prefer Grafik's recent covers, they've been image based, some illustrated, which is nice of course. Actually I can't really fault Grafik much, been a subscriber for years, I love it lots. Anyway.

On a different note, all the 'I'll be there' designers are wearing snazzy outfits. I can't fault any of them, except Neville Brody. Who is a ledge, lets face it, but a tracky jacket? Oh dear. I even love the white suit that is being rocked. And I hate white suits usually, but I give a thumbs up to that one.

Caroline Pay looks like a waxwork in her photo - I don't know if that's good or not. She looks a bit uncomfortable.


Anonymous said...

Hey it's Elly

I absolutely love the posters. I see your point about the 'divide' but isn't that the whole point? D&AD is not as the commenter said about showing work "which makes an impact inside the public realm", it's about getting recognition for your achievement from industry professionals.

From a contextual point of view, the images in the posters - as a set of three - work really well in getting across their appointed message. The first two stare off into the distance, intently focused on work and thinking about its potential. The third addressed the reader/viewer directly, implying that now is your chance to impress, especially when combined with his facial expression. That's the impression you get when you have no idea who these people are (as I don't). Also, the choice to put the woman not staring out of the advert (as in traditional 'sex-based' ads, luring the viewer in) and combined with the styling, make the adverts seem off the wall, a bit distant but stylish.

How early is it?


Rachel said...

Dude, you need to post more. You blog is laying dormant and silent and that makes me sad.

Anyway, yeah, I agree with your first paragraph. That's the idea behind the posters, but I don't think it translates very well. I just think that the whole think comes across as a bit pretentious - you may be right about the idea behind some of them looking off the camera etc, but it just feels a bit lost. These aren't meant as a set of 3 anyway, there's 6 in total I think, I just picked 3 random ones. So the fact that 2 are looking into the distance and one isn't is semi irrelevant I guess.

I can't decide whether I like them or not. It's a good idea but as a viewer I just feel very belittled by the photos.

It's quite early, aye. I've had an interview this morning. Woo! You gonna be in uni for the open day tomorrow? I'm invigilating our space xxx