D&AD announce briefs for 2021 New Blood Awards

Creativity, Education

D&AD unveiled the briefs for the 2021 New Blood Awards as well as announces New Blood Shots, a series of quick-fire New Blood briefs set over six weeks in direct response to the disruptions to creative education and employment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As this year’s emerging creative cohort faces significant barriers upon entering the industry, D&AD are committed to continuing to offer aspiring creatives the opportunity to hone their skills in line with the ever changing industry landscape. Since 1980, the New Blood Awards has championed, educated and inspired creatives from all walks of life as they enter the workforce. Set by iconic brands such as The Walt Disney Company, Penguin and Spotify, and spanning disciplines such as game design, experiential, advertising, branding and typography, this year’s 17 briefs are designed to provide aspiring creatives with experience working on client briefs. Entrants will also have the chance to showcase their work and have it judged by leading practitioners, alongside the chance of winning a coveted Pencil and a place in the D&AD New Blood Academy. 

From a campaign celebrating the 100 years of the imagination of Disney, to diversifying the secondary school curriculum with Penguin, this year’s briefs invite emerging talent to harness their creativity to tackle both commercial challenges and social issues. Additional briefs include changing the way that skin cancer is diagnosed in people of colour with 21Grams, repositioning menopause as an issue affecting people of all ages with The Case for Her and Refinery29, and encouraging more sustainable habits in sports fans in collaboration with Connect4Climate. 

In partnership with leading brands including the BBC, Audible, Burger King, Spotify, Tesco, Xbox & Rare, D&AD believe it is more important than ever this year to nurture the talent pipeline, whose entry into the creative industries will be seriously affected by the ongoing disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In an effort to make the awards as accessible as possible there are no formal education requirements and the eligibility criteria surrounding age for entry was removed in 2019, meaning anyone aged 18 or over without significant paid creative experience can enter and make a start on their creative career. D&AD also curates an online library of portfolio tips, bold ideas and the very best in creative design work to provide additional educational resources and inspiration for prospective entrants. 

The briefs can be downloaded now from the D&AD website, with entries opening in January 2021 and closing in March 2021. Revealed during the summer, the winners will receive a prestigious New Blood Pencil, alongside a place in the D&AD New Blood Academy, a creative boot camp where participants learn skills and insights from the best in the business to help kick-start creative careers. 

With much lower levels of employment expected this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, more talented young people are searching for jobs and, in turn, ways to stand out. To tackle this, D&AD are launching New Blood Shots, a series of quick-fire New Blood briefs set over six weeks with accompanying short courses to give emerging creatives a faster way to impress creative employers, learn new skills and expand their portfolios while job opportunities are increasingly difficult to access. In collaboration with leading brands, agencies and organisations, D&AD aim to offer emerging creatives a way to showcase their skills and land a paid commission or employment. The New Blood Shots briefs will be announced later this year and throughout 2021, with further information about the collaborative partners coming shortly on the D&AD website. 

Paul Drake, Foundations Director at D&AD, commented: “This year’s creative cohort will face more barriers upon entering the industry than ever before. The pandemic has completely shifted the way our sector works and valuable opportunities to connect and network with creative practitioners have been lost. The New Blood Awards have always existed to bridge the gap between education and the industry at large, a gap which is all the more important to fill during these incredibly difficult times. Through the briefs, we aim to give emerging talent a platform through which to stand out and impress the industry, alongside a taste of what the industry is really like.”

Naresh Ramchandani, D&AD President, commented: “It’s tough for someone looking to break into the creative world right now, but new voices are needed more than ever. We created New Blood Shots to help tackle some of the challenges brought about by coronavirus and reassure this year’s creative cohort that the industry is still there to support them. We’re all looking forward to seeing the daring and surprising ways this year’s talent respond to the briefs.”

Both the New Blood Awards and New Blood Shots are open to any new and emerging creatives aged 18 or over without significant experience in a paid creative role. More information on eligibility, how to enter and download the briefs, can be found on the D&AD website.