Hallmark champions creative education

Publisher’s New Designers awards ‘connect with emerging makers’ and ‘support key first career steps’


Bringing fresh blood into the greeting card industry is key to ensuring it moves with the times, and Hallmark has been at the forefront as a long-standing supporter and sponsor of the annual New Designers event showcasing university students’ creativity.

And for the 2022 edition, Hallmark is back with sponsorship of two awards at the event, which runs at London’s Business Design Centre over two weeks starting on 29 June – the winners earning a paid work placement at the greeting card giant along with mentorship.

Having been involved with what is the UK’s longest-running design showcase for over 20 years, Hallmark has helped champion and support the UK’s grassroots design sector as part of its Graduate Programme, which also incorporates university/college projects and work placements, and the event’s 37th outing presents the work of 2,500 students from 200 flagship university design courses.

Above: Connecting – ND connects design graduates with businesses looking for talent
Above: Connecting – ND connects design graduates with businesses looking for talent

“Sponsorship of the event is fundamental to Hallmark’s belief in supporting and championing creative education,” Hallmark’s head of commercial Fiona Pitt told PG Buzz. “This enables us to connect with new and emerging designers and makers and provide them with those important, supportive, key first career steps.”

Past New Designers winners have been from a broad range of creative disciplines – illustration, textiles and surface pattern, graphic design, jewellery and interior design – and Hallmark has subsequently worked with those graduates on a broad range of developmental projects that have provided new generational insight and food for thought, influential ideas, approaches and concepts, and design contributions to ranges.

Above: Long-time support – Hallmark is back sponsoring two awards at New Designers
Above: Long-time support – Hallmark is back sponsoring two awards at New Designers

Fiona added: “New Designers has most certainly fuelled our creative studio at Hallmark. Our design team comprises numerous New Designer alumni. Many of us have a direct or indirect association with the event as exhibitors, sponsors, workshop hosts, judges and visitors.”

Split into two with a Hallmark award for each week of New Designers, Week One covers textiles and fashion, costume design, jewellery and precious metalwork, ceramics and glass, and contemporary design crafts, while Week Two has furniture, product and industrial and spatial design, graphic design, illustration and animation, and motion and digital arts.

For the 2021 awards, the publisher had asked designers to “shift perceptions of the greetings category, explore new thoughts and concepts for a future vision for Hallmark, be creative, find innovative and clever ways for the art of giving, pushing our products by reinventing the folded paper message”.

Above: Week 1 winner – Lost In The Foams from Jiaxuam Zhong
Above: Week 1 winner – Lost In The Foams from Jiaxuam Zhong

Lost In The Foams was the title of Jiaxuam Zhong’s wearable pieces which won Hallmark’s first week prize, with the judges saying: “We loved the physicality of Jiaxuan’s work and the metaphorical use of materials. We consider connection, relationships and time as significant to our category.”

Journeys from Ashleigh Blades won in the second week, and the judges said: “We loved the paper world Ashleigh created as a means to store and narrate memories and personal experiences. Her evocative illustration and intricate three-dimensional storytelling demonstrated a delightful and lyrical response to our brief.”

Above: Week 2 winner – Ashleigh Blades’ Journeys work
Above: Week 2 winner – Ashleigh Blades’ Journeys work

Organised by Immediate Live, New Designers provides a unique platform for fresh design talent to connect with design educators, professionals and consumers, for creative exchange and collaboration, and breaks the boundaries between different disciplines, as well as offering discourse and debate – from social, political and environmental influences and challenges to how we can use design to create a more sustainable future.

For 2022 Design For Diversity: The Pledge is a new and exciting initiative founded by Rukmini Patel and Kate Watson-Smyth as a first step towards working towards a diverse design industry.

This year’s event runs from 29 June to 2 July, and 6 July to 9 July. Tickets are available here and there is a £12 discounted late entry on Thursdays, from  3pm-9pm.

Top: Designs on learning – Hallmark support New Designers

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