Hallmark seeks top talent

Long-lasting New Designers sponsorship keeps graduate innovation flowing

 

About to celebrate 29 years of supporting New Designers, Hallmark is looking forward to the latest iteration of the annual showcase of the UK’s most innovative design talent.

With week one kicking off on Wednesday, 26 June, students from universities and art colleges the length and breadth of the UK will descending on London’s Business Design Centre to show off their talents.

And Hallmark’s sponsorship of an award for Week 1, 26-29 June, as well as Week 2, 3-6 July, enables the publisher to look beyond “perceived expectations of greetings-associated design disciplines” explained Eve Gray, creative development director in the Future Squad, with all disciplines exhibiting at the show to be considered by its judges.

Above & top: The 2023 awards with Hallmark’s Eve Gray (left) and Margo Selby with winner Aiden McIntosh
Above & top: The 2023 awards with Hallmark’s Eve Gray (left) and Margo Selby with winner Aiden McIntosh

Hallmark is looking for two graduates for 2024 who Eve and the team feel can bring new innovative, future-thinking and sustainable ideas to the greetings category. They will be highly creative in their concept and ideas development, demonstrating an inventive exploration of emotional connection through their work.

She added: “As well as sponsoring the two awards, we also try to find talented designers that we feel connect with our values as a business to work on various projects with us and, of course, graduates who demonstrate great potential for commercial design work.

“Previous winners have studied jewellery, furniture, product design, interior design, textiles, graphics and illustration. We find our connection through varied practices, and we love an unexpected find.”

Each of the two winners of the Hallmark Connection Award earns an internship in Hallmark’s creative studio, working as part of a future-focused team on a research and development project, and they will also be mentored and coached by the company’s in-house design team.

Above: Winner Federica Caputo was “a privilege to work with”
Above: Winner Federica Caputo was “a privilege to work with”

This is the 29th year Hallmark will have worked with New Designers, and Eve explained: “It has most certainly fuelled our creative studio in many ways at Hallmark. We all have a direct or indirect association with the event as exhibitors, employees, sponsors, workshop hosts, judges, and visitors. We understand the significance of New Designers as a great showcase for UK design talent and wholeheartedly value our sponsorship of the event.

“The event is an important part of our graduate programme and enables us to meet graduates from a breadth of courses. We can all remember what that first step into our careers felt like and the most important thing for us at Hallmark, is to connect, support, and encourage as much as we can.”

As well as sponsoring the two awards, Eve and the team also try to find talented designers they feel connect with Hallmark’s values as a business to work on various projects, as well as graduates who demonstrate great potential for commercial design work.

The 2023 Week 1 winner was Aiden McIntosh, a textile design graduate from Duncan Of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee.

Aiden’s For The Love Of Paper project was a visual and tactile exploration of old Hallmark card product where he used a range of paper manipulation techniques to re-imagine and re-invent, making a body of work with the intent of inspiring new creative thinking from re-use.

Above: Aiden’s Hallmark experience has made him look beyond textiles
Above: Aiden’s Hallmark experience has made him look beyond textiles

Eve said: “Aiden was a delight to work with and loved the challenge we set him. Aiden did tell us that his experience at Hallmark made him begin to reconsider his existing practice and how he could push that beyond textiles!”

Federica Caputo was last year’s Week 2 winner and the graphic design graduate from London’s  University Of Westminster offered the Telling Stories project, which considered life events and how stereotypical societal expectations have moved and shifted.

“It was such a privilege working with Fede,” Eve commented, “she was extremely hard working, in-depth and highly professional in her approach and practice. We have recently worked again with her on a new piece associated with her internship project.”

Since its inception 39 years ago, New Designers has provided a platform for over 3,000 graduates every year to present their visionary ideas to industry professionals and the public, with more than 200 universities taking part as the disciplines highlighted, spanning fashion, textiles, furniture, product design, illustration, and more.

Tickets are available here for New Designers, which has a full range of workshops and talks over the two weeks. Week one runs from Wednesday to Saturday, 26-29 June, followed by week two over 3-6 July.

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