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Hallmark’s designs on new designers

Winning students set for paid internship as publisher continues supporting fresh talent


Two new designers are getting ready for their first taste of life at the greeting card industry coalface as they take up paid internships at Hallmark.

Sandra Junele and Reuben Loftus were chosen by the publishing giant as the winners of its two awards at last month’s New Designers show where the work of 2,500 hand-picked UK graduates was presented at London’s Business Design Centre.

Split across two weeks, Hallmark sponsored the Connection Award for both events, with a definite emphasis on sustainability and looking for “ideas and concepts within and beyond the perceived expectations of greetings-associated design disciplines”.

Above: Sandra Junele’s work has passion and drive
Above: Sandra Junele’s work has passion and drive

With its brand vision described as “we will be the company that creates a more emotionally-connected world by making a genuine difference in every life, every day” Hallmark was looking for a pair of graduates who can “bring innovative, future-thinking, and sustainable ideas to our greetings category”, and added: “They will be highly creative in their concept development, demonstrating inventive and clever ways to explore emotional connection through their work.”

Both Sandra, from the University Of Dundee, and Kingston University’s Reuben earned a £1,000 paid four-week internship at Hallmark’s creative studio, either in its Bradford HQ or virtually, where they will work as part of the future-thinking ideation squad on a research and development project and will be mentored by the in-house design team.

Above: The Hallmark judges loved Reuben’s poetic combination
Above: The Hallmark judges loved Reuben’s poetic combination

At New Designers, Week One winner Sandra’s presentation was entitled Waste Isn’t Waste Until We Waste It, and the Hallmark judges commented: “We loved Sandra’s passion, drive and commitment to sustainability. Natural resourcefulness and new thinking is inherent to her and her work.”

Grit And Grief was the title of Reuben’s work which earned him the Week Two award, with the judges saying: “Reuben’s work resonated with an intense personal connection. The judges loved the poetic combination of place and time and the therapeutic process of making all communicated with engaging storytelling from world to film to object.”

The New Designers event has been held annually since 1985, and Hallmark has been a sponsor for more than 20 years as part of the publisher’s commitment to supporting new talent.

Eve Gray, Hallmark’s creative development director in the Future Squad, explained: “College and university projects that encourage question and preconception about our greetings category run throughout the academic year.

“Students receive interim and final feedback and critique about the work they have produced and winners submitting the strongest projects are awarded a two-week work placement in their year two, where we then take their projects as a starting point and develop new work in line with strategic objectives.”

Above: Hallmark is a long-time sponsor of New Designers
Above: Hallmark is a long-time sponsor of New Designers

The New Designers winners also have projects set according to their individual approaches with all placements having designer mentors from the design team who nurture and advise, and also give information about their own careers, educational background and approach to design.

Eve said they are also mentored by the creative development manager, design director and trends strategist, who work closely with the students/graduates to nurture them through their work and offer advice and guidance throughout their time with the company, and they are helped to present their work to art directors.

She added: “We give them an overview of Hallmark as a business and an overview of our careers and educational experiences so they can understand how careers evolve and change over a longer period of time

“We also give advice and support about the creative industries in general and help them consider how to present their work and themselves, and discuss the possibility of signing them up to our freelance books for that first step on the career ladder.”

And when the placements end, Eve said Hallmark offer to keep in touch for future advice as well as catching up with the students at their degree shows or next year’s New Designers – and the event has produced a number of staff for the company, including art director Hannah Greenwood who exhibited at New Designers in 2008, designer Becca Clapham from the 2013 show, and senior designers Gill Anderson and Helen Leeks, from the 2006 and 2003 exhibitions respectively.

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