Emma Block Illustration


The creative life of an illustrator living in London

Joules x New Designers


It’s that time again, fledgling designers are being pushed gently out of the nest and into the real world. It’s an exciting time, and I was lucky enough to visit New Designers to take a look at the new talent graduating this summer and learn more about how Joules champions creativity.

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Last year I visited New Designers with Joules and my friend Nancy, and this year I was lucky enough to do it again. It is so lovely to combine my love of design and social media in such a nice project. We started the day with lunch at Bourne and Hollingsworth before wandering over to the Business Design Centre to check out the work on display.

I was really impressed by the work on display, and I’ve highlighted some of my favourites breaking it down into several main trends that I saw emerging.

A Sense of Place

I noticed that many of the projects on display were strongly inspired by a particular place. This is very important to Joules, as the print designers to take regular research trips around the UK to gather inspiration for their seasonal prints.

The winner of the Joules prize for graphics and illustration Megan Williams from Nottingham Trent University. Her work was sophisticated and diverse tackling everything from packaging design to public awareness campaigns. I particularly liked her project exploring the Leicester dialect, which combined photography and handwriting text and created a strong sense of place. The judges picked her work as it is is colourful, sophisticated and shows a sense of humour and a real maturity.

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One of my favourite projects in the exhibition was Amaia Kurschincki's project taking inspiration from a trip around Mexico. Having been to Mexico myself I immediately and recognised the blend of folk art and religious iconography and loved the colourful tactile quality of her work.

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Evy Prentice from Norwich University created work inspired by taking walking tours of Norwich. Colourful screenprinted models were inspired by the Dutch influence in East Anglia.

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Elysia Anthony studied illustration at Norwich university and specialises in printmaking. Her work also takes inspiration from the Norfolk landscape. She translates sketchbook pages full of energetic observational drawings into dark and moody etchings.

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Handmade Processes

Despite the technology available for creating and printing designs always progressing, I saw a strong return to traditional techniques, in particular screenprinting. Many of the students spoke about how they preferred the tactile qualities of painting or screen printing. Handmade processes are very important to Joules as all of their prints start with multiple sketches and paintings. Handmade and the traditional is still a big part of the design process

Remy Goddard's work made us smile as soon as we saw it. Her work is charming, naive yet sophisticated and evokes strong childhood memories of summer at the sea side. Her work really makes use of handmade processes, with everything painted by hand or cut from paper. Even reproduced onto textiles you can still see Remy's distinctive brushstrokes and the characteristic sharp edges of cut paper. She also had a beautifully fresh colour palette and it was a joy to be able to flick through her portfolio and see her original artwork. She was chose, as the winner of the Joules Print Award as the judges felt her work personified Joules' playful side and was perfect for the brand.

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I loved the muted, abstract work of textile student Eve Campbell from Glasgow School of Art Her screen printed concrete tiles particularly stood out to me and created a wonderful backdrop to her work. It was also lovely to be able to flick through her sketchbooks

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Another textile artist using screenprinting was Becca Smith from Leeds Arts University, whose work was much more colourful and full of exuberant line work. Her work celebrated the glorious every day, from cheese graters to spectacles.

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I also loved the textured screenprinted designs of Sarah McCann from Heriot-Watt University. She uses a sophisticated colour palette and a range of mark making techniques.

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Traditional Techniques

It was great to see so many unusual and traditional techniques being used. Robyn Nisbet, from the University of Dundee, created a beautiful range of natural dyes which she used to screen print textiles and garments with stunning results.

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Anna Hopkins from Loughborough University combined traditional techniques of weaving and cyanotype to create a stunning range of textiles and products. To create the cyanotypes sun reactive fluid was painted directly onto the fabric then leaves and flowers were laid on top to allow a pattern to develop

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I was so bowled over by the talent and creativity of these graduates. Every time I visit New Designers I leave feeling so inspired. I definitely recommend looking at these ladies' websites and following them on Instagram, they are definitely ones to watch and I’m sure they all have exciting careers ahead of them. Thank you so much to Joules for this opportunity. 

Disclaimer: I was paid by Joules to attend New Designers and write this post, but the words and thoughts in this post at all my own.