While at New Views 2 I happened to take part in or overhear about a thousand conversations regarding D&AD’s education briefs and the New Blood show.
Everyone involved had one opinion: if they had their way they would not set D&AD briefs anymore and would spend the money for New Blood on something more productive.
I’ve long been a critic of the D&AD briefs and it was interesting to hear such views expressed publicly and with such strength. The consensus is that the briefs are pedagogically unsound, and that there is nothing to be gained from students doing the same things as every other graphic design student in the country. The industry reps I spoke to or heard were in agreement here: if you’re coming for an interview, don’t put a D&AD project in there. They want to see something more representative of you and your course.
So will courses start pulling out of D&AD? Mmm… I think this is one of those ‘either we all jump together’ things. No one wants to be the first (although having said that there were a few leading courses represented there who said they refuse to set D&AD briefs and don’t go to New Blood). But I certainly think if there’s another gathering like this there could be an agreement for a mass pull-out. But most concerned said their preference would be for some negotiated remodelling of the relationship – less preachy, less ‘industry telling education what to do’, less patronising and more supportive. Design educators feel hard done by at the moment in the UK, and it’s no wonder. If D&AD were to remodel itself as a representative of academia to industry it might have a future but for now, I’d say the relationship is on seriously rocky ground.