The D&AD’s New Blood exhibition is the best of the grad show season. It can’t quite match the cache of Central Saint Martins’ own show and the likes of Brighton and Middlesex Universities no longer attend (CSM either) – but the quality and breadth is broader and wider than any other single institution or group show.

As we do every year, we descended on the private view last night to pick out the best work and the most creative individuals we expect to do well in the industry – across graphic and interactive design, illustration, advertising and even a bit of making. Over this feature, we’ve picked the 12 best.

This year we saw strong and mature work in all categories – with especially individual work from graduates unafraid to experiment and build their own clearly defined identity. The institutions that produced these students included Falmouth – whose illustration course is always full of top talent – The Arts University Bournemouth, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design; Lincoln University, the Universities of Brighton in Hastings, Central Lancashire, Dundee and Westminster; and Blackpool & The Flyde College.

We were surprised about how many students had already sorted their next moves. A few years ago, the majority of graduates we met at New Blood – and other shows – would answer the question of “what are you doing next?” with “trying to get a job”. Most we spoke to last night had already got jobs or placements – or were already working freelance and had even build an enviable client list while still a student.

New Blood can be seen at Spitalfields Market in London until the end of tomorrow.

Maddie Taylor and Tom Bartlett – Falmouth University

The advertising duo of art director Tom and copywriter Maddie were noticed by everybody. Their witty, fully-formed ads for Playdoh nailed an important part of how children play with that product – as a way to be more creative with other toys, to build worlds and scenarios that don’t just include the squidgy clay.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to see more of the best work from the D&AD New Blood exhibition.

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