The new crop of UK illustrators have bags of talent and ideas to match: prepare to be dazzled.

Although the UK economy is currently taking a battering and the forecast for businesses – including creative studios – has become radically more gloomy, one thing remains constant: Britain’s position at forefront of design excellence.

Each year a new batch of design and illustration graduates fuel this continued pursuit of excellence as they join established studios or strike out on their own.

Hungry for work, enthusiastic for change and innovation, and as yet unfazed by commercial practicalities and constraints, this influx of young design and illustration talent is an essential regular boost to the creative industry.

From their fresh ideas and new takes on old styles, to their keenness to push the boundaries of design and experiment with the latest technologies, young designers have much to offer established studios.

Yet separating the real stars in the making from the trend-obsessed copycats, is a tough call. For this special feature, Digital Arts has trawled the latest creative work from recent graduates and unearthed some true gems set to sparkle in the coming year. The following pages showcase the work of the some of the best young design talent from around the UK today. Learn the names well: you’ll be using them in years to come.


Adam Woodhouse
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“I love using bright colours and experimenting with light, shapes and movement,” says Adam Woodhouse, describing the thread that unites his 3D work, 2D art and motion-graphics.

The 23-year-old is further broadening his horizons, working as an interactive designer for a London studio. “I’m thoroughly enjoying the exposure I’m getting with the company, and have a great time mixing with other print and web-based designers,” he says.

Woodhouse is a featured artist on the Adobe Design Gallery and has also worked for some big international brands. Not bad for someone who’s entirely self-taught.

“I didn’t go to university or college to study graphic design; I don’t regret this, although it has taken a little bit of time and patience to get to the level I am at now,” he says.

Working across both PC and Mac, Woodhouse relies heavily on Photoshop CS3, although he also uses Cinema 4D for motion-graphics and creating 3D objects. “I’m quite fond of interactive media, so I try and use Flash wherever possible commercially,” he adds.

Hardware-wise, he relies on his graphics tablet and “the good old keyboard and mouse.” For creating custom brushes, he’ll often shoot images with a digital SLR and work them up on computer. The upbeat, colourful feel of Woodhouse’s work is a reflection of the man himself: “I’m a really happy and optimistic person, which is due to me having a very supportive family and some really fantastic friends,” he says. “Most of my experience comes from me, and the experiences we share.”

Woodhouse has this advice for other aspiring designers: “Work hard and get to learn the tools. If you know how to use the packages fluently, you will be able to create whatever you feel. It’s also important to showcase your work online, where you can get constructive criticism about your design.”