D&AD's New Blood Shift is only for creatives who didn’t go to design school

D&AD is on the hunt for London creative talent that has been left untapped, either due to lack of training or connections. With the support of influential ad agency Leo Burnett, D&AD is offering an intense, 12-week night school run by industry greats to help those overlooked by the industry get in a position to change and contribute to it.

D&AD’s new programme is aptly named: New Blood Shift, hopefully, will not just transform the lives of the individuals that make it through the tough selection process (which is valuable in itself), but shift the industry into a healthier, more representative and more diverse breeding ground for consequently better and more interesting ideas.

To apply, you must be between 18 and 26 and not have a degree – which, if you’re a designer reading this, you probably don't satisfy. In fact, according to Creative Blueprint – who do a tonne of great research on the creative industries – you are probably white (95% of the design industry are), male (that’s 67% of the industry) and well-educated (68% have at least a level 4 qualification – that’s post-A-Level). 

“Diversity in the advertising and design industry is rightly a hot topic, but although many people are talking about it, we need more action. New Blood Shift is an ambitious project that we need the whole industry to get behind. We want to find undiscovered talent and give these young people the tools and placements to forge careers,” said Paul Drake, Foundation Director at D&AD.

So, if not by education level, how do you filter those wanting to enter the programme? It all comes down to enthusiasm. Be creative. Shown past interest. Whether it’s a rambling blog, angsty teenage poetry, a Instagrammable Instagam feed, writing, music, painting, dancing, beat-boxing or street art, D&AD are not looking for expertise – that can be taught – but unteachable, valuable passion. 

Candidates will be whittled down to a shortlist of up to 50 who will show off their work to industry heavy weights in an exclusive exhibition. 15 of these will be selected to go onto the night school, which will run for 12 weeks in September. Though the programme is about connecting students to the whole industry, not specific set-ups, participants will be networked with agencies and studios, and mentorships and paid placements are up for grabs once the course is over.

Creation, after all, is literally all about fresh perspective and ideas, and how better to do it than removing the barriers to the design industry for undiscovered talents? Research says it best: the most successful companies are the most diverse.

Apply here by June 1.

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