Winners of our junior programme, the start 2021

  • London
  • Mar 03, 2022
Winners of our junior programme, the start 2021
By Amanda Li

Every year, we run our student junior programme to bring in a new wave of talent to Design Bridge and we love the energy and original thinking that each new generation brings.

This year, we’ve done things a bit differently – Covid-19 has of course had a huge impact on life as we know it – an impact felt especially by young people – so in response to this, we’ve evolved the initiative into a broader, more widely accessible, and inclusive junior programme, re-named The Start, with the hope that this will inspire a new, more diverse talent to get involved. The Start will replace our previous Client Servicing & Strategy graduate scheme and our Dog’s Bollocks Student Awards design competition and is open to anyone at the start of their creative career.

Now onto the brief… it goes without saying that 2020 caused a shift in our priorities, making us all stop and reflect on what really matters and on how to change things for the better. Proudly partnering with The Guardian once again this year, we asked entrants to ‘change the world’. Choosing an article or headline from the 2021 New Year’s Day edition of the newspaper and selecting from a list of brands we gave them; applicants were tasked with delivering a brand-led response to what they felt 2021 should look like.

We asked entrants to showcase their talents by choosing to engage with one of three different pathways, with a tailored brief for each one: Creative, Client Management, and Strategy.

Suffice to say, we were absolutely overwhelmed with the inspired and passionate submissions we received from all who entered this year. Let’s take a look at the work…


For the creative submissions, the projects were deliberated over by this year’s judging panel, made up of Claire Robertshaw, Emma Follett, Tim Perkins, and Yvonne Eng-Hall – our Executive Creative Director, Chief Creative Officer, Group Chairman, and Design Director.

We were also joined by two special guests to help us decide on the final winners – a big thank you to:

Alex Breuer, Digital Design ECD at The Guardian, and Keith Weed, ex-CMO at Unilever and Independent Director on Boards incl. WPP & Sainsbury’s. President of the Advertising Association, President of the Royal Horticultural Society, Director BITC.

With a very high standard of entries across the board, picking the final winners was not a simple task but we got there in the end! So, without further ado…

First place goes to Home Away From Home by Lexi Lane and Katie Collins from Norwich University of the Arts!

junior programme first place
junior programme - first place
junior programme first place
junior programme - the start
junior programme - the start

The pair were inspired by an article in The Guardian about the number of refugees settled in safe places at an all-time low and this sparked the two to design an IKEA home furnishing range using patterns made by individuals who had been displaced.

Each pattern told a story that helped fund The IKEA Foundation, which aids and supports refugees. The concept of supporting shelter and sanctuary for refugees by decorating your own home can be depicted in the slogan, ‘Helping to put a roof over their heads’.

Our Chief Creative Officer, Emma Follett commented: “We all loved the absolute simplicity of this idea and its execution using the prints to create the shape of the house, connecting directly to the idea of buying the products to put a roof over the refugees’ heads. The depth and storytelling of the patterns had such warmth, but at the same time it was positive, playful, and vibrant. We particularly loved the storytelling of the concept. So beautifully captured.”

Second place goes to Come Together by George Gray and Tom French from Norwich University of the Arts.

junior programme design bridge runners up

Here’s what Keith Weed had to say… “George and Tom have shown a good grasp of joyful rebelliousness and social tone through their clever reinterpretation of signs in the world at the moment we all want to see destroyed!”

And, third place goes to It’s Bloody Natural by Sanjana Arora from Nottingham Trent

junior programme - runners up

Tim Perkins, our Group Chairman, shared his thoughts: “It’s Bloody Natural is brave work challenging cultural taboos with well-articulated messaging and a lovely look and feel, living up to our judging criteria of ‘maximum meaning, minimum means.”

We’d also like to give a special mention to Highly Commended entrant, Izzie Glover, from Loughborough University for her project named The Bathroom Cabinet which also made the shortlist and impressed the judges this year.

junior programme the start highly commended

Bravo to Katie, Lexi, George, Tom, Sanjana & Izzie!

After a series of interviews with our Creative teams, we’re pleased to announce that George has been selected for the year-long contract as a Junior Creative with us – welcome on board, George!


For the Client Management and Strategy pathways, we shortlisted our candidates that had the most inspiring and meaningful brief for their chosen brands, they were then judged via an interview with our Client Services Director, Head of Strategy, and other team members from our London Studio. The winning applicants are as follows:

Client Management:
• Matilda Gannon
• Molly Coffey

• Gayatri Rana
• Lewis Fry

Congratulations to our winners from the client management and strategy pathways who will join George for their year’s contract on The Start junior programme, beginning officially on the 1st of November for its inaugural year!

Our new ‘Starters’ will begin their programme within our London Studio, working together and learning the key skills required to succeed in each of their disciplines as well as the fundamentals of how to achieve ambitious creativity: collaboration!

A final well done to those who won and a huge thank you to everyone who has invested time and effort into their amazing applications. We loved looking through every single one and are in awe of the creativity.

Till next year! And please keep your eyes peeled for next year’s brief, which will be communicated in early 2022…