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D&AD New Blood x Creative Review: Interview with DB’s Melissa

If you’ve seen this month’s Creative Review (The Learning Issue) then you might have spotted an interview with our very own Melissa Preston – current designer at DB London and previous D&AD New Blood pencil winner.

D&AD have been kind enough to share Melissa’s full interview with us, and we have re-produced it below – it’s a great read for design students, and includes some handy advice for entering projects into next year’s New Blood.

Where are they now?

Melissa is a Designer at Design Bridge having worked there since she won a Yellow Pencil at New blood in 2012 for a whiskey branding and packing brief set by Design Bridge.


D&AD members can see more of Melissa’s 2012 winning work here.

This year she was part of the judging panel for a New Blood brief that she helped to write, bringing her experience of D&AD New Blood full circle.

How did you and D&AD New Blood meet?
Well I’d known about the D&AD awards since I started uni back in 2008. I went to New Blood to show my work with my uni but I never dreamed I could actually win a yellow pencil!

Tell us about your winning idea.
The brief was “to create packaging for a 21st Century Scotch whisky brand that challenges category convention and rituals and appeals to an international female consumer”

My entry played on newspaper dating ads using the copy in these lonely hearts to cheekily describe the whiskey and bring a smile to this new female consumer. Each bottle was wrapped in newsprint and the label marked by circling one of the ads.

What was it like to be a New Blood judge? Was it hard being on the other side?
It was so great to be a part of writing the brief and judging the entries! It also felt a bit surreal thinking that my work had gone through the same process just years before.

It was very hard though! I wanted to make sure I gave every entry a chance. It was a very rigorous process so those who got a pencil should be incredibly proud.

What was the most important piece of advice you were given at the Academy?
The academy is such a great opportunity to meet people in industry so make connections and stay in touch! Also all the events and workshops I attended during the academy were extremely worthwhile so throw yourself in and get involved! (cheesy I know!)

What are you up to now?
I am a designer at Design Bridge.

What do you love most about what you do now?
Coming up with ideas! That first phase of work where there is so much opportunity to come up with something new and exciting.

I still find this, the bit I love most, the bit I’m most excited about.

Describe your career so far in three words.
Fast, fun and ever-changing.

How much of an impact did winning a New Blood Pencil have on your career?
A massive impact! Winning a pencil got me lots of opportunities for interviews and placements and ultimately the job I’m in now! But even if I hadn’t won, being at the New Blood show is so important.

It’s just as good an opportunity to meet people who want to employ you!

What advice would you give to anyone exhibiting or entering New Blood in 2017?
Choose the brief you answer carefully, play to your strengths and go with your gut! Winning a pencil is the ultimate achievement but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t!

Be prepared for New Blood! Business cards are a must and a great opportunity to be remembered. Make sure your name is all over your work so when people are looking they know exactly what’s yours! I know it sounds obvious but new blood is pretty full on and if you want to get noticed for jobs and placements then you’ve got to be seen. Ego aside! Make it easy for people to find you.

Thanks Melissa!

You can find out more about D&AD New Blood here.

Melissa when she won her Pencil

Melissa when she won her Pencil


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