Young & Hungry: A Graduate Round-Up

Emma Palin gives This Is It! a round up of the degree show season and her top 7 design graduates to watch. So take a look at this years fresh talent.

There’s a mix of different designers below but they all share the same passion and dedication to get what they want

It can take a lot to stand out during degree show season – with so many talented students fighting for attention it can be visually overwhelming and careful curation of space is certainly needed. Many universities outside of London take the opportunity to showcase at the likes of Free Range and New Designers in order to reach target employers and other likeminded creatives and this can result in offers of commissions, jobs and placements. I scoured the shows this year in order to find the graduates who went that extra mile to be seen and I’ve been following them since to see how they are moving forward with their practise. There’s a mix of different designers below but they all share the same passion and dedication to get what they want so take a look, be inspired and follow suit.


Katie Alderson | Decorative Artist

Katie Alderson

An organised student if I ever saw one, Katie truly went above and beyond with her Individuality Vessels and Element Lamps. Each vessel represents a star sign and different materials have been used in order to emphasise the characteristics such as peacock feathers embracing the flamboyant Leo character and white feathers showing the carefree attitude of a Sagittarius. As well as her own exhibition at Nottingham Trent University, Katie also featured at New Designers where she was awarded Highly Commended by The Contemporary Glass Society and selected by Absolut Vodka as one of their top 30. As well as exhibiting at Mission Gallery, Coombe Gallery, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair and Lustre, she’s currently interning for a designer and looking to start a 2 year programme with Yorkshire Artspace in Sheffield. This will provide her with mentoring and studio space to help with the development of her collection – as you can tell she is already a very busy lady so keep an eye on this one and get in there early for commissions!



Jess Rose | Illustrator & Graphic Designer

Jess Rose

Jess’s digitally printed scarves and vivacious portfolio called out to the colour enthusiast in me. Some of her designs are actually based on looking at a common cold through a microscope resulting in a mix of grimy bacteria transformed into a beautiful array of organic shapes. Jess’s scarves allow you to literally wear your illness, making for a very unique concept. With an obvious fascination for risograph printing Jess has now taken residence at the Dizzy Ink studio in Nottingham as part of the Santander SME internship scheme. She is currently helping them get up and running by creating content and running workshops whilst learning more about printing techniques. Having previously collaborated with pARTicle magazine – a new visual science publication which aims to break down jargon with colourful graphics, illustration and photography – Dizzy Ink seems like the perfect next step for Jess to continue creating and mastering her diverse style.



Samuel Bellamy | Furniture & Product Designer

Samuel Bellamy

Selected as part of the New Design Britain Awards at May Design Series, Samuel was already exhibiting his Moroccan Lamps before others had even completed their final major projects. This extra publicity has certainly held him in good stead and he walked away as winner of Accessories category and People’s Choice Awards. He then went on to exhibit at New Designers along with the rest of Nottingham Trent University and was again swamped with positive interest. Samuel’s designs are very luxurious and he pays meticulous attention to detail, creating high quality finishes and intricate parts within his products. Having previously been awarded Boss Design’s Student Designer of the Year at Clerkenwell Design week all the way back in 2013, Samuel has grand plans to continue with the Bellamy Design brand and get his Moroccan Lamps into production.



Emily Meghann Taylor | Illustrator 

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Emily’s work is honest and to the point. She stood out from the crowd immediately as someone who was addressing topics through her illustration, all whilst being subtle and decorative with her designs. The idea behind her final project was to look at different shapes and sizes of women by combining female nudes with a variety of cacti. The two have been intertwined making for a great image composition and a beautiful blend of salmon pinks and greens. Emily also created cushions for a chair using her illustrations showing her versatility as a commercial illustrator – it’s the extras such as this that set her apart from others. After graduating from Swansea University with a first class honours Emily has been exhibiting this summer and will be starting her masters in September. I love the thought process behind Emily’s work and she has plenty more featured on her site so make sure you check it out for more clean lines and eccentric doodles.



Emma Buckley | 3D Design 

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I was first taken by Emma’s earthenware due to the pastel hues and dip-dye effect. After investigating the technique used the project became even more interesting as a dye typically used for the tie-dye process, Procion MX, is used to create the ombré finish. The dye is inserted through a sandblasted gap in the glaze, which depending on the size of the gap ultimately controls the end result in this highly unpredictable process. A unique end product emerges which is highly appealing for decorative purposes. It’s lovely to see someone experimenting with materials and pushing the boundaries of their practise in order to create inspiring products – Emma has since been featured by both Dezeen and Confessions of a Design Geek so others obviously agree!  She is currently interning for designer Fernando Laposse where she is working on lots of projects and commissions leading up to LDF which will hopefully make for great experience to do it all on her own in the very near future.



Faith Earle | Illustrator

Faith Earle

Purely decorative vibes can be just as good as the projects that have a concept but the work does need to be visualised in a certain way. Birmingham City University graduate Faith Earle nailed this and had a lot of buzz around her work from some of the more commercial companies. With her designs transferred onto wrapping paper, cushions and lampshades, Faith advertised how businesses could use her illustrations whilst also showing her potential to create her own brand. She incorporates textures into her designs with a splash of ink or a scribble of crayon and this adds a playful, youthful essence to her work. She is currently working at Next on a placement within the boys wear department and will also be taking some work experience with Hallmark cards later on this year.



Jeddediah Presland | Furniture Designer 

Jeddediah Presland

As a recent graduate from The National School of Furniture Jeddediah’s main impetus in design is simplicity and functionality but with a touch of multi-culturalism. His Mameluk Plate instantly caught my eye due to the beautiful symmetry and organic shapes created for the digital design of his Corian ® plate. The material was used to rework the traditional Turkish copper trays which serve as both table and plate throughout Islamic culture and you can eat directly from the plate, place it on the floor, on a table or hang it as a decorative wall piece using the purpose made peg. This multifunctional aspect is addressed in all of Jeddediah’s projects making him the perfect designer to create solutions within small interior spaces. With a wide range of live projects and collaborations Jeddediah was ready and waiting to be commissioned at his degree show and this prompted a lot of positive interest in his work plus a backing from the wonderful Bethan Gray.


Author Emma Palin

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Emma is a freelance writer / blogger in the design industry who is always on the lookout for new talent mainly within illustration and graphic design. You’ll probably find her at a local design week along with her pooch George!


For more of Emma’s writing have a look at her website 



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