Celebrating design trends, creativity and fresh talent at New Designers

June 21, 2019 Emma Onuma

GES is a proud sponsor of New Designers, a two-week event which celebrates the future of design, presenting the work of 3,000 graduate designers from across the UK. As sponsor of the Exhibit and Events Prize, this year we are offering the lucky winner a full-time junior designer position in our studio. I sat down with Mark Sykes, our executive creative director and head judge of the award, to discuss why he loves being involved with New Designers and what he’s looking for in this year’s young talent.

Why is New Designers a good fit for GES?

We partner with New Designers because the event gives new graduates a fantastic platform to promote their work, capabilities and skills to the design industry, and an opportunity for companies like us to invest in fresh-thinking talent.  

Our industry is constantly changing and evolving; this new generation of designers are open and passionate in embracing new concepts and don’t hesitate to question why we do things the way we do. It works both ways of course - design graduates can learn a huge amount from a company like GES, but we also have the opportunity to learn from bright young minds.

Beyond New Designers, we have established strong links with universities in Coventry, Sheffield and Lincoln. I take the time to give a couple of lectures to educate future graduates on the business GES does every day. Everyone recognises interior design, architectural design, and graphic design, but industrial exhibition design is the best kept industry secret! It’s fantastic to see the students learning about what we do and finding exciting prospects for a career.

What are you looking to see in this year’s designers?

Passion, enthusiasm and creativity with an essential dash of practicality to ensure event concepts can not only be conceived but also fabricated to a budget. Essential when answering a brief!

What makes a good live event designer?

The best live event designers think beyond the limitation of architecture and look at the entire visitor journey before, during and after the event to ensure the experience is one that is memorable. Event design briefs are no longer focused on just the physical objectives of an event space. Brands are looking for much more than an attractive exhibition stand. They want to create experiences that not only excite but are grounded in insight and demonstrate impact.

What recent design trends are currently inspiring you?

For me, personalisation is the most impactful and exciting trend and it’s touched all marketing channels, including events. In today’s digital landscape, it’s a no brainer. Presenting visitors with a personalised experience only makes events more engaging and effective, as well as promoting brand loyalty and affinity. Visitors still want to be educated, presented with networking opportunities, introduced to new products and concepts, etc. but they also want to be entertained. As designers, it’s our job to problem solve as much as it to create spaces.

New Designers is taking place 26-29 June and 3-6 July. To find out more about the event and to book tickets, visit newdesigners.com.

About the Author

Emma Onuma

Emma Onuma is our head of PR, Social & Events at GES EMEA. Emma has been with us since June 2016 and has worked in the events industry since 2011. Having worked on a range of events from select VIP gatherings of two hundred, to large scale events with audiences ranging from a hundred VIPs to tens of thousands, Emma has a great insight into how events work at all levels of the spectrum.

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