Sustainability & innovation: key themes from the next generation heading of New Designers 2023

The highly anticipated New Designers will return this Summer, showcasing 3,000 breakthrough designers, makers and disruptors once again. Creatives will gather at the Islington Business Design Centre to share their visions for the future of design, tackling sustainability, innovation and topical issues such as mental health and the cost of living crisis.

ND Selects

Visitors who attend New Designers ready to find the hottest design trends can expect to see products that have just made it to market at ND Selects - the New Designers’ section dedicated to shining a light on new businesses in the design industry including Bangkok-based ceramics studio Lamunlamai; Martina Kocianova's fantastical jewellery inspired by her childhood memories spent mushroom foraging; and Make Relief design studio, which combines traditional and contemporary manufacturing techniques including CNC machining, plaster & resin casting as well as mould-making. This year’s ND Selects has been curated by Louisa Pacifico, founder of Future Icons.

ND Educates

New Designers' much-look-forward-to talks and workshops programme, ND Educates, returns for 2023, giving visitors the opportunity to hear from leading brands, designers and industry experts as they offer unique insights into the latest design trends as well as discussing key themes. Ceramic Review hosts a conversation with contemporary ceramicist Francis Lloyd-Jones. Tom Banks, Editor of Design Week, will lead a panel discussion with design-led businesses, which are adopting circular design principles, including Adam Wade, Anglepoise MD; The ND official legal partners, CMS CMNO, will host discussions on Intellectual Property in Design joined by Helen Newman from Stella McCartney, and James Wood, Studio Wood; Work In Design Podcast host, Kieron Bakewell, will be in conversation with fashion designer Zoe de Pass about making it in her design career; London Glassblowing will be leading a panel with three artists including Tim Rawlinson 'A decade on since graduating'. The full ND Educates programme will be accessible for booking by clicking here.


Sustainability in design

Designers are increasingly incorporating sustainable ideals, ethical processes, and circular design principles into their creations. Many of this year’s designs are made with recycled, or ‘waste’ materials. Erica Earle-Robertson’s – Edinburgh College of Art – jewellery collection named ‘Kuruka,’ meaning ‘to weave’ in Shona, is centred around the traditional craft of Zimbabwean weaving which uses indigenous materials and sustainable methods in its process.

Meanwhile, Peter Warrington – Birmingham City University – has sought to reinvent the kettle - one of the most discarded pieces of domestic technology. Among other modifications, Peter’s design includes an entirely user replaceable heating element - the most common point of failure in the current commercially available design. Bournemouth University students will showcase products responding to water shortages, including Tundra - the world’s first water bottle that can melt, store and filter snow and a rainwater collector which can pressurise water to a similar pressure to a mains supply respectively.

Crafts Council panel

On Thursday 29 June Crafts Council will host a panel that brings together makers from different craft disciplines who'll discuss the motivations, barriers and changes that could be made around sustainability. There will be an opportunity to meet and network with Crafts Council and the makers after the talk as part of New Designers Thursday Late session. The Design Council will also host a sustainability focused talk at New Designers, discussing the story of their sustainable graphic design discoveries from their recent brand refresh process.

Innovation in sustainable design is also recognised at New Designers through the highly anticipated Awards Programme. This year's stand out awards celebrate sustainability models including upcycling and repurposing materials and works that raise awareness; calling call people to action to change things that are not serving us and our planet. Creative Conscience Ethical Makers’ Award judges are looking for designs that'll improve society for the better and joint Anglepoise MDs are looking for designers who're answering the question ‘will the planet thank you?’ through products for their Anglepoise Abandon Darkness Award, alongside the Decorex International Sustainability Award, which will provide winners with the opportunity to exhibit at Decorex design fair this autumn.

Innovative use of materials

Birmingham University’s Emily Cross will present ‘Sculpt’, which uses felt as an alternative to typical shelves and entryway bowls for handbag essentials. Inspired by gallery exhibitions, it uses the adaptable nature of felt to create an attractive and easy-to-use piece of furniture, which allows people to store their pocket items close to the door in a new way.

Ceramic Review Initiative Award will be given to a ceramic artist who's taking traditional processes and style into a new and exciting direction. Diana porter Jewellery Associate Prize will be awarded to a designer who creates unique crafts and clearly considers their use of materials and design integrity.


Inclusivity & social mobility

University of Northampton student Natalie Sherlock will be showcasing ‘Tattwo Stories’, a campaign designed to eliminate tattoo discrimination within the workplace. New Designers' talks and workshops programme also responds to these increasingly prevalent themes, and in Week 1, Cockpit will host a panel on their efforts towards Diversity & Inclusion in the craft sector. Also, AOI is scheduled to run a mini business masterclass at the show. In this masterclass, they'll cover the transition from student to freelance illustrator with practical tips on how to set yourself up, manage finances, promote yourself, reach out to clients, and draft watertight contracts.

The Creative Motivation with 'Make it in Design Award' will offer the winner online Creative Coaching Sessions with Rachael Taylor an award-winning Creative Director and best-selling author to help provide young designers with support to step up into the design industry. The Joseph Stannah Award will provide £1,000 to support the development of a designer's career who's incorporating designs that promote independent living in addition to addressing real life problems.

Health & wellbeing

University of Northampton Graphic Communication Design student, Carrie Slinn, will unveil ‘Unpack’ at New Designers - a campaign created in response to the mental health and wellbeing crisis at universities. Additionally, Harvey Mckellar’s - Sheffield Hallam - will present a 25° park bench that uses its unique angles to encourage positive human interaction between strangers and aims to combat loneliness.

Artist and Graphic Designer, June Minyama-Smithson, will be participating in a talk along with Typographer, Alison Molyneux, on how to manage creative jealousy in order to preserve your mental wellbeing. As part of ND Awards, the NHS Royal Free Trust will present the Innovation in Healthcare Prize, which offers a winning student a one month placement exposing them to the creative side of working within the NHS. The placement gives students the chance to see how healthcare transforms and implements medical products, services and platforms.



WHEN: New Designers takes place from 28 June-1 July and 5-8 July 2023

WHERE: Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH

WEEK 1: Fashion & Costume; Contemporary Design Crafts; Textiles; Ceramics; Glass;Jewellery & Precious Metalwork

WEEK 2: Furniture; Product Design; Industrial & Spatial Design; Graphic Design; Illustration & Animation; Motion & Digital Arts

Full ticket types and prices can be found via

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New Designers
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street
N1 0QH