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Posted 12.07.17

Illustration grad wins New Designer of the Year Award 2017

By Phillip Buchan
Illustrator Jake Williams, a recent graduate from our BA (Hons) Illustration programme, has won the prestigious Business Design Centre New Designer of the Year award at the 32nd annual New Designers festival, one of the UK’s most important annual design events, which took place at the Business Design Centre in London.

Jake was chosen by judges for his fully-illustrated non-fiction children’s book ‘Resilient Reptiles’, which focuses on the unique ways that reptiles of the world have adapted to their environments in order to survive. The independent panel of judges praised Jake for his "creative approach, style and ambition to tackle difficult subjects thoughtfully through the medium of illustration."

Excerpt from Jake Williams' 'Resilient Reptiles' (2017)

In addition to a £1,500 cash prize, Jake was also awarded £1,000 worth of legal advice from specialist intellectual property lawyers Briffa, including a year’s free membership to their DesignProtect insurance service, £2,000 worth of accounting and taxation advice from experts HWFisher, and a dedicated half day focus on PR and marketing worth £500 by Four Coleman Getty.

"The quality of my time at Plymouth College of Art has been amazing. If I’d chosen to study anywhere else then I don't think I would be at New Designers today, winning an award like this." — Jake Williams

Jake said: "Exhibiting at New Designers has been a really good experience in terms of showing my work to new people and making invaluable industry contacts. Winning the award in particular has been mind-blowing and was totally unexpected. Tthe level of interest in my children’s book from publishers really increased overnight after the award was announced."

Jake Williams' work at our 2017 Degree Shows

"The whole setup at New Designers looked great but I was particularly proud of the work of graduates from our BA (Hons) Illustration programme. Overall, the quality of my time at Plymouth College of Art has been amazing. I don’t think that if I’d chosen to study anywhere else then I would be at New Designers today, winning an award like this. The illustration staff at the college pushed me to do well, but never in a directive way. They encouraged me to pursue my own interests and develop my own style further, fostering an openness that I love about the medium of illustration."

"There’s such a wealth of brilliant ideas at this year's New Designers that our judges have been spoilt for choice." — Sarah Monk, Director of New Designers

Jake Williams is a Plymouth-based illustrator, designer and occasional animator. His shape-based vector illustration incorporates bold, vibrant colours in a balanced and considered manner. He draws inspiration from several different areas, from culture and nature to film, TV and science. His work focuses on a strong use of characters and concepts that come together to produce fresh and exciting work, often with multiple layers of communication.

"I am delighted to be a part of the New Designers show and awards programme. Both are a fantastic opportunity to explore an amazing array of new talent who will influence the way we think about design." — Corinna Gardner, Acting Keeper of the Design, Architecture and Digital Department, V&A

Already this year Jake has been profiled by Design Week, The Bookseller, Creative Boom and Creative Bloq, after we named him one of our Ten to Watch at this year's college-wide Degree Shows.

The New Designers Awards, presented in partnership with leading brands and organisations, recognise the design world’s rising stars. The prizes, including cash, professional advice and paid work placements of up to one year, offer graduates vital support as they embark on their professional careers.