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Live Project – Start Something / Age of Autonomy


120 aspiring designers were connected with 11 of Scotland’s leading design agencies who offer mentorship and one-to-one advice on a design-led brief over 2 days.

The mentor agencies then selected two participants within their group who they believe developed the strongest response to the brief to present to a panel of industry experts who selected 3 winners to take GDFS Best Aspiring Designer Awards.

Looking for original ideas, strong conceptual thinking, feasibility and work which brings true value, the mentors and judges face a difficult challenge when analysing the work.

The two participants selected by each mentor are offered work placements and the top 3 winners are awarded trophies and exclusive design bundles courtesy of our judges and partners which you can check out here.

2016’s Live Project looked at the changing perception of a designers role.

The concept outlined by Ken Kirton of Hato was tackled by 120 aspiring designers who were challenged to start something for themselves:

“Designers are now working outside of the usual client – designer structure, establishing their own communities and support structures. Self-promotion and self-initiated projects have now become a viable direction forward, whilst co-funding has allowed designers to abolish the client relationship completely. Designers are empowering themselves by creating their own opportunities and applying their portfolio of abilities and skills in new and unexpected ways.”

The project was positively embraced, with a large number of participants opting to tackle social and environmental problems like equality, consumption, pollution, mental health issues and even the sex trade.

The 11 mentoring agencies included: Freytag Anderson, Stand, MadeBrave, O Street, Graphical House, Kerr Vernon, JamHot, Tangent, Recoat, Front Page and STV Creative who each introduced themselves and their studio work to start the day off.

On the jury we welcomed Creative Review, Koto, Ken Kirton of Hato and Grafik.

The jury awarded Mook Attanath and Amy Robson 3rd place with their socially-minded project Let’s Get Talking(ish) which encouraged strangers to socialise more, in 2nd place were Lisa Roddie and Lorna Pittaway with The Walk Up which aimed to positively change perception of sex work and offer sex workers a support service and in 1st place was Katie Guthrie with her humorous take on the serious topic of breast feeding – Titty Gritty.

You can find out more about Titty Gritty here, The Walk Up here and Let’s Get Talking(ish) here.

We’d like to say a huge thank you to all mentors, judges and participants of the project, it was an inspiring experience for us and we are consistently impressed by the work produced by students and recent grads who take part.




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