Wise Words for the Future

Ward off creative crises, summon inspiration and banish block with the wise words and life lessons of the stars who started where you are.

For this year's New Blood Festival, I produced a pack of cards with D&AD, packed with wise words for the future. The intention behind them was to send newbies off into the big bad industry with the personal feats and life lessons of those who've already faced many of the anxieties and pressures emerging talent may soon feel. Amongst the contributors are Erik Kessels, Top Girl Studio, Supermundane, Craig Oldham, Snask and Charlie Craggs.

From talks to case studies, everyone is hyping and hustling. But the real narrative is a very different story. All creatives go through bad days, complete disasters and we all suffer from imposter syndrome. But that isn't always what we share on our shiny Instagram feeds or shout about when we're interviewed. We have to blow our own trumpets, but the problem with editing out the shit bits is we're setting an example to aspiring creatives that you have to to be 'smashing it', and if you're not, then you must be no good..


New Blood Festival is this amazing showdown that launches creative careers, but there was an opportunity for D&AD to offer graduates and emerging talent a bit of guidance for what happens beyond that. The gap between your education and your career is actually huge. It's a baptism of fire for most, which can be the making of you. But we wanted to step in with advice as the anxieties that come with jumping off that cliff arise – to help bridge the gap a little. And we wanted to do this by creating a real-life thing you could hold, stick up on your wall, pass on and come back to when you needed some pepping.

Success isn't a straight line. For anyone. Perpetuating perfection only ups the pressure to be perfect. As you graduate, it's natural to compare yourself to your peers and those who've gone before, damaging as this can be. But if we could normalise the ups and downs, maybe we wouldn't all be so wracked with doubt and left feeling like failures. For this project, that meant getting the industry folk our next generation consider as this vision of success to talk frankly about the struggles they've faced, and debunk as many myths as we could


The cards tie in with New Blood's 2019 'Take on the Future' tarot-esque campaign, but the hope is that the cards will live on, powering graduates' paths into the industry, demystifying it and offering reassurance for the crises that come with the career climb. Agencies and studios are encouraged to get packs to offer their interns and juniors (or anyone who needs a little pep talk).

Written and produced by Ellen Ling
Design and Art Direction: Rosie StClair, Ellen Ling and Craig Oldham
Illustration: Billy Osborne, Terry Hearnshaw, Silje Bergum
Animation: Rob Headley
Photography: D&AD, Jack Renwick Studio
Paper donated by GF Smith