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Double win at global creative design awards

Alumni News

Two alumni, Maya Halilovic and Marina Vasilieva, have each taken out a “pencil” at the 2016 Design and Art Direction (D&AD) New Blood Awards – a prestigious award that celebrates the finest creative work in the world.

As a category of the D&AD Awards, the D&AD New Blood Awards are open to students and recent graduates. To enter, participants must take a brief listed on the awards site and create a campaign for it. Until now, no one from Curtin or Western Australia has ever won a pencil in the New Blood category.

“At the core of it all, the goal was to solve an existing problem with an honest insight and innovative approach,” says Vasilieva.

Both Halilovic and Vasilieva are creative advertising and graphic design graduates, and each focused on a different campaign brief.

Rebel with a cause

Halilovic focused on the Dr. Martens Brief – to reboot radio writing. Her instructions were to ‘harness radio’s potential to connect customers old and new with Dr. Martens’ spirit of rebellious self-expression’. To that end, Halilovic created an experiential campaign to help small local bands and artists get discovered. She named it Band in a Booth.

“It was a series of aggressive posters that very publicly shamed highly-paid musicians for their terrible song writing, pointing out that almost anyone could do better.” Halilovic says.

Maya Halilovic’s Band in a Booth campaign. Credit: D&AD,

Maya Halilovic’s Band in a Booth campaign. Credit: D&AD,

Not afraid to offend a few people, Halilovic’s Band in a Booth pokes fun at mainstream music in true Dr. Martens spirit.

“The idea came from my partner complaining that the radio at her work simply played the same songs constantly,” Halilovic says. The next step was of finding the right way to give the idea traction.

“I always find there are two challenges with anything in advertising,” Halilovic says. “Firstly, why should anyone care? Secondly, trying to answer ‘how can I make this live beyond the brief?’ The brief was to create a radio ad, so what would this ad also look like as a billboard? Does it need a TV commercial? Can it go online? Can we turn it into an emoji? Can we make the news?”

“I’ve always had a fondness for writing. I remember being 15 and very dramatically announcing to my parents that I was going to give up pursuing a career in accounting to become a writer instead.”

With a New Blood pencil in her cap, her decision appears to have paid off.

A new way to do news

Vasilieva took a different road. Her chosen brief was from the The Telegraph and asked budding creatives to ‘develop an innovative digital solution to get a younger audience to think again about The Telegraph’.

As one of the United Kingdom’s leading newspapers, The Telegraph has a 160-year history of delivering thoughtful journalism and commentary yet, despite its prestige, engaging with younger generations has proven to be a major challenge.

“The development of digital platforms has affected the way people source their news, because it is commoditised news. They can get free sound bites of news anywhere, and they don’t expect to pay for it,” says Jane Austin, Head of UX at The Telegraph, in an interview with D&AD.
But, she adds, The Telegraph still has great stories and great journalism. Their goal is to make sure it still has a place on digital platforms where images, videos, audio and reporting fuse together into something fantastic.

With this in mind, Vasilieva came up with the concept of GeoTelegraph – a real-time news app that puts news broadcasting in the hands of the people.

“GeoTelegraph aims to provide users with real-time news through a live map of their area,” Vasilieva states in her submission. “Users can create their own stories or contribute comments, pictures and videos to stories that are relevant to them by seeing what’s hot on the map or checking out what’s trending in the InfoHub.”

“It was an easy choice for me to pick the Telegraph brief,” says Vasilieva. “I was passionate about the problem as it was one I saw happening around me and it was a problem I was a part of.”
Vasilieva says self doubt was a challenge to overcome in order to get to a good place with her work.

“I’ve always seen a D&AD pencil as this massive, unattainable award that I could strive to achieve but never really manage to because it was out of my reach,” she says. “At the end of the day, you can’t really let doubt stop you because eventually it gets in the way of the creative process.”


Onwards and upwards

Both Halilovic and Vasilieva will now journey to London to take part in the awards ceremony. There, they may be selected for a coveted spot in the D&AD New Blood Academy, a two-week creative bootcamp designed to catapult young creatives into industry.