Meet the winners of the BBH Unsigned Prize for Illustration

The Unsigned Prize for Illustration was launched this year to support emerging illustrators, designers and typographers. As an extension of BBH's Unsigned initiative, which aims to present creative people without commercial representation, it offers five creative people the opportunity to present their work in an exhibition at the agency's London headquarters. A winner also receives a solo exhibition at the They Made This print shop, mentoring to curate his show and the offer of a commercial representation from BBH's in-house illustration agency Black Sheep.

BBH called back openly in June and invited the creative people to respond to the topic "Good News" with an original or an existing work. After reviewing the submissions, the Unsigned team announced the five winners of this year's award. An overall winner will be selected after the exhibition, which is scheduled for October this year.

Designer and illustrator Charlie Haydn Taylor was chosen for his submission A New Beginning, which shows a couple who have received some life-changing good news in the form of a new arrival.

A new beginning for Charlie Haydn Taylor

Joshua Obeng-Boateng's Sungazing work was “created to bring joy in difficult times” and is described by the London-based illustrator as “the embodiment of daydreaming”.

Sungazing by Joshua Obeng-Boateng

Ellie Hawes & # 39; lively filing was inspired by the news that Belgian crane companies had helped families stay connected during the closure by lifting people to the windows of older relatives seeking shelter in high-rise apartments.

Ellie Hawes

The illustration by Patrick Thomas shows a positive aspect of life during the closure with an image inspired by sunny days outdoors. "The good news that I keep coming back to is that nature can thrive because of the closure, and people appreciate their time outside much more," says Thomas.

Patrick Thomas

Holly Arnold's artwork "When This Is Over" combines a series of pencil drawings that show people coming together and hugging each other who were created during the closure. Arnold sold A3 prints of the artwork on Instagram for £ 5. The proceeds go to The Ambulance Staff Charity.

When this is over by Holly Arnold

The order for this year was conceived as a welcome relief from the negative news that dominated 2020. Nnena Nwakodo, producer at BBH, said the agency was looking for thoughtful, emotional and joyful answers, as well as distinctive works of art and strong execution. “What we noticed about the winning entries was the creative and original interpretations of the letter,” she explains.

According to art director Stephanie Flynn, the team was also drawn to working with faces and groups of people – a reflection of how our perception of good news and positive images has changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and how visual creatives have responded to it in their work. "It will be interesting to see how what we all went through in 2020 may shape the work's appearance for the next decade," added Flynn.

Stephen Ledger-Lomas, production manager at BBH, points out that it is a challenging time for creative people – especially those without agent support to promote their work. BBH hopes that its unsigned program can give artists just starting out much needed attention and help them get in touch with commissioners and agents who can help them land commercial work.

Ledger-Lomas offers advice to other creative people who want to improve their profile during the pandemic and recommends people to continue working and sharing their work: “During this time it is important to stay true to the path you have chosen and to continue your style expand and personal brand during that time. The industry will emerge and recover and will need new perspectives more than ever, ”he adds.