Graphics graduate Ellie Hawes wins the Unsigned Prize for Illustration

Graphics graduate Ellie Hawes wins the Unsigned Prize for Illustration

BA (Hons) Design for Publishing graduate Ellie Hawes has won one of five places in the first Unsigned Prize for Illustration, which was launched by global advertising agency BBH (Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty).

BA Design for Publishing graduate Ellie Hawes' winning entry into the Unsigned open brief. Ellie illustrated a news piece about how Belgian crane companies have been reuniting families during lockdown. The illustration is brightly coloured with predominantly red and purple tones. An elderly woman is shown waving at her family who are being lifted by a crane outside her window. The illustration style is abstract, with humans shown with larger bottom halves than top, solid colours and simple patterns

About the prize

The Unsigned Prize for Illustration supports emerging designers, typographers and illustrators by providing a platform for creatives without commercial representation to have their work seen.

The five winners will show their work in an exhibition held at the agency’s headquarters in London.

The agency will select an overall winner who will be offered representation by BBH Black Sheep, the agency’s in-house illustration service.

In addition, the winner will receive mentoring from a previous Unsigned winner. They will also present a solo exhibition of their work at London print shop They Made This.

The brief

The brief asked creatives to illustrate a piece of ‘good news’, so Ellie turned to Google for inspiration.

“My style is very colourful and graphic. I like to experiment with surrealism, scale and perception, creating unrealistic and engaging scenes and characters” said Ellie.

“I chose a story about Belgian crane companies reuniting families with elderly relatives living in high rise housing, who are shielding through the pandemic.”

“It was an instant favourite, because it’s just an amazing act of human kindness. Also, picturing the scene made me grin!”

"It’s really nice to see Design for Publishing students being recognised for their illustration skills as well as core editorial expertise"

Glen Robinson, Senior Lecturer

On winning the prize

“I’m chuffed to be selected for the BBH Unsigned Prize,” said Ellie.

“Having this recognition proves I can illustrate and design for the commercial sector.”

Senior Lecturer, Glen Robinson, added that “it’s really nice to see BA Design for Publishing students be recognised for their illustration skills as well as core editorial expertise.”

“It’s an area of the course that has grown a lot over the years. We actively encourage students to engage with original content creation through image making and experimentation.”

Looking forward

Ellie is currently looking for studio experience, hoping to eventually work as a freelance designer and illustrator.

Ellie’s also opened an Etsy shop selling inclusive greeting cards. Her cards champion underrepresented communities, occasions and family dynamics.

“I am leaving NUA with both a graphic design and illustration portfolio,” said Ellie.

“This is only possible because of the flexibility of the briefs, as well as encouragement and guidance of the tutors.”