One year ago we unveiled the first ever Design Council Future Pioneers. The five young recipients of the award were discovered by our prestigious design panel at New Designers, the UK's largest graduate show. Over the course of the year we promoted our pioneers, showcased their work at events, paired them up with renowned designers and watched them carve out a brilliant future for themselves.

Now, one year on, we asked them about the impact that being a Future Pioneer had on their careers and what it meant to them.  Here's what they had to say:

Being a Future Pioneer instantly opened more doors. I don't feel I would have gone as far in my career without it.

Matt Wilson - animator, The House

Sam Clifford - designer, Dyson

"The level of interest from the Design Council gave me confidence when talking about my design methods, an asset I used to my advantage during my day long interview at the Dyson Research Centre."

Sam created the Mycofilter - an organic filter that neutralises contaminated water in lakes and rivers before naturally decomposing.

Sam is now working in his dream job - designing and making concepts at Dyson. Sam attributes this to help that he has received from Design Council: “without the Design Councils help I would not have pushed myself so hard towards this promising career.”

Sam continued working on the Mycofilter following the Future Pioneers showcase at 100% Design and was then able to discuss his design in detail during the consultation we set up with our Design Associate, Neil Gridley: “Neil’s expert advice was just what I needed at the time.”

"The letter of recommendation I received from the Design Council really helped me. The positive words certainly played a part in getting interest from potential employers." 

I went on to get the funding and have now set up my own business!

Joshua Barnes - freelance designer

Matt Wilson - animator, The House 

Being a Future Pioneer instantly opened more doors...  I don't feel I would have gone as far in my career without it.”

Matt stood out as a Future Pioneer for his Demand Conflict Free Electronics campaign which uses animation to convince people to support charities that demand a stop to conflict minerals in electronics.

One of the perks of being a Future Pioneer involved being paired up with an expert designer for advice and inspiration. Mat was paired with Michael Murdoch, founder and Creative Director of digital branding agency, The House. Michael was so impressed by Matt that he offered him an internship. Matt is now working full time for The House as a graphic designer. Matt said: “After several consultations we decided to work together. We have a very healthy work relationship where he pushes me with each project, broadening my skill set every day.”

We recently commissioned Matt to create an animation illustrating the award-winning work by designers PearsonLloyd to improve patient experience in A&E. Watch Matt’s animation on A&E.  

Being a Future Pioneer gave me the confidence to keep developing the project and showed me that it was valued and appreciated.

Lucie Barioullet - medical device designer

Lucie Barioullet - medical device designer

Being a Future Pioneer gave me the confidence to keep developing the project and showed me that it was valued and appreciated.”

Lucie created ImPatients, a project that aims to improve the health outcomes of those with type 1 diabetes by stimulating debate.

Lucie has continued in the area of design and health and is now working as a designer for a medical device manufacturer in France.  She said that the recognition was very motivating: “It showed me I should keep on working on it and that I was in the right area.”

Working on the 100% Design exhibition with Design Council staff led Lucie to question the curation of her work: “It was a way of rethinking my project and finding new ways to explain it [which] has been very well received.”

Lucie has also benefited from making valuable connections through the programme as Future Pioneers are given access to Design Council events.

I’ve met a lot of interesting people! After meeting Daniel Charny at the Bee Lab, I got to know more about Fixperts and now volunteer for them.” 

It's a stamp of approval which I will look back on as the catalyst to my professional career.

Joshua Barnes - freelance designer

 “The Future Pioneer award provided validation for my project when pitching to the judges from Starter for 10 funding scheme. I went on to get the funding and have now set up my own business!

Joshua created an augmented quilt which uses augmented reality to combat symptoms of loneliness experienced by children staying in hospital. After a 3 month residency at Pervasive Media studio he went on to win Starter for 10 funding to set up his own business. Joshua is continuing to develop his augmented quilt. 

Joshua’s quilt was showcased with the other Future Pioneers work at 100% Design where he made some fantastic contacts that he plans to chase up and collaborate with in the future: "

 Being featured on the Design Council website has helped Joshua increase his search power online.

Being a Future Pioneer has served as a stamp of approval which I will look back on as the catalyst to my professional career and something I will always be proud of having achieved.”

This has given me the confidence to contact people and talk to them about opportunities which I wouldn't have done before!

Fiona Harkins - designer

Fiona is designer of Make & Get - an app to encourage resourcefulness in crafting.

Fiona is currently receiving mentoring from an expert designer in her field, as organised by Design Council to help her take the app to the next level: “I have made a valuable connection with Grandad Digital and I feel that will be great for my future networking and connections in the industry.”

Fiona has also benefited from the Future Pioneers funding which she used to take a print course. The course has given her an outlet to explore her app design further with the university and in the work environment.

The recognition and support has been a boost.

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