Future Pioneers was launched in partnership with New Designers in 2013 to celebrate and nurture principled, passionate and purposeful young designers, as well as raise awareness of the positive impact of design.

It gives designers the potential to contribute to economic growth and solve social problems in inspiring and exciting new ways, as a kick-start to their careers.

What we did

We recognised that New Designers, the UK’s largest graduate design exhibition, at the Business Design Centre presented an ideal opportunity to uncover great design talent.

Therefore, on 3 July, a selection of expert judges from the design industry visited the exhibition, searching for a few truly exceptional designers among the 1,400 exhibitors.

The judging panel consisted of:

The winners

From the many talented graduates who were exhibiting, five truly stand-out designers were chosen to become the first Future Pioneers. They were announced at a Thursday Late event on 4 July.

Winners and their inventions

Where they are now

“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

Future Pioneers were rewarded with a year-long programme of promotion, mentoring and support from Design Council. They were given the chance to exhibit their work at 100% Design, the UK's largest design trade event, in September 2013.

A year after they were announced, we caught up with the five gifted designers and asked them about the impact that being a Future Pioneer had on their careers.

Here’s what they had achieved: 

  • Joshua Barnes won ‘Starter for 10’ funding to set up his own business.
  • Lucie Barouillet continued to develop the ImPatients project.
  • Sam Clifford got a dream job - designing and making concepts at Dyson.
  • Fiona Harkins received mentoring from an expert designer and took up a print course through the Future Pioneers funding she received.
  • Matt Wilson became an animator for digital branding agency The House before going on to open its South West branch – an amazing progression, just over one year after graduating.

Find out more about where the five designers are now

As Future Pioneers proved so successful, it continued into 2014-15. 

News & opinion