The Nationwide Degree show featured talented graduates on billboards across the UK. We caught up with the team behind this incredible initiative to learn more.

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We’re big fans of everything you guys have done with the Nationwide Degree Show!

Can you tell us a little bit about how you managed to make this amazing opportunity happen?

Our heart went out to all of the students across the UK as more and more universities officially cancelled their end of year shows. Many of our talks as hosts of The Design Kids London are based around bridging the gap between a creative education and actually working in the creative industries, and we could see the rug being pulled out from underneath these graduates before they’d even begun. How could you not want to help?

Coming up with the idea was relatively simple - piecing together unused billboard spots (thanks Corona) with beautiful student work - sounds easy, right? The hardest part was contacting the media spaces. Many companies had just entered the furlough scheme and we heard a lot of “we’d love to help but there’s just no-one around to facilitate it”. We pulled hard on our contacts left, right and centre to introduce us to key players, and luckily it worked out. Our partners, Ocean Outdoors, were nothing short of spectacular, running loops to get us the spaces we needed.

Running a creative campaign like this must have taken a lot of time and resources? How long did the whole project take to get going?

As soon as we got confirmation of our media space it was all hands on deck. Because our billboards largely came from cancelled campaigns the timings were almost immediate. Within 24 hours we’d opened submissions to students, written a press release and used our network of graduates to push the message out. Our project was picked up by Creative Review, It’s Nice That and Creative Boom which really helped us reach a larger student body.

How many submissions did the project receive?

We had over 1000 in just 10 days. It was an amazing amount of work and all of it was fantastic quality.

How do you go about the selection process of deciding which work to feature, bet that must have been challenging at times!

When it came to judging we tried to be as impartial as possible. We removed all of the names, subjects and universities from the submissions to try and counter any bias we might have. Between the team we have a range of specialisms and interests, so we took turns building cases for why a piece should be included. Creative work is completely subjective, but we tried to cater for a range of disciplines, showing the best of the best and favouring work that would really ‘wow’ on a billboard. We went from short lists to even-shorter lists until we had our final choices.

How has it been received by the design community?

We’ve been blown away by the support we’re getting from the art & design communities. We’re trying to foster a very nurturing and collaborative community through all of our work and this really helped us push that!

Contacts we’ve never met before constantly go ‘Oh The Nationwide Degree Show, we loved that!’. It’s an excellent conversation starter!

Can you show us some of your favourite submissions and artwork you featured?

India: Got to be Harry Warman’s sculptural work. I’m just so keen to see this happen!

More on Instagram -

Charlotte: Taking this opportunity to shout out to Suzy! A talented illustrator with some work that we we naturally couldn’t put forwards for the billboards but sure wanted to! More of her work below, and head here to see the stuff we couldn't use!

More on Instagram -

Anoushka: Adonia Hirst’s work is just so beautifully tactile, sculptural and has such a sense of intimacy. I love it!

More on Instagram -

You guys also host The Design kids London. Can you explain a little more about what this is and why designers need to know about it?

The Design Kids is an inspiration community! All over the world we’ve got city representatives, everywhere from Manila to Montreal. The city hosts exist to make the creative industries more tangible; we give studios and agencies a platform to showcase their work and meet young designers, as well as giving young designers a voice in the industry. In London our talks cover everything from Creative Fears to How to Stay Motivated to Career Navigation. (Definitely check here for the representatives of your area!)

What other activities do you get upto apart from hosting Design Kids running the Nationwide Degree Show

We use our @_FreshMeet instagram as our platform for exploration. We want to create opportunities that we wish we’d had as graduates finding our feet in the industry. As well as all of the #TDKTuesday events that we do, we’ve also run another student competition, StandOutGrads, we provide a space for light mentoring or feedback if anyone reaches out, and we share resources and opportunities that we come across in our fields.

What’s the future for Fresh Meet?

Good question! At the moment all three of us work full time in the creative industries in various agencies. We use the FreshMeet platform to create events, opportunities and networks that we think will be fun for us to facilitate. We don’t charge for events (where we can help it) and we don’t make any money off of our partnerships - and that’s the way we’d like it to stay for a while.

If we are still having fun creating these events, then hopefully they will also be fun to attend - but you’ll have to let us know. 😉

Find out more:
The Nationwide Degree Show website
Freshmeet on Instagram
The Design Kids London