Colour in Design Awards 2022 winner

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller
colour in design awards 2022 winner 1

New Designers is the premier exhibition where graduating UK design students have the opportunity to showcase their creativity, ingenuity and their vision for the future of design.

It’s where major companies, brands and designers come to seek out emerging talent and it’s also home of the Colour in Design Awards (CIDA).

The Colour in Design Awards is open to all categories including textiles, fashion, costume design, jewellery, metalwork, craft, ceramics, glasswork, furniture design, product design, motion graphics, industrial design, animation, graphic design, illustration, digital art and more.

This is the third time I’ve be asked to judge for this prestigious award. I happened to be on holidays in Sweden and there was no way I was going to miss this, so I flew back to London and yes, I got caught up in the airline strike going back, which just meant I got to spend a few days at home in my garden.

The past two years we judged online (because of you know what), so it was such a treat this year to be able to chat in person with the graduating students, listen to their story, their vision for their work and sense their passion.

My fellow judges and I had the daunting task of picking a winner and three runners up from the incredibly talented graduate students from colleges and universities across the UK.

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New Designers 22 | Business Design Centre, Islington, London

After walking around, seeing what caught our eye, chatting to the students, the judges reconvened to discuss who stood out, where we unanimously agreed Tom Hancock was the winner.

Meet the Winner, Colour in Design Awards 2022 – Tom Hancock

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Colour in Design Award 2022 winner – Tom J Hancock, Hereford College of Arts, BA Hons in Contemporary Design Crafts

What stood out to me and my fellow judges was the level of craftmanship and his attention to detail through every step of his process whilst combining many disciplines and techniques. It was just superb.

We also loved that he considered colour at the beginning of the process, not as an afterthought at the end. Tom clearly has drive, determination and the passion to keep striving forward. And we could see he is a man of integrity, thoughtful and a genuinely nice person. Tom is going places.

As CIDA founder, Marianne Shillingford, said “Tom is a great communicator with an authentic voice. He is passionate, driven and determined to make his craft a source of future success. His work stood out for its level of craftmanship, elegant shapes and layers of beautiful considered colour.”

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Colour in Design Award 2022 winner | Tom Hancock

I was lucky enough to catch up with Tom before he headed off on a well earnt holiday (check out Tom’s reply to my last question) to ask him about his designs and vision for the future, what it means to win an award and any advice he would give to anyone thinking of entering the CIDA.

Karen: What’s your design vision, your mission, the direction where you see your work going? I asked Tom to dream big here, don’t hold back.

Tom: I believe that my current body of work has strong commercial viability. I was able to have some extremely encouraging conversations whilst exhibiting at both my final degree exhibition and New Designers and was fortunate enough to sell the entire collection of smaller vessels.

I designed the process and the forms to enable small batch production, and to be extremely flexible in its application. So, with this in mind, I will be working hard to grow my visibility and network with the aim of securing regular outlets for the smaller pieces that I create.

The larger work is designed to be more statement and sculptural and deserve to be displayed in large open spaces where they can hold their own. Not only within a gallery setting, but also within the interior design industry.

The unique surface finish that I developed for the current collection lends itself to bespoke commissions, where I am able to work with clients to design a colour palette that is tailored to specific spaces.

My practice takes a lot of inspiration from less recognised or appreciated industrial and engineering processes and look for innovative ways to connect these with traditional studio craft and aesthetics.

The aim is to bring these undervalued skills out from industrial estates and into the craft arena where they can be celebrated. Therefore, I will be looking for opportunities to work with people and industries to design unique pieces and products.

I’m truly excited to see where my career leads, and I’m not holding back on my ambition. I want to see ‘Studio Hancock’ as a recognisable and respected brand.

Above all else though, I want to make a success of my career choice and prove to my family that their support was worth it. I began this journey as a mature student, leaving a lucrative career in civil engineering and project management to take a gamble on myself. I will be working as hard and ambitiously as I can to ensure that gamble pays off.      

Karen: What was your experience in winning the Colour in Design Award (CIDA)?

Tom: When the CIDA judges began taking interest in my work and discussing my pieces with me, I was over the moon just to have the opportunity to talk about my practice with people who were genuinely interested. However, I was not expecting to walk away with an award. So, the look of shock on my face in some of the press images is genuine.

I also had the added bonus of having my family visiting, who just so happened to be there when my award was announced. It was great for them to see my hard work pay off, and I could see how proud they were in that moment.

When we presented Tom with the award, we saw Tom’s parents tears of pride and joy, it set us off too!

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Colour in Design Award 2022 winner | Tom Hancock receiving his award from the CIDA judges left to right Kitty Joseph, Clarissa Hulse, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Daniel Heath and myself, Karen Haller.

Karen: What does it mean to you, a graduate student to receive an award?

Tom: With regards to what the award means, its’s easy to succumb to imposter syndrome when you’re starting out in the creative industry, especially when you’re exhibiting alongside so many talented people. To win the award is hugely validating and has given me that extra confidence boost and reminder that the work I produce is recognised, appreciated. Also, that the hours of head scratching and experimenting in the studio was worth it.

Karen: What would you say to anyone thinking of entering the CIDA?

Tom: I would tell anyone who is working with colour to jump at the opportunity to put themselves forward for CIDA. I would suggest whoever does enter, that they truly understand their reasoning for making their particular colour choices.

Do not simply rely on a spin of a colour wheel to dictate the palette. Colour should not be the last design choice you make but considered throughout the design process. I believe I was given the award because colour is an important part of my narrative.

I would also add, that it’s not best practice to try and cram a final degree show, a wedding and New Designers into a fortnight. You may well end up missing the deadline to enter….

Talk about packing in a lot! Certainly warrants that well-deserved holiday.

Meet our Three Runners Up

We also choose our three runners up, who we also wanted to recognise for their outstanding craftsmanship and use of colour.

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Colour in Design Award 2022 three runners up – Lydia Manley-leach, Abbey Campbell and Min Carter

These three runners up are our Ones To Watch. Lydia Manley-leach from Buckinghamshire New University; Abbey Campbell from Glasgow School of Art and Min Cater from University of Hertfordshire who, when she shared the story behind her artwork, had the judges in tears. The power of art and humanity can truly move the soul.

Meet the CIDA Judges

Let me introduce to you my esteemed fellow judges.

Daniel Heath, designer and maker; Adam Nathaniel Furman, artist and designer; Kitty Joseph, textile designer, famous for the Chroma skirts; Clarissa Hulse, textile designer and myself, Karen Haller, Behavioural Colour & Design Psychology Specialist.

These awards would not be possible if it were not for founder and champion of emerging design talent, Marianne Shillingford.

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Colour in Design Awards 22 Judges from top left clockwise: Daniel Heath, founder Marianne Shillingford, Adam Nathaniel Furman, Kitty Joseph, Clarissa Hulse and Karen Haller.

Something Marianne likes to do is create a fun, party like atmosphere for the judges. Sitting down at the judges table we each received a tube which you can see from the image below, was bursting full of colour and fun.

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Colour in Design Awards 2022 Judges table | Marianne turned the judges table into an explosive of fun giving each judge a ‘party bag’.
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Colour in Design Awards 2022 Judges table | Having fun in between the serious task of judging.

To find out more about our winner and runners up, head over to their Instagram accounts:
Winner Tom Hancock, Hereford College of Arts, BA Hons in Contemporary Design Crafts.
Tom’s website:

Runners Up Lydia Manley-leach, Buckinghamshire New University; Min Carter, University of Hertfordshire; and Abbey Campbell, Glasgow School of Art.

I’d love to know what you thought of our winner and runners-up? If you were lucky enough to go to New Designers, was there someone there who caught your eye?

Wishing you a colourful day,

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