Young Guns Reflections: Paul Felton

Looking back with past Young Guns winners


Young Guns 15 is here! The global competition that shines a spotlight on creative superstars 30 years of age and under — is finally open for submissions! Once again, we are calling out to all creatives with at least two years of stellar professional work to enter.

Before breaking out on his own, UK-based graphic designer Paul Felton spent eight years honing his craft in some of London’s most respected design studios. In 2015, he put together all of his greatest projects and entered Young Guns 13, an award he had greatly admired. The judging was particularly tough that year; when the dust settled, only 19 entrants were deemed worthy enough to join the pantheon of past winners. Fortunately for Paul, he was one of them.

Ahead of this year’s entries, we asked Paul to share his thoughts on his own Young Guns win.


paul_felton_headshotPAUL FELTON
Graphic Designer
Birmingham, UK
Young Guns 13 Winner


What does being a Young Guns winner mean to you?

It means the world. As a designer, I’m immensely proud to have been selected for what is possibly the best recognition of you and your body of work out there

What made you want to enter Young Guns in the first place?

I had work involved with the ADC Annual Awards a few times for individual projects at the studio I worked at before going solo, and it was an accolade I was always hugely proud of. It’s a bloody tough award to win, so picking one up was always awesome. The year I entered Youngs Guns was the last year I could — I was getting too old! — and it came at a perfect time as I was transitioning from an employee of studios to being my own studio. Young Guns felt like the perfect way to test the portfolio I’d built up against the best in world. Winning was an incredible way to celebrate the end of that period of my career, whilst given me some pretty epic credibility and confidence to progress into the next era of my new venture.

Why is it so important to recognize the creative excellence of young professionals?

Young people are the lifeblood of our industry. They push the industry forward, keep it fresh, innovate, develop new outcomes, new ways of thinking, new approaches and new technologies. Often with awards it can be all about the Creative Directors and the older generation that steer the ships of agencies that pick up the accolades, and the youngsters doing all the rowing are lucky to even get a credit or invite to the awards night. Young Guns is not only a way to recognise them in their own right, but also I’ve found it to really open doors for me by having it against my name.

In your experience, how has being a part of this vibrant, creative Young Guns community helped you in your career?
The main thing I have benefitted from has been the gravitas that this award brings to your name — peers, clients, employers are all super impressed to find out you’re a Young Guns winner.

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on that came as a result of being a Young Guns winner?

While I can’t say that any particular project was a direct result of my win, but I’ve accrued some great new clients since setting up my studio 18 months ago, and I’m sure that the little Young Guns Cube on my website/portfolio has no doubt helped.

What advice would you give to potential Young Guns 15 entrants with regards to how to craft your entry and what it takes to win?

Put the same level of attention, craft, rigor and pain into compiling your entry as you would any piece of design. Be brutal with yourself, edit out the chuff and strip your work back to the keys elements that tell the story and let them sing. I spent bloody ages compiling it, but the pay off is incredible. Getting the news that I’d won, and being over in New York standing as part of a bunch of incredible, awe-inspiring talent genuinely ranks up there amongst my happiest moments. It just can’t be beaten.

When look at who has been a past winner, it’s a veritable who’s who of some of the greats of design. This is your chance to stand amongst them. Just go for it.

Young Guns 15 is now open for entries. The deadline for submissions is July 31, 2017.