D&AD (Design and Art Direction for the uninitiated) was fifty this year, having been founded in London in 1962 by a group of British and American creative people who wanted recognition for the iconoclastic new work they were producing. We had a bit of a party – for 1500 people – back in September and honoured our most awarded individuals and companies over the past half century. Sir Jonny Ive came with his team and picked up a couple of special pencils, as did some legendary designers and advertising people from both sides of the Atlantic.
But now the 51st D&AD awards cycle is open for entries and there’s a new chance to pit your work against the best of the best. We’ve tweaked the categories slightly in order to keep pace with developments in the business – but you’ll find a place for your work, with the ‘new’ categories – digital advertising and design, mobile, integrated – growing exponentially and the ‘traditional’ categories, including film crafts, still thriving. And if you need advice on where to enter, we have nice people on the end of a phone to help you.
Judging is in the spectacular Great Hall at Olympia in London in April. 60% of the 200 or so jurors will be come from outside the UK as will 75% of the work; 35% of jurors were women in 2012; so we’re truly global and we’re working on the gender equality issue. Roughly 11,000 pieces of work will be entered, of which around 500 will get into the D&AD Annual (a massive achievement in itself), roughly 200 will be ‘nominated’ and perhaps 60 will actually achieve the accolade that is a Yellow Pencil. As for Black Pencils – between one and, say, four might be awarded. Some years there are none, if the super-jury of foremen and women thinks they haven’t seen anything truly ground-breaking. They’re a tough crowd, and you can see the 2012 Black Pencil jury at work in a 13minute RSA-produced film.
So what do we expect from this year’s entries? Well, brilliant ideas, beautifully executed of course. And some truly ground-breaking ideas, stuff that’s never been done before. But if there’s a trend, then perhaps it’s in the area of designs and campaigns that have a purpose beyond profit; or put another way, a positive social, cultural or environmental impact as well as a commercial one. We saw some great work in this area in 2012 – the FARC campaign from the Columbian Government, Rainbow Warrior, Chipotle and Changing Lifelines to name a few.
We’re sure this is an important and increasingly mainstream movement in marketing specifically and business generally – witness Unilever’s Plan for Sustainable Living – and to stimulate and award this kind of work we have developed the D&AD White Pencil into an Awards category for exactly this kind of work. We’ve done this in partnership with Unilever and expect to see a lot of entries this year.
If you have any questions about how or what to enter then please go to the website or call us up. We’re looking forward to judging in April, the Awards Ceremony in June, a brilliant 2013 Annual and some richly deserved Pencils. But you’ve got to be in it to win it.’