March 28th, 2014

This week over 200 creatives gathered in Kensington Olympia to judge over 20,000 pieces of work entered into this year’s D&AD Awards by the best creative minds from across the globe. Set to reward, promote and enable brilliance in all areas of creative communication, a Yellow, White or Black Pencil remains one of the highest accolades in our industry.

D&AD is run by some of the most influential figures in the advertising and design industry, one of which is Tim Lindsay, D&AD CEO founder. We caught up with Tim to see what the latest work trends are, what changes the organization has seen over the last years and to find out a bit more about the White Pencil award.

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Have there been any big changes to the 2014 juries and award categories?

Tim: First of all we’re delighted that Music Videos are back this year. It was absent from the 2013 awards but it became clear very quickly how important this was to directors and production companies within the creative communities. So we’ve brought it back and we’ve had a sensational amount of entries this year.

I’m also excited to see what the new connected products category will bring from within Digital Design jury. Perhaps we’re slightly late to the party as they’ve been around for a fair while now, but it’s going to provide us with some interesting entries.

Tactical is a very timely new addition, one that Clare Bowen wrote about recently. We’ve tactical categories across press, TV, outdoor and radio – and looking back on 2013 I expect to see some great work here.

Lastly, but most importantly, there is our White Pencil award. Launched in 2012 to reward creativity that has a ‘purpose beyond profit’, this year we will have two separate categories: advertising and design.

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How is this years judging going so far? 

It’s been a great week; over 60% of our Judges this year are from overseas – meaning a real international flavor. From the start we’ve been hearing about how high the standard is and it’s making for some very healthy debate.

Are you seeing any key trends coming through with the work this year?

We’re seeing more examples of brands and agencies moving towards utility – becoming more useful and not just pure entertainment.

For example, the campaign from Helly Hansen to wake snowboarders up when there is fresh powder. Simple, but invaluable to that audience.

Simplification in general is also noticeable. There are less apps for apps sake; instead agencies are striving to create a better UX.

What are the judges really looking for in a piece of work?

To say ‘I Wish I’d Done That.’

Are you expecting any surprises this year?

Always, I would be disappointed if it was predictable…

Is there any work coming through from new territories? 

We’re really pleased to see not just that entries are up by 10% this year, but where that growth is coming from. Australia, Brazil, India, France, Thailand, Spain, Malaysia, Russia, Portugal… a real diverse mix and it will be interesting to see if we top the 42 different nations that featured in the 2013 D&AD Annual.

Any favourite pieces you've seen so far from the 20,000 entries?

Well, there’s certainly a standout piece that few of us will forget: the lorry that’s currently sitting in Olympia, which has been entered into the Product Design category. It’s not something you see every year!

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How have things changed since Neville Brody handed over the baton to Laura Jordan-Bambach? 

Every President brings their own unique approach and agenda to their term here at D&AD. We have been privileged to have such brilliant and distinguished Presidents in recent times

Neville initiated a D&AD ‘first’ last year when he chose to ask Fleur Isbell, one of our New Blood Academy graduates, to design the Annual – and the result was absolutely fantastic, reflecting the international nature of the awards. He also refocused us on our creative education remit.

How does her approach to the book differ from previous presidents?

I can’t give too much away about Laura’s plans for the Annual, but it’s going to be one of our most ambitious yet. She’s also put on a spectacular and innovative series of President’s Lectures this year.

Tell us a bit more about the White Pencil creativity for good award?

The White Pencil award was launched in 2012 and it continues to grow with each passing year – we’re pleased to say we’ve had our highest number of entries yet We’re delighted that Unilever has so generously supported the White Pencil programme over a three year period.

But the White Pencil has inspired a bigger conversation beyond the awards; one that speaks to the ambitions of a new generation of talent to transform the creative industries into a force for good. It’s a drive to spark the industry into action, to break the silence around issues such as ethical business practices, corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

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Thank you Tim for that insight into the depths of the D&AD judging week! Find a full list of this year’s D&AD winners here.