D&AD: Spotlighting Exceptional Works in the Global Creative Ecosystem

D&AD season has arrived. This world renowned design award is once again open for submissions for the upcoming 2024 D&AD Awards in May of next year. With over 300 judges and over 40 disciplines and categories from graphic design to casting, D&AD is waiting to see all the impressive works this year’s participants bring forward.

D&AD, or Design & Art Direction, is a London-based, award show and creative education charity initiated by a group of London-based designers and art directors including Colin Forbes, the late co-founder of Pentagram. Its first edition was held in 1963 with a panel of 25 judges and around 2500 participants. Today, D&AD is a globally-acknowledged accolade celebrating exceptional creative ventures worldwide with over 30,000 projects submitted for the 2023 D&AD Awards. As D&AD is also an educational charity, they also provide educational programmes like D&AD Masterclasses, Team Training, and Shift; creative night-classes created in partnership with Google and Adidas held in 5 different cities around the world.

Each year there are five different achievable award levels; the Shortlist, awarded to works at the highest stratum of each category, the Wooden Pencil, awarded to the best of the year in each category, the Graphite Pencil, denoting works above the rest and in the running for the next level, the iconic Yellow Pencil, awarded to submissions displaying creative excellence, and lastly, the Black Pencil, the highest accolade awarded by D&AD and only bestowed to a few participants each year. There are also two category specific awards; the Future Impact Pencil and the White Pencil, and two special awards; the President’s Award and Companies of the Year. It has also been decided that the Collaborative will now be awarded biennially.

© D&AD

Last year’s Pencil winners encompasses projects from 51 different countries. The winners include Snap!Gammon, a fresh take on the classic boardgame Backgammon, by UK-based Studio Sutherl& and PrintSmith which was awarded the Yellow Pencil in the Illustration category. Another was Pharell William’s ‘Cash In Cash Out’ music video by Division and Electric Theatre Collective. This video was awarded a Yellow Pencil in several categories as well as a Black Pencil in the CG Visual Effects category. Chinese Octave by China-based studio Nanjing Han Qing Tang Design and Qing Zhao was also awarded with the Yellow Pencil in Graphic Design for Catalogues, Brochures & Annual Reports category. Participating in awards can have many benefits for those who participate beyond just an indicator of prestige, they’re also a great way to attract business and new talent. With D&AD, winning an award garners your portfolio global media coverage through multiple channels including being celebrated at the D&AD awards ceremony, being included in The Annual, D&AD’s catalogue of exceptional works, exhibited at D&AD’s international exhibitions, and more.

As with previous editions, the awarded disciplines include Advertising, Craft, Design, Engagement & Experience, Entertainment, and Impact each with their own categories. However, there are also a few new things to note for the upcoming 2024 D&AD Awards. Side-Hustle is now no longer a category with hopeful participants being redirected to the Impact or Future Impact category. Health is now its own discipline with its two categories; Health & Wellbeing and Pharma, as is Luxury. Impact also has a new category; Sustained Impact. The 2024 panel of judges boasts many notable figures in the industry including Nadja Lossgott, Chief Creative Officer at AMV BBDO, in the Art Direction category, Brian Collins, Founder of Collins, in the Branding category, Lee Flude from The Set Stylist in the Production Design category, and many, many more.

Although the Super Early Bird promo deadline has passed, aspiring participants can still enjoy the Early Bird promo to get 20% off if the submission fee is paid by the 7th of February, 2024. The finalised submission deadline eligible for the Early Bird promo is the 14th of February, 2024, with the physical shipment of assets due on the 28th of February, 2024. Freelancers and Studios with a team of less than 10 members are entitled to an additional 30% discount throughout the entire submission period. Head to the D&AD website to download the 2024 D&AD entry kit and familiarise yourself with the D&AD submission process.

About the Author

Kireina Masri

Kireina Masri has had her nose stuck in a book since she could remember. Majoring in Illustration, she now writes, in both English and Indonesian, of all things visual—pouring her love of the arts into the written word. She aspires to be her neighborhood's quirky cat lady in her later years.