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Awards: D&AD Awards 2022 introduces new categories to reflect changing creative landscape

LONDON, UK — D&AD have today announced key changes in categories for its 2022 Awards. The revised programme addresses fundamental themes currently permeating the creative industries and ensures that the awards remain the most relevant benchmark for creative excellence in design and advertising.

“To reflect and represent the evolving landscape in the creative sector, D&AD have introduced a new focus on categories that recognise the work of those who have risen up and found solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time,” Donal Keenan, Awards Director at D&AD, explains.

The Upstream Innovation subcategories will award those who are rethinking products and services at the design stage so that they fit within a circular system. Whether it be developing new concepts and materials, applying reuse models or finding other ways to circulate components, entries in these subcategories are intentionally designing out waste and plastic pollution.


A new range of Responsible subcategories across Experiential, Product and Spatial Design will continue to champion work that’s mindful of people and the planet and demonstrates how the constraints of responsibility can be a catalyst for great creative ideas.

2021 has seen a massive increase in the use of augmented, virtual and mixed realities to convey a brand’s message. As a response, D&AD have included dedicated subcategories for AR, VR and MR work in Experiential, Gaming, and Entertainment. In addition, Use of XR subcategories will recognise this work in six other areas of the Awards, alongside emerging technologies that create an immersive experience; reimagining how brands interact with consumers.

The subject of health and wellbeing has never been more prominent. To give space to all those who are effectively communicating and innovating in the field of health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, from awareness campaigns to portable healthcare products, D&AD have included eight subcategories under Health & Wellbeing.

Creative Transformation replaces Design Transformation to encompass a broader and more inclusive range of creative outputs that have transformed businesses to provide value and enhance the customer experience.

To continue its commitment to improving accessibility and diversity in the creative sector, D&AD have announced 40% off all entries received by 12 January 2022.

Now in its 60th consecutive year, the D&AD Awards have grown to incorporate more than 40 categories, judged by a cohort of nearly 400 of the world’s leading creatives from across the full spectrum of design, advertising, craft, production and impact disciplines. Amongst them, Tara Ford, Chief Creative Officer at The Monkeys, will be leading the Digital category; Trevor Robinson OBE, Executive Creative Director at Quiet Storm, is heading up the Entertainment jury; and Nils Leonard, Founder of Uncommon Creative Studio, will drive the Writing for Advertising selection.

Following the success of past virtual editions, D&AD will continue their digital-first approach into the 2022 Awards to guarantee the safety of its jury and participants. D&AD’s distinguished jurors will once again assemble virtually to review the work, holding each piece to the same high standards that the Awards are renowned for. The only exceptions are the Graphic, Product, Packaging, Book, and Magazine & Newspaper Design categories, where in-person judging is essential.

The D&AD Awards Ceremony will be held over two nights on 25 and 26 May 2022 and broadcast live, as many international travel restrictions may still be in place. Watch parties localised in global cities, such as New York, São Paulo, London and Sydney, will aim to bring back some of the in-person element to the Awards.

This consequently reduces the carbon footprint of those travelling to and from the events, as D&AD recently signed up to the Ad Net Zero Group and is set on a journey to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.

Also part of its commitment to drive a positive change to address the climate crisis, D&AD reinstated a £25,000 Impact Fund to support sustainable designs and initiatives that are being developed to benefit society. The Fund will be open to applications from all Entrants shortlisted in the Future Impact category. Additionally, the organisation has partnered with 2019 D&AD Future Impact winner, theOtherDada, to plant a tree for every Pencil awarded. Known as The & Forest, in recognition of the many partners and award winners that have made this forest possible, it will be located in the Chiyah area of Lebanon, planted and maintained by youth, people from the community, and with the support of local NGO Himaya.

D&AD Awards will open for entry in December, coinciding with the launch of a new entry site developed to improve ease of entering for all participants. A full list of key dates can be found in the Notes to Editors.

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