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Select speakers and talks featured at the 2023 D&AD Festival

LONDON, UK — The pencil. It has been an ubiquitous tool in the history of mankind, allowing man to write down his thoughts and take the first steps toward turning his imagination into reality. Whether writing down stories, ideas, or songs, or drawing concepts and visions that might seem too good to be true, the pencil is a device that proves man’s creativity doesn’t have to just exist in his mind.

D&AD has given away its symbol of excellence in design and advertising since 1962. Its form? The pencil. Winning a D&AD Pencil often represents the highest honor in an advertising career, and the awards will be given out May 24 and 25 as the culmination of the D&AD Festival.

For the 2023 edition of the same festival, the principal theme of “MAKE. CHANGE.” attempts to encapsulate what the six-decade-old organization proposes to its members. While MAKE celebrates current creative excellence while simultaneously uncovering insights and sharing tools to empower you to achieve it, CHANGE is forward-thinking. It asks what’s next while debating and challenges and opportunities that emerging technologies bring. These push the entire creative industry forward, stand up for what is right, and subsequently make space for new voices to thrive.


That being said, D&AD has gathered together an impressive roster of speakers and panelists from across the creative world to discuss and share their unique insights with the festival’s attendees.

One of the panels featuring jury insights covered Graphic and Type Design took the Truman Stage on May 09. Brody Associates/RCA Creative Director, Business Strategist, and Typographer Neville Brody joined Big Fish ECD Chloe Templeman, Design Bridge & Partners Design Director Rebecca Clarke Tear, Tatil Design Director of Design and Strategy Ricardo Bezerra, and Ek Type Co-founder Noopur Datye for this discussion on trending topics regarding Graphic and Type Design.

Over in the Masterclass Studio, the role of creatives in sustainability in 2023 was the focus. In a world where sustainability needs to become even more relevant, accessible, and desirable, creatives need to better determine how the communications they promulgate can lead to positive change.

The Truman Stage also set a provocative session courtesy of Thomas Kolster, the author of both Goodvertising and The Hero Trap, who took attendees through an interactive session around the purpose landscape to an emerging post-purpose market desperate for fresh answers.

On May 10, the serious issue of the war in Ukraine was discussed on the Adobe Stage. In a talk titled “Ukrainians don’t need your pity. They need your work,” the story of how ride-share service Uber helped the Ukrainian people partner with NGOs, move people to safety, and transport food, medicine, and cultural artifacts was told. Over $8.5 million worth of ambulances were raised by this campaign which is a testament to the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people.

Meanwhile, Spring Studios Creative Director Anouk Jans talked about the perpetual dangers of burnout. Titled “Burn Baby Burn! Push back against burnout,” Jans attempted to answer questions such as “Can we reset the machine we have become caught up in? What happens if we stay and fight for better rather than quitting?”

Graphic Rewilding Co-founder Lee Baker asked the audience what they would do if they had the power to change a person’s behavior using a mere image. For his talk on “Hack your happiness levels in 20 minutes,” Lee guided explorations through the overlooked science behind your brain’s response to art and design. These range from visuals that inspire large-scale behavioral change to colors that trigger emotional responses.

As the world continues to shift towards digital, a question that has been percolating over the past few years is if print magazines still have a role today. The New Yorker Creative Director Nicholas Blechman and Ariane Spanier of Ariane Spanier Design came from very different perspectives as MagCulture’s Jeremy Leslie served as moderator for “Opposite ends of the publishing world.”

The final talk for the festival was an exclusive interview with Oatly Strategic and Creative Director Michael Lee as the Oatly Department of Mind Control is considered one of the most unexplainable current brands. With “Unlearn everything,” Michael talked about how throwing out the marketing playbook, consistent inconsistency, and just trying to be human makes their oat milk brand so curiously interesting.

The festival afterparty on May 10 was hosted by Mother London.

Chow Kok Keong shares insights from D&AD 2023’s judging room for the Art Direction category

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of D&AD 2023. 

Partner with adobo Magazine

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