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D&AD 2020: This Year’s Festival Cancelled, While the D&AD Awards Will Push Through with an Extended Deadline for Entries

LONDON – D&AD has just released an official statement from D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne regarding their plans for this year’s awards show and festival celebrations.

While the D&AD Festival will not be taking place this year, the team is aiming to push through with the Awards. The deadline for entry submissions has been extended to April 3, 2020, and the eligibility period to 19 April 2020.

Most of the categories will also move to online judging on 12 May – 5 June 2020, as digital submissions for all categories has been introduced to reduce the number of physical submissions participants need to make. The only exceptions are Book Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design, Graphic Design and Packaging Design, which still have physical material options but can accept digital submissions in the event that sending physical materials is not feasible.

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Read D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne’s full statement below:

“No one needs to be told we are living in an unprecedented crisis – a strange and frightening drama being played out in all too familiar surroundings. But the evidence from Asia says we will emerge at the other side and normal life will return; perhaps a more thoughtful normality than before.

“As we all make our way through as best we can, we need to get things in perspective. At D&AD, as everywhere else, our priority is the health and well-being of our people; then to address some of the challenges facing the organisation as well as we can in the circumstances. Our physical events clearly can’t happen as they did for the foreseeable future. So we will not be holding the D&AD Festival this year and we will be contacting all our speakers, partners and ticket holders with more information about this. The New Blood Festival is also, of course, under review.

“But, inasmuch as we are able, we also want to continue to do the very best for the creative community we have served for the last 58 years. D&AD has always stimulated and celebrated creative excellence, in the belief that great work is always worthwhile, producing as it does better outcomes for all. If this was important before it remains important, and will be important again.

“So, we believe that the best work of the last twelve months still deserves to be awarded. Our distinguished jurors will assemble – digitally of course – to judge this years’ entries (though we are hopeful that in-person judging will still take place for some categories). And we are exploring new ways of celebrating our Pencil winners with our community, wherever you are. 

“We believe that this years’ emerging talent still deserves to be given its chance to impress and access the industry. So, with our partners and our universities network, we are exploring new routes to provide that interface and, with our generous sponsors, helping a new generation hit the ground running and become productive and successful. Without new blood, our community loses.

“And we are expanding our digital campus and developing digital versions of our other learning products, including Masterclasses, so that creative people everywhere can continue to benefit from the skills and experience of our business’s greatest practitioners.

“Details of all this will follow as we work it out. And, optimistically, perhaps some of the things we are being forced to do by circumstances will come to be seen as best practice; and we will carry on wanting to do them as the crisis recedes, to everyone’s benefit.

“Just as we have always supported the industry with our surpluses, so it has always supported us. We continue to thank you all for that. 

“Stay safe and see you on the other side.”

In addition, the D&AD team guarantees that although judging will take place digitally, measures will be put in place to guarantee that every piece entered is fairly assessed by the jury: “Discussion is key to D&AD judging so we are ensuring time is maximised by staggering our virtual judging schedule to allow for the work to be thoroughly debated before deciding on shortlists and Pencils.”

“We are also reviewing when and how the winners will be announced to ensure we can deliver a truly momentous occasion that will celebrate the winners and the work with the prestige and enthusiasm they deserve, but in an appropriate way given the context of the times. We look forward to sharing more details regarding the winners announcement soon.”

For more details about the alterations to the D&AD program and events, including New Blood and Masterclasses, click here. 

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