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Awards: D&AD announce 213 Pencil winners for New Blood Awards 2020, celebrating emerging creative talent

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – D&AD today reveals the Pencil winners for this year’s New Blood Awards, the organisation’s annual awards program which celebrates emerging creative talent. The announcement coincides with the New Blood Digital Festival which has been taking place this week (6-10 July), and offers a virtual platform to support and stimulate emerging creatives despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Since 1980, New Blood has championed and inspired emerging creatives as they prepare to enter the workforce. 2020 marks 40 years since the launch of the program, and the anniversary comes at a particularly significant moment for the creative sector, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect educational institutions and creative businesses. It is now more important than ever to give emerging creatives access to essential learning content and live updates on job opportunities in the ever-changing industry landscape.

New Blood Awards 

This year, emerging creatives were invited to respond to a series of creative briefs set by a wide range of global brands: Audible, Barclays, BBC, Burger King, Connect4Climate & World Bank Group, Durex, giffgaff, Google & HMCT, HSBC, Intel, Lego, Martini, Nike, Penguin, Rare & Xbox, The Case for Her & Teen Vogue, Twitter, Vbat & Superunion and Yula. Covering wide-ranging disciplines including advertising, branding, typography, experiential and game design, the briefs were designed to provide new talent the experience of working on client briefs that tackled both commercial challenges and social issues. Each brief was supported by learning content designed to help students to transition from education into employment.


213 Pencils were awarded for outstanding work, including two Black Pencils, the most prestigious creative accolade. D&AD also awarded one White, 39 Yellow, 43 Graphite and 128 Wood Pencils to new creatives this year in recognition of their exceptional creative potential. For information on all of the Pencil winning entries, please see the D&AD website.

Both a Black and White Pencil were awarded to Inside Stories, an entry in response to the Penguin brief. As books donated to prisons must be brand new, Alex Morris and Jay Parekh from the School of Communication Arts 2.0 conceived the idea to give prisoners the first read of new Penguin books, which ethically conscious readers can purchase afterwards to establish a connection between them and the prisoner. With reading in prison statistically proven to reduce the reoffense rate, giving prisoners access to better quality books is a way to help young offenders find the joy in reading, improve their skills and have a better chance when they reach the outside again.

Her Snkrs also won a Black Pencil, which looks to find equality in the sports community by giving young female athletes the chance to showcase their potential. Clara Laorden, Dani Navajas, Karolina Sosa and Pia Volpino from Miami Ad School Madrid approached the Nike brief by envisioning a new feature in the brand’s app that allows people to sponsor young athletes by buying their Nike merchandise before they get famous, helping to channel young women into becoming professionals in their respective sports field.

Other winning work this year explored the diverse ways that creative thinking can help affect social change, ranging from the power of gamification to leverage important conversations about climate change, to harnessing technology to establish stronger social bonds across communities. Responding to briefs that address topical issues such as inclusive representation, sexual health and body positivity, this year’s Pencil winners exhibit the wide-reaching thinking of the emerging talent pipeline.

While they can’t take to the stage this year, the winners will be celebrated during the New Blood Awards digital ceremony, which takes place via the D&AD New Blood Instagram page at 6pm tonight (Thursday 9 July, BST) and will recreate some of the magic of its annual celebration. The ceremony will include an introduction by D&AD President Kate Stanners, a range of pre-recorded videos with Jury Presidents, and animations designed by Soft Power. D&AD and Soft Power have also collaborated to create a series of augmented reality Instagram filters that reveals virtual Black, White, Yellow, Graphite and Wood New Blood Pencils to the winners ahead of the ceremony.

New Blood Digital Festival 

To capture the spirit of New Blood, D&AD designed a virtual program that provides a space for learning, explores current industry issues and allows fresh talent to forge lasting relationships with leading industry experts.

D&AD revealed this year’s ‘Ones to Watch’ earlier this week, a collection of 121 outstanding portfolios from the next generation of creative talent, selected by over 40 industry leaders and showcased on The Dots. D&AD also launched an open call to emerging talent in partnership with Squarespace, the all-in-one website building and ecommerce platform, to submit their portfolios through the Squarespace platform. Judges highlighted a high level of sophisticated and flexible creative skills among this year’s talent pipeline, alongside a consistent passion for the power of creativity to change the world. All of this year’s ‘Ones to Watch’ are featured on the D&AD website.

The Festival program has also seen more than 200 industry professionals generously donate their time and expertise through a series of over 600 portfolio reviews with new creatives. As we enter a period of immense uncertainty, D&AD believe it is more important than ever to continue offering emerging talent the opportunity to receive feedback on their work and connect with industry professionals.

Kate Stanners, president at D&AD, commented: “The New Blood Awards and Festival, along with the Shift Program, are the highlight of the D&AD calendar. Shining a light on new talent. This year’s entries were of a fantastic standard, with the diverse briefs set by client sponsors giving them a chance to showcase their potential. From the responses you could see real innovation and raw creative talent. Some were simple and smart, others showed unbelievable craft, all showed us that the industry has an exciting future.”

Paul Drake, foundations director at D&AD, commented: “I am always blown away by the high calibre of creative thinking that our emerging creative community has to offer, and 2020 is no different. To award two Black Pencils in a year that has been so turbulent demonstrates perfectly the resilient and inspiring nature of the next generation of creative talent. The past few days has seen some of the most exciting creative minds offer advice and inspiration to new creatives through the New Blood digital festival, which continues to offer a nurturing environment for our emerging talent pipeline. I am excited to celebrate this year’s most outstanding work through tonight’s digital ceremony.”

William Smith, head of brand at Penguin, commented: “Inside Stories took our brief – to enhance the reading experience – and responded with so much more than what that means for an individual. It asked us to consider whether we’re engaging in a reading community that includes everyone and respects every intellectual contribution, and to acknowledge that when books aren’t available to everyone, we’re all poorer. For these entrants, getting books to incarcerated people wasn’t a benevolent act of generosity, but a vital part of connecting readers and helping to foster sharing and reciprocity. We’re absolutely thrilled that this big-hearted and incisive project has been awarded both Black and White Pencils.”

D&AD New Blood this year continues to platform the most exceptional work from the next generation of creative talent, following the same rigorous judging process that holds creativity to the highest standards. Famously tough to win, there are no quotas for D&AD Awards, meaning that the number of awarded entries fluctuates each year.

Pencil winners to be celebrated in tonight’s D&AD New Blood Digital Ceremony, taking place via D&AD’s New Blood Instagram channel

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