NEW YORK, USA — The 61st D&AD Awards Ceremony took place on May 24 and 25 in London, where two Black Pencils, the highest accolade in the creative industry, were awarded amongst a total of 639 Pencils.
D&AD celebrates creative excellence, believing creativity is critical to commercial, economic, social, and cultural success. The Awards incorporates more than 40 categories judged by nearly 400 of the world’s leading creatives, recognizing work that will inspire seasoned talent and encourage the next generation. As a charity, entries enable D&AD to fund educational programs such as D&AD Shift with Google, a free, industry-led night school for self-taught creatives from under-represented backgrounds.
This year, a record number of participants, with nearly 30,000 individual pieces of work, made up 12,243 entries. Mental health, inclusivity, and equality were recurring themes highlighted by the global creative industry as increased diversity in the jury-enriched debate of the works.
Two Black Pencils, reserved only for truly groundbreaking work, were awarded.
Division claimed one Black Pencil in the Visual Effects/ Craft category for Pharrell, 21 Savage, and Tyler, The Creator’s music video, CASH IN, CASH OUT, using CGI animation to create avatars of the three musicians dancing in a magical environment.
Abby.World took home a Black Pencil in Product Design/ Design with Heartbeat Drum Machine for The Swedish Heartchild Foundation. The device, functioning as a modular synthesizer, produces rhythms using the electrocardiograms of four children with different heart defects. Channeling distress into art, it captures the core of the problem to transform it into something new and beautiful.
Two Collaborative Pencils were awarded, celebrating innovative and long-lasting collaborations. These went to Iyama Design and Kamoi Kakoshi Co, Japan, for ongoing work with MT MASKING TAPE that started with the development of a logo through to a promotional exhibition still held around the world today; and Ogilvy UK and Unilever for A 66-YEAR PARTNERSHIP, a collaboration that began in 1957 when a certain David Ogilvy wrote the first print advert for the Dove beauty bar.
Two winners were awarded the Side Hustle Pencil. Sponsored by Adobe Express, the Side Hustle category reflects the value of creatives applying their skills and personal passions to side projects that address social and environmental issues.
The recipients are Get Better Books for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, UK with a series of interactive books designed to help pediatric patients understand their journey through treatment and stages of recovery; and Beyond Hearing by Chun-Te Ho, UK, an augmented reality interface for Deaf People to localize and experience sound with a multi-senses feedback system for safety, communication, and daily sound engagement. With this interface, deaf people can intuitively know the location of the sound, and experience it with visual and tactile cues.
The President’s Award, chosen by this year’s President Richard Brim, CCO of adam&eveDDB, goes to the Founders of Mother, UK. He explained, “I chose them because I’m a massive believer in the power of a creative ‘gang’ and no one embodies that more than Mother. Their philosophy is based on the creative collective and its possibilities, and as an outsider looking in, that was intoxicating. It wasn’t just myself who was drawn to that, as over the years, some of the industry’s most talented individuals have sat around that table. With that unfair share of talent comes the work, brilliant, funny, populist bat shit crazy work my mates in Manchester knew and work that showed the rest of the industry a new way. It’s not just their output that showed their dedication to creativity, it is how they behaved, the companies they started, the investments they made, and the films they commissioned. With the criteria being someone that changed things for the better, I feel confident in my choice of that someone being Mother.”
Jo Jackson, the new female CEO of D&AD, said, “We’ve had an incredible number of entries from over 70 countries this year, with some incredible winners. We’re so pleased our judges awarded Black Pencil in the more craft-based categories this year – Visual Effects and Product Design. Both winners demonstrated exceptional creative excellence – and craftsmanship, which is particularly poignant when the whole industry is concerned about AI’s impact on the advertising and creative industry.”
- Accessibility and Inclusivity: including physical ability and neurodiversity; equality, empowerment, public health, and social welfare were key topics over the last 12 months. Winning Pencil campaigns addressing these include There’s Nothing Comic About Dyslexia by INNOCEAN Berlin, drawing attention using the most-hated yet dyslexia-friendly font, Comic Sans, to ask the design industry to adopt a more inclusive mindset; Media.Monks, Mexico’s film I’m A Criminal highlights the plight of young Mexican girls sold for marriage; and Sun Warning Flag by HeimatTBWA\ warns beach-goers of deadly skin cancer caused by the sun.
- Using technology as a platform to aid accessibility, inclusivity, and visibility, Staybl, Havas Germany / Havas New York created an app that allows Parkinson’s patients to take advantage of the digital age; Samsung Unfear by Cheil Spain / Acid Tango, Spain, is an advanced artificial intelligence app to filter noises that affect autistic sufferers of noise sensitivity. The Entourage charity’s Homeless in the Metaverse created Will, the first homeless person in the Metaverse, to act as a virtual spokesperson for this vulnerable group.
- Analogue versus digital experiences: Hot topics also included human connection, algorithms and digital technology vs human culture and creativity, and the Ukraine war highlighting the human cost, with issues around culture, displacement, community, and connection emphasized. We Are Social Milan responded to the language barrier for 50.000 Ukranian child refugees who have arrived at Italian schools. The Welcome Stickers, a set of stickers that transforms any Italian keyboard into a Cyrillic one, becomes a useful tool for Ukrainian children to tell their stories.
- Nature and Preservation: An emphasis on returning to natural resources; renewability, recyclability, circularity, and supply chain responsibility in response to the climate crisis were consistently seen across the past year’s campaigns. Pencils have been awarded for work including The Cloudneo by On, the first fully recyclable high-performance running shoe; Hack Market, a campaign promoting the sustainability benefits of refurbished tech, in which Back Market hijacked Apple Stores, using Apple’s own AirDrop technology and devices to advertise messages for a greener alternative; Accenture Song Germany – Designed in Bangladesh. Made in Europe tackles the exploitation of workers in the Global South, and Publicis Italy – The Unwasted Beer, saw Heineken turning lockdown beer that was going to waste into a global sustainable program.
2023 Overall Results
The top 10 ranking countries by number of points for winning entries are:
- United States – 1257 points / 418 winning entries
- United Kingdom – 843 points / 309 winning entries
- France – 321 points / 99 winning entries
- Australia – 181 points / 64 winning entries
- Canada – 171 points / 60 winning entries
- Germany – 162 points / 74 winning entries
- Brazil – 148 points / 49 winning entries
- Mexico – 124 points / 34 winning entries
- Demark – 106 points / 33 winning entries
- China – 102 points / 36 winning entries
The total number of Pencils awarded for the D&AD Awards 2023 by level:
- Black – Two Pencils awarded
- White – One Pencil
- Yellow – 69 Pencils awarded
- Graphite – 166 Pencils awarded
- Wood – 392 Pencils awarded
- Side Hustle – Two Pencils
- Future Impact – Five Pencils
- Collaborative – Two Pencils
Companies of the Year
These rankings are based on D&AD’s points system.
The top ranking design agency winners of the year are:
1. King Henry
2. Apple Design Team
3. Design Bridge and Partners
The top ranking production company winners of the year:
2. Lord + Thomas
The top ranking clients of the year:
1. AB InBev
3. Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment
The top ranking advertising agency winners:
2. FCB New York
3. Ogilvy UK
The Top ranking Network Agency winners of the year are:
1. DDB Worldwide
3. Publicis Worldwide
Winning work will receive an esteemed D&AD Pencil and be featured in the D&AD Annual and online archive, a free-to-access, definitive guide for emerging and established creatives worldwide.
D&AD highlights the most exceptional work from the past 12 months, following a rigorous judging process. Famously tough to win, there are no Pencil quotas for D&AD Awards, so the number of awarded entries fluctuates yearly. In some years, no Black Pencils are awarded. The highest ever awarded in one year currently stands at seven.
All the Pencil winning work and shortlisted entries are showcased on the D&AD website.
adobo Magazine is an official media partner of D&AD 2023.