Design and Art Direction (D&AD, formerly known as British Design & Art Direction) is a British educational charity which exists to promote excellence in design and advertising. The annual D&AD Awards are highly respected, and regarded as a major event in the world of design and advertising. Two kinds of awards are given out; a Yellow Pencil (formerly known as a silver award) and a Black Pencil (formerly known as a gold award), in various categories ranging from environmental design to billboard adverts and animation shorts. The Black Pencil is particularly coveted as they are given for ‘outstanding’ work and usually only one or two given out each year.
As part of its upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, D&AD has identified the designers, studios, ad agencies, creatives, directors and brands who have won the most pencil awards in its history.
On 18 September 2012, D&AD celebrates its 50th Birthday. The organisation is staging a party and awards ceremony, at which the top ranked agencies, studios and people of the last 50 years of D&AD will be recognised with a one-off award.
Ahead of the event, D&AD has worked out the top ten most awarded people and companies in each of the following categories: Ad Agency, Design Studio, Production Company, Brand, Art Director, Copywriter, Designer and Director.
Here they are in alphabetical order:
The Economist ad by AMV.BBDO
Bartle Bogle Hegarty London
Collett Dickenson Pearce
DDB London (including BMP pre 1989 merger)
DDB London (pre 1989 merger)
Saatchi & Saatchi London
Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Wieden + Kennedy UK
Winsor & Newton packaging by Michael Peters & Partners
Carroll Dempsey & Thirkell (including Carroll & Dempsey)
Crosby/Fletcher/Forbes (including Fletcher/Forbes/Gill)
Michael Peters & Partners
Minale Tattersfield & Partners
Alan Parker Film Company
Park Village Productions
Paul Weiland Film Company
Ridley Scott Associates
Tony Kaye Films
London Weekend Television ad by Axel Chaldecott
Sunday Times Magazine cover by Gilvrie Misstear
Michel De Boer
Birds Eye ad by Tony Brignull
Benson & Hedges
Looking down the lists, the first thing that strikes is that, in the individual lists, there is just one woman (the Sunday Times magazine’s Gilvrie Misstear) – a reflection on the industries themselves more than D&AD but we can only hope that if D&AD conducts a similar exercise in 50 years’ time the balance will have been redressed. It’s also a very British list – again, this would probably look very different in 50 years as D&AD has become far more international in scope in recent times.
Elsewhere it’s a mix of the usual suspects with a few names who will be unfamiliar to younger readers. The ad agency list is confused by all the mergers and reorganisations that have taken place over the last 50 years while the design studios tend toward the heavy-hitters of the 80s. Both can be skewed by the dominance of one or two multi-award-winning pieces of work.
And of course we have to recognise that this is not just a list of those who have won, but also of those who have entered. While the ad lists are a pretty fair reflection of the great and the good of the UK advertising industry, there are a lot of great names missing on the design side – either because they failed to find favour with the judges or because they never entered D&AD in the first place.
But nevertheless, it is an intriguing snapshot of the creative industries since 1962 even though it more accurately mirrors the history of D&AD than the history of the creative industries in the wider sense. Furthermore, the list of the most-awarded brands will provide ammunition to agencies and designers attempting to persuade clients of the worth of what they do.
D&AD White Pencil
During its 50th year, D&AD has also launched a new award, the White Pencil, for “a creative idea with the potential to effect real and positive change in the world”. Each time the competition runs, D&AD “will set a brief challenging the creative community to solve a communications problem for a non-profit organisation or established cause. The winning idea will demonstrate the capacity to raise awareness and change behaviour around that cause.”
For its first year, the White Pencil brief is to “grow awareness of and engagement with Peace Day, establishing September 21 as a global, self-sustaining, annual day of peace, when everyone can take action to end conflict in their own lives and in the lives of others.” The deadline is October 24. Full details are here.
Entering agencies and design studios are being encouraged to post a White Pencil Kitemark on their website to show their support and encourage others to enter.