D&AD Awards Special Section

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D&AD opens call for entries with key changes to better reflect industry developments

D&AD has opened the call for entries to the 2020 D&AD Awards today, with some key changes across categories to better reflect industry developments.
Screengrab from D&AD video.

Patrick Burgoyne, CEO of D&AD says ‘Each year, thousands of pieces of work from creatives all around the world are entered, and judged by an international panel of industry experts. Following feedback from the judges and entrants in last year’s programme, we’ve made some key changes to better reflect the industries we serve.’

In order to deliver on its mission to improve accessibility and diversity in the creative industries, D&AD has also announced discounts for freelancers and businesses with fewer than 10 employees.


Among the biggest changes this year is the launch of the Design Transformation category, which will award projects that use design thinking as a key driver of business transformation and growth. This category will recognise operational, technology-led, experience and holistic business transformation.

The D&AD Impact Awards programme will coincide with the 2020 D&AD Awards this year, replacing the Creativity for Good category, which was established in 2012. The aim of the award remains unchanged: to recognise creative ideas that drive positive changes. Meanwhile Future Impact, a 12-month accelerator programme, also launches on 4 December but will remain open for submissions until 15 July and be awarded in New York in November during the Impact week.

Digital Design, as a continuously evolving field, expands its sub-categories to recognise work across digital product, service and experience design. Likewise, Digital Marketing also sees new categories including e-commerce, use of AI, in-game advertising and creative use of data.

Design that transforms the user experience


To redress the balance between Design and Advertising, and build on a decades’ long legacy of recognising outstanding product design, D&AD has aligned itself with the sector by using industry categorisation to restructure the Product Design categories. Sub-categories now include everyday consumer products, assisted living & health, sustainable products, consumer & wearable technology and more.

Writing for Design and Advertising has been incorporated within existing advertising and design categories. Juries will include both design writers and copywriters and be judged on the merit of the writing.

Donal Keenan, awards director of D&AD says: ‘Today, real business growth is often achieved through iterative design that transforms the user experience or services provided. We wanted to create space in the D&AD awards to recognise these valuable transformative projects.’

Judging for the D&AD Awards will take place online and in-person in the lead-up to D&AD Festival, which takes place 19-21 May at The Old Truman Brewery in London. The Awards will culminate with a celebration and ceremony at the newly refurbished Odeon Luxe Leicester Square and will offer an immersion in the work of Graphite, Yellow and Black Pencil winners.

Four main themes


D&AD Awards not only represent the best creativity from around the globe, but they also serve as a barometer of the issues our sector faces. Earlier this year, D&AD analysed all winning entries in the 2019 D&AD Awards to give insight into the key themes driving our industry at present. This year, four main themes were identified:

  • Challenging visual bias - moving away from a ‘visual-first’ approach, entrants demonstrated how creativity can be elevated to new heights when it touches all of our senses, allowing us to create more meaningful connections with our audiences
  • Redefining representation - as a gradual shift in attitudes towards diversity and representation takes place, entrants explored the role the creative industries can play in instigating long-term positive change
  • Repetition and originality - as we continue to be surrounded by repetitive messages, images and homogenous narratives online, how do we harness creativity to stand out
  • New values of creativity - designers and brands investigate the breaking down of barriers in the creative industries, looking to build better systems and find solutions to global problems by diversifying skill sets, industries, people and ways of thinking

The full report is available to download for free on the D&AD website

D&AD Awards are now open for entry. The awards will be judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts from across the globe. Jury presidents include Yasu Sasaki, head of digital and ECD of Dentsu, Dick Powell, founder and chairman of Seymour Powell, Stephanie Apt, president and founder of Final Cut and photographer Wing Shya. D&AD Impact will continue to be judged by the D&AD Impact Council.

For full details on categories, judging criteria, pricing and deadlines click here.
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