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D&AD Awards 2019

Design conference season has truly begun, and the year’s biggest highlight of the D&AD Festival conference has ended with its annual awards ceremony celebrating the best design and advertising projects of the last year.

As unveiled tonight in London, the winners are more great examples of the outstanding creativity from across the globe which the Design and Art Direction (D&AD) platform exists to celebrate.

This year 720 awards – or ‘Pencils’ in D&AD lingo – were given out in total, with six entrants getting the coveted gold-star Black Pencil in London’s Old Truman Brewery, a stone’s throw away from the main conference venue itself.

Attending the conference to grab as many inspiring talks and enlightening interviews with creatives as we could, Digital Arts was struck how many of the biggest entries didn’t really fall into the usual art/design bracket. The examples of Black Pencil winners like the Xbox Adaptive Controller (below) or Project Revoice’s digital voice clone shows the creative industry as one moving towards the manufacturing of objects perhaps instead of simply marketing them.

Xbox Adaptive Controller by Microsoft, Black Pencil winner in Product Design

Moving into the second-tier Yellow Pencils though there were plenty of great examples of illustration to inspire readers, ranging across editorial work, female fashion and beer branding. Here are our picks of the 58 Pencils awarded tonight at the bash.

365 days of beer posters to make you forget time itself

Tokyo brand Heartland had a novel way of promoting their iconic beers thanks to a wonderful melding of great illustration and savvy branding.

Heartland 365 from Japanese agency Dentsu saw 365 days’ worth of posters displayed in Heartland vendors, one new image for each day of 2018 in a handy calendar format.

As most of the brand’s vendors are small businesses without the luxury of space in-store, the calendar made for a nice way to get a message across in the most inclusive way possible.

Each sheet of the calendar came without a date stamp so as to promote the Heartland ethos of forgetting about time and just enjoying the moment with your beer.

A spooky but cute cover for The New York Times

A Yellow Pencil was also awarded to The New York Times Magazine, but not for a Trump-baiting or MeToo-heralding front image. Instead a silver award went to the newspaper’s cute supplement of The New York Times for Kids thanks to a Halloween-themed illustration by Travis Louie.

A gorgeously illustrated purse from India

In a great example of the global creativity the D&AD Awards strive to celebrate, GREY India won a Yellow Pencil for this lovely Health Purse created for client Mahindra Rise.

If you’re curious, the United States topped the country rankings in the Awards, with the United Kingdom coming in second and Germany third.

Companies of the Year honoured by the D&AD included Droga5 as their Advertising Agency of the Year 2019, Jones Knowles Ritchie as D&AD Design Agency of the Year 2019 and Apple as D&AD Client of the Year 2019.

This last one is no surprise considering the great illustration work we’ve seen all year commissioned by Apple across its app store, physical stores and even event invitation cards.

“It has been another outstanding year for global creativity, with entries received from 73 countries,” says D&AD CEO Tim Lindsay.

“The theme for this year’s festival has been ‘Shaping the Future’ and that’s very much been reflected in the campaigns we’ve had the privilege of seeing, many of which attests to the power of creativity to help build a better future.

“The work I have seen has been fantastic and everyone on the jury and everyone who has seen the final list of Pencil-winning work has been knocked out by the quality. It is a hugely encouraging sign for the buoyant and vibrant direction of our industry.”

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