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D&AD Awards 2020 FAQs

Got a question?  Here are some of the common questions our entrants ask us, grouped by topics.

More questions? We'll do all we can to answer them. Head over to our Awards page, or if you're stuck, you can contact us on +44 (0) 20 7840 1111 or awards@dandad.org.

Key Dates

When will entries close?
The extended deadline for completing entries online is 3 April 2020*. This year there is no surcharge. We have introduced tiered pricing for super early bird, early bird and the standard deadline. Download the Entry Kit for detailed rates.
*The deadline for Future Impact entries only, is 15 July 2020.

When is the deadline to post my entry materials?
Physical entry materials have to reach D&AD by Friday 1 May 2020.

What are the most important dates for my diary?
Super earlybird deadline: 8 January 2020
Early bird deadline: 19 February 2020
Deadline: 11 March 2020
Extended deadline: 3 April 2020*
*Future Impact deadline: 15 July 2020
Future Ones to Watch list announced: 17 September 2020
Future Impacters' showcase (NYC): 3 November 2020
Impact accelerator (NYC): 4–5 November 2020



Can two companies enter the same work?
No. Two different entrants cannot enter the same work within the same subcategory. If your work is a collaboration with other companies or individuals, please check whether it has been already entered. In case of duplicate entries, we only accept the entry that was paid first.

Can I enter work if I am the client?
Yes. Clients can enter work produced for them either internally or by an external agency as long as it has not been entered by the external agency in the same category. For further information, please see the previous question.

What's new this year?

The D&AD Awards categories evolve every year to reflect industry developments. We know it takes time to write submissions, so we’ve made the questions simpler and more fact-based. We’ve also simplified the language for submission formats, making the requirements clearer and more flexible. Look out for ‘new’ to identify new categories. Some changes are also highlighted below:

Creativity for Good & Impact
This year the D&AD Impact Awards programme will coincide with the D&AD Awards 2020. Impact will now replace the Creativity for Good category established in 2012. The core objective remains unchanged: to recognise creative ideas that drive positive change. This includes the Future Impact programme, for ideas that have the potential to drive positive impact. Entries submitted by NGOs are eligible for 50% off.

Design Transformation
Shifts in industry practices mean that design thinking is increasingly a key driver of business transformation and growth. This year, we have launched the Design Transformation category to award brilliant transformation projects, recognising operational, technology-led, experience and holistic business transformations.

Digital Design
A complete revamp of the Digital Design category means it now honours the brilliant work behind digital product, service and experience design outputs.

Product Design
Building on a decades-long legacy of recognising great product design, D&AD has further aligned itself with the sector by using industry categorisation to rename the Product Design categories.

Digital (formerly Digital Marketing)
Our Digital category has had major changes to reflect the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing, technology in advertising and digital innovation. New categories include Creative e-Commerce, Use of AI, In-game Advertising and Creative Use of Data.

Writing for Design and Advertising
Following persistent feedback from advertising and design juries over the last two years, the writing categories have now been incorporated into the existing advertising and design categories. For example, the Graphic Design category will now also award Writing for Graphic Design, the Film Advertising category will award Writing for Film Advertising. We hope that this change will result in more great writing being awarded. We will ensure that these categories include writers and that work will continue to be judged on the merit of the writing.

Freelancers and businesses with less than 10 employees now get 20% off entries. To get the discount contact awards@dandad.org.
Entries submitted for Impact and Future Impact by NGOs are eligible for 50% off.

Prices and Payments

Can I enter pro bono work done for a charity?
Yes. However, to be eligible, there must be a contractual relationship between the charity and entrant agency. If the media has been provided pro-bono we reserve the rights to ask for confirmation from the media owner. 

How much does it cost to enter?
The price depends on the category that is being entered. All details are listed as part of the category information in the Entry Kit

What do you mean by single and multi pricing?
The single price is for one execution of the creative work that is entered and judged as it is, in isolation. If you are entering multiple executions, the pieces are judged together as a whole. For example, an advertising campaign or a series of books.

Can I get a discount on entries?
Freelancers and small companies with 10 or less employees get a 20% discount on entries. Contact us at awards@dandad.org to obtain a discount code.
Entries submitted for Impact and Future Impact by NGOs are eligible for 50% off.

Additionally, this year we have introduced tiered pricing which offers discounted entry fees. Super early bird until 8 January 2020, early bird until 19 February 2020. Download the Entry Kit for detailed rates.

What payment methods are accepted?
Bank transfers, and credit and debit card payments. For bank transfers, the total amount must be transferred within seven days of completing your entry online. We cannot accept cheques, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, money order or cash.

Where does the money I spend on my entries go?
As a non-profit, D&AD takes all of its surplus revenues and invests them back into the creative industry. The funds from the D&AD Foundation are dedicated to funding programmes that develop the next generation of creative talent while campaigning for the creative industries to help solve the world's toughest social and environmental issues.

In 2019, D&AD invested £6.5 million in charitable activities and provided 176,553 vocational learning opportunities to emerging creatives.

Creating an Entry

Which categories shall I enter my creative work into?
The full list of categories is included in the Entry Kit. You may enter the same work into as many categories as you like, both as a single and multiple executions. Need help with your entry? Call our Awards Team on +44 (0) 20 7840 1111 or send us an email

Do I have to enter credits for the work e.g. Art Director, Designer, etc.?
Not yet. If you have a shortlisted or winning entry, wait for the email notification to submit your credits after the work has been judged. Judging takes place in London, in May and June 2020.
Future Impact judging takes place in July 2020 with shortlist to be announced in Sept 2020.

What supporting information is needed to provide for my entries?
Please check the 'Provide the following information online' at the bottom of each category page in the Entry Kit. Further details can be found under 'Supporting Information' on page 70. You will be asked to provide the supporting information during your online submission. Judges love to know the facts, so keep your written information short and to the point.

Do I need to provide translations?
Yes. If your work was not originally released in English, you need to submit the work in its original language, alongside a translation. For films, this means subtitles. For non-film work, simply type up your translation online. We do not accept translations as a separate document or film. Please note that we cannot accept translations in the writing categories — entries here are only accepted if originally released in English.  

Sending Physical Work by Post or Courier

When is the deadline to post my entry materials?
Physical entry materials have to reach D&AD by Friday 1 May 2020.

How do I label my entries for posting?
Labels are available once you've completed your online submission.

What address do I send entries to?
Our address is: D&AD Awards, 64 Cheshire Street, London, E2 6EH, United Kingdom. You’ll also find this address on the labels once you've completed your online submission. If you use a courier service, please note, our office hours are Mon–Fri, 9:30am–5:30pm GMT.

How do I send work from outside the UK?
Mark your package as 'Competition material: no commercial value'. If you need to indicate the value of the goods in the package, use a token value, for example $1 per entry. Please make sure you have settled all shipping costs and customs fees before sending your entries. If not, your package will be held up in customs or refused at our office because of extra shipping costs.

How will I know if my package has arrived?
If we have not received your package, our Awards team will be in touch.

Judging Process

How is my work will be judged?
When assessing the work, judges will consider the following questions:​

  • All advertising, culture and design categories
    Is the idea inspiring? Is it brilliantly executed? Is it fit for purpose?
  • All craft categories
    Is it brilliantly crafted? Does the use of craft elevate the idea? Is the idea inspiring? Is it fit for purpose?
  • Impact category
    Is the idea positively influencing business and society? Has it resulted in tangible change? Is it innovative and inspiring? Is it fit for purpose?
  • Future Impact category
    ​Does the idea demonstrate potential to positively influence business and society? Does it sufficiently demonstrate the potential to drive tangible change? Does it sufficiently demonstrate that it can meet its intended scale? Is it innovative and inspiring?


When will I know if my work is successful?
Successful entrants will be notified via email. For Future Impact, the 'Future Ones to Watch' will be announced on 17 September 2020*.

Please see the Pencil levels explained below:

  • Shortlist
    Work that demonstrates merit, worthy of recognition and a mention in the D&AD Annual.
  • D&AD Wood Pencil
    The best in advertising and design from the year, worthy of a place in the D&AD Annual.
  • D&AD Graphite Pencil
    Stand-out work, beautifully executed with an original and inspiring idea at its core
  • D&AD Yellow Pencil
    The iconic pencil, awarded only to the most outstanding work that achieves true creative excellence.
  • D&AD White Pencil
    Iconic projects that truly demonstrate the power of creativity to drive impact. White Pencil work will be contributing to either behavioural, policy, commercial and/or societal change. Awarded to winners in the Impact category instead of the Yellow Pencil.
  • D&AD Black Pencil
    The ultimate creative accolade, reserved for work that is ground-breaking in its field. Only a handful of Black Pencils are awarded each year.

*Entrants will be notified if they have been successful on 18 September, along with details of any places on the Impact accelerator awarded to them. Winners will be announced on 4 November 2020.

Side Hustle

What is Side Hustle?
D&AD's competition for anyone with a side hustle, passion project or initiative. You don't have to be a creative yourself; just demonstrate that you've used creative thinking to solve a genuine need.

Who can enter?
Anyone with a Side Hustle! Full or part-time students can enter one of our student categories. Non-professionals, interns or anyone with less than 3 years of work experience can enter our emerging categories. People with 3 years or more under their belt should enter as an established professional. 

What do I need to enter?
The judges would love to see anything that portrays your Side Hustle in its best light. This could be a video, a presentation film, images, a URL or audio. A written submission is mandatory, answering five questions around the idea, challenge, operation, ambition and eligibility of your Side Hustle. You’ll also need to attach a cover image.

What can I win?
A D&AD Side Hustle Pencil, your Side Hustle in the D&AD Annual, two hours of mentoring with a D&AD judge, a D&AD Masterclass of your choice and a year’s D&AD Awarded Membership. 

How much does it cost?
£20 for students. £35 for emerging professionals. £50 for established professionals. 

Are discounts available?
To celebrate 40 years of New Blood, the first 40 student entries are free. Simply create your entry and use the code NBSTART for the start-up category, or NBSCALE for the scale-up category. Freelancers get 20% off - please email awards@dandad.org for a code to use at checkout.

When's the deadline for entries?
Extended deadline: 3 April 2020.

What does Pitch Day involve?
Due to recent developments with Covid-19, Pitch Day will now be hosted virtually via the Zoom platform on Friday 22 May. Finalists can deliver their pitch in one of two ways: they may present with no visual aids, directly to the camera. Or they may screen share a presentation in the style of Pecha Kucha, where 20 slides are presented with 20 seconds of commentary each. Pitches will last around 7 minutes in total, with an additional 10 minutes  for judge questions. Finalists will be sent a pitch guide to help them prepare. Start up categories will pitch first. All finalists will be required to stay during judge deliberations, to answer any questions. 


What is Next?
An award to recognise those who are just starting out on their creative career. Our Next Creative, Next Designer, Next Director and Next Illustrator categories are open to anyone who has been working in the creative sector for up to three years. There is no age limit and you may enter as a team, provided all team members meet the entry criteria. For more information please check out the Entry Kit.

Do internships count as industry experience?
Yes, if you were doing project-based work.

Who can enter?
Entries can be created by an individual, a team or by an agency/person on their behalf. The talent's experience should not exceed three years. As a guide, if they have been working consistently then the entry date into the industry should be on or after 11 March 2017. There are exceptions - for example, if you left and re-entered the industry. So long as you have been contributing to project-based work for less than 3 years, you may apply. To check eligibility, please speak to our awards team on +44 (0) 207 840 1111.

What do I need to enter?
Entrants into Next Creative, Next Designer and Next Illustrator must submit 4 pieces of work. Entrants into Next Director must submit 2 pieces of work. In all cases, at least one piece must be commercial and it must have been publicly released. If you do not have enough personal work, you are invited to complete a New Blood brief. Entries should include a cover image representing the primary piece of work, and one photo of the talent. Entrants will need to answer three questions based on the experience, insights and contribution of the talent.

What can I win?
Winning talent will receive one D&AD Next Pencil printed with the name(s) of the Entrant(s), their name in the D&AD Annual, their work exhibited at a D&AD event, two hours of mentoring with a D&AD judge, a year's access to the D&AD Digital Campus and a year's Awarded Membership. 

How much does it cost?
£50. A reduced entry fee of £40 applies to those who pay for their entries by midnight on 19 February. 

Are discounts available?
To celebrate 40 years of New Blood, anyone nominated by a D&AD Judge gets 40% off their entry fee. Freelancers get 20% off — please email awards@dandad.org for a code to use at checkout.

When's the deadline for entries?
Extended deadline: 3 April 2020.

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