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D&AD Statement on COVID-19

A letter from D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne

As we all make our way through this unprecedented crisis as best we can we are forced to get things in perspective. At D&AD, as everywhere else, our priorities are; the health and well-being of our people; then to address some of the challenges facing the business as well as we can in the circumstances; then to try and adapt our programs and products so that we can continue to provide some inspiration and stimulation to our community.

As already announced our physical events clearly can't happen as they did for the foreseeable future. So to repeat, we will not be holding the D&AD Festival this year and we are in the process of contacting all our speakers, partners and ticket holders with more information about this. The New Blood Festival is also obviously under review. But, inasmuch as we are able, we are determined to do the very best for the creative community we have served for the last 58 years. D&AD has always stimulated and celebrated creative excellence, in the belief that great work is always worthwhile, producing as it does better outcomes for all. If this was important before it remains important, and will be important again. Indeed our industry is already demonstrating great creativity and innovation in the face of the virus.

So - and despite the dramatic re-ordering of priorities that the pandemic has caused -  we believe that the best work of the last twelve months still deserves to be awarded; and we're encouraged to believe that this is the right thing to do by the feedback we've had. Our distinguished jurors will assemble - digitally of course - to judge this years' entries, with the same rigour and integrity that D&AD jurors always display. And we are exploring new ways of celebrating our Pencil winners with our community, wherever you are. 

We believe that this years' emerging talent - which will sadly miss out on many of the customary rites of passage - still deserves to be given its chance to impress and access the industry. So, with our partners and our universities network, we are exploring new ways to provide that interface and, with our generous sponsors, help a new generation hit the ground running and become productive and successful. Without new blood, our community loses; this is as true in this extraordinary year as any other.

Details of all this will follow as we work it out. And, optimistically, perhaps some of the things we are being forced to do by circumstances will come to be seen as best practice; and we will carry on wanting to do them as the crisis recedes, to everyone's benefit.

Just as we have always supported the industry with our surpluses, so it has always supported us. We continue to thank you all for that.

Stay safe and sane and see you on the other side.

Patrick Burgoyne, CEO, D&AD


D&AD Awards

Key Dates:

  • Entry deadline: 3 April 2020
  • Eligibility period: work commercially released between 1 January 2019 and 19 April 2020
  • Virtual Judging 12 May - 5 June 2020 
  • Shortlist and Pencil Winners announcement: Dates to be confirmed 

In recognition of the severe disruption the industry has already faced and in response to requests from our community, we've extended the entry deadline to 3 April 2020 and the eligibility period to 19 April 2020. We will not be extending eligibility beyond this date.
To reduce the number of physical submissions participants need to make, we've introduced digital submissions for all categories.

The only exceptions are Book Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design, Graphic Design and Packaging Design, which still have physical material options but can accept digital submissions in the event that sending physical materials is not feasible.

Virtual judging will take place from 12 May - 5 June 2020.

For Book Design, Graphic Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design and Packaging Design, where in-person judging is critical, we are implementing changes to minimise the size of the gatherings and international travel.

As always, the integrity of D&AD Awards is paramount. Each year we put in place measures to guarantee every piece entered is fairly assessed by the jury. Discussion is key to D&AD judging so we are ensuring time is maximised by staggering our virtual judging schedule to allow for the work to be thoroughly debated before deciding on shortlists and Pencils.

We believe these measures will ensure that every single piece of work that wins a Pencil will uphold the tradition of excellence that stretches back nearly 60 years. A Pencil will be just as hard to win as ever and just as valuable as a marker of creative excellence.

We are also reviewing when and how the winners will be announced to ensure we can deliver a truly momentous occasion that will celebrate the winners and the work with the prestige and enthusiasm they deserve, but in an appropriate way given the context of the times. We look forward to sharing more details regarding the winners announcement soon.


D&AD Festival

The safety and wellbeing of our staff, speakers, judges and attendees is our main priority. Therefore, though we are incredibly disappointed, D&AD Festival won't happen this year. 

Those who have already purchased a ticket for D&AD Festival will be contacted with information on how to transfer the value of their passes to credits that can be applied to other D&AD learning products and services, donated to support D&AD's programmes that nurture new talent as a not-for-profit education provider, or claim a refund.


D&AD New Blood Festival

At a time when graduating students are faced with uncertainty and disruption to the summer's normal proceedings, we know that support and exposure is more important than ever.

With the ongoing restrictions in place due to Covid-19, we are simply unable to continue with a physical version of New Blood Festival at the Truman Brewery in London. 

Working with the wider creative industry, we have listened to our network of educators and our student community to design a Digital Festival programme that captures the spirit of New Blood and delivers value to our emerging creatives.

Our aim is to provide a space for the industry to connect with the graduating talent of the year, and a platform for the freshest young talent to connect with the industry they are about to become a part of.

The D&AD New Blood Digital Festival, running from 6-10 July, will entail 5 days of relevant inspiration and learning, an exhibition of student work, and a support programme ensuring the next generation of creative talent has access to the people and resources they need to thrive.

As with every D&AD programme, the Digital Festival will be industry led, offering insight, education and inspiration from the movers and shakers of the creative world. 

We will be partnering with The Dots for the student exhibition, and with YCC for job opportunities and placements. Involved universities will get access to 1:1 industry portfolio reviews for their students, as well as access to our network of industry professionals.

We also know that this situation calls for more support than we alone can offer. To really help our graduating talent from this year we are asking the whole industry to step up, and to be generous with their time and expertise. We can’t be D&AD New Blood without our valued industry supporters, who believe in finding and feeding the next generation of talent. Sign up as a portfolio mentor via this Typeform: https://d-and-ad.typeform.com/to/IJvTgV 

More information on the New Blood Awards digital ceremony and celebrating our Pencil winners to follow.


D&AD Masterclasses

After reviewing the current Government advice on Covid-19 we have decided to postpone all in-person Masterclasses that are currently due to take place in March and April.

We are arranging alternative dates to run these Masterclasses and will be in touch with delegates who have already booked onto the courses directly. Should you not be able to attend the rescheduled date, we can provide a credit for you to book onto a different course of your choice up to the same value.

Thanks for your understanding at this difficult time, and we wish everyone good health, safety and comfort.


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