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Creative excellence now, for the future

Get a first look into the upcoming 2022 D&AD Awards categories

2022 marks the 60th year of D&AD Awards, six decades of championing the power of creativity above all else. 

As we reflect on what creative excellence means today, we look forward to the year ahead. To a year of showcasing, celebrating, and learning from the remarkable innovation, imagination, craft and graft that the creative industries provide. 

The work you enter enables D&AD as a charity to provide learning programmes such as New Blood, bridging the gap between education and the commercial creative industries, and Shift, which supports underrepresented talent to develop the skills and build the network they need to forge a route into the industry – an industry that perhaps needs them more than they need it.

The work that wins a D&AD Pencil leaves an important legacy. It might be the pinnacle of many careers, but more importantly it informs the future of commercial creativity globally – living on through the D&AD Annual, now accessed by hundreds of thousands of creatives around the world who use it to study, debate, copy and reference its excellence, pushing the benchmark ever upward for decades to come.


D&AD Awards 2022

The 2022 D&AD Awards will have some key changes in categories, updated “to reflect and represent the evolving landscape in the creative sector,” Donal Keenan, Awards Director at D&AD, explains. “D&AD have introduced a new focus on categories that recognise the work of those who have risen up and found solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

The revised programme addresses fundamental themes currently permeating the creative industries and ensures that the awards remain the most relevant benchmark for creative excellence in design and advertising. 

The Upstream Innovation subcategories will award those who are rethinking products and services at the design stage so that they fit within a circular system. Whether it be developing new concepts and materials, applying reuse models or finding other ways to circulate components, entries in these subcategories are intentionally designing out waste and plastic pollution.

A new range of Responsible subcategories across Experiential, Product and Spatial Design will continue to champion work that's mindful of people and the planet and demonstrates how the constraints of responsibility can be a catalyst for great creative ideas.

“D&AD have introduced a new focus on categories that recognise the work of those who have risen up and found solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

2021 has seen a massive increase in the use of augmented, virtual and mixed realities to convey a brand’s message. As a response, we have included dedicated subcategories for AR, VR and MR work in Experiential, Gaming and Entertainment. In addition, Use of XR subcategories will recognise this work in six other areas of the Awards, alongside emerging technologies that create an immersive experience; reimagining how brands interact with consumers.

The subject of health and wellbeing has never been more prominent. To give space to all those who are effectively communicating and innovating in the field of health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, from awareness campaigns to portable healthcare products, we have included eight subcategories under Health & Wellbeing

Creative Transformation replaces Design Transformation to encompass a broader and more inclusive range of creative outputs that have transformed businesses to provide value and enhance the customer experience. 

To continue our commitment to improving accessibility and diversity in the creative sector, we have announced 40% off all entries received by 12 January 2022. 

The D&AD Awards have grown to incorporate more than 40 categories, judged by a cohort of over 400 of the world’s leading creatives from across the full spectrum of design, advertising, craft, production and impact disciplines. Amongst them, Tara Ford, Chief Creative Officer at The Monkeys, will be leading the Digital category; Trevor Robinson OBE, Executive Creative Director at Quiet Storm, is heading up the Entertainment jury; and Nils Leonard, Founder of Uncommon Creative Studio, will drive the Writing for Advertising selection. 

Following the success of past virtual editions, D&AD will continue with a digital-first approach into the 2022 Awards to guarantee the safety of its members, jury and participants. D&AD’s distinguished jurors will once again assemble virtually to review the work, holding each piece to the same high standards that the Awards are renowned for. The only exceptions are the Graphic, Product, Packaging, Book, and Magazine & Newspaper Design categories, where in-person judging is essential.

“D&AD recently signed up to the Ad Net Zero Group and is set on a journey to reach carbon neutrality by 2030”

The D&AD Awards Ceremony will be held over two nights on 25 and 26 May 2022 and broadcast live, as many international travel restrictions may still be in place. Watch parties localised in global cities, such as New York, São Paulo, London and Sydney, will aim to bring back some of the in-person element to the Awards.

This consequently reduces the carbon footprint of those travelling to and from the events, as D&AD recently signed up to the Ad Net Zero Group and is set on a journey to reach carbon neutrality by 2030. 

Also part of our commitment to drive a positive change to address the climate crisis, we reinstated a £25,000 Impact Fund to support sustainable designs and initiatives that are being developed to benefit society. The Fund will be open to applications from all Entrants shortlisted in the Future Impact category. Additionally, the organisation has partnered with 2019 D&AD Future Impact winner, theOtherDada, to plant a tree for every Pencil awarded. Known as The & Forest, in recognition of the many partners and award winners that have made this forest possible, it will be located in the Chiyah area of Lebanon, planted and maintained by youth, people from the community, and with the support of local NGO Himaya.

D&AD Awards will open for entry in December, coinciding with the launch of a new entry site developed to improve ease of entering for all participants. For full details on categories, judging criteria, pricing and deadlines, head to the Awards section of our website.

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