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20 years of Black Pencil

Although a D&AD Pencil is, for many, the highlight of a creative career, a Black Pencil is seen as the ultimate creative accolade. Reserved for work that is truly groundbreaking in its field, only a handful of Black Pencils are awarded each year (if any).

With this in mind, we’ve plundered the D&AD archive to bring you some of the best Black Pencil winning work dating all the way back to 1997. 

The World Addressed

what3words is a global addressing system that’s easier to communicate than GPS, more flexible than dropping a pin and more accurate than street addressing. Three-word addresses are assigned to each 3m x 3m square – 57 trillion of which make up a global map grid. This allows post and aid to be delivered more easily to remote locations, many of which lack a postcode and are hard to find as a result.

The Epic Split

John Claude Van Damme carries out his famous split between two reversing trucks, all in the name of Volvo Dynamic Steering.

The Epic Split

Award: Black Pencil / Digital Marketing / Online Branded Films / 2014;
Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
Client: Volvo Trucks

Burma

Human Rights Watch created a powerful campaign calling for the release of 2,100 innocent political prisoners, ahead of Burma’s first election in 20 years. The installation featured a mock prison with 200 miniature cells and 2,000 pens in lieu of cell bars. Visitors could remove the pens to symbolically free the prisoners, and then use the pens to sign an onsite petition calling for their release.

Award: Black Pencil / Spatial Design / Installations / 2011
Agency: JWT New York
Client: Human Rights Watch

High Line

The High Line is a 1.5 mile long public park built on an abandoned elevated railroad in Manhattan. Inspired by the melancholic, unruly beauty of this postindustrial ruin, nature has reclaimed a once vital piece of urban infrastructure, thus, the new park interprets its inheritance.

High Line
High Line
High Line

Award: Black Pencil / Environmental Design / Public Space & Community / 2010 
Agency: Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Client: Friends of the High Line

Gorilla

A truly iconic piece of TV & Film advertising, it’s hard to believe Cadbury’s Gorilla was initially shot down by execs. Almost a decade old and still seen as a bit of a national treasure, Fallon’s genius, (if not slightly bizarre), Gorilla ad stands the test of time.

Grrr

With a catchy jingle and the rather sweet message of using negativity to fuel real, positive change, Wieden+Kennedy’s psychedelic Honda "Grrr" commercial cleaned up at awards ceremonies in 2005.

Surfer

Just as jaw-dropping now as it was then, Guinness’ galloping sea horses spot helped give way to the kind of advertising spectacular that had never been seen before in the UK.

Award: Black Pencil / TV & Cinema Advertising / Television Commercials - Over 60 seconds / 2000 
Agency: Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO
Client: Guinness

D&AD recognises and celebrates creative excellence in advertising and design. If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Professional Awards and see if our judges agree.

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