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A tribute to Lord Snowdon

On Friday 13 January 2017 we were saddened to hear about the death of Lord Snowdon. Not only was he a celebrated photographer and one-time husband to Princess Margaret, his connection to D&AD goes right back to our beginnings.

Lord Snowdon was D&AD President in 1980 and was the first photographer to take on the role. He first worked with D&AD in 1963 when he opened the first ever D&AD Awards show and again in 1967 when we took an exhibition of British creativity to New York. He was also the recipient of many awards throughout his career, including a Yellow Pencil in 1978.

In tribute to him we have republished his foreword from the 1980 D&AD Annual. Despite being written decades ago, his words are as relevant today as they were back then.

“It’s taken some time for a photographer to become President of D&AD and I’m very honoured to be the first.

My links with D&AD go back to 1963 when I opened the first exhibition which was comfortably housed in one hotel room in London, and then again in 1967 when I went to New York with the D&AD ‘It’s Great! Britain’ exhibition.

Lord Snowdon, with Edward Booth-Clibborn, opening ‘It’s Great! Britain’, the 1967 D&AD exhibition in New York.

From such small beginnings the association has grown both in size and international reputation, and today its existence and influence are more important than ever before. By encouraging established designers, art directors, writers, photographers and illustrators to aim for excellence it has helped maintain the high standard of visual communication in this country. Perhaps even more essential, by its many training schemes, it is also making sure of the education of the next generation of young designers.

But what of the future? I believe that together with the Council of Industrial Design, D&AD faces a real challenge over the next decade. If we are entering a period of acute recession, the first thing that tends to be cut back is the work of designers and the arts generally.

Such cut-backs, in my opinion, are a false economy. Good design isn’t a luxury- it is often the difference between a sale and no sale. D&AD and the Council of Industrial Design in their different ways must continue to fight for creative standards and to promote British design throughout the world.

In this context, it’s heartening to note that this year there were more entries than ever before for the D&AD awards, and that a good many of them came from young designers. I find this enormously encouraging, because it shows that D&AD is not just congratulating the established and experienced but is also stimulating and encouraging the great designers of tomorrow.”

Lord Snowdon, D&AD President 1980

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