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What winning a D&AD New Blood Pencil means

If you're entering the New Blood Awards, you're probably wondering what all these D&AD Pencils are about. Well, they're not just trophies. The Wood, Graphite, Yellow, White and Black Pencils are your fast-track to career kudos. But if you're still not sure exactly what each pencil level means, we've put together a handy cheat sheet below.

D&AD New Blood Pencil

What all Pencil winners get

If you win a D&AD Pencil, any Pencil, you get a guaranteed place in the D&AD Annual, an invite to the New Blood Awards Ceremony, a D&AD Pencil per team, and the chance to apply for WPP New Blood Academy. Not bad, right?

Wood Pencil

Every entry is narrowed down into a shortlist of the best work submitted for each brief. If you make it to the D&AD Wood Pencil winners list, then you've fought off some seriously tough competition to walk away with this bad boy. You'll be miles ahead of the game already.

Graphite Pencil

Now, if you make it past that first shortlist, then you're doing something seriously right. That's because to win a Graphite Pencil you have to hit the three judging criteria – a good idea, well executed, and relevant to the brief. And it just so happens that those criteria are a creative director's dream skillset when hiring. 

Yellow Pencil

The original icon of creative excellence, the D&AD Yellow Pencil is like a password for opening doors. It's awarded to work that is outstanding, nails all the judging criteria and almost certainly causes a pang of jealousy. If you're chasing a career full of big briefs and big ideas, the Yellow Pencil is a surefire way to start getting noticed.

White Pencil

The D&AD White Pencil is for next-level ideas that harness the power of creativity to do good in the world. It can be awarded for work in response to any of the briefs, as long as the project weaves in purpose (as well as hitting all the original judging criteria too). All of that is no mean feat, so a White Pencil in your portfolio is a giant leap towards industry fame.

Black Pencil

The Black Pencil is where shit gets serious. All the Yellow and White winners go up against each other in a showdown for the ultimate award for new creatives. The Black Pencil represents the best of the best, what could look more impressive on your CV? Each individual receives a D&AD Pencil, and there's also a £2000 prize fund shared between the New Blood Black Pencil winners. Which is some cherry. 

"The New Blood Awards Black Pencil represents a new generation showing the people in the creative industry what's new, what's relevant and showing them the way." – Naresh Ramchandani, Creative Director, Pentagram

And that's not all, folks

Each Pencil level will receive a bespoke winners package which will be revealed laterin the year including mentoring, access to D&AD learning tools and more.

Most of the briefs have additional prizes on offer too – take a look at your chosen brief to see what’s in store. Everything from brand goodies, to mentorship opportunities and paid work placements, to the chance to get paid to make your idea become a reality.

New Blood Academy

The D&AD New Blood Academy is a prestigious two week intensive online training programme for the brightest new talent entering the creative industry.

The 2021 Academy is open for applications from our New Blood Award Pencil and Portfolio Pick winners who haven’t yet secured employment*. Together, we will build a community of 50 future leaders who will represent the future of the creative industry as it should be: brave, resilient, purpose driven and diverse. 

Want to know more about New Blood Awards? Keep your creativity inspired with bi-weekly tips and tricks to help you craft your New Blood Awards entry, as well as career insights, thought leadership, and the latest news and events. Sign up for New Blood news.