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Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity

Inspiration for the world’s creative community


Shutterstock, a major online marketplace providing tools for the creative industry, sought to cultivate new contacts and promote its brand and services to a global creative community.

As part of its prestigious Professional Awards programme, D&AD offers brands the opportunity to sponsor an awards category that best aligns with the brand. Fittingly, D&AD aligned Shutterstock with excellence in design and advertising craftsmanship as an Awards partner for crafts-based categories.


D&AD’s annual Professional Awards programme includes an international Call-for-Entries campaign, a gathering of 215 of the world’s top creatives for Judging week, a public Festival including an exhibition of 26,000 pieces of work entered, and an Awards Ceremony. As a partner, Shutterstock benefitted through co-branded Call-for-Entries materials that pertained to crafts, access to the crafts category jury members, alignment with the exhibition of crafts-based entries, and a presentation of the craft Awards at the Ceremony.

Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity

In 2016, D&AD made the Festival and exhibition elements of the Professional Awards a more public-facing event by increasing the space, number of activities, and greater promotion around the event. The Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London played host to the Festival offering the public a behind-the-scenes look at the year’s best creative ideas.

In order to drive interest in the growing Festival, D&AD connected its creative agency The Beautiful Meme with Shutterstock to devise a strong creative campaign using imagery from their stock library. Not only did this provide The Beautiful Meme a wealth of inspiration to work from, it provided Shutterstock an elevated opportunity to show application of their product to a key audience.

Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity
Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity

Regarding the creative identity, the Beautiful Meme’s Tom Sharp commented, “We wanted an intense image element to compliment the typography – so to have access to so many contributor’s work on Shutterstock was perfect.”

The Beautiful Meme assembled a collage template that would use a series of images in conjunction with a reference to D&AD’s iconic Pencil award. A mix of Shutterstock’s bold and bizarre imagery was used to fill the collage. This type of graphic design would have only been possible with access to a vast library of images. 

Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity

Shutterstock was pleased with the outcome so much that they were inspired to create their own brand activation at the Festival based on the design. Amongst a full ground floor of brands showcasing their newest products, services, and technology, Shutterstock hosted a sticker-printing stand where users could explore the image library and fill in a bespoke collage template. The users’ designs were instantly printed to produce a peel-off Pencil-shaped sticker that was co-branded with D&AD and Shutterstock logos and later seen stuck on Moleskine notebooks, badges, skateboards, and water bottles around the Festival.

Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity

Shutterstock’s brand and services were promoted with over 100 individual pieces designed as part of the Festival’s creative suite. Assets were used on D&AD’s website and social media channels to sell 4,000 Festival passes. Assets as large as 3m x 3m were printed throughout the Old Truman Brewery to enhance the exhibition and as way finding to encourage attendees to explore the Festival.

Shutterstock’s Jon Feinstein commented, “Not only are these pieces an indication of stock’s versatile uses, but also a testament to the power of curation in great design.”

Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity
Partnership Case Study: Shutterstock, D&AD Festival Creative Identity

The creative campaign engaged intimately with all 4,000 Festival attendees, 215 judges and 500 users of the sticker-printing activity. Shutterstock collected user contact information at their for the purpose of lead generation. Additionally, the Professional Awards cycle garnered global attention with 216 pieces of press coverage, reaching a total audience of 54,044,091.

Sarah Handford of Shutterstock’s sales team commented, “We use our partnership with D&AD and the artwork from the Festival as a conversation-starter with current and prospective clients.”

In a post-Festival survey, one in three attendees were able to recall Shutterstock as a Festival partner without any prompting. Additionally, the survey reports 80% of attendees learned about the Festival through D&AD’s website or social media channels where The Beautiful Meme’s creative identity was prominently featured. The survey also suggests 79% of attendees came for the purpose of creative inspiration. It’s safe to say Shutterstock was well aligned to provide just that.

As a non-profit organisation, D&AD rely upon effective collaborations with likeminded organisations that further support, enable and award excellence to create a thriving community and an international creative advertising network. Want to get involved? Contact Partnerships today.

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