D&AD Festival 2018: Creative Showcase

Our Creative Services Director Sam Stocking attended this year’s D&AD Festival to review work the last 12 month’s work and hear from some of the industry’s leading figures.


So, the 56th annual D&AD Awards have come to a close. The standard of work was as high as ever and covering; Book Design, Branding, Creative for Good, Craft for Advertising, Integrated, Media, Content and PR to name but a few. 20,000 pieces of work were judged across 28 categories from 70 countries with a whopping 721 Pencils awarded.


In addition to the awards themselves we were treated to more talks and workshops than ever before from the best creative thinkers the industry has to offer as well as 500 pieces of work, all laid out to for viewing and close inspection.


The format of the 3-day creative extravaganza, again held at the Truman Brewery was different from previous years. There was less work on show than before, which personally was a little disappointing, however to make up for the lack of work there were more talks to listen to, more workshops and opportunities to get your hands on and multiple breakout sessions held at agencies and event spaces across East London.


Personally, I love to see the work and to be allowed to get hands on and pick it up, read it, hold it, get close to it and really see the craft is so refreshing. It’s inspiring to see through the final output to the kernel of the idea and the time designers, writers, photographers, printers, illustrators and art directors have spent thinking about, honing and crafting to the point of completion. The craft was as considered and inspiring as ever and it’s this that really makes work stand out, the time and skill put in to the final output is what make a winner. Especially given the world we work in these days where budgets are reducing and the time we have to respond to briefs seems less than ever


What was great to see this year was the prominence of the PR category. In previous years, it felt as if PR was the poor cousin of the awards, hidden away at the back with a short discussion, if any, given to a small crowd. Not this year though. The judges panel discussion was in one of the main areas with a strong cast including; Nick Woods, James Herring and Bridget Jung. The category was combined with experiential this year (which from our POV is a natural fit!) and controversially for the judges (apparently) included several print ads which garnered coverage due to the nature of their subject; Ikea’s pregnancy test advert and Mothers response to KFC running out of chicken (FCK… we’re sorry). To add to the controversy there seemed to be more entries from advertising agencies than PR agencies which begs the question; Are the Ad agencies expanding their remit? Is it that work is becoming more and more integrated with ‘the idea’ winning and ad agencies executing as an extension to their initial brief? Or is it that ad agencies are just better at entering awards….?


Anyway, an amazing 3 days sharing work, thoughts, ideas and connections across the industry can only be a good thing. Roll on next year where it will all change again as D&AD and The Guardian partner to create D&AD x GUARDIAN MEDIA GROUP FESTIVAL 2019!