D&AD Festival 2020 Canceled; Work To Still Be Honored As Awards Deadline Is Extended
D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne
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In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the D&AD Festival will not be held this year and the status of the organization’s New Blood Festival is under review, according to D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne.

Burgoyne noted, however, “inasmuch as we are able, we also want to continue to do the very best for the creative community we have served for the last 58 years. D&AD has always stimulated and celebrated creative excellence, in the belief that great work is always worthwhile, producing as it does better outcomes for all. If this was important before, it remains important and will be important again.

“So, we believe that the best work of the last twelve months still deserves to be awarded. Our distinguished jurors will assemble--digitally of course--to judge this years’ entries (though we are hopeful that in-person judging will still take place for some categories). And we are exploring new ways of celebrating our Pencil winners with our community, wherever you are.” 

Competition deadlines have thus been revised. The D&AD Awards has extended the entry deadline to April 3, 2020 and the eligibility period to April 19, 2020. Eligibility will not be extended beyond this date. (The full span of eligibility runs From January 1, 2029 to April 19, 2020)

To reduce the number of physical submissions participants need to make, D&AD has introduced digital submissions for all categories. The only exceptions are Book Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design, Graphic Design and Packaging Design, which still have physical material options but can accept digital submissions in the event that sending physical materials is not feasible.

Virtual judging will take place from May 12-June 5, 2020. For Book Design, Graphic Design, Magazine & Newspaper Design and Packaging Design, where in-person judging is critical, D&AD is implementing changes to minimize the size of the gatherings and international travel.

Discussion is key to D&AD judging so measures are being taken to ensure time is maximized by staggering the virtual judging schedule to allow for the work to be thoroughly debated before deciding on shortlists and Pencils. A Pencil will be just as hard to win as ever and just as valuable as a marker of creative excellence.

Still to be determined are how and when the winners will be revealed. Dates are yet to be confirmed for the shortlist and Pencil winners announcements.

As for the immediate future of the New Blood Festival which helps to nurture and recognize up-and-coming creative talent, Burgoyne said, “We believe that this years’ emerging talent still deserves to be given its chance to impress and access the industry. So, with our partners and our universities network, we are exploring new routes to provide that interface and, with our generous sponsors, helping a new generation hit the ground running and become productive and successful. Without new blood, our community loses.

Burgoyne added that D&AD is “expanding our digital campus and developing digital versions of our other learning products, including Masterclasses, so that creative people everywhere can continue to benefit from the skills and experience of our business’s greatest practitioners.”

In the big picture, Burgoyne shared, “At D&AD, as everywhere else, our priority is the health and well-being of our people; then to address some of the challenges facing the organization as well as we can in the circumstances. Our physical events clearly can’t happen as they did for the foreseeable future.” However, injecting a bit of optimism, Burgoyne related, “perhaps some of the things we are being forced to do by circumstances will come to be seen as best practice; and we will carry on wanting to do them as the crisis recedes, to everyone’s benefit.”

Burgoyne’s concluded by stating, “Stay safe and see you on the other side.”


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