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D&AD Awards 2009

D&AD Awards 2009

11 June 2009
Roundhouse, London

The last 12 months of financial turbulence have left many shaken and made many of us stop and think about our collective future. In the creative world however, where the economy plays the role of the by-conductor, brillant ideas will always retain a value in their ability to inspire, to excite and even to shock – no matter what is happening to the budgets.

This year’s D&AD ceremony at Roundhouse in London revealed how the creative industry has managed to wriggle through the financial cuts and uncertain times, showcasing 12 months of breathtakingly exceptional concepts. Bearing obstacles along the creative path can make or break a project, and this year’s awards clearly demonstrated the admiration, appreciation and acclaim that came from a successful project.

D&AD, a not-for-profit organisation, has been around for 47 years to recognise the cream of the crop in the world of design and advertising, awarding exceptional work with the symbol of the creative process itself - a pencil. For every aspirational creative, the Yellow or Black pencil is a coveted and career defining moment. Over 20,000 hopeful entries were submitted this year.

The Roundhouse ceremony was hosted by actor Richard E. Grant, who took to the centre stage at 9pm, amidst frenetic strobe light flashes and loud rock music. Considered by some to be the Oscars of the creative world, the show was certainly no less spectacular, with fog machines and 360 screens surrounding the nominees as they were finishing a three course dinner.

Next to the stage was the President of D&AD, Garick Hamm, who spoke with pride about the way inspiring ideas have continued not only to exist but to stand out with prominence through the economic turbulence of the last year. Despite the tightening of budgets, more entries than ever were considered for the coveted pencil, with 748 have gone In-Book and will be included in the D&AD Annual as a record of the best work in advertising and design this year. The annual will be designed by Peter Saville.

Garrick went onto, “The breadth of creative work that’s been awarded this year is exceptional. We’re in the midst of a challenging time, and this work shows what the industry is capable of. The 4 Black Pencil winners demonstrate the power and all-encompassing nature of creativity – in education, politics and even in the change in our pockets. These winners are more than just great pieces of communication, they change our behaviour and touch our lives.” Hamm also reminded us all quite how “f***ing difficult” it is to get even nominated, though most of the people in room may have already known that.

The Presidents’ Award went to Michael Peters OBE, who has been at the forefront of the creative industry for over 30 years. Unable to attend the ceremony himself, the singing praise from his contempories on the video screens helped to make up for it, though I was sure I wasn't the only one that would have liked to hear a few words of wisdom from him.

From that point onwards, the awards turned into a 50m relay where there was no time for thank you speeches, only smiles for the camera and the presentation of the coveted sketching tool. The 54 Yellow Pencils were presented during the immaculately orchestrated proceedings. Light-hearted booing from the audience in the categories where nominations failed to get an award gave a slightly humorous yet mannered edge to the evening.

This year’s Yellow pencils found themselves in hands of high profile teams and agencies as well as some lesser known names that you wouldn’t have expected, based on the D&AD ‘track record’. The big winners of the night, taking home Black Pencils which are extremely rare and solely exist to award those pieces of truly groundbreaking work, those went to Matt Dent for the redesign of UK coinage, Art+Com for their amazing BMW kinetic sculpture, and then two of the four went to Droga5 for their GreatSchlep.com viral featuring Sarah Silverman.

Amongst the array of Yellow pencils, there was also Turner Duckworth for their simplified Coca-Cola packaging, CLM BBDO for Alka Seltzer and Troikas Design’s digital sculpture for British Airways, of which I am still in awe of, and left wondering how one could get any better.

In the video category, Radiohead’s House of Cards and Bjork’s Wanderlust by GhostRobot were my personal favourites. Poster advertising for Radio Nova’s series of 12” illustrations took home another Yellow, alongside the DDB London’s Harvey Nicols campaign and Quantum AMS’ innovative equestrian saddle design.

The ceremony drew to a close with the winners happily celebrating into the early hours at the after party, returning to their desks perhaps slightly closer to lunchtime than normal the next day to contemplate what the next 12 months hold.

All images courtesy of D&AD and Radim Malinic. Text courtesy of Radim Malinic.


Radim Malinic has firmly established himself over the last few years as one of the most successful and prolific commercial illustrators working today. His sought after work has earned him reputation of one of the hardest working person in the creative industly with a who's-who's client list in the advertising world of household brand names. Based on his award winning work he has become renowned worldwide for the passion and intricate detail.

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