News that D&AD is positioning itself as a campaigner for change in education and the creative industries couldn’t be more timely, given that design representation is high on the agenda of design’s official bodies in the wake of Martin Temple’s review of the Design Council.
Design bodies generally are jockeying to influence Government on the one hand and clients on the other on behalf of their members, as well as providing services to help run a business or operate as a designer. D&AD has not really been part of this drive so far but it has long been a champion of creative excellence and a stalwart in promoting education at all levels within the creative industries – both great platforms from which to campaign.
You could argue that D&AD isn’t all that representative of UK design. As a body, it straddles advertising, design and, more recently, interactive media – Simon ’Sanky’ Sankarayya of All of Us is its current president – but it is still seen in design as more to do with advertising.
But this diversity arguably makes it better placed than other bodies to move the creative industries forward. Chief executive Tim O’Kennedy took a pro-interaction stance when he took office some 18 months ago and D&AD has engaged with digital and social media to achieve its aims. That it also represents advertising at a time of greater integration between creative ’professions’ is a benefit.
Laura Woodroffe is an inspired choice to lead the bid to create a stronger voice for D&AD. Being previously director of education has put her at the core of the organisation and, with Rhiannon James promoted to take her place, a strong management team is emerging.
It is great to see a creative body acting with such clarity in these difficult times. D&AD has been through the mill in recent years and it is good to see it coming out the other side.