Dick Powell’s appointment is an opportunity for D&AD to embrace all of design

It is certainly a week for excellence, with creatives poised to hear about the latest D&AD Awards wins tomorrow evening.

D&AD, meanwhile, has named Dick Powell as successor to the indomitable Anthony Simonds-Gooding as chairman, which guarantees a continuity of values and presence for a body renowned for fostering creative excellence, largely through awards and education.

Powell knows the ropes at D&AD, having served two consecutive terms as president, but Simonds-Gooding will be a hard act to follow. His commitment runs deep to the organisation he saved from financial ruin 17 years ago when he stepped in to head it and again, with finance director Dara Lynch and successive presidents, after chief executive Michael Hockney was ousted in 2007 and before Tim O’Kennedy was appointed last summer. His wisdom, resourcefulness and humanity have earned him affection and respect from across the creative community.

Powell is acutely aware that the chairman’s role is largely that of mentor, steering the ship while allowing the executive and elected activists to create a vision and get on with attaining it. But a major shift at the top gives D&AD a chance to take stock a year into O’Kennedy’s tenure and in the run-up to the presidential handover from Paul Brazier to Simon ’Sanky’ Sankarayya in September.

Sanky’s accession provides a bridge for D&AD into interaction design – Waterfall was arguably the first president to do that, but his term was largely taken up with keeping the organisation afloat.

It would be great, though, to see D&AD broadening even more, to embrace design in the broadest sense in a creative way. Our columnist Adrian Shaughnessy may have seen the future when he encountered Bruce Mau, but Mau’s thoughts on redefining design aren’t new. They are, however, pertinent and can help us build a coherent creative sector with D&AD well placed to take a lead.

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