The design Yellow Pencils

It was a solid if not spectacular year for design in the 2012 D&AD Awards – the organisation’s 50th year.


The Yellow Pencil results, announced last night, show a decent haul for design consultancies.

It’s particularly pleasing to see two UK groups picking up Yellows in the packaging category – Love for its Johnnie Walker special edition project and Iris’s London office for its Heineken STR bottle and packaging.

Heineken STR bottle by Iris Nation
Heineken STR bottle by Iris Nation

And it’s great to see Barber Osgerby’s brilliant Tip Ton chair pick up a yellow in the product category.

A very strong showing too for digital design – with seven Yellow Pencils awarded.

Johnnie Walker Special Edition by Love
Johnnie Walker Special Edition by Love

But some niggles remain. For example, it would have been good to see some Yellow Pencils awarded to branding consultancies – the only Yellow in the branding category going to ad group AMV BBDO.

And there are some controversial absences, most notably Why Not Associates and Gordon Young’s Comedy Carpet in Blackpool, which didn’t even make it into the book (check out Michael Johnson’s thoughts on this decision here).

Comedy Carpet
The Comedy Carpet, by Why Not Associates and Gordon Young

This year, to mark it’s 50th (and presumably avoid the London Olympics logjam) D&AD has taken the interesting decision to split its Yellow and Black Pencil announcements, revealing the Yellow Pencils pretty much as soon has judging finished.

These were announced at a new-look event for D&AD, a screening at the BFI Imax in London for invited nominees and judges. While it was great to see all the winning work displayed on the big screen, the event did lack something of the gravitas of the traditional sit-down gala.

DAD 50
D&AD 50 identity by Neville Brody

The judges will now reconvene before September, when the Black Pencil winners will be announced at a special bash looking back over a half-century of D&AD. Design, we hope, will be well-represented.

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