In many ways it’s D&AD’s week, with Seymour Powell’s own Dick Powell coming in as chairman when Anthony Simonds-Gooding steps down after a decent handover period, and the D&AD Awards presentation last night.
This wasn’t a vintage year for UK design at D&AD, it could be said, with no graphics Yellow Pencils heading our way (check www.designweek.co.uk for the results), but the ad community might have more to say about the number of international Pencil-winners this year.
There’s nothing new here then, but we can look a little more optimistically towards the D&AD Student Awards to be announced next week for signs of Britain’s creative future. All those who, like me, judged those awards were heartened by the experience, so it bodes well for the ceremony at London’s Truman Brewery next Tuesday.
Back with D&AD’s management though, Powell has rightly hogged the limelight this week. He is an inspired choice by chief executive Tim O’Kennedy, D&AD president Paul Brazier and president-elect Sanky, the only oddity being that Powell doesn’t claim the Irish heritage shared by the erstwhile D&AD ‘mafia’ – Simonds-Gooding, O’Kennedy and finance director Dara Lynch. But we shouldn’t forget the sterling work of Simonds-Gooding at D&AD and elsewhere within the creative community.
Simonds-Gooding single-handedly saved the organisation from financial ruin 17 years ago and, with help from the executive and elected council, has done so again over the past couple of years. He gave it vision, reinvigorated its education programme and engaged it more with design than previously when he heeded the call for help when Edward Booth-Clibborn left in the early 1990s. Since then he’s been a tower of strength for D&AD as a whole, but also for individuals on the executive. He has become a real ‘man of the people’ in the creative community.
When it comes to reaching out though, Simonds-Gooding finds himself in good company this week – with Colin Davies, Head of the Design Department at Liverpool School of Art and Design.
The evangelical Davies, who took over the role in January, is keen to attract more people into the college – ordinary folk from the street, as well as members of the local design communities. To this end, he’s organising evening sessions for all comers, including the students – this week saw a handful of sessions across different disciplines, but all on the subject of display.
Having chaired the product design symposium on Wednesday, I can vouch for the quality not only of the speakers – in this case all from London groups – but of the audience, members of which posed intelligent questions without any prompting.
Davies is hoping to tempt an audience of creatives from further afield than Liverpool for some of the sessions he’s planning for later in the year. Watch this space as the details unfold.