New D&AD president Mark Bonner sets out agenda for “no fear” approach to creativity

GBH co-founder and creative director Mark Bonner begins his tenure as D&AD president today and has set an agenda to promote a “no fear” approach to creativity “without boundaries”.

D&AD President Mark Bonner (left) and chief executive Tim Lindsay
D&AD President Mark Bonner (left) and chief executive Tim Lindsay

Bonner says: “As president, I’m interested in exploring the space beyond the disciplines, the white space in-between. Creatives have always instinctively defined themselves by a category or a skill, but we’re in an era where convergence within communications is all encompassing.

“Our industry is thriving thanks to a generation of creatives and clients that collide the disciplines in order to cut through. Today, the only creative discipline that really matters is excellence.”

He has pledged a commitment to encouraging this attitude in young creatives and says: “It’s a ‘No Fear’ approach to creativity without boundaries, which I think is tremendously motivating to young creatives.

“To that point, I’m keen to continue the growth of the D&AD Foundation and help realise the ambitions we set out two years ago to help to find new ways to amplify talent with education, regardless of privilege.”

As a student Bonner won a D&AD New Blood Yellow Pencil in 1991 before later meeting designers Jason Gregory and Peter Hale at the Royal College of Art.

In 1999 Bonner founded GBH with Gregory and Hale and the consultancy went on to win four D&AD Yellow Pencils in the following years.

Bonner says: “Local authority grant funding, initiatives like the D&AD New Blood Awards and bursaries from organisations such as the RSA enabled me to ignite a career in design.

“Today, many of these opportunities are being gradually taken away, so D&AD has a very important role to play in protecting our industry’s future, both here and abroad.”

Bonner, who has been president in waiting for the past year, takes the reins from outgoing president Laura Jordan Bambach, creative director at ad agency Dare who will remain on the D&AD Board of Trustees for one final year.

Meanwhile Work Club creative partner Andy Sandoz has been announced as deputy president of D&AD and will assume the role of president this time next year. 

Seven new creatives have been elected to sit on the D&AD board of trustees including: Apple creative director of design, marketing communications Harriet Devoy; Elmwood creative director Andrew Lawrence; and Google Creative Lab executive creative director Steve Vranakis.

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