D&AD has been the cause of a fair bit of controversy over the last few years and is therefore an organization I have always had a split opinion on. On the one hand they celebrate some of the most creative and ground-breaking work in the industry. On the other many view it as a very cliquey and exclusive ‘designers’ club’ which seems to pat the same people on the back each year, with the result that smaller design studios which produce excellent work don’t even get a look in. They have also been questioned about the lack of design ( since it means Design & Advertising) that is being awarded, with a heavy bias towards advertising based projects.
That being said, the launch of the new White Pencil award definitely seems like a very positive step in the right direction for the organization’s future and also in winning back some of its critics. The award aims to ‘harness the power of creative communities to help solve a pressing global, social, environmental or health issue’. Each time the competition runs D&AD will partner with an organisation or cause chosen by the members and set a brief, challenging the creative community to use their skills to solve global problems. The first competition brief is for ‘Peace Day’ and will bear fruit next year, their 50th anniversary year.
In 1999, filmmaker Jeremy Gilley founded the non-profit organisation Peace One Day to document his efforts to establish an annual day of global ceasefire and non-violence with a fixed date. In 2001 those efforts were rewarded when the day was unanimously adopted by member states of the United Nations as 21 September – Peace Day. Jeremy has managed to gain the support of a lot of famous faces including Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and Paul Mccartney (see film below). The brief is to create a campaign that makes Peace Day universally recognized and in turn self- sustaining. Peace One Day wants it to become as much a part of our social fabric as Mothers’ Day or Valentine’s Day. The winner will have one of the best prizes a creative can hope for, a campaign that will literally help save millions of lives and hopefully inspire millions more in the process. As Johnson Banks put it ‘It sounds like the brief of the century‘.
To find out more about the award visit the White Pencil website