14 Tips from D&AD Festival 2016

14 Tips from D&AD Festival 2016

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In April 2016 D&AD hit Shoreditch in London for a three day showcase of creative excellence:

“Immerse yourself in an exhibition of the world’s best advertising and design, meet fresh talent from New Blood and taste our Training sessions. Simultaneously, local studios and agencies will open their doors for talks, tours and workshops…Speakers from across advertising and design include Sir Martin Sorrell, Sir Paul Smith, Annie Atkins, Ralph Steadman, Lucienne Roberts and Wayne Hemingway”

We left the festival drenched with inspiration and new ideas. So we have condensed our experience into 14 top tips:

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We’ve all heard the saying ‘people buy you.’ So, you do you, being phoney is a tragedy. Use your personality to make boring stuff interesting!

There was a definite theme surrounding bravery and boldness throughout the whole festival. The Magazine and Design judging panel described how exhausting it is seeing the same things over and over again. No matter how beautifully presented it is, they will always push aside the norm in order to celebrate bravery. We’re all hungry for the new and unexpected!

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Done right, typography can act as a stand alone ‘image’.

It’s an abstract idea and perhaps a proposal that only typography perverts will understand. However, we believe if it looks good and fits the brief then what’s the point in adding unnecessary photography or other features alike?

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It doesn’t always have to be nice layouts, fonts, colours or fancy infographics.

If an Instagram picture of your pizza solves the problem, then don’t waste time, go for it.

Ashleigh Axios (ex Creative Director of The White House) described the time she and her team were tasked to raise awareness during the abduction of 276 Nigerian school girls in 2014. Her initial plan was a series of infographics and design led content. However, her final solution was simply an image of Michelle Obama promoting the #BringBackOurGirls campaign by holding an A4 sheet of paper with hand-drawn copy.

Having a First Lady in your tool box to promote any campaign will of course gain immediate mass attention. However, it’s the idea of not jumping straight to the power of Adobe’s Creative Suite but exploring less sophisticated outcomes, tackling the true crux of a brief.

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Stories sell work, so bare this in mind for pitches and other presentation styled situations. It helps create a show and
adds meat to the bone.

Don’t be afraid to go slightly off tangent, this will only reflect your true personality – an attractive quality as mentioned in tip one.

The more you know, the more ammo you’ll have. Go digging and studying your audience, discover their interests and tailor stories to suit.

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Most of our favourite work were from studios out of the Western World. There was even a dedicated Graphic Design in China 2015 exhibit showcasing a very high standard of graphic work. For us it’s their unique layouts and attention to detail, in a very considered minimal way.

Look east next time you Google during project research.

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They say creativity is about joining the dots. 
It makes sense then, the more dots we have to join, the more possibilities we are able to unleash, the more likely we are to arrive at something thats truly new and unique.

Sir Martin Sorrell described it this way:
“Leonardo Da Vinci is considered a genius of the highest order. Imagine he was alive and well today with the level of tools / methods of gathering data we have, then there’s a very high possibility his creations would have been greater and more effective.”

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In brief, Mark van der Heijden aka ‘The Backpacker Intern’ travelled the world offering a day of his work for food and shelter. He received 750 job offers. This redefined his comfort zone and confidence.

Mark learned there’s too many creatives who are locked in routine, when creativity breeds off change. “We’ve always done it this way” is the wrong attitude. If you find it puzzling, then your brain is working correctly. So, do things that are right, not what’s easiest.

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Channel 4 is known for embracing creative risks. Most of their work puts all on the line and now the 4creative team are highly considered industry originators. Heads of the 4 team, Chris and John (‘Chron’) described this approach as ‘being a creative terminator.’

Try not to care what anyone thinks; push boundaries and work to the best of your abilities.

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Wayne is a multidisciplinary designer, who has no project limits; amplifying small jobs into head turners.

He believes ‘mining’ for work is a more productive way of gaining new clients and a more efficient method than constant pitching. It gives you the chance to pin point ideal projects and perhaps find a golden nugget in undiscovered places. It’s also a less common method, so it instantly makes agencies stand out from the crowd.

Of course time is of the essence in a busy agency. However, Hemingway advises you try ‘mining’ at least once year.

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The Packaging and Product Design judges used Spitalfields as a analogy; there’s too many businesses popping up that look and feel the same, lacking originality and authenticity. This mirrors Glasgow’s Finnieston, with the influx bars, restaurants and barbers pursuing only ‘what’s cool and hip’.

Avoid this way of thinking and solve the real problem, giving your audience something new and exciting.

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Branding now obviously needs to have impact throughout digital platforms. Push clients to go beyond a nice logo and colour palette. Mike Moloney’s (of motion-led studio ‘Art & Graft’) philosophy underpins why animating your brand assets will help communicate core ideas in a more powerful way.

This was really reassuring to hear this, as it’s a component Material _Works have built into recent pitches.

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9/10 Pencil winners we came across were achieved through really simple executions.

Remember not to under estimate simplicity. Stripping a brief back to its core is harder than telling the full story.

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This tip may seem like a massive NO CHANCE for some but Sir Paul Smith, who needs no introduction, swears by this idea.

If your Monday to Thursday is a slog, then try allocating time during the weekend focusing on projects more in-line with your dreams. This can be achieved through thinking, note taking, visiting a gallery for inspiration or working directly towards the final solution.

In typical weekend spirit, a beer or glass of vino may in fact help produce alternative ideas, just like how we rely on coffee during office hours to stimulate our brain…

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In the broad scheme of things, what we do is not so important. An air hostess cannot fly a plane but a creative Mac monkey should certainly not be afraid to try some calligraphy.

Human errors will make a huge difference when it comes to creating authentic solutions. Using your paws will provide more time to consider and craft.


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