D&AD announces key changes to make 2021 Awards more accessible and affordable

D&AD opens the call for entries for the 2021 D&AD Awards with 40% off entries until 13 January.

D&AD has opened entries for the 2021 Awards and announced key changes across categories and pricing which respond to developments in the creative sector and ensure the awards remain reflective of the industry.

To continue its commitment to improving accessibility and diversity in the creative sector, particularly during the current economic climate, D&AD has announced 40 per cent off all entries received by 13 January 2021 and has increased the discount for freelancers and small businesses under 10 employees to 25 per cent.

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After considerable consultation with the industry, Writing for design and Writing for advertising have been reinstated as two distinct, separate categories. Writing work entered will be judged by juries of writers and senior creatives closely familiar with the craft.

As the creative industries constantly evolve, the D&AD Awards categories evolve too. There are notable additions this year that aim to represent the changing landscape of the creative sector.

Amongst the most exciting changes, this year is the launch of E-commerce as a new category for 2021. From Purchase experience to Brand partnerships, the twelve subcategories seek to award the most creative e-commerce experiences.

Following the first gaming brief of D&AD New Blood in 2020, this year’s Awards will include Gaming as a category which will celebrate creative excellence in gamified experiences and brand messaging across e-sports, mobile and online games.

With an ever-increasing number of entries, Type design has been moved from Typography and established as a stand-alone category, with the jury awarding the best design of single font styles and font families; from traditional styles such as Latin and Arabic to scripts.

Next Photographer has a long history with D&AD, and will be re-introduced for the 2021 Awards. Open to emerging talent with less than 3 years of commercial experience in photography, entry costs £50, with a chance to win mentoring, training and a D&AD Next Pencil.

To encourage and highlight compelling creative work created on a shoestring budget, this year’s Awards will introduce further Low Budget subcategories across all disciplines including within Film, Branding, Direction, Visual effects, Animation, Photography and entertainment as well as PR, Spatial design and  Music Videos to demonstrate that creativity does not need to be constrained by budget.

From communications that use audio augmented reality experiences to haptic feedback technology, New Realities and Emerging Media will award cutting-edge work that is changing how brands interact with consumers. Work can be entered into subcategories within E-Commerce, Experiential, Animation, Visual Effects, Typography and Gaming.

After the 2020 Awards programme successfully took place in a virtual format due to the pandemic, D&AD will continue their digital-first approach into 2021 hosting a virtual Awards ceremony and Festival while the safety of physical events remains uncertain. Not only will this allow the Awards and Festival to be more widely accessible to the global creative community, but it will also reflect D&AD’s sustainability goals, reducing the carbon footprint of those travelling to and from the events. D&AD is continuing to explore the possibility of in-person events.

Donal Keenan, Awards Director at D&AD, commented: “We are committed as always to creating an Awards programme that accurately reflects the current nature of the creative industries. In 2021 our changes reflect approaches the industry has employed to reach and engage audiences through e-commerce, gaming and new realities. As current world events continue to transform the creative sector, we hope that the changes to our Awards can help better bring together the creative community that we aim to champion.”

Following the successful launch of the first-ever digital D&AD Annual, the organisation will continue to provide the publication in a digital format in 2021. This will enable D&AD to expand its reach to a broader range of global creative thinkers and continue their commitment to sustainable development. The organisation is also partnering with 2019 D&AD Future Impact winner Beirut’s RiverLESS Forest, since rebranded theOtherForest, to plant a tree for every Pencil awarded.

D&AD Awards are now open for entry.

Dates to consider:

24 November 2020 – Awards Launch – Open for Entries

January 2021 – Juries announced

13 January 2021 – Super Early Bird Deadline, 40% discount ends

17 February 2021 – Early Bird Deadline, 20% discount ends

17 March 2021 – Final Deadline

April – May 2021 – Virtual and Live Judging

26 & 27 May 2021 – D&AD Awards Ceremonies