D&AD Festival Highlights

Published May 3, 2018

Five of our talented designers ventured into the east end of London last week to attend the hugely anticipated D&AD Festival. Celebrating the world’s best design and advertising, as well as boasting a fantastic line-up of speakers, workshops and interviews, the D&AD Festival is the highlight of the year for designers across the UK.

The team attended over three days so enjoyed a variety of talks and experiences; here’s what they had to say about their visit…


Tell us about your day at the Festival; which talks did you attend and what work did you see?

Sarah: We started the day exploring the event space, which had been designed beautifully with lots of wood, brick and quirky furniture and break out areas. We saw a number of talks and finished in the winners’ exhibition, which was very inspiring.

Leah: It was a perfect combination of listening to inspiring and eye-opening talks and walking around to find quirky and intriguing workshops or stalls. D&AD had everything, from VR experiences to learning to write your name in braille.


What was your highlight of the Festival?

Sam: The talk “The Importance of getting things utterly wrong” by Ben Priest, group chief creative officer at Adam & Eve/DDB. He gave a great insight into the John Lewis Christmas adverts, and it proved to me that even great work can come from making mistakes and taking risks – the big names in the industry are human after all!

Sarah: Daniel Fox-Evans, founder and editor of Hello You Creatives, delivered a talk on “The industry and where exactly you fit in” and gave a really interesting insight into how, actually, not to fit in and be normal.

Leah: Daniel Fox-Evans was also my highlight – it left me feeling excited to go to work and tackle briefs in new ways!


Why do you think it is important to be able to attend events like these?

Damo: For inspiration – hearing from people in the industry who you admire. For motivation – a kick up the backside; people are doing great work and there’s nothing to stop us doing the same. For education – being exposed to new technology and ideas.

Sam: It leaves you itching to go out and create, think and design new ideas.

Leah: It leaves you buzzing with ideas!


Which talk inspired you, and why?

Aaronn: “How vandalism will save advertising” by Jeff Goodby. His agency pushes the boundaries with design and the work they produce is highly engaging with their audiences.

Sarah: “Do not watch this talk” by Caroline Pay from Grey. She told us how Grey has introduced a 10% innovation rule, where 10% of the time spent on a project must be spent researching, learning and innovating, which I love!

Damo: Ben Priest’s. We know how successful Adam & Eve/DDB are, so it was really insightful to hear how they screwed up… in a good way. It was also interesting to hear how the problems were resolved and the collaboration involved to get there.


What was your top takeaway?

Leah: The industry still has a long way to go before it can call itself diverse and inclusive, and it’s up to us to challenge this. We have to do more to enable young talented people from different cultures to start their careers in our industry.

Aaronn: Believe in yourself, believe in your work, be passionate about design, and make things happen!


What do you think is the future of design?

Sam: There was a talk from the CMO of Sonos, Joy Howard, who spoke about how the Mad Men of the industry are now replaced with Mad Scientists, which I related with. We’re already working in a data driven industry, which is constantly improving to inform, but not dictate the creative.

Damo: Same as ever. Great ideas well executed.


How do you think innovation is affecting design? 

Sarah: I think innovation is pushing design to new depths. VR in particular is changing it up. We’re able to experience something completely different in our everyday lives just by putting a headset on.

Damo: It’s expanding how we communicate, where we communicate, and our expectation of what we see.

Sam: I think they go hand-in-hand. Innovation is design in its own right.


Did you see any common themes/trends in the work on display? 

Sarah: Boldness and honesty. I think where there is so much fake news, hidden ingredients in food etc., people are looking for honesty from the products and brands they’re purchasing from.

Aaronn: Push the boundaries.

Leah: The vintage art deco style posters are very much back – and I’m not complaining!


If you had to choose a colour to represent the day, what colour would it be?

All: Neon! (The colour of the festival guide).


If you have any questions about our D&AD Festival takeaways feel free to get in touch.

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