D&AD unveils 2017’s headline speakers

Creativity, Festivals & Awards

The D&AD Festival is back for 2017, bringing you the biggest hive-mind of creative excellence across the industry – with six creative super-stars now confirmed as some of the headline speakers for the event:

  • Anna Higgs (NOWNESS) is an award-winning producer and creative executive who leads ground-breaking work at the intersection of film and digital storytelling. Anna has recently taken up the position of Creative Director at NOWNESS, a global video channel bringing together the best in culture, with the best of emerging and established filmmaking voices.
  • Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer) – Dutch artist, designer and curator with great interest in photography. Creative Director of communications agency KesselsKramer in Amsterdam, he works for national and international clients such as Nike, Diesel, J&B Whisky, Oxfam and Citizen M. As an artist and photography curator Kessels has published over 50 books and will be signing copies of his latest book “Failed It!” after his keynote.
  • Piera Luisa Gelardi (Refinery29) – Creative director and co-founder at the lifestyle destination Refinery29, Piera leads a growing team of creatives who bring the brand to life online and IRL. With 225 million global users, it is the leading digital-media company focused on women and Piera and her team have been the recipients of numerous awards as well as co-authoring Refinery29’s first book, the New York Times best seller, Style Stalking.
  • Stefan Sagmeister (Sagmeister&Walsh) – Co-founder of world-famous design agency Sagmeister&Walsh, Stefan has designed for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones, HBO, and the Guggenheim Museum. He’s a two time Grammy winner and also earned practically every important international design award. Stefan talks about the large subjects of our lives like happiness or beauty, how they connect to design and what that actually means to our everyday lives.
  • Yancey Strickler (Kickstarter) – The man at the helm of an enormous global community built around creativity and creative projects, Yancey is the co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter. Over 10 million people, from every continent on earth, have backed a Kickstarter project and in 2015 it became a Benefit Corporation, a for-profit company that is obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders.
  • Zane Lowe (Beats1) – Zane is a New Zealand-born radio DJ, record producer and television presenter. Originally coming to prominence through presenting on XFM and MTV Europe, and then on BBC Radio 1 from 2003–2015. He is now the Creative Director and LA Anchor for Beats 1, Apple’s first free global radio station. Zane’s wealth of music knowledge and creative vision bring personality back to the modern age of music discovery through the human experience.


Joining them across the four stages will be speakers including a food futurologist and Amsterdam’s Night Mayor as well as some of the most famous designers, creative directors, founders and CEOs from around the globe. Brands including WeTransfer, Sonos and Unmade will impart knowledge alongside agencies R/GA, adam&eveDDB, Leo Burnett, Turner Duckworth, Dentsu, FITCH to name a few.

Tim Lindsay, D&AD CEO:

Everything D&AD does is about celebrating, stimulating and enabling creativity – in the context of working towards a more sustainable and more diverse industry. The D&AD Festival is that mission and those values in action – a glorious celebration of the great work that results when diverse talent collaborates in pursuit of excellence.



D&AD Awards Ceremony will take place during the Festival this year, with a new format to be announced soon.