D&AD announce 3 Black Pencil winners alongside 231 Culture, Design and Impact winners

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Following the second of two digital ceremonies, today, D&AD announces 3 Black Pencil winners, alongside the President’s Award and the remaining Pencil winners across the Culture, Design and Impact categories. This year D&AD were proud to see that despite an unprecedented year for the creative industries, the standard of work submitted reached the same exceptional level. As such they are proud to award 3 Black Pencils, the creative industry’s most coveted accolade, reserved only for truly groundbreaking work. The recipients are:

#wombstories, AMV BBDO, Art Direction, Film

  • Women animators from across the world aiming to open up the many narratives and break taboos around the experiences of people with wombs.

True Name, McCann New York, Experiential, Community

  • A collaboration with Mastercard to support the rights of transgender and nonbinary people to use their chosen names on credit cards. 

Boards of Change, FCB Chicago, Spatial Design, Public Spaces

  • Turning plywood boards used to barricade storefronts during the Black Lives Matter protests into polling booths, empowering Black Americans to use their right to vote. 

President’s Award 

This year’s President’s Award, reserved for true industry heroes, was awarded to Kim Gehrig, Director at Somesuch, for her outstanding contribution to creativity.

Naresh Ramchandani, D&AD President, commented:

“For me, creative excellence is work that acts both for the brief and for the world, putting social purpose at the heart of commercial success, and showing us that great creativity lifts everybody up. Kim Gehrig’s work lifts so many people up – women trying to get fitter in the case of This Girl Can, men who stand against toxic masculinity with We Believe, and people unafraid to speak up about periods with Viva La Vulva. Kim is not just an ‘issues director’, because when she addresses issues, they’re not issues at all – they’re national and international provocations and celebrations that touch the hearts of everyone who cares and many more who didn’t know they did. For this reason I believe she couldn’t be more deserving of this year’s President’s Award.”

Companies of the Year 

The top ranking advertising winners of the year are: 

  1. AMV BBDO
  2. Publicis Italia
  3. Africa

The top ranking design winners of the year are:

  1. COLLINS
  2. John Knowles Ritchie
  3. Superunion

The top ranking production winners of the year are: 

  1. DIVISION 
  2. Somesuch London 
  3. Stink Films 

The top ranking clients of the year are: 

  1. Apple
  2. Essity
  3. Academy

Alongside these special awards D&AD also announced the Pencil winners across the Culture, Design and impact categories. Across these, the top ranking countries by number of Pencils are: 

  • United States – 59 Pencils
  • United Kingdom – 53 Pencils
  • China – 13 Pencils
  • Canada and France – 11 Pencils each

The top ranking companies for these categories, by number of Pencils are: 

  • John Knowles Ritchie, COLLINS and Superunion – 5 Pencils each
  • Adam&EveDDB, Africa, Apple and Google / Google Creative Lab – 4 Pencils each

The total number of Pencils in each category are: 

Impact: 24 Pencil Winners 

  • Impact: 6 Graphite, 13 Wood
  • Future Impact: 5 Future Impact pencils

Culture: 41 Pencil Winners 

  • Entertainment: 3 Yellow, 7 Graphite, 5 Wood
  • Gaming: 1 Yellow, 3 Graphite, 6 Wood
  • Music Videos: 6 Graphite, 10 Wood 

Design: 166 Pencil Winners

  • Book Design: 1 Yellow, 3 Graphite, 6 Wood
  • Branding: 6 Yellow, 12 Graphite, 36 Wood
  • Design Transformation: 1 Yellow, 2 Wood
  • Digital Design: 2 Yellow, 5 Graphite, 6 Wood
  • Graphic Design: 1 Yellow, 7 Graphite, 21 Wood
  • Magazine & Newspaper Design: 1 Yellow, 2 Graphite, 17 Wood
  • Packaging Design: 2 Yellow, 3 Graphite, 15 Wood
  • Product Design: 1 Graphite, 7 Wood
  • Spatial Design: 1 Yellow, 2 Wood
  • Type Design: 3 Graphite, 3 Wood

The 231 Pencil winning works and all shortlisted entries are showcased on the D&AD Website.

The winners were announced during the second of two digital ceremonies hosted on the D&AD website, which featured speeches from D&AD President Naresh Ramchandani in celebration of the winners. 

Donal Keenan, Awards Director at D&AD commented:

“D&AD Black Pencils are an incredibly special and rare industry accolade. I am delighted that this year we have three projects that are driving real behavioral change, from helping empower communities, to increasing freedoms and smashing taboos. The discussion in all three Black Pencil juries was insightful and rigorous this year. D&AD would like to say thank you again to all our fantastic judges in making these Black Pencil choices.”

The total number of Pencils awarded for the D&AD Awards 2021 by level are as follows:

  • Overall Total – 664 Pencils
  • Black – 3 Pencils awarded
  • Yellow – 63 Pencils awarded
  • Graphite – 190 Pencils awarded 
  • Wood – 390 Pencils awarded
  • Side Hustle – 2 Pencils
  • Future Impact – 5 Pencils
  • Next – 9 Pencils awarded
  • Collaborative – 2 Pencils awarded

D&AD this year continues to platform the most exceptional work from the past 12 months, following the same rigorous judging process that holds creativity to the highest standards. Famously tough to win, there are no quotas for D&AD Awards, meaning that the number of awarded entries fluctuates each year. In some years, no Black Pencils – the highest creative accolade – are awarded. The highest ever awarded in one year currently stands at seven. 

Winning work will not only receive an esteemed D&AD Pencil, it will also be featured in the D&AD Annual – the definitive guide for creatives all around the world.

D&AD will be launching the Jury Insights series, a programme of panel discussions in which judges from select categories will discuss what makes Pencil-winning work, alongside the trends and themes from the 2021 Awards. The series will be released fortnightly from 8 June on the D&AD website.