(D&AD) Judgment Day

4541659334_b9e60537e4This year I had the great honour of being a Foreman and juror at the D&AD Student Awards 2010, which was held down in Olympia, London.

For those of you who don’t know, a D&AD award comes in the shape of a pencil. As a creative, a Yellow Pencil is one of the highest honours bestowed upon you by your peers. It’s career defining, and can only be bettered by a Black Pencil…

However, I only had a hand in awarding “Baby Pencils“, a slightly vertically challenged version of the full professional award, but nonetheless, the honour of being asked to take part in the Student Award judging, and to be a foreman for the two briefs I was judging was incredible.

The two briefs were the Nokia Interactive Design and the BBC Digital Design brief. These student briefs had been sponsored by both Nokia and BBC, and had two people from the respective companies along with our six other jurors plus a D&AD Jury Manager for the day.

I can’t say I wasn’t nervous. A few questions and doubts were running through my head, but while getting a coffee before the opening speech, a few of the professional award jurors were more than happy to chat and assure me that it’d be a fun day.

The first ‘cull’ of the Interactive Design brief was hard work. We had to do this without discussion, and approved pieces make it through to the next round where we’d choose “in-book”. Not talking meant that I was in doubt as to whether I was picking the right kind of work, so I viewed every piece before making a mark on my clipboard, and adhered to the three principles of D&AD judging. The Idea, the Craft and On-brief.

Inside the Olympia

We went for a coffee, and came back to see successful cull-dodgers back on the walls. How relieved was I to see nearly all the works I’d circled yes to? Yeah, very! This put me at ease, and now discussions could be begin, which was great. As the jurors all warmed to each other and the task at hand, the whole job started to go by quickly, and we all investigated why each piece should be up there.

To cut a long story short, this is where we confirmed in-book, then went on to decide Firsts, Seconds and Commendations. If you didn’t agree with the choices, you could explain your thoughts, or be persuaded by others.

The jurors were all in strong agreement for all the accolades awarded, and I have to say our bunch were great people and knowledgeable professionals.

The work itself came in many forms, excellent ideas with average execution, super-glossy production hiding incomplete work, polished, peculiar, amusing, endearing, piss-taking and best of all, it came from all corners of the globe. The Student Awards is important, as these creatives will be working their way into agencies everywhere, and it’s good to see hard work and creativity awarded. Very honoured to have been involved!

For more info, follow the weeks awards on the D&AD blog.