Close-up: Live issue - D&AD exhibition shows how the Pencil endures

Three creatives give their view on a new D&AD Pencil exhibition celebrating 45 years of creativity. Noel Bussey reports.

Last Thursday, D&AD hosted an exhibition at the Royal College of Art, called "Pencil". The event showcased 45 years of D&AD work, chosen by the 38 past presidents. The work was displayed in bright-yellow, Pencil-shaped cabinets, each containing a past Annual.

The evening also saw the hand-over of presidential duties from Poke's Simon Waterfall to the incoming Garrick Hamm, as well as the launch of this year's Annual.

Campaign asked three attendees to give their opinion of the night, the work and the charity itself.

- To view footage from the exhibition, visit

PAUL BRAZIER - executive creative director of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and deputy president of D&AD

I couldn't help seeing the show from two slightly different perspectives: as a fan of the work and as next year's deputy president.

First the fan's view: I loved seeing all the Annuals on show. I'd never seen some of the early ones, particularly the very first from 1963, which is actually more of a pamphlet. It was great to see the work chosen by ex-presidents (particularly since Adrian Holmes had kindly picked something of mine). And if the sheer quality of the work on show wasn't overwhelming enough, even the cabinets it was displayed in were beautiful. (They're shaped liked Pencils and light enough to be carted all over the world without anyone sustaining a hernia.)

If the exhibition was totally inspiring, then, to a newly elected deputy president, the evening was totally daunting. How do you follow someone like Simon Waterfall? He's steered D&AD through an extremely difficult time without a chief executive. He's had to call in just about every favour he's ever earned in the business. It's been a monumental effort and all of us, ad folk and designers alike, owe him a huge debt of thanks. Now it's Garrick Hamm's turn, and I'll be giving him all the support he needs. For the next 12 months, we'll be focused on maintaining the standards that Simon has set.

JIM SUTHERLAND - executive member of D&AD and partner at Hat-trick Design

My first introduction to D&AD was 20 years ago when leaving the Norwich School of Art. My tutor asked me where I wanted to work and I naively had no idea. He suggested that I went over to the library and look through the latest D&AD Annual. I came back 30 minutes later with a list of one company, The Partners, which had about 20 pieces of work featured that year.

The current exhibition is an opportunity to see the heritage and depth of work from the past 45 years. Single spreads are opened and comments and selections by the ex-presidents (which always makes them sound like Latin-American generals) add some insights and personality. My only criticism is I'd happily look through all the books them-selves rather than one spread in a display case, but then I suppose it would be a library rather than an exhibition.

D&AD always causes lively discussion, argument, reasoning and opinions. This is a healthy thing and there should be more (constructive) discussions. There should be also more celebration. For all the passionate debates about the projects that did and didn't get in, it's still an amazing collection of inspiring work.

TONY BRIGNULL - former executive member of D&AD and retired creative

I was extremely impressed by the event itself, but what really amazed me was what has happened at D&AD in the past few years.

It has become a huge institution for good in the industry, and I was gladdened that everybody seemed so terrific and young looking.

You can tell the health of a nation by the way that it looks after its young and its sick. And if that applies to industries, then advertising and design look to be in the best shape of their lives.

However, that doesn't mean there haven't been good times in the past, and that was demonstrated by the work on display.

There are things I would have changed - three Economist pieces was two too many. But it was great to see my Araldite ad in there - it changed the nature of posters.

I also thought the construction of the event, with the yellow cabinets, gave weight to the work while ensuring you knew you were at a D&AD event.