The D&AD Annual
Reviewed by Kate Stanners, chairwoman and global chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi
The D&AD Annual has always been a barometer for our industry, a yearbook that collates the best work and reflects trends and changes. In his introduction, D&AD president Steve Vranakis talks about how we are more powerful than we think we are and less powerful than we could be. That is the theme that runs through the concept of this year’s book.
The Annual has always acted as a manual to us, a reference book that we constantly refer back to. But this time the Annual goes further. It doubles up as an actual manual for those who might not know quite how talented they are, with simple advice those who might not know that there is an outlet for their particular brand of creativity.
I started my career at GGT and was lucky enough to have Dave Trott as my creative director. He was a huge supporter of young talent and he taught us how to think, distill a problem and then solve it. He ran courses for people who couldn’t get onto the D&AD student programmes and we even wrote a guide for people getting into the industry. Later at St Luke’s, we wrote another practical guide on how to get a portfolio together, how to get work placement and, once there, how to behave and survive – hence the title: "Stealing Teabags". It was so popular that people were trying to track down copies years later, because there just wasn’t anything like it… until now.
Again capturing the mood of the industry, this year’s Annual acknowledges the need to attract a diversity of talent. The path to entry into our business is exclusive and there are huge communities where young people are simply unaware that their creativity can find an outlet in our industry.
And if the Manual acts as a practical guide, the Annual will remain as an inspirational masterclass. Combined, they create a legacy for 2018 that is one of purpose. With a pared-back utility design, printed on new stock, this Annual means business.
Is it a great year? I’ll leave that to you to decide.
For me, it reflects a business that is transforming. It is alive, dynamic and experimental, even if that means that it is unfinished business and a work in progress.
The D&AD Manual
Reviewed by Raafaye Ali from the 2018 D&AD New Blood Shift programme
I have been one of the fortunate ones to get on the D&AD New Blood Shift programme, which is about diversifying this industry and creating opportunities for those who may have failed the traditional routes of education or feel it's not suited to them.
I wish there was a place for everyone to get this same chance, but this is what the Manual offers. It covers all the topics I am learning in the Shift programme, where we visit advertising agencies and tackle topics such as insight and researching target audiences.
Once opened and explored, the Manual has a charming rough feel in how it is pieced together, mimicking something that’s taped down and scribbled on. It makes the book less intimidating, allowing readers to be less precious with it, because it is made to be used and not just to look pretty on a bookshelf.
No two pages are alike, with a limited colour palette tying it all together and imaginative use of typography and layout. The book is purposely crafted, so you can actually draw in it and write down your thoughts and ideas. This is something Steve Vranakis recommends early on in his handwritten introduction, making it feel far more personal. The size of the Manual is narrow enough to slide into your back pocket and carry around.
The Manual helps to strategically break down a brief so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. I like that it shows that ideas don’t need to be completely polished when you first conceive them. Ads often start from a humble beginning. Ideas are written, drawn and pieced together, before more people feed into it and build it into something far grander.
The pages are full of rich digestible content such as case studies about influential campaigns, and it doesn’t shy away from throwing you into the deep end of advertising. A Manual gifted to newcomers with bright ideas can become a catalyst to ignite these bright sparks, planting the seeds of tomorrow.