PERSPECTIVE: Seymour's legacy is felt as design lands three D&AD awards

Those creative directors not having secret assignations with

Clemmow Hornby will this morning be engaged in the annual ritual of

debating last night's D&AD awards.

Although I am writing this before the melee of the big night, it's easy

to guess the conversations.

First up might be the fact that the typically ungenerous advertising

juries saw fit to award a single gold - to Mother, for its brilliantly

simple Britart campaign - while the design juries awarded three. Next,

one might note the remarkable similarity between that same Britart

campaign (inspired by art labels, black type on white, launched August

2000) and TBWA/Chiat Day's campaign for Los Angeles' Museum of

Contemporary Art (inspired by art labels, black type on white, launched

December 2000).

Next, one might note that Bartle Bogle Hegarty's talented line-up of

female creatives in Rosie Arnold, Claudia Southgate and Verity Williams

showed the boys how it is done and scotched some of that depressing talk

about the creative department being no place for a woman.

Then there's the fact that there is a new creative force in Britain

capable of the remarkable feat of getting recognition - not golds, mind

you - from D&AD judges for work from the FMCG sector. That creative

force is Leo Burnett. Its work for McDonald's, John West and Heinz Salad

Cream should spur on every client who is about to buy or every agency

that is about to sell FMCG's usual diet of boring, derivative, strident

(when in doubt, shout), offensively stupid or just downright patronising


But design dominated the awards this year with a resurgent Apple winning

prizes for its mouse and the London Eye getting the recognition it


I'd guess that design's dominance is the culmination of the efforts of

the last D&AD president but one, Richard Seymour. The founding partner

of the product design company Seymour Powell stormed into office on a

mission to break down the membrane between the design and advertising

communities. He was the president that finally addressed the titterings

from a sceptical advertising audience by making design look sexy on the

night thanks to swapping static slides for moving images.

He told us that package design is advertising just as art direction is


If only this year's president - David Stuart of The Partners, who is

this week's Private Viewer - had been able to do the impossible: to

convince the advertising jury to ditch the personal prejudice that sees

D&AD judges voting a sole advertising gold for a brilliant but decidedly

obscure client when we all suspect that some of those judges operate

with a less than disinterested eye when it comes to judging the efforts

of competitors or of "untrendy" agencies. Is it really good for the

industry to have so little to shout about on the awards night when,

thanks to new judging rules, the sacred D&AD Book will be fatter than

ever this year?