D&AD 2021 — Celebrating creativity – work that matters must be seen

Motion Visual identity Interactive

A registered charity, D&AD represents creative, design and advertising communities around the world. In 2021, D&AD’s mission was all too clear – to celebrate excellence in commercial creativity in a year defined by hardship. In spite of the pandemic, creatives continue to excel and innovate: meeting new challenges, solving new problems, and inspiring audiences across the globe. Following the success of our Imagine Everything campaign for the 2020 D&AD festival, Studio Dumbar/DEPT® devised the positioning and identity for 2021.


Our positioning was driven by one word: continuity. The shadow of the pandemic has touched all corners of the globe, and yet the creative industries prevailed. Like no other year in D&AD’s history, 2021 presented an opportunity to celebrate excellence in the face of great adversity. Continuity became the guiding principle for the visual identity and promotional campaign, led by the call to action: work that matters must be seen.


Copy played a key role in the campaign, with slogans such as new ideas, new challenges animated into continuous streams of type. For the second year running we used a variable font, Marfa (developed by Swiss foundry Dinamo), to reflect the scope and versatility of the human imagination. Streams of animated type were deployed as framing devices, surrounding and elevating images of nominated work. The colour palette features striking, often jarring combinations, with dark background hues and bright highlights ensuring a stand out quality for the campaign, particularly online. A notable aspect of the visual identity was an Instagram-style filter, encouraging D&AD’s audience to interact with the campaign.


For the second year running we created a compelling, engaging campaign – from its launch right through to the awards in May 2021. The virtual awards ceremony featured further examples of our animated type, with an adapted slogan: work that matters must be celebrated.

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