The D&AD 2021 Awards are open for entries with key changes across categories and pricing. The most striking are a 40% discount off all entries received by January 13 2021 and an increased discount for freelancers and small businesses under 10 employees to 25%.
Other changes include:
Writing for Design and Writing for Advertising have been reinstated as two distinct, separate categories. Writing work entered will be judged by juries of writers and senior creatives closely familiar with the craft.
E-commerce is launched as a new category for 2021 with the subcategories from Purchase Experience to Brand Partnerships,
Gaming has been launched as a category to applaud creative excellence in gamified experiences and brand messaging across e-sports, mobile and online games.
Type Design has been moved from Typograph and established as a stand-alone category due to an ever-increasing number of entries.
Next Photographer has a long history with D&AD and will be re-introduced for the 2021 Awards. It is open to emerging talent with less than 3 years of commercial experience in photography. Entry costs £50, with a chance to win mentoring, training and a D&AD Next Pencil.
Low Budget subcategories will be added across all disciplines including within Film, Branding, Direction, Visual Effects, Animation, Photography and Entertainment as well as PR, Spatial Design and Music Videos to demonstrate that creativity does not need to be constrained by budget.
New Realities and Emerging Media will award cutting-edge work that is changing how brands interact with consumers, from communications that use audio AR experiences to haptic feedback technology. Work can be entered into subcategories within E-Commerce, Experiential, Animation, Visual Effects, Typography and Gaming.
D&AD will continue to host a virtual Awards ceremony and Festival in 2021 while the safety of physical events remains uncertain. Not only will this allow the Awards and Festival to be more widely accessible to the global creative community, it will also reflect D&AD’s sustainability goals, reducing the carbon footprint of those travelling to and from the events. D&AD are continuing to explore the possibility of in-person events.
Donal Keenan, awards director at D&AD, commented, “We are committed as always to creating an Awards programme that accurately reflects the current nature of the creative industries. In 2021 our changes reflect approaches the industry has employed to reach and engage audiences through e-commerce, gaming and new realities. As current world events continue to transform the creative sector, we hope that the changes to our Awards can help better bring together the creative community that we aim to champion.”
The D&AD Annual will continue to be produced in a digital format in 2021. This will enable D&AD to expand its reach to a broader range of global creatives and continue its commitment to sustainable development. The organisation is also partnering with 2019 D&AD Future Impact winner, Beirut’s RiverLESS Forest (now theOtherForest) to plant a tree for every Pencil awarded.
- 24 November 2020 – Awards Launch – Open for Entries
- January 2021 – Juries announced
- 13 January 2021 – Super Early Bird Deadline, 40% discount ends
- 17 February 2021 – Early Bird Deadline, 20% discount ends
- 17 March 2021 – Final Deadline
- April – May 2021 – Virtual and Live Judging
- 18 May 2021 – Craft, Advertising, Culture, Impact, Side Hustle, and Next Shortlists Announced
- 24 May 2021 – Design and Writing for Design Shortlists Announced
- 25 – 28 May 2021 – D&AD Festival
- 26 & 27 May 2021 – D&AD Awards Ceremonies
- September 2021 – D&AD Annual published
Find full details on categories, judging criteria, pricing and deadlines on the D&AD website.