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D&AD 50th birthday marks biggest names in design and advertising

D&AD has staged a party and awards ceremony to celebrate its 50th birthday, with the top ranked agencies, studios and people of the last 50 years of D&AD recognised with a one-off award. The 2012 Black Pencil and President’s Awards have also been presented.

D&AD delved into its archive of design and advertising to uncover the businesses and people that have collected the most Pencils. The winning names were honoured with eight special awards: Most Awarded Ad Agency / Design Studio / Production Company / Brand / Art Director / Copywriter / Designer / Director.

D&AD CEO Tim Lindsay said: “The people, companies and brands celebrated tonight are the true visionaries of the past 50 years of commercial creativity. Their work has changed the way we live our lives, the way we communicate and the way we perceive businesses and each other."

The 2012 President’s Award, presented by Rosie Arnold

Dan Wieden

“Dan Wieden is one of the most inspirational advertising brains of our age. His spirit remains restless and free, and he continues to champion independent thinking and behaviour.

His work and that of his now numerous agencies lead the way across all disciplines. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen a piece of work that has surprised and delighted me, and made me run up and down the corridors at work showing it to other creatives, only to discover it came from Wieden+ Kennedy. So when I asked myself if I should give Dan my President’s Award, I told myself, ‘Just Do It’.”

Rosie Arnold, D&AD President

50th Birthday Honourary President’s Award

Derek Birdsall

In its 50th year, D&AD has decided to honour a designer who was not only central to its foundation but who has also been producing consistently outstanding work throughout all five decades of the organisation’s existence.

Typographer Alan Kitching, a former colleague and contemporary of Birdsall, explains what makes Derek so special: “He is a very inventive designer with an exceedingly fertile mind, so therefore he brings to the solution of a design problem his own particular take, which makes him unique. He’s probably the best book designer in the world.”

2012 Black Pencil

Just one Black Pencil has been awarded by the D&AD judges this year, to a remarkable campaign to demobilise guerrillas in Colombia.

FARC Guerrillas don’t use any of the traditional media in Columbia, so rivers have become their most important channels of communication and transportation. Every FARC base camp is built close to a river. The agency decided to use rivers as a means of delivering messages, letters and gifts at Christmas, which were sent inside waterproof capsules which lit up at night.

Terry Hunt, Direct jury foreman, said: ‘Apart from the poignancy of the idea and the simple dignity of the execution, what impressed the judges about Rivers of Light was that these were soundly based on direct response technique. The best direct work is about cause and effect; the deliberate design of a communication to achieve a quantifiable response. Rivers of Light used personalisation, targeting, the most appropriate direct medium and a clear call to action to achieve its aims while creating an event of transcendent significance. Rivers of Light is one of the purest examples of direct response creativity I have seen in 30 years in the business.’