The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

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The Drum Awards for Design & The Metaverse preview: everything you need to know

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By The Drum, Editorial

November 16, 2023 | 4 min read

The best global design talent is set to be named on November 29 in London as The Drum Awards Festival – the world’s largest marketing awards festival, consisting of 15 shows over two weeks – hosts its annual design awards show.

Nokia's activity aiming for an award at The Drum Awards for Design & Metaverse

Nokia's activity at Mobile World Congress

The Drum Awards for Design celebrate the best art direction, strategic thinking and execution across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas, and tickets to the live awards show at The Drum Labs in the heart of Shoreditch are still available.

This year will also see The Drum deliver a double award whammy on November 29 as the live awards show will also include The Drum Awards for the Metaverse, giving attendees the opportunity to see the latest work being done by brands embracing the exciting opportunities in the metaverse.

Last year’s design competition saw Zulu Alpha Kilo scoop the major award of the night, the Grand Prix, for Pfaff Harley Davidson, while the Chair’s Awards was taken back to base by Transport for London. The Agency of the Year accolade was picked up by Pearlfisher.

This year’s Drum Awards for Design were chaired by Natasha Chetiyawardana, creative partner and co-founder of Bow & Arrow, who led a group of judges that included representatives from the likes of Interbrand, Huge, Accenture and Virtue Worldwide.

The Drum’s senior reporter Sam Bradley caught up with Chetiyawardana as well as judges Tanja Gruber, global innovation, brand and communications director for FemCare at Essity, and Walter T Geer III, chief experience design officer at VMLY&R Health, to talk about what went on inside the jury room as they deliberated the entries to this year’s awards.

After poring over entries to the awards this year, Chetiyawardana’s key takeaway for brands and agencies entering The Drum Awards for Design in the future is to really “think about the concept and the big idea” in their reports.

One trend they noticed this year was the emergence of work that included the use of generative AI. “It was a big theme that stood out for me,” says Chetiyawardana, though she caveats that given how much AI has dominated industry conversations, she was surprised she “didn’t see more of it” in entries.

“But the entries that did use it got a great balance between the use of irony and humor to highlight the dissonance between humanity and AI,” she says.

After poring over entries to the awards this year, Chetiyawardana’s key takeaway for brands and agencies entering The Drum Awards for Design in the future is to really “think about the concept and the big idea” in their reports.

“Design shouldn’t be superficial and the outcome of how something looks. It’s all about the why, the research, the relationship with the clients, the audience and how you reach them, the reach and effectiveness,” she says. “Don’t make design superficial in the way you talk about it. Show the impact it has on the world.”

Winners will be announced during The Drum Awards Festival, taking place from November 27 to December 8. For more information on the Festival and how to attend, visit the website.

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