The winners of the D&AD Awards 2017

A look at the most successful projects and agencies at the 2017 D&AD Awards – including an innovative tourism campaign for Sweden and a Braille smart watch for blind people

The winners of the D&AD Awards were announced at a ceremony in London last night, with judges giving out five black pencils, 62 yellow, 180 graphite and 485 wood.

The biggest winner of the night was 4Creative and Dougal Wilson’s We’re the Superhumans spot for Channel 4, which received two black pencils. The ad was created to promote Channel 4’s coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games and features 140 disabled people from around the world. Black pencils were awarded to 4Creative and production company Blink.

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne picked up a black pencil in PR for its ‘Meet Graham‘ project for Australia’s Transport Accident Commission. The agency teamed up with a trauma surgeon, a crash investigation expert and artist Patricia Piccinini to create a life-sized sculpture of a man (Graham) with a body designed to withstand the impact of a car crash. The sculpture highlights how vulnerable the human body is in a collision and was put on display at the State Library of Victoria. Graham can also be viewed in 360°online.

INGO Stockholm’s The Swedish Number campaign for the Swedish Tourist Association received a black pencil in direct advertising. The Tourist Association set up a phone number for the country, allowing people to call and talk with a random Swede. The campaign was launched to mark the 250th anniversary of the end of censorship in the country and also won a Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Lions.

A fifth black pencil went to DOT, a Braille smart watch created by Serviceplan Korea. The watch offers an alternative to smart watches that rely on audio prompts and it’s face displays up to four Braille characters at a time. The product was developed in 2014 and has yet to hit the market but is due to be released later this year. It’s an innovative design but its win raises the question of whether prototypes should receive D&AD’s highest accolade – it’s one thing to craft a great concept but another to successfully launch a product and manufacture it at scale.

D&AD CEO Tim Lindsay says this year’s black pencil-winning projects were united by a “clear desire to create a better world” – whether through promoting diversity, road safety or inclusivity. “What is really fantastic is that they win this coveted award for their craft. Proof that creativity as a force for good lives outside of a single category but has become an all-encompassing theme,” he says.

Clemenger BBDO was the most awarded ad agency this year, winning 16 pencils including ten for Meet Graham. adam&eve came second with 15 pencils including one yellow one for its Give the Rainbow campaign for Skittles. The brand ‘gave up’ its rainbow in support of London Pride and gave out black-and-white packets of the sweet at the Pride Parade.

Studio Sutherl& was the most awarded design agency. The studio received eight pencils including two yellow – one for a set of postage stamps inspired by Agatha Christie novels and another for its work on photographer Marcus Lyon’s Somos Brasil project, a book and app mapping Brazil’s cultural diversity through photography, DNA recording, graphics and sound.

The New York Times Magazine was the second most awarded design team, winning two yellow pencils for the magazine’s front covers and its High Life issue about high rise buildings. The design team rotated the magazine 90 degrees to create a taller format.
The New York Times Magazine's High Life issue
The New York Times Magazine’s High Life issue

Romain Gavras’s cinematic film for Jamie XX track Gosh was the only music video to receive a yellow pencil:

And Sea Hero Quest – a game devised by Saatchi & Saatchi to aid dementia research – received the only yellow pencil awarded in the gaming category.

Framestore and McCann New York’s VR experience Field Trip to Mars received two yellow pencils while POL’s Enter Sandbox project for Audi – a VR project that allows users to drive cars around a sandbox – received one.

The US won more pencils than any other country for the first time ever – it received 182 pencils while the UK claimed just 164.

johnsonbanks' new branding for Mozilla. Read more about the open design process here
johnsonbanks’ new branding for Mozilla. Read more about the open design process here

This year’s President’s Award went to Michael Johnson of johnsonbanks, which recently carried out an “open-source” rebrand for Mozilla.  Explaining his decision, D&AD President Bruce Duckworth said: ‘”[Michael Johnson] represents so much of what I respect about great design and great designers. He manages to distil complicated issues and simplifies them into solutions that you can’t argue with. They’re just right. He does the kind of work that you can’t help but notice, the kind of work that I look at and wish I’d done myself.”

You can see the full list of pencil winners at

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