D&AD will keep its judging and awards ceremony virtual in 2022 in a cautious approach by the London-based organization given the ongoing pandemic and one that it says will also help to reduce its carbon footprint.
The announcement follows news yesterday that Cannes Lions plans to go ahead with an in-person event in June, including a hybrid element.
D&AD jurors will convene to judge work remotely, with the exception of the graphic, product, packaging, book and newspaper and magazine design categories, for which in-person judging is deemed essential as jurors are reviewing physical materials.
The ceremony will take place over two nights on May 25 and 26 in digital form, but with “watch parties” organized in cities including New York, Sao Paulo, London and Sydney to bring an in-person element to the occasion.
“No one can deny that virtual judging has had huge far-reaching benefits, from vastly reducing carbon emissions, to reducing sleep deprivation and helping individuals’ mental and social health,” Donal Keenan, D&AD awards director, told Ad Age. “It also means the number of countries and nationalities represented in judging D&AD has increased during the pandemic.”
“Vitally, through feedback we have obtained over the last two years of virtual judging, we can say with confidence that the quality of the discussion and integrity of the process has not been compromised. For 2022, due to continued restrictions on international travel caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we are not confident that judges from over 50 countries around the world will be able to make it to London, so digital-first judging will continue.”
Keenan added that D&AD was still envisioning “a future where we can continue to be environmentally responsible but also allow a return to in-person judging,” noting that “creative leaders miss the social elements and happenstance of meeting in-person whilst judging the most creative work of the year.”