D&AD refreshes its iconic awards line-up with new Wood and Graphite Pencils

D&AD has replaced its In Book and Nomination awards with two new Pencils – Wood and Graphite – as part of a refresh designed to bring greater clarity to the organisation's iconic awards scheme.

The new Pencils, which have been designed by international design firm Turner Duckworth, sit underneath the iconic Yellow Pencil and represent bronze and silver levels respectively in D&AD's awards hierarchy.

Coming into effect from D&AD's 2015 Professional Awards onwards, they'll be incorporated across all of the organisation's Award programmes – including New Blood and the new Next series. The new line-up is as follows:

  • Wood Pencil (formerly In Book): D&AD's equivalent to a bronze award. The best in advertising and design from the year, worthy of a place in the D&AD Annual.
  • Graphite Pencil (formerly Nomination): D&AD's equivalent to a silver award. Standout work, beautifully executed with an original and inspiring idea at its core.
  • Yellow Pencil: The iconic D&AD Yellow Pencil, awarded only to the most outstanding work that achieves true creative excellence.

Special awards

  • White Pencil: Awarded to Yellow Pencil-worthy work that demonstrates the power to affect real and positive change in the world through creative thinking.
  • Black Pencil: The ultimate creative accolade, reserved for work that is ground- breaking in its field. Only a handful of Black Pencils are awarded each year, if any.
  • Most Awarded: Presented to the top advertising agencies, design studios, production companies and clients of the year. This award is calculated using a weighted system with points awarded for each Pencil won.
  • President’s Award: A golden Pencil awarded for an outstanding contribution to the creative industries, as selected by the D&AD President.

Increased clarity

The move seeks to rectify wide-spread confusion around the Awards hierarchy.

As D&AD chief executive Tim Lindsay explains, winning a place in the D&AD Annual is an accomplishment – and to be nominated for a Yellow Pencil is a serious industry accolade. However, the previous In Book and Nomination awards were often undervalued or misunderstood.

"We wanted to make things clearer, but stubbornly, not by adopting the same system as everyone else, for the very good reason that we're D&AD," explains Lindsay. "We like to be a bit different. It wouldn’t feel right to revert to convention, with our twin icons, Yellow and Black, already sitting outside of it."

D&AD twist

"Admittedly, finding a satisfactory solution hasn't been easy. But our new Wood and Graphite Pencils strike the perfect balance of being instantly recognisable and achieving that degree of clarity, but with a D&AD twist."

Yellow, White and Black Pencils are untouched by the refresh, and Lindsay makes clear that D&AD's Awards criteria will remain the same. "The standard remains as high; no more awards will be given than before, and as always, all decisions will be made by our juries."

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Julia Sagar
Editor-in-chief retail

Julia is editor-in-chief, retail at Future Ltd, where she works in e-commerce across a number of consumer lifestyle brands. A former editor of design website Creative Bloq, she’s also worked on a variety of print titles, and was part of the team that launched consumer tech website TechRadar. She's been writing about art, design and technology for over 15 years.