Browndog visits D&AD 2024

Picture of Heather Swinfen

Heather Swinfen

It’s that time of year again, we celebrate Design & Art Direction with a visit to the D&AD festival in London this week. Spread over two days, we watched presentations, keynote speeches and panel discussions, plus saw some amazing work and heard from creative experts.

Here are some of our favourite highlights and examples of the inspiring and innovative work that was showcased.

D&AD Festival: DAY 1

JKR: Making the outrageous possible

JKR gave a presentation on their rebranding of Impossible Foods, to create a unique stamp on the plant-based food industry. Moving away from the ‘greenwashing’ that can occur across most vegan food products, JKR went bold and chucked out green replacing it with a striking red colour palette. They also took inspiration from butcher shop typography, keeping the ‘meaty’ element to appeal to the meat-eating audience, who are often more sceptical about trying plant-based alternatives. They also created the strapline ‘meat from plants’ redefining what meat is, posing the question: If it looks like meat, smells like meat, sizzles and fries like meat, then what is the difference?

Jury Insights: Transforming Brands

As part of a panel discussion from the judging of the awards, a range of packaging and campaigns were shown that had transformed a brand/thought/behaviour. One that really stood out was a simple idea that made a huge difference. ‘According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Colombia 6.1 million tonnes of food is wasted each year, and 40% of this is made up of fruits and vegetables.’ Makro Supermarket created ‘life-extending stickers’ to be placed on fruit and veg, each with colour gradients that matched the lifecycle of the food. This helps to inspire consumers, giving them guidance on how the food is best prepared according to what stage it is in, leading many to reduce unnecessary waste.

Tilting The Lens: How design should include everyone

Another key insight from today’s talks was from Sinéad Burke, founder of Tilting the Lens, an organisation dedicated to improving accessibility across creative work, events and places. Disability can be apparent or not apparent, and can affect people at any time in their lives, whether they are born with a disability, develop an illness, or care for those who need help. She talked about the importance of language and how different people can perceive and relate to different words, an important consideration when crafting ad campaigns.

When it comes to spaces, accessibility not only includes wheelchair access, but changes made for those who may be sight impaired or hard of hearing; those who need quiet spaces, or access at different heights. The aim is not perfection, but progress, and to design with disabled people, not for them.

Peter Saville: Authorship

Someone who needs no introduction is Peter Saville, an iconic Art Director and Graphic Designer. He talked us through how to keep authorship over your work, especially when creating for other people. It’s difficult to have a unique style when someone is telling you what to say and how to say it. As creatives, we need to challenge the brief to get the best outcome.

There have been times throughout his career where he had free rein over the work produced, the most recognisable being the record covers he designed at Factory Records for Joy Division and New Order.

Andy Gent: The Craft of Puppet Making

Andy is a puppet maker for some of the most iconic stop-motion animation films, working for the likes of Wes Anderson and Tim Burton. He showed us the full process of making puppets for film, and the level of incredible detail that goes into the work by his company AMS. They definitely have a lot of patience! They made over 1100 puppets for Isle of Dogs, as this included a range of replacement faces to allow the puppet to speak and have expressions.

As well as films like Fantastic Mr Fox, Coraline and The Corpse Bride, AMS have created characters for IKEA, Cravendale, Money Supermarket and Oatley adverts.

It was incredible to see how puppets were built and the consideration that goes into scale, movement and texture to get it spot on for the film.

Malika Favre: Me and you and everyone we know

This was a big fangirl moment for me, as I love the work that illustrator Malika Favre creates. She talked us through her career journey, highlighting important people on the way that have influenced her path. Starting out as a Graphic Designer, doing drawing on the side, she moved into being a freelance Illustrator after creating a number of alphabet prints that drew attention.

A lot of her work focuses on the female form, using vibrant colours, cut through with black and white patterns. Her use of negative space and shadows are iconic, and you can spot a Malika piece anywhere.

Her work has featured on the cover of the New Yorker magazine over 12 times! Plus the Baftas, Sephora and Montreux Jazz Festival to name a few. Her takeaway was about the importance and influence of people in your life that build you as a person, and as an artist. She finished with a quote from her grandad that said ‘to make good deals, make good friends’.

D&AD Festival: DAY 2

Jury Insights

On the second day, I saw a lot of Jury Insights for different work including Luxury and Animation. Here are some of my favourites.

TAG Heuer filmed a fast-paced, comedy sketch video with Ryan Gosling to advertise their iconic watch.

WWF created a stunning stop-motion animation, using 3D-printed figures. The result is a moving and evoking piece about the climate crisis.

Jack Renwick: How I become the president of D&AD

We watched a live podcast recording with Jack Renwick, talking about growing up in Scotland, learning what a graphic designer was, eating toffee crisps and her introduction to D&AD. She was great to listen to and I’m looking forward to part 2!

You can listen to the podcast here.

Andrew Sandoz: Creativity and the corporate beast

Previous D&AD president Andrew, focused on the power of creative thinking within business and explored the idea of reframing ‘growth’. He talked about the importance of creative thinking as a desirable skill as ‘70% of companies surveyed consider creative and analytical thinking to be the skills most expected to rise in importance between 2023 and 2027’. Source: Forbes.

He went on to explain that ‘growth’ has become a term synonymous with greed and a lack of sustainability, posing that by expressing it as ‘Value Creation’, it opens up a new set of goals; financial, functional, social and psychological. It enables businesses to explore innovative ideas without being held back by thoughts of profit alone.

Creativity is the act of innovation, so if businesses want innovation, they need creative thinkers.

We hope you’ve enjoyed another round-up on D&AD for this year. We hope to share more with you in 2025! You can see our insights from D&AD 2023 here.

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