D&AD 2020 Festival Canceled, but Awards Will Go On

The D&AD Festival 2020 has been canceled due to the ongoing threat from COVID-19, but the organization will still continue its awards program this year.

The three-day creativity festival was supposed to place May 19-21 in London, but the event’s organizers have opted to forgo it this year to prioritize the “health and well-being” of its attendees and staff, according to D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne. Those who have already purchased a ticket will be contacted about how to claim a refund or credit.

“No one needs to be told we are living in an unprecedented crisis—a strange and frightening drama being played out in all too familiar surroundings,” he said in a statement. “As we all make our way through as best we can, we need to get things in perspective. Our physical events clearly can’t happen as they [had before] for the foreseeable future.”

However, the D&AD Awards—which includes one of advertising’s most coveted awards, the Black Pencil—will still be given out this year, albeit virtually. The deadline for entries has been extended until April 3, and judging will mostly be done online. Virtual judging will take place from May 12 through June 5.

“We believe that the best work of the last 12 months still deserves to be awarded. Our distinguished jurors will assemble—digitally, of course—to judge this year’s entries (though we are hopeful that in-person judging will still take place for some categories),” Borgoyne continued.

According to D&AD, judging for book design, graphic design, magazine and newspaper design, and packaging design will still be done in-person. The organization said it is implementing changes to minimize “the size of the gatherings and international travel.”

D&AD is still evaluating whether or not its New Blood Festival, an event for emerging creatives slated to take place July 8-10 this year, will happen.

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