Menno Kluin's D&AD Diary

Screen shot 2012-04-22 at 9.44.59 AM.jpgMenno Kluin, head of art and ECD at DDB New York, was a judge on the D&AD Art Direction jury, chaired by Sir John Hegarty. He writes exclusively for Campaign Brief.

The Art Direction jury at the D&AD--my favorite. This is the category I love in the show that I love. With John Hegarty as jury Foreman. Pretty good gig. If only it wouldn't rain all the time.

The results are already out, faster than I could even write up something. As you can tell by this post, I am not much of a writer anyway. Congratulations to JWT Shanghai for winning with their Samsonite print ad. Another award for them! No doubt this ad will rank first this year in The Gunn report and garnered a well-deserved Yellow Pencil, as it was a unanimous decision. Three other pieces came close to a nomination: Famous Speeches by Marcel, Fat posters by Serviceplan and Miami ad school Letraset by Y&R.

Screen shot 2012-04-22 at 9.50.48 AM.jpg
Screen shot 2012-04-22 at 10.11.43 AM.jpgThis was a particularly rewarding year to be on the jury with John Hegarty (left) as our foreman. However, there was a catch. Does one really disagree with Sir John Hegarty when he looks you straight in the eye? All sorts of questions go through your mind at that moment. What have I really accomplished in my career? He founded an agency that has been doing the best work for the last 30 years. Do I really want to disagree with him? I just finished reading his book and now I am going to challenge him? Not an easy task. Luckily, he asserted early on that if you don't have a strong opinion, you shouldn't be on a jury. Good point.

There was ample discussion about what merited awards. Ideas versus taste level? Innovation versus legibility? Big brands versus small ones? Is it fresh? Is it well suited to the brand? Is there a high caliber of execution? Does it have stopping power? There were no cohesive conclusions; as you can see in the results, there is a sampling of everything.

What happens frequently is that agencies enter a given category because the idea was not as strong, so they think they can position their work strategically. While the ads with weaker ideas tend to get swiftly shot down, I believe that good art direction constitutes "A great idea, well executed" and deserves due recognition.

What I enjoy about judging is that there are always some surprises in the Art Direction category. Work that wouldn't have otherwise received recognition is highly valued in this category because it veers away from prescribing to formulaic criteria. We recognize the merit of something that exhibits a love of composition, color and typography. For example, I was excited to see the "Like the Squares" work from Leo Burnett London win validation.

Judging for D&AD was a great experience.

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