What Is D&AD-worthy?

Over the last few years D&AD has given its top award to some incredible things: Millions, The Great Schlep, The Millau Viaduct, The Millennium Wheel, The iPod etc.

But are they really D&AD?

I only ask, because to me, they are all so beyond D&AD that it almost seems sad to include them in such a limited awards scheme.

All of the above are so goshdarn amazing that they exist far beyond the worlds of advertising and design.

For a start, everything is designed in some way, which means that anything can surely be included in the remit of D&AD.

But the above work (even though it has been entered into D&AD) is not advertising or design: the individual pieces are just entities on their own, existing outside the remit of ‘design’ and ‘art direction’. After all, in what way is Millions a piece of design or art direction? Ditto the Millennium Wheel? You might as well include the internet.

Oh, they did (President’s Award 2007).

This may be the problem with D&AD. When something exists within its remit it is probably too narrow to be worthy of the Gold. But if it is worthy of the Gold, it is probably beyond D&AD.

(By the way, the two other Golds this year, coins that make up a coat of arms and BMW light sculpture aren’t design or art direction either. One is crap and the other is art rather than design.)

I’m just not sure that claiming everything that’s good (and entered) does D&AD any favours. It seems to make the organisation look like it is basking in the reflected glow of the work, which in turn reduces the significance of the award scheme.

Of course, it would take a brave D&AD to turn down such brilliance, but if it carries on like this, they might as well not bother with press, posters and TV ads.

They simply won’t be able to compete.