D&AD reveals “more personalised” and digital-only 2021 annual

The 59th edition of the design and advertising body’s annual has an editorial slant, and has been designed by Studio Dumbar.

D&AD has unveiled its 59th annual, the second following last year’s announcement that it would be digital-only.

The annual celebrates D&AD’s yearly awards programme and showcases winning content with additional interviews and insight.

Last year, the free-to-access annual reached over 75,000 users, according to the design and advertising body. 12,000 of those readers were in the 18-24 age group.

While many expressed disappointment about the end of a physical annual, D&AD focused on the wider accessibility of a digital version.

The organisation’s current president Naresh Ramchandani adds that the second digital edition is “the most effective way for D&AD to make its most potent inspiration freely accessible to the widest possible audience”.

A “more personalised” annual

Dutch studio Studio Dumbar has designed the annual for the second year in a row. According to the designers, the aim for the latest annual was to “build on the dynamic qualities of the 2020 annual and create a more personalised and ultimately engaging platform for 2021”.

“The result is a more bespoke user experience that encourages creative conversation and collaboration,” they add.

For example, the 59th annual features an “endless scroll” option that aims to replicate the “serendipity of flicking through a physical book”, according to D&AD.

There is also access to statistics and figures on this year’s awards and judges, and an increased visibility on the New Blood work which highlights projects from the younger generation of designers.

A new ‘My Curations’ tab allows readers to save favourite projects and articles and makes them shareable across email and social media. This aims to “stimulate dialogue around inspirational creative work,” D&AD says.

In terms of content, the biggest update is a series of editorial pieces relating to this year’s winning work which embraced “social purpose”.

Winning projects included a credit card that allowed transgender people to use their chosen name and Boards of Change, which repurposed storefront barricades used during the Black Lives Matter protest as polling booths in last year’s US election.

Ten editorial insights explore these themes from contributors such as branding expert Debbie Milman and editor-in-chief of Japan’s Idea magazine Madoka Nishi. Topics addressed include Gen Z’s relationship to media and branding, as well as the role of type in cultural inheritance.

You can view the annual on D&AD’s website.

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