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    The 61st D&AD Annual features 6 trends, with future focus on AI

    The 61st D&AD Annual, a free digital resource showcasing all shortlisted and winning work of 2023 has launched.
    Image supplied. The 61st D&AD Annual has launched and features a trends report
    Image supplied. The 61st D&AD Annual has launched and features a trends report

    This year’s Annual features:

    • Interviews with winners and industry leaders exploring major cultural themes.
    • Curations of the judges' favourite work and their opinions on the most talked-about entries.
    • Letters from D&AD CEO Jo Jackson and the 2022/23 D&AD president, Richard Brim.

    Annual trend report

    In addition, in this edition, D&AD goes even more in-depth than ever before with an Annual Trend Report providing an analytical observation of today’s global creative industry.

    Behind the Work interviews offer an insight into how the work was made, from the inside story on the development of Vogue Brazil’s award-winning Typeface to Muskrat Magazine and BBDO Canada casting culturally sensitive projects and preserving the past by rewriting Pocahontas.

    D&AD Voices provides broader context and perspectives on key ideas in this year's winning work, such as how AI is raising new and age-old questions about photography, how brands and advertisers are responding to consumer climate anxiety, and perspectives on colour theory, branding ubiquity, healthcare design, and more.

    Six trends

    Shaped by shifts in the wider world and pointing towards what’s coming next, six trends are unpacked in the report.

    These are:

    • Joyful surrealism
    • Open-source casting
    • Ownable Iconicity
    • Augmentation for all
    • Preserving the past
    • Pay it forward

    Creative work that surprises and thrills

    Joyful surrealism explores creative work that surprises and thrills, transporting audiences to unexpected worlds with engaging, surreal concepts.

    This was demonstrated in Black Pencil-winning work Pharrell Williams - Cash In Cash Out, a music video pushing the creative boundaries of video production with a realistic fantasy world created entirely through CGI. This trend shows if you tap into awe and joy, you will reach consumers seeking escape, creating goose-bump-inducing effects that will engage audiences.

    Anti-perfection in an imperfect world

    Open-source casting is the trend for casting real people. Presenting authentic and socially inclusive depictions of society reflects anti-perfection in an imperfect world. Pencil-winning work tore down societal barriers to inclusivity. Lacoste knows its community is not defined by demographics; it’s formed of diverse social groups and subcultures.

    Unexpected Encounters by BETC Paris drew on this with an authentic and bold campaign shot by Irish photographer Ronan Gallagher. The refreshing use of casting brings strangers, from infants to octogenarians, to meet in surprising moments, united by a piece of clothing bearing the iconic Lacoste crocodile emblem.

    Overall findings are clear that the ‘TikTokification’ of social media means audiences now expect real-life, unfiltered content.

    Future focus: AI

    In 2023, the possibilities and limitations of artificial intelligence (AI) as a creative co-pilot were entertained.

    Coca-Cola Masterpiece took home a Yellow Pencil and two Graphite Pencils for its groundbreaking application of AI, with a two-minute fizzy film explosion set in a gallery where Andy Warhol’s 1962 artwork Large Coca-Cola comes to life.

    Although not yet widespread, the jury predicts that AI will be a dominating trend next year. If 2023 was the year of experimentation, 2024 will be the year of refined sophistication. The report looks at how AI is developing a presence at the Awards, and predictions on how it will develop in the creative industry.

    Educational and inspirational resource

    The D&AD Annual continues to serve as an educational and inspirational resource for both emerging and established creatives. The recent digitalisation of the Annual means the latest editions have been widely accessible, reaching over 200,000 users.

    Free to access

    The Annual is free to access to all and is now available to view via the D&AD website. With 300+ world-leading designers, advertising experts and skilled creatives casting their eye over a record number of more than 12,000 entries from 70+ countries, D&AD is in a unique position to truly understand the industry today.

    Created with The Thought Partnership, the Trend Report examines emerging themes that dominated the D&AD Pencil winners in 2023. It distils the catalogue of insights gathered from the jury rooms as well as the impact of wider cultural and societal shifts in the world at large.

    Read the full D&AD Annual Trend Report here.

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