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Fairness First News South Africa

#FairnessFirst: Imagining a more diverse industry with D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne

In this week's #FairnessFirst, I interviewed CEO of the UK-based D&AD, Patrick Burgoyne whilst in South Africa to attend Design Indaba, on everything from the trend towards creativity for social good, the importance of diversity in the creative industry and changes in the business of design.
Patrick Burgoyne, D&AD's CEO
Patrick Burgoyne, D&AD's CEO

Burgoyne has been attending Design Indaba on and off for 20 years. “This time, I was very struck by the hugely diverse ways in which design is tackling major issues in the world, from malaria to flooding to supporting and preserving cultures. It was also very exciting to see how, over the years, the programme has embraced more and more African content and speakers from beyond Europe and the US.”

Speaking of which, here, he goes on to tell us about some of the key changes they’ve made to the Awards this year and how their programmes encourage a more accessible and diverse industry…

One of the key changes you've made to the D&AD Awards this year is the introduction of the Design Transformation category. Tell us more about this.

It's very important that the D&AD awards always reflect the industry and the work that our community does. Design is going through a very exciting period of change where organisations are recognising its potential to unlock and drive change across organisations, including services, products and every facet of customer experience, as well as comms. The Design Transformation category is a place to showcase this extremely important area of design.

Any other key changes you've made to the awards this year?

The Awards evolve every year following consultation with our community and past jury members. We have redefined some of our digital design categories and added more emphasis on service design, and have reviewed the product design categories to make them more in line with industry standard.

We have also moved the writing categories into the main sector categories such as Graphic Design and Commercials. This is because, over the past four years, judges in those larger categories were telling us that they would have awarded work for its writing if only we had provided them with a sub-category to do so. We hope that this move will result in more great writing being awarded at D&AD and as ever, we will continue to listen to feedback from our juries and refine our processes year to year.

What themes is the Festival going to address this year?

The Festival will be organised around five conversations this year under the overall theme of Imagine Everything:

  • In Imagine Joining Forces, we will be exploring how creativity can produce solutions, create consensus and forge a united path forward.
  • Imagine Unleashing Talent looks at the barriers to great new talent coming through and how our industry is tackling them.
  • Imagine Reinventing Commerce examines new, disruptive models for business that will support sustainable futures.
  • Imagine Progressing Humanity asks how we can use technology to create a better world for all, and
  • Imagine Brilliance showcases outstanding work from around the world.

Tell us about D&AD Future Impact.

Future Impact is our scheme to support great innovative ideas that drive positive social change and which are in the earliest stages of development. Selected projects are supported over a 12-month programme centred around a two-day boot camp in New York at which the founders receive expert advice and support on how to accelerate their idea.

You run a number of other programmes to encourage a more accessible and diverse industry – what are these?

We support a number of initiatives in this area run by other organisations, such as Creative Equals and Rare. D&AD itself runs Shift, a free night school for young creative people who have not had the opportunity to access a university degree. Shift at present runs in London and New York. With the support of the industry and brand partners, our Shifters receive expert training and support so that they are ready to enter the workplace.

It has a fantastic record of achievement with over 70% of participants going on to be employed in creative roles in advertising and design. It's one of the programmes that I think all of us at D&AD are most proud of as it literally changes lives and is beginning to help our industry tackle its diversity issues.

We have a long way to go on that, but Shift shows the importance of supporting young people with talent from underprivileged backgrounds and the incredible value they bring to the agencies and design studios they go on to work for. We know that more diverse teams produce better work, and Shift helps create those teams.

There’s a trend towards creativity for social good. What is your opinion on the matter?

Design and creativity have huge power to change behaviour and values. It is very exciting to see that power being deployed in the cause of social good.
However, in some circumstances, some of the projects emerging in this space can be superficial or inauthentic. Awards shows have to acknowledge their role in this as there has been a tendency for projects to be created predominantly in order to win awards rather than to have a lasting impact.

We must ensure that our judging process is rigorous and questioning enough and that we provide our juries with the right information to be able to identify those projects that have genuine value and celebrate them.

What is the change you hope to see in the industry?

The climate crisis poses a huge challenge to our entire society. Design and advertising have a massive role to play in tackling this. At Design Indaba we saw many examples of how this can happen.

Designers and creatives help shape the world, define our values and the behaviours we aspire towards.
We invent the future. We have a central role and a responsibility to help our clients create a thriving, sustainable world that works for all of us, and D&AD can help with this by supporting, educating, showcasing and encouraging our industry as it takes on this challenge.

D&AD (Design and Art Direction) is a non-profit global association for creative advertising and design. Visit D&AD's website, follow it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram, and follow Burgoyne on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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About Jessica Tennant

Jess is Senior Editor: Marketing & Media at She is also a contributing writer. moc.ytinummoczib@swengnitekram
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