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Award-Winning Creative Driving Inclusion, Diversity, Civic Engagement

D&AD Impact is a global initiative and awards program that showcases how creative thinking can be a force for good. This year’s winners highlight solutions including adaptive gaming and furniture design to wildlife conservation to turning the tables on racist rhetoric.

Today, at a dedicated event in New York, attended by creative luminaries from the worlds of business, advertising, design and philanthropy, D&AD named the winners of the fourth annual Impact Awards. In total, 32 D&AD Impact Pencils were awarded to pioneering products, initiatives and campaigns from around the world that are addressing some of the globe’s most pressing issues. 

D&AD Impact is a global initiative and awards program that exists to showcase how creative thinking can be a force for good, in the belief that purpose can enhance business success and value, alongside promoting collective responsibility for the global sustainability agenda.

“Our winners this year showcase the power of creativity to make significant, positive impact in the world,” says D&AD CEO Patrick Burgoyne. “From increasing accessibility to products and services, to changing policy and changing lives, this is work the whole industry can be proud of.”

This year, the use of design and emerging technologies featured prominently within the top winning work. Both winners of a Black Pencil — the highest creative accolade, reserved for truly groundbreaking and game-changing work — had a focus on 3D printing; Dagoma’s Harmless Guns tackles the proliferation of illegal firearms, and IKEA’s This Ables makes IKEA furniture more accessible for people with disabilities.

The use of AI was also a common theme within the line-up of projects that took home the top awards — being used both to help increase accessibility for people with special needs and tackle issues such as racism.

4 White Pencils, the premier accolade for creativity that has positive social impact, were awarded to:

Black & Abroad — Go Back to Africa (FCB/Six)

This campaign took hateful, anti-African American slurs and turned them into a powerful campaign for African tourism, aimed at modern black travelers.

Huawei — StorySign (FCB Inferno)

There are 32 million deaf children in the world; many struggle to read, because they can’t learn letters phonetically. A revolutionary free app that takes words from books and turns them into sign language, Huawei’s StorySign helps deaf children and their parents read and sign together. 

Mars Inc — The Lion’s Share (FINCH)

In this campaign, which also won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions earlier this year, Mars urges advertisers featuring animals in their advertising (apparently, more than 20 percent do) to volunteer to pay for those animals’ “model’s rights” to the Lion’s Share foundation, supporting conservation projects around the world. A clever fundraising mechanism already making an impact on the ground.

Microsoft — Changing the Game (McCann New York)

Microsoft created an adaptive controller for Xbox, complete with easy-to-open packaging, that opens the world of video gaming to millions of special-needs players around the world.

During the New York showcase, shortlisted entrants found out which coveted D&AD Impact Pencil they won. Along with the highest winners, mentioned above, the number of Pencils awarded at each level were:

  • 5 Graphite Pencils 

  • 10 Wood Pencils

  • 11 Future Impact Pencils

The D&AD Impact Council, an esteemed group of business and thought leaders from across the creative, brand, investment, social impact, sustainability and NGO space, assembled on November 5 to decide which work was deserving of a Wood, Graphite, White or Black Pencil. Their support for the program continues on as part of the D&AD Future Impact program, a new initiative for 2019 that exists to support creative ideas that have the potential to change the world. 

This year’s cohort features 11 winning prototypes, products and projects — including personalized colouring books for dementia patients (A Colourful Life); and specialty paper from locally sourced, discarded pineapple leaves (Pinyapel). The Future Impacters received access to a fund worth $150,000 that includes consultancy and mentoring, visibility and grants, and a place on the D&AD Impact Accelerator — a two-day masterclass, held at McCann New York. Spearheaded by members of the council, the accelerator has been designed to help the cohort amplify their ideas, so they can start generating impact after launch.