Next week sees the launch of the 2014 D&AD Annual, the 52nd edition of the famous tome celebrating the year’s best in advertising and design.
The curtain call of the D&AD year, the Annual is the personal legacy of each year's president, the launch bringing their period of office to a close. Every president wants to create something original, memorable and unique, which properly reflects their year.
I think we all knew that Laura Jordan-Bambach would look to push the boundaries with her Annual. Bringing together five very different designers and studios from all corners of the globe, while still ensuring a cohesive editorial design was an ambitious ask (and gave the D&AD staff tasked with putting the book together nightmares, happily unrealised).
As we look forward to unveiling Laura’s creation, here’s a quick look back through history at some of the weird and wonderful forms the D&AD Annual has taken over the past fifty-plus years.
President: Edward Booth-Clibbon
Annual design: Fletcher/Forbes/Gill
The very first D&AD Annual was designed by our legendary co-founders Alan Fletcher, Colin Forbes and Bob Gill. The black portfolio pictured is the one Alan Fletcher had used a few years previously while taking his work around America.
The Annual, along with a D&AD exhibition, was destined to travel all over the world to promote British creative talent, alongside the ‘It’s Great! Britain’ show in New York, Washington, Dallas and Detroit.
President: Bob Brooks
Annual design: Bob Gill
Typography: Malcolm Frost
D&AD’s early Presidents and Annual designers read like a true Hall of Fame for British creativity, although it was D&AD’s American co-founder that took the helm in 1968, Bob Brooks.
The 1968 Annual, designed by Bob Gill, parodied soap powder packaging and promotion and was the first to gently poke fun at the industry it was glorifying.
President: Chris Wilkins
Annual design: Tony Meeuwissen
Art direction: John McConnell
This front cover adorns the walls of our offices at D&AD, as a poster for the eleventh annual D&AD exhibition at the old Design Centre, 28 Haymarket – open to the public throughout the summer of 1973.
The cover artist, Tony Meeuwissen, is the only illustrator to win two D&AD Black Pencils, achieving this without any formal fine art training. Monkeys, matchboxes, mice and seagulls? Nope, no idea.
President: Tony Brignull
Annual design: Malcolm Gaskin; TBWA
Typography: Nigel Dawson
In the 1980s designers started to get really creative with the Annual, thinking way beyond the cover art. The 1983 Annual was the first to do just that, with Malcolm Gaskin of TBWA introducing an inflatable dust jacket, thereby setting the bar for future lunacy unfeasibly high.
This jacket actually was stolen quite frequently, meaning many still think 1983 featured just a plain, yellow cover.
President: John McConnell
Annual design: Mike Dempsey, Michael Lindley; Carroll Dempsey & Thirkell
Cover photography: Peter Lavery
What’s very clear, looking back at over 50 years of the D&AD Annual, is that there were very few restrictions for their respective designers (in fact, as Michael Johnson recalls, the brief really was "do whatever you want" at one stage).
It makes for an eclectic mix and the 1986 edition is one of my favourites.
President: Aziz Cami
Annual design: Peartree Design
Cover design & art direction: Neil Godfrey
Cover photography: Neil Barstow
Typography: Jeff Merrells
Modelmaker: Simon Lunn
Strangely enough, food is a recurring theme across the years of the Annual, which has seen bananas, apples, carrots and baked beans, as with the 1993 Annual.
The iconic, Lou Klein-designed D&AD Pencil wasn’t actually featured on the cover of the Annual until 1975, which led to a number of Pencil-centric designs in the 80s and 90s.
President: Peter Souter
Annual design: Esterson Lackersteen
Cover design: Mother
The responsibility for the 2002 Annual design was handed to Mother and the response was predictably unpredictable, with the agency deciding to create a cover for an imaginary Victorian D&AD counterpart, Dulverton & Asquith-Drake.
Titled "The unfortunate findings of the collective for the abolition of reason", the jury photos were mocked up as nineteenth century snapshots.
President: Michael Johnson
Annual design: Eseterson Lackersteen
Cover design: Inflate
Perhaps the most memorable cover design in recent years came from Nick Crosbie of product designers Inflate.
The 3D plastic jacket features a number of suction cups, to prevent treasured copies from going walkies.
President: Rosie Arnold
Annual design: johnsonbanks
2012 was our 50th anniversary at D&AD, so what better way to mark the occasion than for Rosie Arnold to commission 50 different covers from 50 brilliant artists and designers.
The above cover was designed by Dave Dye, while we also auctioned off ten original cover artworks from the likes of Quentin Blake, Rankin, Nick Park and Neville Brody to support the new D&AD Foundation, which is appropriately dedicated to funding programmes that develop the next generation of creative talent.
President: Neville Brody
Annual design: Fleur Isbell; New Blood Academy graduate & Wolff Olins designer
As someone who is passionate about supporting and championing young creative talent, it was fitting that Neville Brody broke with convention and chose a designer at the very start of her career, rather than one already with a collection of D&AD Pencils to their name.
Fleur Isbell, a New Blood Academy Graduate, designed one of the most intricate and interesting Annuals we’ve seen. The colours on the front are data visualisations based upon all the In Book nations from 2013. They look like little Rothkos.
This year, the Annual is self-published by D&AD with a strictly limited run of 3,000 copies. D&AD14 is available exclusively from the D&AD Shop from Tuesday 16 September
(This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk)