D&AD Black Pencil Award

How we sharpened the prestigious Black Pencil

We were approached by D&AD, which each year celebrates the finest creativity in design and advertising, to produce a film of the judging process for their coveted Black Pencil Award – the Oscar of the creative industry. This award is particularly prestigious and is given for the most outstanding design of the year.

Given the task of improving on their previously commissioned films, we carefully looked at the existing content and the D&AD as an organisation to see what we could bring to the brand that was new and engaging.

We discussed the meaning of the Black Pencil award with them, what it stood for and the criteria required to win the award. This had been explained in previous films, but the one resounding ‘sound bite’ we heard from judges again and again was: “I wish I’d done that.” This resonated with us and the D&AD team, and became a core element of what we sought to capture in the film.

The challenge was to make an engaging film explaining the essence of the selection process, while humanising the judges and creating a story arc that informs, educates and inspires the next generation of creatives.

The result: a film that we, and the client, are particularly proud of, that is engaging for any viewer, whether they’re in the industry or not. It also saw a significant increase in average page views per month on the D&AD website.


“We worked closely with 1185films to produce the brief. They then brought high production values to the filming and editing, and it shows. They then relentlessly worked on the film until they reached a final cut which we were all happy with. The final product is a delight to watch, and something we’re all proud of.”


Luc Benyon
Luc Benyon
Content & Creative Manager, D&AD