Last week I attended the annual D&AD Awards jamboree, at which many excited, and not so excited, individuals from around the world picked up an ever-increasing array of coloured D&AD pencils.
As with all awards, there comes that moment in the proceedings when significant figures that were involved with the organisation but have left us for the big studio in the sky are acknowledged. Past President Rodney Fitch received a touching eulogy from friend and colleague Michael Wolff. On film, the legendary perfectionist art director Ron Brown received many tributes from key advertising figures. All this was set against a backdrop of intensifying merriment from tables so far back in the aircraft-hangar-like space of the Battersea venue that they probably couldn’t hear or even care about what was going on.
I sat there wondering if this moment in this event was the most appropriate way to remember past friends or to celebrate the D&AD President’s Award, which this year went to Margaret Calvert for her contribution to graphic design and teaching. I quickly came to the conclusion that it was definitely not.
The acknowledgement of comrades who have left us and the celebration of the President’s Award should be at the beginning of the evening, when guests are not yet under the table.
Both the Oscars and the BAFTAs have a hyper-controlled atmosphere so that an air of respect can be maintained for those who care about these matters, rather than set against a room full of people where the large majority seemed disinterested or (more likely) never knew about or were interested in the people being honoured and just wanted to concentrate on getting more booze down their throats.