Campaign presented a video spotlighting the judging for a D&AD Black Pencil. Ironically, the entire panel of judges appeared to be White. The award is indeed exclusive—as is the judging process. “Diversity champion” Sir John Hegarty declared, “Black has become the most coveted colour there is. It conjures envy and admiration. You can rent a black tie, you can purchase a little black dress but you have to earn a Black Pencil.” Hiring Blacks is another story for Hegarty’s advertising agency. Then again, if Hegarty and his mates hatched a concept to solve the industry’s dearth of diversity, the feat would qualify for a White Pencil. Ironically, the White Pencil is arguably the least prestigious of the bunch.
Sir John Hegarty and D&AD panel on judging a Black Pencil
By Sara Kimberley
To celebrate D&AD’s 50th Birthday, a panel of industry stalwarts including Sir John Hegarty, Bob Greenberg and David Droga, reveal what it takes to win a Black Pencil.
The behind the scenes footage by RSA Films includes interviews with D&AD chief executive Tim Lindsay and president of D&AD Rosie Arnold.
The amount Black Pencils issued every year fluctuates depending on the quality of work.
Former D&AD president Sir John Hegarty said: “Is the pencil dead? In today’s digital world some would argue so. There is one pencil of course that isn’t. Black has become the most coveted colour there is. It conjures envy and admiration. You can rent a black tie, you can purchase a little black dress but you have to earn a Black Pencil.
Its currency is inspiration, daring, persistence and audacity. It’s rarity renowned. Awarded rarely, and only to those who’ve captured our imagination and changed the way we think. So is the pencil dead? Certainly not this one.”