05 Novel ideas on show at the D&AD Annual launch

The D&AD Annual launched yesterday evening at the gorgeous new event space at D&AD’s HQ. It was a rare opportunity to hear insights into the world of book design as well as a chance to see the much-anticipated 2017 Annual.

Outgoing President, Bruce Duckworth of Turner Duckworth, introduced the three speakers, posing the question: “Why is it the book endures?” The talks that followed gave a more than adequate answer.

Jim Sutherland, Founder of Sutherl& showed us the work of Sheila Hicks – “A lot of the books I like are ones you pick up and they’re amazingly tactile; it’s the paper you use, the formats you choose” – and then a striking edition of A Clockwork Orange – “It’s the bravery of not writing the word ‘orange’, but of just showing it” (Google it – it’s brilliant).

For me, the highlight of his talk was “Seeing Things”, a book that aims to educate and excite children in the possibilities of photography. As adults we can be inspired by the work of Cartier-Bresson, but this is a book that could make my seven-year old see it too.

Picking up on this theme, Sam Arthur, Co-Founder & MD of Nobrow treated us to a tour of the children’s book his publishing house has created. “Books matter,” he began. “Look at the biggest retailer on the planet – it began by selling books.”

Showing us ‘Mad about Monkeys’ he argued: “How do you make a book about monkeys special when anyone can Google ‘monkeys’ and see the most amazing photos of monkeys ever taken?” It’s the central question for illustration in the digital age. And his book is the answer.

The final speaker, Sarah Boris, showed us some stunning ideas, but left me open-mouthed with “In Loving Memory of Work”, the author’s paean to her coal-miner father. Printed with coal-dust, it was wildly impractical, but shimmered and shone – a posthumous love note across generations.

Sutherland closed the evening by taking us through the story of how he designed this year’s Annual – a task that in any year would be daunting, but in a year when Duckworth was the client, was even more so. The story made us laugh, made us think, and left us inspired. The end result is outstanding, the evening was brilliant fun, and now we can’t wait to see our copy arrive at Red Setter HQ.

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