Engine Creative’s 1st class Yellow Pencil employee

The Yellow Pencil award is one of the most recognised and respected creative design awards, both in the UK and internationally, presented by D&AD (Design and Art Direction).

The D&AD Awards have set the standard for exceptional design since it was founded in 1963. A group of British designers and artists came together to award outstanding design work, with either a 1st or 2nd prize “Yellow Pencil” trophy being awarded to 16 individuals chosen from over 2500 entries. The Student Awards were launched in 1977 and the Yellow Pencil award is regarded as being “as good as it gets” for students receiving industry recognition for their work.

I’m (Tim Keay) currently studying a part-time degree in Graphic Communication at The University of Northampton and every year we enter the D&AD Student Awards as part of our coursework. Last year, my design was entered along with around 3000 other competitors from over 40 different countries.

The entry forms part of the coursework and consisted of a broad brief set by the international marketing agency, LBi. The brief required entrants to “use typography across any medium to explore the possibilities of meaning behind the LBi name”.

So… what was my take on the brief? I began by throwing down a few ideas and alternatives for what LBi could stand for. None of my initial concepts stood out for me, so I went back to my list of alternative metaphoric meanings and began sketching them visually.

The brief said to be fearless, so I created sketches for every one, trying to inject a bit of my personality and humour wherever I could. I then adapted my sketches to include elements of typography to match the loose hand-rendered nature of the sketches. I put them together in a booklet, which was submitted mounted on two A3 boards.

I was contacted as a nominee and invited to attend the awards ceremony in London, where I was fortunate enough to walk away with one of only 13 first prizes chosen from 24 different graphic categories.

Not only is owning a Yellow Pencil something I am especially proud of, I was also given the opportunity to meet two LBi Directors. Anil Pillai, the now CEO, informed me at the time that my original booklet hangs on their office wall and they would be happy to use my work as a promotional tool for their organisation.

  • Billy Clarke

    Congratulations Tim, that’s quality! Now it’s time for a black pencil, aye!

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