Bring back D&AD

Sure I’m tired, and exhausted after submitting D&AD last week but, I’ll do it all over again. I just wish I had done some things differently. So here are some lessons, as a note to myself and as a reference for anyone who wants to do it next year.

Lesson one: Start research early

I learned this the hard way. When it all came to the crunch and I was stuck for words in my copy brief, I really wish I had done my research earlier, I wish I had interviewed my audience earlier, I wish I had rinsed social media earlier and I wish I’d asked ChatGPT some questions much earlier.

Lesson two: Take time to step out

This is a funny one, it’s hard to step away from the brief, when you’re faced by the pressure of the deadline. It only feels right to stare at the computer screen, even if you’re stuck, even if you feel tired, but on the contrary getting away, can help. Going to the gym or getting some exercise, or just some fresh air can actually reconnect you with the brief and provide inspiration for answering the brief better.

Lesson three: It’s your time

So I’m going to contradict myself here, although I said step away to get some fresh air, it doesn’t mean you commit your time to someone else. It was Mother’s Day and I had committed to a meal with the family. One hour turned out to be three and this raised my stress levels. So although I said step out and take some time for yourself, don’t get trapped into giving away your valuable time to other commitments, because when your time is not in your control, it can have a negative impact on your work.

Lesson four: Storyboard

I think, if you’re not storyboarding you’re missing a trick. Using post-it notes to simply draw out every frame makes it easier to move things around and switch the order of the script as you work through it. The bonus tip here is to write the script in the form of bullet points so you can move them around to find the best way to sell your case study.

Lesson five: Build your network

This might not be the case for every brief or apply to everyone but in my case, I needed some help from Fiverr. Trying to engage with somebody for the first time, while doing D&AD was a big challenge. Building a network of support while doing other briefs through the year and also having a go on Fiverr to get an experience of what it’s like, would have made things easier. Also when you are about to engage with someone, make sure to book a video call and explain your ideas with some scamps and layouts. Lastly, allow time for several iterations of corrections, even simple things like font sizes and wrong spacing (if they are not using the grid!) might need to be revised.

Lesson six: Batch cooking 

When you’re working on D&AD, the nights are long, the days are long and there’s just no time for anything else. So, it’s a good idea to have plenty of food cooked and stocked up in the fridge, so you have enough fuel to keep you going. Don’t forget caffeine and chocolate too.

Please shout out if you have any lessons you would like to share with me 🙂


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