The most important takeaway I’ve learnt from D&AD

D&AD is a really scary prospect. The build up lasts for around 6 months from when you join the school and a lot of emphasis is put on the awards from the beginning in order to prepare you for the marathon.

Even when you try and bury it down and say to yourself D&AD is months away, these months become fewer, and fewer become weeks. And even along the way D&AD is routinely reminded to you by the mentors each week. So it becomes, or rather evolves into this very big deal in your head you’re trying to avoid but cannot.

I’m not going to lie D&AD was an absolute slog and I think a lot of this is the apprehension. Am I going to find the right partner? Are we going to get along? Is the idea going to be good or am I going to be pulling a long this dead body of an idea that barely scrapes through the WIPs? And when you do have a good idea, there’s a million and one other errors that can crop up mainly due to the love and hate relationship you have with Adobe.

Overall as you can see a lot of doubt runs through your mind because it’s amounting for months. However, it’s not all doom and gloom prospective student reading this. I’m merely just setting up the scene. And the above isn’t exaggerated this is what it’s like, but it does get better from now on in.

It’s been a week since the D&AD submission, the night before the submission we realised our sound wasn’t aligned properly with our animation so I was cutting and splicing frantically and thank god there was a day extension, but we did it. We submitted it, neurotically checked the video 5 times before pressed the send button and once we did hid all the files so we couldn’t spot anymore mistakes. I hope we do well, but the biggest takeaway for me is that we did it, finally, the scary prospect that has been looming over us for months is finally done, and all the self doubt and imposter syndrome I’ve been wrestling with I know have evidence of my own that I’m good enough to be here.

At the school we are constantly told to trust the process, it’s very hard to trust the process when you haven’t even been through it once. But as soon as we submitted the case study video it finally sunk in. We made it through the late nights, made it through surviving on only meals deals, the insomnia, the computer crashes, the technicalities we oversaw, a few almost meltdowns. And I’ve proved to myself I can do this and I can probably do it again. It’s an incredibly rewarding process to go through regardless of whether you win an award or not and I genuinely feel changed for the better.


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