AD&D 2016 Poster competition (Professionals Tier)

So, I’ve been perusing through last year’s AD&D awards, specifically in the professionals area. I know, pretty late but I’m a busy man! I highly recommend doing this regularly even if it’s because, like me, your nosey on what other people are creating in the world.

The brief that caught my eye immediately was the ‘Dear world… Yours, Cambridge railing posters‘. I mentioned in a previous post that, at the moment at least, I’m really enjoying posters and I have to say this brief is especially entertaining. I wish I’d spotted it sooner so I could have submitted something – although looking at the following pics, I doubt I’d have knocked anyone out of their winning positions.

I think it was Frank Chimero that said ‘Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because that idea wasn’t theirs’. If this statement is true, apparently I’m an idiot.

Taken from the AD&D website


Our task was to help create a coherent theme for their alumni and development fundraising campaign. Our core theme originated from Cambridge’s profound impact on the world, and the impact it will have on its future. The idea puts Cambridge’s impact in the form of a letter to the world, a letter that begins ‘Dear World’ and ends ‘Yours, Cambridge’. This set of railing posters echoed the posters that appear across the city, and ‘imagine’ what Newton, Darwin and Dirac’s posters might have looked like.

The competition had a variety of entrants whose posters ranged from intelligently funny to addressing current world issues such as equality and I’ve selected the posters I like the most below:


This poster made me laugh, more than that it made me look and admire the work that went into this. All the posters have a constant look amongst them(I can only imagine that it was specified in the brief), the shade of teal, the inset line border and the positioning of the text. This is all fairly basic but what i really like about this poster, and you’ll see what i mean in comparison with the next few is that the main imagery fits so well in the aesthetics of the poster. The border lines and the Venn diagram lines are the same thickness, i’ve a feeling the weight of the text is the same as well. Its a simple technique but it draws the poster together perfectly.

The top right of the border shape matches the point that the two circles in the diagram meet, i might be thinking too hard here but its almost like the designer decided on this content for this poster by drawing inspiration from the poster itself.

The tag line, ‘like it/love it/both’ ties the text to the imagery, confirms the way that the two circles are to be read (as a Venn diagram) and it reminds me of the cute little love letters that were passed around at primary school. This is the kind of design that i hope to achieve, theres an easy to read message presented right in front of you but when you take a few minutes – there’s layers.

It’s clever. It’s simple and to me that is what makes it a great piece of design.



I enjoyed this poster as it raises awareness about the lack of equality in every day life that I agree needs addressing. In history Graphic Design has been used to raise awareness, combat tyranny and express views to the public. Graphic Design as an art form was all but born from the need for people to express their views about current events (e.g.: war time resistance posters, propaganda & the suffragette movement). It’s about questioning norms and challenging roles, it’s a driving tool for change and I think this poster exemplifies the greatest qualities of what non commercial graphic design is about.

I like how it plays on the common acceptance of the order of how genders are addressed by using commonly accepted pictograms of the sexes. I do however have one small criticism of the intended meaning of the text. The poster asks why Sir always comes before madam when addressing a couple or group of people, and it’s true for that specific use of language, but how about Ladies and Gentlemen? I know this comes across as being pedantic and honestly it is, I agree.

The text is bold compared to other posters and it helps drive home the point within, but I wonder what it would look like if the designer took a leaf from the Venn diagram aesthetic and kept the weight of the text the same as the border? I would also consider using the outlines for the pictograms to draw a more continuous aesthetic across the piece.

However despite my criticism i do like the poster and feel it is very effective in its intended use. Again, i draw a similarity between my work and an AD&D winner’s as I’ve used pictograms to convey a message to the masses in one of my animations. People like familiarity and, like this designer, i feel its good to connect to the viewer on any level possible especially when trying to convey an important (and in some cases risky) message.


Instead of typing out pages upon pages of individual critic on every submission/winner i can lay my hands on for this brief and boring you all rigid, heres a small collection of some others that caught my attention and evoked something from me. My particular favourites starting with the top left, brilliant idea in breaking the fourth wall and making the so called ‘dieing art’ of the poster in print relevant in a medium that could potentially take over as the ‘new poster’? Top right: The pun made me laugh so much more than it should have and the bottom right having recently watched All the President’s Men (again).

I’ll continue to post new and old Graphic Design that catches my attention and give my thoughts and opinions on it. If you like what I write or have something to add -feel free to comment, like, share etc. If theres something you would like my opinion on drop me an email (my address can be found on my contact me page). Thanks for dropping past my blog!


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