Billed as the creative industries party of the year, the 55th D&AD Professional Awards Ceremony took place at Troxy, London on 27 April 2017 and we were tasked with providing full technical production.

Since 1962, D&AD have been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating the finest in design and advertising. With the iconic D&AD Pencil recognised globally as the ultimate creative accolade, the pressure is always on to create an event that challenges convention and leaves a lasting impression on guests and award winners alike.

Working in partnership with brand experience agency SomeBrightSpark, we devised a production design that utilized and celebrated the iconic nature of both the venue and the pencil.




To keep the winning work at the heart of the event, we created a ‘digital’ set using LED video panels. The 12-metre wide by 3-metre high main show screen was built using panels of high-resolution LED with a 12-metre by 2-metre 10mm GLUX wall staggered behind this. To really frame the stage, two further LED ‘banners’ were also constructed, with the GLUX panels displaying different sections of content pulled from the main show screen. This created a unique and abstract aesthetic.

To create movement and an element of 'theatre', the 3.9mm panels were rigged using kinesys. This allowed us to make full use of the unique space within Troxy, dropping the LED wall to reveal a high rise hidden performance area. This played host to the after-party entertainment, legendary DJ Mr. Scruff.

The lighting design for D&AD needed to be very sleek with a variety of different fixtures needed for each individual elements of the show. This included Martin Viper Performances, Viper Wash DX, and Viper Profiles as well as Martin Rush Par 2s used to create a colour wash onto the audience. 

With the LED wall dropping down to reveal Mr. Scruff, an extra lighting package surrounded the DJ and provided high-impact beams to frame the performance space.

Ensuring that the audio for the evening was also on top form and complementing the content perfectly, we installed a d&b V Series system. Alongside this d&b T Series were used for front fills, with Y Series used for delays. All amplifiers were d&b D80’s and one of our Duel Q-Lab System Racks was used for playback. Audio for the main ceremony was controlled using a Yamaha CL-5 console for FOH, with an additional QL-5 and CL-5 used for the artists.

We also created the custom-made steps for the Main Stage as well as the iconic pencil shaped awards table.


“2017 marked our 5th year working with James and the team at Hawthorn. Their professional nature and knowledge of processes and their technology ensure a smooth-running awards night. I can always trust in their knowledge and expertise that the show team will deliver even when building the content in a matter of days rather than weeks.

“This year was our first experience of working with Some Bright Spark in collaboration with Hawthorn. We're celebrating another fantastic year of the D&AD Awards having called upon SBS's creative talent to create a new and impactful show format for how the winning work was displayed. The patience, dedication, and professionalism of the team has meant that it’s been more than a pleasure to work with SBS and Hawthorn. I'm already looking forward to planning the next event with the team already.”

Michelle Fischer, Senior Manager of Events & Special Projects at D&AD