D&AD Awards 2017: see the best design, advertising, illustration, animation and VR of the past year

The UK's biggest advertising awards gave gongs to some truly outstanding projects, most of which are trying to make the world a better place.

2017's D&AD Awards took place last night - with winners spanning advertising to service design, illustration to products. almost every major winner was either inherently focussed on social good, or at least using that in service of promoting a brand or product. Here we're showcasing the five winners of the top Black Pencil prize, plus a selection of the Yellow Pencil 'second prizes' that are most relevant to Digital Arts readers.

The most awarded campaign was Meet Graham, a road safety project from the Australian state of Victoria - which picked up a Black Pencil and five Yellow Pencils across different categories. The unusual-looking man above is a prosthetic model imagining how humans would have to evolve to survive a car crash - with a bull-like neck to cope with the massive force of being thrown forward and a flat face to deal with the impact of hitting the windscreen at force.

You can learn more in the video below.

The campaign was created by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne.

Two Black Pencils went to a single campaign: Channel 4's Paralympics: We’re The Superhumans - one to the broadcaster's in-house agency 4creative and one to its production company and director (Blink and Dougal Wilson respectively). This series of TV and online ads for the broadcast of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio followed a similar campaign for the 2012 Games in London, which won Black and Yellow Pencils. 2012's ads focussed on the athletes, while this newer campaign widened this to celebrate the everyday achievements of people with disabilities.

Another Black Pencil winner focussed around disability is a product, the hugely innovative Braille smartwatch Dot. Working with iPhones and Android phones, it allows people with visual impairment to read text on their wrists - whether receiving messages, getting directions or just reading news stories. They can also use it to reply and control smart appliances. 

It's a truly wonderful product that has the opportunity to have a real impact on the lives of blind and partially sighted people - and at around £200 it's affordable to many. The Dot is available for pre-order, and should be shipping soon.

The final Black Pencil went to The Swedish Number, which also received three Yellow Pencils. Created for the Swedish Tourist Board by INGO Stockholm, this project allowed people anywhere in the world to phone a number and speak to a random person in Sweden (who had volunteered to take part). The aim was to present Swedes as friendly and interesting (and attract more tourists, of course), and even the Swedish prime minister took part.

D&AD Yellow Pencils 2017

Here are our five favourites of the winners of the 62 Yellow Pencils.

Studio Sutherland's Agatha Christie-themed stamps for The Royal Mail include hidden clues as to the identity of murderer. They were only one of two winners in illustration categories.

The other illustration-based winner was Adobe's Making A Masterpiece campaign, which saw illustrators creating new artwork in the style of Old Masters using elements taken from the company's stock library.

Framestore's Field Trip To Mars and POL's Enter Sandbox for Audi showed real innovation in virtual reality. Framestore turned a school bus into what's essentially a giant VR headset, letting children see the Martian landscape as the bus drives them to school - with what they saw through the windows of the surface of Mars matching the motions and speed of the bus. Read: How Framestore Took a Real School Bus to Mars (using VR)

Enter Sandbox let members of the publich create a miniature driving track by pushing sand around in a box, which was 3D scanned. They could then drive an Audi Q5 around the 'sandbox' they had created in a VR driving simulator.

The single Yellow Pencil in the music video category when to Romain Gavras' visually stunning spot for Jamie XX's Gosh.

You can see the full set of winners on the D&AD Awards website.

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