The ICAD Awards have been running since the early 60s and reward creative excellence in Irish advertising & design. The best advertising and design creatives enter work across a range of categories – everything from websites, books, packaging and animation to TV and Integrated categories.

This year the design category for the ICAD awards received a record number of entries, with over 120 pieces submitted for appraisal, compared to an average 75 in previous years. In total over 560 advertising, craft and design pieces were entered into the awards across print, digital, TV/cinema and radio. The best are up to receive the prestigious Bell at the awards ceremony this Thursday night. This year 2 gold, 14 silver and 64 bronze Bells will be awarded. An online gallery of commended works launched for public viewing last week and can be found here. Elaine McDevitt is the Managing Director of ICAD, we were able to grab a few minutes with her, for a chat before the ceremony.


Elaine McDevitt, Managing Director, ICAD and Jake Walshe, ICAD President

How important are The ICADS to Irish design? The ICADs are the barometer for creativity in Irish Advertising & Design. They have helped to establish a benchmark in the industry and create a standard that young designers can aspire to achieve.

How do you feel Irish Design has benefited from the awards? In 1959, in the introduction to Campaign magazine, Bernard Share laid out the ICAD’s aim to encourage ‘the highest possible standards in every field of creative advertising’. Design was very much considered a part of advertising and wasn’t differentiated until a couple of years later when ICA became ICAD. He continued ‘Such changes of heart do not happen over night, and though we as an Institute are far from being starry-eyed idealists, we are idealists enough to believe that an improvement can be and is being made, however slowly.’ The ICAD Awards came into existence soon after. As an industry we’ve come a long way since then and standards and conditions continue to improve.

Who can enter? Have there been any surprises throughout the years? The awards are open to all ICAD members. Possibly more interesting than the surprise entries are the expected ones – because ICAD publishes a book each year (and has done so since 1991) this means that we have a printed record that very much reflects the culture of the time so everything from famous Guinness ads to the ephemera surrounding events and issues of the time are recorded. I’d expect to see a lot of the advertising and design surrounding the recent Marriage Referendum entered next year, for example.

The past two ICADS were in Vicar St. what has that venue brought to the event? ICAD doesn’t go for the traditional hotel style awards and Vicar St is an edgier style venue that suits the evening. We structure the night so that the awards ceremony itself is all about the work and it is inspiring to see the standard on show. After the ceremony, the party is best described as low key but high tempo! It’s all about enjoying the company, food and music and for some – the win. And Friday is one day of the year where creatives might be forgiven for arriving in late.

Tickets for the event can be purchased through ICAD’s website, €80 for members and €110 for non-members respectively. Well done to all involved and we’ll see you there!