Meet the young des(i)gners working to close the pleasure gap.

In the fight to break stigmas attached to women’s health issues, we have to push limits and get people talking. That’s why for the second year in a row, we sponsored a design brief for the D&AD New Blood Awards that called for courageous and brave teams, willing to take on the status quo. Last year, we asked for design ideas that would smash down taboos around menstruation, and this year we took on the highly stigmatized, and tragically underfunded, subject of female sexual pleasure.

“Do you Speak Pleasure?” won a Wood Pencil for a creative approach to teaching people how to speak the language of “Female Pleasure” using the popular app DuoLingo

A d(i)g(i)tal judg(i)ng process

By far, the most valuable and interesting part of the D&AD experience was the judging process itself. When the Covid-lockdowns began to hit early this year and schools around the world were shutting their doors, the future of the 2020 D&AD New Blood Awards was uncertain. But at D&AD, creativity is the name of the game, so for the first time in the New Blood Award’s 40-year history, they would move forward as fully digital.

Like many of us, I was not sure how physical meetings would translate online, and yet I was overwhelmed by the experienced, diverse panel that showed up to uncover the 2020 winners of Mind the Pleasure Gap. The perspectives were numerous and the digital room was full of passionate exchanges between senior editors, creatives, investors, and entrepreneurs. It was clear that the outcome was indeed a reflection of the process where all voices were heard.  Opinions were challenged, perspectives were pushed, and many “Ah hah” moments were had.

The Mind the Pleasure Gap Jury
The Mind the Pleasure Gap Jury

All in all, Mind the Pleasure Gap was downloaded more than 19,500 times across 119 countries, and an incredible 225 entries were submitted. From the submissions, the jury awarded 13 Pencils: two yellow, three graphite, and eight wood. Let’s meet the winners.

Welcome to the Penc(i)l Party

D&AD is an authority on creative thinking, so it was no surprise that they came up with such an innovative way to notify this year’s pencil winners. Using augmented reality (AR), pencil colors were revealed as the reactions were recorded in real-time, capturing the joy and excitement of the experience—something that would have been sadly missed without the in-person ceremony. To see some of these reveal videos, check out our Instagram story highlights, we promise they will put a smile on your face.

Yellow Pencils

  • Am (i) Normal? (United Kingdom: Lucy Donagh and Charlotte Alford)
  • Lady Library (Denmark: Sørine Blinkenberg rossing, Louise Lindholm, Rebecca Brincker, and Caroline Aravicius)

Graphite Pencils

  • Own Your Parts (United Kingdom: Priya Mistry)
  • Play for Pleasure (Netherlands: Brandi LaCertosa, Jelske Driessen, and Branco Riquelme)
  • UNFINISHED (United States: Vanessa Bittante, Maidenly Pham, and Kristin Mizushima)

Wood Pencils

The Vulva Visibility Issue (United Kingdom: Alexander Taylor, Alysha Radia, and Joe Ribton)

Mov(i)ng on to 2021

It is going to take bold new ideas to get key women’s health issues on the global health agenda. We need to move beyond the usual forums and open wide discussions that challenge stigmas and mainstream what some see as difficult conversations. Let’s keep using the words clitoris, menstruation, orgasm, vagina, and vulva until they become normalized. 

The creative design industry may be our most effective and powerful tool to move the needle on these underfunded and stigmatized issues in a meaningful way. Now that we have tackled menstruation and female sexual pleasure, what’s next?

We would love to see any of these design ideas become a reality. If you are interested in working with one of these teams, let us know and we will happily put you in touch!