DT Yellow Pencil Awards

Since starting my teaching career, I have always been a firm believer that a Design Technology classroom should be run like a Design Agency. Students should be prepared for a career in industry and understand how designers work and live in the real world – so this idea has been inspired by the D&AD Yellow Pencil.



This is the original D&AD Yellow Pencil Award. Design and Art Direction (D&AD) is a British educational charity which exists to promote excellence in design and advertising. The annual D&AD Awards are highly respected, and regarded as one of the major events in the world of design and advertising. Two kinds of awards are given out, a Yellow Pencil (normally known as a gold award) and a Black Pencil, in various categories ranging from environmental design to billboard adverts and animation shorts. The Yellow Pencil Award is widely considered as one of the most prestigious and difficult-to-win awards in design and advertising. Winning a D&AD Pencil remains the pinnacle of many designers careers.

Inspired by the idea of the D&AD awards, I wanted to create something similar for outstanding Design Technology students.


At the start of each academic year, students are informed about the Yellow Pencil Awards and the criteria needed to win one. The awards are given for outstanding design work, innovation and creative solutions to briefs. Throughout the year, students will be nominated for an award. They will know that they have been nominated when a ‘nomination sticker’ is placed on their outstanding piece of work. The student will also receive a nomination postcard home (both resources available to download below). All nomination entries are recorded by the department throughout the year and at the end of the year, the department will judge all nominations and award 1 student from each year group with a Yellow Pencil.


Each Yellow Pencil is 110mm high. It is effectively a trophy and is personalised with each winning students name, year group, DT subject and the school logo.

Students (and staff) love these! It is relevant to the subject because it is something that is highly regarded (and real) in industry. It is also something that students can keep forever and really rewards creative students, rather than students that are well behaved or getting high grades. Due to this, I think that it is very important that only a couple are awarded each year, this keeps the Yellow Pencils prestigious and special- like the real thing!

Instructions on how to make these little Yellow Pencil Awards can be downloaded for free below, along with the nomination stickers and postcards.



7 thoughts on “DT Yellow Pencil Awards

  1. I am sooooo grateful for your post and for kindly sharing resources. I LOVE the pencils and the stickers and postcards are a great way to thread the Award through the academic years and support pupilsnin remaining focused. Thank again, jo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jo, thank you so much for your supportive comments! It’s great that as educators we can use the internet to share teaching resources and ideas worldwide 😊 I will be uploading more ideas very soon so keep an eye out. Have a lovely summer, Shanice.


      1. Hi Shanice,

        Thank you for your kind reply and I wish you a fab summer too. Out of interest, which KS4 courses will you be running next year?



      2. We have decided to go with the EDUQAS GCSE DT with a focus on graphic products if possible. What are you running next year? 😊


      3. After much deliberation, I decided to move forwards with the Technical Awards in Visual Communication (Graphics), and Materials Technology (Product Design). I just can’t bring myself to teach some of the generic content of the GCSE, and 15% Maths alongside 50% c/w to exam just wouldn’t suit my cohort demographic. Its a little nerve wracking that they are still to be formally released, but we have begun to create resources and SOW regardless. If the worst happens, we may switch to Art & Design Graphic Comm and 3D design for one year as we already deliver the former at KS5. Exciting times but I don’t know where DT will sit once Justin Greening’s Skills Plan comes into action in 2020😩.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sounds good, my previous school are doing the Technical awards and I have to say that I prefer them personally as a graphic designer! But my new HOD has decided on the GCSE so we will just have to see how that goes! I know, its a very difficult time to be teaching in the UK! Good luck with it all anyway 🙂


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