Art Directors Club of New York

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The Art Directors Club of New York is an organization for art directors in New York City. It was founded in 1920, and has grown to have international recognition as an important[citation needed] industry group, promoting art directors' work through exhibitions and awards, including the annual DESI award for design excellence.


The Art Directors Club of New York (often referred to as simply the "ADC") was founded in 1920 by Louis Pedlar and Earnest Elmo Calkins, who saw a need to bring together print media art directors. Calkins was vocal in expressing the need for greater standards and public recognition of industry excellence. With Fred Lamb, Calkins had organized the first advertising art exhibits in New York City in 1908.[1] He saw a need for an organization that would “dignify the field of business art in the eyes of artists”, emphasizing his belief that “artistic excellence is vitally necessary to successful advertising”.[2] By 1947, the Club's work was being credited with a gradual increase in advertising art standards throughout the United States.[3][citation needed]

The Art Directors Club was restrictive in its membership during its early years. Women were not admitted until 1942. George Olden, an art director with the Columbia Broadcasting Company, was the first African-American member, having been elected to the Club in 1952.[4]

The Art Directors' Club is no longer confined to print media, and art directors working in film and New media are also members. Thus, the focus of the group has expanded beyond strictly advertising. The Club sponsors events such as special speakers, travelling exhibits, and several annual awards of international scope. The Art Directors' Club Hall of Fame is another prestigious project of the Club.

Throughout the year ADC produces a wide range of programs on advertising, design, and interactive media for professionals, students, and others with a serious interest in visual communications. These programs support the ADC mission to inspire and celebrate creative excellence.[citation needed]


Several awards are given out annually by the Art Directors Club of New York, to recognize industry excellence internationally. Juried awards have been given every year since 1921. The Award for Design Excellence is known as the "DESI" award. The main categories for the award, as of 2012, are: Advertising; Design; Illustration; Integrated; Interactive; Motion; Photography; and Special Awards.[citation needed]

ADC Young Guns are annual international awards given out to promising art directors under the age of 30. ADC GrandMasters recognizes experienced educators in art direction who have created a notable legacy in the industry.[citation needed]

Art Directors Annual[edit]

The Art Directors Annual is a review of the year's outstanding achievements in art direction. It has appeared yearly since 1922.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bird, Harry Lewis (2008) [1947]. This Fascinating Advertising Business. Bobbs-Merrill, reprinted by Wildside Press. p. 308. ISBN 9781434475541. 
  2. ^ "History". Art Directors Club of New York. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bird, Harry Lewis (2008) [1947]. This Fascinating Advertising Business. Bobbs-Merrill, reprinted by Wildside Press. p. 309. ISBN 9781434475541. 
  4. ^ JET (Johnson Publishing Co.) 1 (23): 37. 3 April 1952.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]