“It was an incredible experience to survey the landscape of design today and imagine where the future will take us,” juror Joshua Chen said.
“Winnowing the ‘really really great’ from the just ‘really great’ was challenging given the brief exposure we had to each piece,” added juror Art Lofgreen.
“My mantra for judging: Is it a good idea, well executed and relevant to the audience?,” juror Graham Clifford said. “If the piece ticks all three boxes, then it’s in.”
When asked what they saw this year, juror Pum Lefebure was succinct. “Texture is back. People are desensitized by the online world, so when they come across a well-designed printed piece, they respond to it.”
“I thought the work for Coca-Cola was stellar,” said juror Bradford Lawton. “It was simple, clean, updated and modern in feel without losing the essence of the brand. Kudos to a giant client that really believes that ‘less is more,’ and doesn’t succumb to the notion that all blank space is meant to be filled.”
“We saw a lot of letterpress, belly bands, foil stamping and fancy papers, but the work that really stood out had a strong concept with clean and simple execution,” said juror David Drummond. Clifford added, “One of my favorites in the whole show was a purely typographic solution for a cover design of the Bible—talk about a tough brief.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, several jurors expressed disdain for the over-produced. “Real estate, yachts, fine art and architecture offerings packaged so excessively that it was actually a bit nauseating to look at,” said juror Jeri Heiden. “We as designers need to find alternate solutions for communication, using fewer natural resources along the way. Yeah, we’re specifying FSC-certified paper, but we’re still printing billions upon billions of packages, brochures, reports, books and magazines—all destined for the recycle bin or, worse, the landfill.”
“Ethically and strategically, I understand the importance of addressing the environment and corporate responsibility, but what I saw was posturing through an aesthetic,” said juror Richard Boynton, “I found myself asking, ‘OK, I understand that you acknowledge the need for change, but what are you actually doing to make things better?’”
“Green hasn’t been a big focus during the last decade, but it’s back with a vengeance and here to stay.” —Sonia Greteman
“It was disheartening to see so many entries using tired and predictable visual vocabulary to convey sustainability, green movement and environmental responsibility, and so many others that were entirely overproduced, wasteful and mind-boggling in their disconnect with the times that we are living in,” Chen said. “Within these two extremes lies the biggest challenge for the designers of today and tomorrow.”
Several judges mentioned additional challenges facing the graphic design profession.
“I saw quite a few ad agencies entering the design competition,” Lefebure said. “This is a clear indication to me that we (as graphic design firms) not only compete among ourselves, but also against ad agencies. In the current economy, everyone is gunning for the same clients—those with cash and creative vision—and trust me, there are very few of them out there.”
“Work-for-hire agreements are becoming commonplace,” Boynton warned. “All we have to sell are our ideas; and these agreements stipulate that almost every corporation you do work for owns them—even the ones that they don’t approve and produce. Now more than ever, we need all design firms, large and small, to stand together. The answer is unity, the kind that reduced spec work for designers to an almost non-entity.”
What about the future? “It’s inevitable that more of our information gathering activities will be Internet- and video-based,” Lofgreen said. “What we design will have to adapt to that environment. Gone are the days of the static logo that will only exist on a business card or building sign.”
“Designers really need to create something worth reading. Otherwise they’re just wasting paper and pixels.” —Pum Lefebure
“Good design will become increasingly important as the world becomes evermore fast-paced, multicultural and confusing,” juror Sonia Greteman concluded. “The need to communicate quickly, accurately and powerfully will only grow.”
As in past judgings, we employed a two-step process: screening and finals. For screening, the jurors worked in teams of three, one team per hall. Each hall was equipped with a digital projector for images and six rows of tables for print. All but the smallest categories were split into thirds so each team screened a third of the entries. The judges alternated between viewing projected images and a set-up of print entries.
During the finals, all nine jurors worked together. Print entries were again spread out on the tables. Two paper cups, one white for “in,” the other red for “out,” with slots cut in the bottom, were placed upside down to the right of the pieces. The jurors voted by putting a different colored tile into the bottom of the appropriate cup. The colored tiles allowed us to make sure that every entry was voted on by every judge. Projected images were again voted on by each juror checking “in” or “out” on scoring sheets.
Judges were not permitted to vote on projects with which they were directly involved. When a judge’s piece was in the finals, Jean or I cast the ninth vote.
I would like to thank our jurors for their conscientious efforts in making the selections for the 49th Design Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca
partner and co-founder
Richard Boynton is a partner and co-founder of Wink. Established in 2000 with Scott Thares, the Minneapolis-based design firm works with clients both large and small on strategic brand design and development projects. In 2007, Wink was named as one of the Style and Design 100 by Time magazine. Boynton is a graduate of Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. His work has garnered recognition from AIGA, the Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, I.D., Graphis, The One Show, Print and the Type Directors Club; and is in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum and his wife Anne’s blog.
principal and creative director
Chen Design Associates
Joshua C. Chen is principal and creative director of Chen Design Associates, a creative communications agency in San Francisco, California. The firm has been recognized and featured internationally by leading design organizations and publications, including AIGA, the Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, Graphis, HOW, Print, STEP and the Type Directors Club. Chen has over seventeen years of professional experience in the fields of design, broad-casting, journalism and music. He is also author of three award-winning books, most recently Fingerprint: The Art of Using Handmade Elements in Graphic Design (HOW Books). Chen’s book Peace: 100 Ideas (CDA Press) was featured on A&E’s Breakfast with the Arts and in dwell and Metropolis.
type director/graphic designer
Graham Clifford is a second-generation type director/graphic designer. He was trained by his father before working for some of London’s best advertising agencies, including Collett Dickenson Pearce and Gold Greenlees Trott. He relocated to New York City in 1989 and plied his craft at Chiat\Day and Ogilvy. In 1993 he opened his own design consultancy collaborating with ad agencies and directly with clients on projects including advertising, logo design, brand identity and packaging. Awards include the Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, The One Show, The One Show Design, the Type Directors Club and a silver pencil at D&AD. He is currently secretary/treasurer of the Type Directors Club.
founder and principal
Salamander Hill Design
David Drummond is founder and principal of Salamander Hill Design, based in Elgin, Québec, Canada. After graduating from York University with a degree in design, he started working at Taylor and Browning Design Associates in Toronto. He then moved to Montréal to work as a senior designer at Graphème, part of the Cossette Group, specializing in corporate communications and package design. Salamander Hill Design, founded in 2002, produces projects that include posters, book covers, promotional materials, packaging and identity development. Their work has appeared in AIGA, Communication Arts and Print magazine’s Regional Design Annual.
president and creative director
Sonia Greteman is president and creative director of Greteman Group, a branding agency located in the Air Capital of the World, Wichita, Kansas. Since founding the firm in 1989, its concept-oriented creative has garnered numerous awards, including national gold ADDYs, Pro-Comms and Webbys; recognition in AR100, Communication Arts, Graphic DesignUSA, Graphis, HOW, Novum and Print, and inclusion in the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s permanent collection. Greteman’s personal achievements include a special governor’s appointment, an advertising lifetime-achievement and marketer of the year awards.
Jeri Heiden is co-creative director at SMOG Design, Inc, a Los Angeles design studio, specializing in visual communication tailored for the entertainment and publishing industries; including imaging, identity, packaging and print. Formerly senior vice president/creative director at A&M Records, and vice president of creative services at Warner Bros. Records, Heiden has art directed and designed over 300 album campaigns and has received 3 Grammy nominations for her album package design. Heiden attended Pepperdine University and Art Center College of Design. She lives and works in Silverlake, California, with her husband John (the founder of SMOG) and their two dogs, Jack and Ripley.
creative director and principal
The Bradford Lawton Design Group
Bradford Lawton is creative director and principal of The Bradford Lawton Design Group based in San Antonio, Texas. Following formal training in the fine arts, he worked as a freelance illustrator and designer. Moving to Stockholm, Sweden in 1982, Lawton worked as a senior art director for the ad agency Ide Och Resultat. In 1985 he returned to Texas and formed The Bradford Lawton Design Group. They have been recognized in numerous national and international design competitions and publications, including AAF, the Art Directors Club, Communication Arts, DSVC, Graphis, HOW, the Mead 60 and Print. Lawton is also a frequent lecturer on the creative process and design.
a co-founder and creative director
Pum Lefebure is a co-founder and creative director at Design Army in Washington, DC. Not only does she oversee all creative coming through the firm’s doors, she’s responsible for setting the creative vision behind each project. Since opening in 2003, Design Army’s work has been featured in Communication Arts, Coupe, Graphis, HOW, Novum, Print and STEP. Additionally, the work has garnered numerous industry awards from the AIGA 365, AR100, American Advertising Federation, the Art Directors Club, The One Show and the Type Directors Club.
Catapult Strategic Design
Art Lofgreen is one of three partners at Catapult Strategic Design in Phoenix, Arizona. Lofgreen’s logos and brand identities have garnered numerous design awards and have been featured in pres-tigious publications such as Communication Arts, Graphis, Print and in the New York Art Director’s Annual. Born in Arizona, Lofgreen studied fine art and design at Arizona State University. He began his career in 1982 at CYMA Software designing pack-aging, bro-chures and print advertising. In 1991, he joined SGL Design as a principal owner which later merged with Duke Marketing Communications in 1999 to form Catapult Strategic Design.