Editor’s Column

Despite a significant drop in entries to this year’s Design Annual, the jurors found hopeful signs and quality work among the 4,564 submissions.

Go to Jurors Biographies

“I was reassured that design is alive and well—meaning that the design was sharp, crisp, concise if not a bit sedate in many ways,” juror Robert C. Lee said. “Perhaps this is a reflection of the social and political climate?”

“I really loved the directions some of the integrated branding programs took,” said juror Angela Mack. “I was most excited by the solutions that stayed true to the brand while switching up the deliverables enough to heighten interest.”

“I was impressed with the annual reports, which are not easy to get people to pick up and read,” said juror Amanda Lawrence.

“The motion graphics stood out among the designs entered,” Lee added. “The creativity and energy put into the shorts provided a sense of adventure lacking in some of the print work.”

“I was disappointed I didn’t see many environmentally-responsible solutions,” Mack said. “I expected to see plenty of evidence of this, such as more FSC-certified printed pieces.”

“Good design methodology and thinking will always be needed to help solve problems. The tools may change but the problem solving must continue.” —Wendy Pressley-Jacobs

When asked about how developments in business will alter the role of design in the future, jurors had some interesting insights. “Irresponsible companies that take advantage of the public trust will have the greatest impact on our roles as designers,” juror Gary Beelik said. “’Disclosure’ and ‘transparency’ are now as common in design vocabulary as ‘fresh’ and ‘innovative.’”

“Design needs to evolve beyond a problem-solving discipline,” juror Brian Collins said. “That term is as outdated as it is damaging. We need to see ourselves as problem-seekers and ask questions that people don’t even know how to ask.”

“It is not good enough to be a good, or even great, designer. Now we must be innovators, storytellers and above all thinkers,” Beelik said. “We need to integrate our process into our client’s business to build strong, believable brands.”

“In the near future we may see more small design firms merge or partner with those in allied disciplines (Web developers, researchers, writers) to offer their clients a more robust approach and to differentiate themselves from other design firms,” juror Wendy Pressley-Jacobs said.

“Designers should begin to initiate their own projects based on what is needed most in our societies and culture, not just what businesses think we might want to buy,” said juror Eric Heiman.

Despite the current challenging environment, jurors expressed optimism for the future of the profession.

“There will always be a need for design whether we Web shop or window shop,” Lawrence said. “A Web page needs products so there will still be a need for print and packaging.”

“I was glad to see that the integrity of the work is still alive and well, even though it’s been a challenging time for a lot of firms.” —Bill Thorburn

“The designer sits at the crossroads of two of the biggest revolutions in human history—the information explosion and technological innovation,” juror Bill Thorburn said. “The designer’s ability to make sense of these two worlds and turn them into brand experiences is the greatest asset we have as designers.”

As in past judgings, we employed a two-step process: screening and finals. For screening, the jurors worked in three teams of three, with Jean Coyne acting as the ninth screening judge. Three halls were equipped with projectors for digital images and six rows of tables for print. Each team screened a third of the entries.

During the finals, all eight 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 ensured that every entry was voted on by every judge. Jurors voted on projected images by checking “in” or “out” on scoring sheets.

Judges were not permitted to vote on their own projects. When a judge’s piece was in the finals, Jean or I cast the eighth vote.

I would like to thank our jurors for their conscientious efforts in making the selections for the 51st Design Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca

Jurors Biographies


Gary Beelik



Gary Beelik, principal of Soapbox, a design firm based in Toronto, Canada, has dedicated himself to creative experimentation in the areas where design potential meets communications need. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design, Beelik has received numerous awards for his art direction over the past twenty years from the Advertising & Design Club of Canada, as well as trade magazines Applied Arts, Communication Arts and Graphis.


Brian Collins

Chief Creative Officer


Brian Collins is chief creative officer of COLLINS:, a New York-based agency dedicated to creating brand experiences and communications that shape companies and people for the better. Prior to launching his firm, he was the chief creative officer of Ogilvy & Mather's Brand Innovation Group. Collins is a distinguished alumna of the Massachusetts College of Art, vice president of The Art Directors Club of New York and is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts.


Eric Heiman


Volume, Inc.

Eric Heiman is principal and co-founder of San Francisco-based Volume Inc., and his work has been extensively exhibited, honored and published around the world. His writing on design has been featured in AIGA Voice, Emigre, Eye and he is a regular contributor to the culture blog of SFMOMA Open Space. Heiman has been a professor of design at the California College of the Arts since 1999 and was the recipient of the college-wide Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003.


Amanda Lawrence


White Dot

Amanda Lawrence is founder and designer of White Dot, a New Canaan, Connecticut design studio specializing in brand identity for packaging and print. Prior to opening her studio in 1999, she was associate creative director at B.I.G. Ogilvy & Mather and has worked at award winning design consultancies including Michael Peters and Partners, Lewis Moberly and Sterling Group. She is a graduate of Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design.


Robert C. Lee


Methane Studios

Robert C. Lee is partner and principal of Atlanta-based Methane Studios. The firm got its start in 1997 when Lee and Mark McDevitt formed a partnership to produce silk-screen music posters for an East Atlanta club. The roots of this partnership started in the mid 1980s at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. Lee and McDevitt, both from small Ohio towns, majored in illustration and bonded over good music and creating art to form a friendship that would transcend into award-winning artwork recognized worldwide.


Angela Mack


YaM Brand

Angela Mack is the principal of YaM Brand (formally YaM Studio), a graphic design and photography studio in Seattle, Washington, that specializes in brand identity and development with a focus on the environmentally responsible. Mack received a BFA in painting from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and an MFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She worked in-house at J.P. Morgan before starting YaM in 1996.


Wendy Pressley-Jacobs


Pressley Jacobs Design Partnership

Wendy Pressley-Jacobs is the principal of Pressley Jacobs A Design Partnership based in Chicago. Prior to forming Pressley Jacobs in 1985, she was vice president/design at Goldsholl Design and Film Companies; vice president, creative group director at Burson-Marsteller; and principal design manager at Design Planning Group. She was educated in graphic design and liberal arts at Indiana University, graduating with a BFA degree in graphic design.


Bill Thorburn

Chief Creative Officer

The Thorburn Group

Bill Thorburn is chief executive officer of The Thorburn Group in Minneapolis. Thorburn started with a fine arts degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and worked a few years in an agency setting before becoming design director for Dayton's-Hudson's-Marshall Fields and opened The Thorburn Group in 1994. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

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