“There was a lot of work that was really inspiring; strong concepts, unexpected and beautifully executed,” juror Yolanda Santosa said. “I came back to work absolutely rejuvenated.”
“I was expecting to see millions of letterpress printed pieces, instead I just saw hundreds,” joked juror Matteo Bologna.
“There were a number of excellent examples of how designers using limited means can sometimes have the greatest impact,” said juror Earl Gee. “The more simple the execution, the more powerful the message.” Juror Tim Larsen added, “I felt as if the simpler pieces were easier for us to judge and more frequently selected as winners than those that were more complex or content-heavy,” he said. “It can be difficult to accommodate complicated information in design judging, but we must be relevant in the future.”
Juror Allyson Lack was pleasantly surprised to find that intricate production techniques still have a place in our industry. “With the economy impacting the way clients spend design dollars, I was pleased to see some very beautiful embellishments in print and packaging,” she said.
On the flip side, “Several judges had a negative reaction to a particularly highly-produced pop-up annual report, questioning the message it sent about the responsible use of resources,” Gee said.
“I was impressed with packaging as an overall category. I felt it was the most inspired and sophisticated work in the competition.” —Allyson Lack
Another criticism, of the frequent “comic book-like” packaging design directed at children, came from Tim Larsen. “There’s an opportunity—not only with children’s packaging, but with other products children use—to influence young people with good design,” he said.
When asked about the future, several jurors echoed the same thought expressed by Santosa. “Designers have to constantly evolve and keep up with technology to stay relevant,” she said. “I fear that the breakthroughs in our field are nowadays in the hands of interface designers, coders and engineers,” Bologna added.
“The next generation of design superstars will have to be both intellectually nimble and much more willing to know all about the many facets of our industry,” Lack said.
“Digital, mobile and social are all important channels, but will only be successful when done in conjunction with strong overall branding,” Larsen said. “A clear, well-designed brand will be able to survive whatever trends and new technologies come along.”
“As I was expecting, the average quality level was pretty high.” —Matteo Bologna
As in past judgings, we employed a two-step process: screening and finals. For screening, the jurors worked in two teams of three, with Jean Coyne acting as the sixth screening judge. Two halls were equipped with projectors for digital images and six rows of tables for print. Each team screened half of the entries.
During the finals all five 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 fifth vote.
I would like to thank our jurors for their conscientious efforts in making the selections for the 52nd Design Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca
Matteo Bologna is the founder and president of New York-based Mucca Design Corporation, where he also serves as creative director. Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Bologna's grounding in architecture, graphic design, illustration and typography facilitated his early business successes and inspired his decision to create a New York agency. Under Bologna's direction the Mucca Design team has solved numerous design challenges and created uniquely successful identities for widely varied brands. Bologna frequently accepts invitations to participate in judging panels for industry competitions and as a speaker to audiences of design professionals. When he isn't obsessing over typeface and design details, he can be found obsessing over his lovely wife and their adorable young daughters Olivia and Sofia.
Gee + Chung Design
Earl Gee is partner and creative director with Fani Chung of Gee + Chung Design in San Francisco, an award-winning multidisciplinary design consultancy creating successful branding, environmental and interactive programs for leading clients including Apple, Adobe, IBM, Lucasfilm and Chronicle Books. As one of 50 US designers named to the international edition of Who's Who in Graphic Design, he has served on a U.N.-sponsored design delegation touring China, lectured widely and serves on the AIGA SF board. He received his BFA in graphic design with distinction from Art Center College of Design. His work has been honored by virtually every major design competition including AIGA, Communication Arts, Graphis, the Art Directors Club, Type Directors Club and SEGD, and is in the permanent collections of several museums
Allyson Lack is a partner and co-founder of Principle, a multi-disciplinary design firm. Together with her partner, Pamela Zuccker, the two have created dynamic brand communications, identities and packaging for a diverse range of nationally recognizable clients. Lack received her BS in marketing from the University of Maryland Smith School of Business, but discovered her true passion for graphic design while surveying a design fundamentals class. Upon graduation, Lack sharpened her skills at Portfolio Center and joined Rigsby Design in Houston and later, Rutka Weadock Design in Baltimore. In 2007, she was lured back to Texas after she married childhood sweetheart Randy Lack, whose work (in renewable energy) is centered in Houston.
In 1975, Tim Larsen founded Larsen, a design, branding, marketing, and interactive agency with a staff of 40 and offices in Minneapolis and San Francisco. He was instrumental in the formation of the Minnesota chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design, and has served on the national AIGA board of directors. Larsen has been featured in national design and business publications, has received numerous design awards and was named an AIGA Fellow in 2007. He serves on the design advisory boards of the University of Minnesota College of Design and Minnesota State University Moorhead, and is a former chair of the board of directors for College of Visual Arts. Larsen also taught graphic design at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He received a BS in art education/graphic design from MSU Moorhead.
Yolanda 'Yo' Santosa began her career designing main titles for projects like Zack Snyder's 300 (2007), Ugly Betty (2006), Herbie Fully Loaded (2005), The Triangle (2005), Desperate Housewives (2004) and Hulk (2003). Although she loved storytelling, she couldn't ignore a growing fascination for branding. She founded Ferroconcrete in 2006 with the Pinkberry account, and has been managing the company's brand since. She has taught at Art Center and is an active national guest speaker. She's earned several awards, including three consecutive Emmy nominations and the ADC Young Guns 6 Award.