While the 4,396 entries submitted to this year’s Design Annual represent a slight increase from last year, the makeup of the submissions continues to evolve. We saw decreased entries in editorial, books and company literature, but more in motion graphics, integrated branding programs and packaging.
“I was floored at the number of stellar packaging pieces,” said juror Jeff Barfoot. “I think the annual is comprised of something like twenty percent packaging—most of it liquor. I don’t know if that’s a sign of a good economy or a bad one!”
“It was wonderful to see that creative work is alive and still full of passion and hope,” said juror Noreen Morioka. “Yes, there were some amazing standouts, but I was inspired that people felt so strongly about their work to share it.”
In the interest of balance, I asked the jurors about their biggest disappointments with the submissions. “There seems to be a great deal of interest in looking back,” juror Connie Birdsall said. “The old wooden type and decorative quality of much of that work seemed a bit tired.”
“There were a lot of really bad logos, often with no explanation of their use,” juror Jon Forss said.
“My biggest disappointment was the number of times I found myself wishing I had an actual sample to look at,” said juror Dan Richards. “The photos submitted often did not reveal enough about the piece to confidently put it in the show. This was most often the case with brochures and annual reports.”
“The winners consisted of three things: great content, great creative and great execution. Another irresistible quality was fearless thinking.”—Noreen Morioka
I also asked the jurors how the design profession can improve its position as a true collaborator with their clients and what developments will alter the role of design in the future? “Designers or studios should strive to become better at generating actual content, not only visually but verbally,” Barfoot said. “Designers are storytellers; we visually interpret, explain and organize content that makes it more interesting, palatable and exciting.”
“With the D-School at Stanford, the MediaLab at MIT and business schools teaching branding, we have a head start at being leaders in business and culture,” Morioka said. “The mistake is thinking we are not part of those communities.”
“The biggest development impacting design today is the convergence of digital platforms and the need to link them all in a seamless delivery of both content and design,” Birdsall said.
“As things continue to shift away from print, it’s really important that the incredible engineers and software developers that create each new platform for expression hook up with talented designers from day one,” Forss added. “Design should never be draped over a new technology, it should be woven into its very fabric.”
“The most surprising thing about the show was the sheer volume of beautiful package design. It was by far the strongest category.”—Dan Richards
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 53rd Design Annual. —Patrick Coyne ca
Jeff Barfoot is a principal of branding design studio RBMM in Dallas. He has been lucky enough to design for the American Heart Association, Central Market (H-E-B), Fossil, Hallmark, Hasbro, IBM, Limited Brands, Motel 6, Neenah Paper, Neiman Marcus, Nickelodeon, Pepsi, Sappi Fine Papers, 7-Eleven, Sony and Yum! Brands. Barfoot is a past president of the Dallas Society of Visual Communications and past editor-in-chief of Rough magazine. He is also proud to be a cofounder of the National Student Show & Conference, the nation's largest creative competition and conference for students, awarding over $20,000 in scholarships and prizes each year. He and his wife, Shay, are partners in bee things, designing art prints, apparel and products for the home.
Connie Birdsall leads Lippincott's design practice in New York and is a member of the firm's executive committee. Her experience encompasses twenty years of directing and designing global corporate and brand identity, information design, brand management and launch and implementation programs. Birdsall has held positions on the national and New York Chapter boards of the AIGA and is a member of the Design Management Institute. Her work has been cited for excellence by AIGA, Communication Arts and The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She speaks frequently on the power of design success and lectures on identity and design management, best practices for identity development and brand management. Birdsall holds a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Jon Forss is the British half of Anglo-Norwegian design duo Non-Format, which was founded in London in 2000. He works with Kjell Ekhorn (the Norwegian half) on art direction, design, illustration and custom typography projects for clients such as Coca-Cola, Gap, IBM, the New York Times, Nike, Nokia, Rick Owens, Sony Music, Universal and countless others. Together their work has garnered many design awards including a D&AD Yellow Pencil, two Tokyo TDC awards and a Gold from the New York Art Director's Club. In 2007, Forss emigrated to the Twin Cities and, in 2009, Kjell returned to his native Norway. Despite the seven-hour time difference the duo continues to work together as Non-Format and thanks Alexander Graham Bell, the Wright Brothers and the founders of Skype.
Noreen Morioka is a cofounder of AdamsMorioka, leading the team in client interface and business development. She believes that personal involvement with a client helps her crack the brand's spirit. This allows her to interpret her clients' sometimes vaguely articulated goals into actionable plans. In 2006, Morioka was named an AIGA Fellow. She is a past and current president of Los Angeles Chapter of AIGA, chair of the AIGA National President's Council and Fellow of the International Design Conference at Aspen. In 2000, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibited AdamsMorioka in a solo retrospective. Morioka has been named to the ID40, citing her as one of the 40 most important people shaping design internationally. She is a frequent competition judge and lecturer.
At age nine, Dan Richards began walking into local shops in his hometown of Denton, Texas, asking for business cards. That's right, business cards. This boyhood obsession continued well into his middle school years. With the benefit of hindsight, not only does his oddball hobby now make perfect sense, but his friends can all enjoy a treasure trove of hilarious 1970s ephemera. After graduating from the University of North Texas, Richards began his career in Dallas at Sullivan Perkins before moving to Oregon to design for Nike. He cofounded Opolis Design with Michael Verdine in 2002 where he remains to this day. Opolis, one of Portland's out-of-the-way creative gems, has created a wide range of award-winning work (including business cards).