So there were some Australian Graphic Design Association awards announced a couple of weeks ago, I hear the ceremony was even held in my home town of Adelaide (I had a previous engagement booked that evening ;). That doesn’t stop me from coming in late to the party and casting my critical eye over the results though, if not me, who will though?
All joking aside, it looks like it was a pretty good evening, and as usual, some deserving work was recognised. It’s a tough job holding design awards these days it seems, even great design institutions of my youth like the Communication Arts Design Annual seem a little lacklustre these days. I guess design awards have lost a bit of their sting and surprise when nowadays everyone can stick their work online for instant appreciation. I wonder if younger designers put much stock in the whole idea of design awards these days. Looking at the entries for the AGDA Awards, there are certainly a prevalence of a lot of the well known names, also some glaring omissions that questions whether even established studios have much interest in design competitions these days. Are they too expensive to enter? Is an annual event too often? Or do design firms just not see any relevance in it for themselves? These are questions probably best left for another post (indeed, maybe questions that need to be posed about the organisation of AGDA itself in some regards, but in the meantime, let’s take a look at what got the gongs this year, and what, in my humble opinion, should have perhaps received a little more recognition.
Pinnacle winner: Frost* Collective Paper #5
|Creative Director||Vince Frost|
|Art Director||Anthony Donovan|
|Typographer||Anthony Donovan, Chris Griffiths|
|Photographer||Brett Boardman, Tyrone Branigan, Nicole England, Tom Ferguson, Murray Fredericks, Anthony Geernaert, Tim Jones, Mark Neusham, Zahn Pithers, Sooti Tan|
|Other||Producer, Miya Bradley
Editor – Sophia Watson
|Printer||Ligare Book Printers|
Finally this year, a winner in the Identity category, but I’m not all that sure about this pick. Don’t get me wrong, Frost do excellent work, and this is an excellent piece of work, but does it fit into the category of Identity? Isn’t it more a publication or self-promotion? (I wish the awards had this category). It seems weird that after a couple of years of having no pinnacle winner under identity that this gets the gong, I guess it’s as broad as you want it to be.
Should have been a contender… Brewster Murray Corp. Identity by Frost* Collective
|Designer||Ryan Curtis, Louis Johanson|
|Creative Director||Anthony Donovan|
|Other||Project Manager – Simon Wales
Strategist – Jeanne Ogilvie
Strategy Director – Cat Burgess
To be honest, there wasn’t much in the Identity category that particularly stood out to me this year, but this entry by Frost* did appeal to my love of old school aesthetics. You don’t see the old ‘letter-mark’ logo in use so much these days, but I think it works very well here and brought a smile to my face and a nod of appreciation for its swiss style utility. Massimo Vignelli would approve I’m sure!
Should have been a contender… My Kingdom For a Horse Corp. Identity by Parallax
|Art Director||Kellie Campbell-Illingworth|
|Finished Artist||Kellie Campbell-Illingworth, Josh Jarvis|
Full Marks to the guys at Parallax for designing an identity for a cafe called ‘My Kingdom For a Horse’ and not actually using any representation of a horse in it. I would have used a horse. That’s why they are winning awards and I’m just commenting on awards. Beautiful work though, and a very nice cafe to visit if you are ever in the vicinity.
Pinnacle winner: 20th Biennale of Sydney Guidebook by For The People
|Designer||Jason Little, Olivia King, Lauren Barber|
|Creative Director||Jason Little|
|Typographer||Jason Little, Olivia King, Mathieu Reguer|
|Finished Artist||Lauren Barber|
It’s a handsome piece, from what I can tell, I imagine it’s pretty impressive when in hand. The ‘Print’ category is such a weird all encompassing sort of beast, it’s really hard to judge what is appropriate or not. Should this be under publications? I don’t know, it seems a handsome piece, so I’ll trust the jurors choice in this case.
Should have been a contender… Supercoach campaign by Cornwell
|Creative Director||Quan Payne|
Well this is something you don’t see everyday in your design awards, effectively, a newspaper advert. Really well considered for its intended audience, but still manages to keep its ‘designer cred’. I think it probably deserved a distinction recognition for meeting the needs of the intended audience and still keeping its aesthetic soul. Not an easy thing to achieve.
Should have been a contender… Synthia Campaign by Christopher Doyle and Co
|Creative Director||Christopher Doyle|
|Art Director||Christopher Doyle|
I like album cover design, I like black and white album covers, I like Chris’s work. I think this is a beautiful piece of design in a field (album cover design) that seems to be fading fast unfortunately. That’s also some fine photography right there.
Pinnacle Winner: The Greedy Hand + The Gentle Eye: An Everyday Baroque Practice In Architecture by Catherine Griffiths
Pinnacle Winner: Gary Heery Bird Book by Alphabet Studio
|Other||Dr Rachel Hurst, Author|
|Paper||Mohawk, Flying Colours, Gilclear, Chromolux, via BJ Ball Papers|
|Printer||Press Print Limited, Bookbinding Press|
|Designer||Tim Kliendiest, Paul Clark|
Wow, the jurors really went to town with this category, two pinnacle winners! Both pieces are just dandy, look beautiful and I’m sure are very deserving winners, i’d love to own them. But this category drives me crazy. You’ve got books magazines, Annual reports, even a digital piece in the finalists. Does it seem fair to stack those pieces up against such beautifully produced books? What distinguishes this category from Print really? I also get the feeling that the category maybe doesn’t receive a lot of entries which is unfortunate, there seems to be a lot of nice ‘published’ stuff out there, though book designers do have their own awards competition in this country as well I recently discovered 😉
Should have been a contender… Krass Journal #2 by Frame creative
|Creative Director||Simon Pearce|
|Art Director||Simon Pearce|
|Finished Artist||Simon Pearce|
|Printer||New Style Print|
I’m really disappointed that for a second year in a row, Krass Journal wasn’t awarded a higher ranking. It’s a beautiful and uniquely designed magazine with an individual point a view which is really pushing the boundaries of content and design, I really feel this is the sort of work that should be receiving greater recognition and to see it overlooked again surprises me. Maybe better luck next year?
Pinnacle winner: The Old Bloke & Three Young Blondes by Voice
|Creative Director||Anthony De Leo, Scott Carslake|
|Finished Artist||Kieran Wallis|
|Printer||Collotype and Glassprint|
Well, no arguments here from me! A deserved winner of the highest honour and it’s finally nice to see something crack what seemed an impassable barrier to score a packaging pinnacle. The work Voice have produced for the D’Arenberg brand has been consistently impressive, and this labelling is perhaps the ‘pinnacle’ of that work (see what I did there? 😉
Should have been a contender… 36 Short by Studio Band
|Designer||Chris Cooper, George Randle|
|Creative Director||Chris Cooper|
|Art Director||Chris Cooper|
Sad to see this didn’t receive a higher gong, I really love the simplicity and instant impact of these labels, they really stand out in a busy market and the typography is beautifully considered and non-fussy without just being a ‘swiss-style’ template.
Should have been a contender… Artis Clear Valley Riesling by Todd Engelsma
|Creative Director||Todd Engelsma|
I love this label by Todd Engelsma as well because it doesn’t look like any of the other wine label finalists. It features some beautiful illustration and the typography is subtle with a quirky edge to it.
Should have been a contender… Palmetto Wine Co by Frame Creative
|Designer||Simon Pearce, Sam Pearce|
|Creative Director||Simon Pearce|
|Art Director||Sam Pearce|
|Finished Artist||Simon Pearce|
These range of labels from Frame Creative again offer something different from the usual look. There’s some very impressive typography at play here and that Palmetto word-mark is just awesome. Beautiful use of colour palettes across the whole range as well.
Pinnacle winner: Streamtime app by For The People
|Designer||Johanna Roca, Melissa Baillache, Sam McGuinness, Jason Little|
|Creative Director||Jason Little|
|Art Director||Johanna Roca|
|Other||Andy Wright, Director
Damian Borchok, Director
Aaron Green, Founder – Pius Jeon, Developer – Kevin Liu, Developer – Alan Whitby,Developer – Jonathan Gregory, UX
Ok, I’ve had a pretty good look at this app, seems like a good option for a studio management system, with the right amount of designer looking cool to make you feel like you’re not doing boring admin stuff – I find the writing style in it a little annoying though, I’m sure it works fine for the cool kids.
Should have been a contender… The Practical Man website by Sons & Co
|Designer||Matthew Arnold, Greg Brown|
|Creative Director||Timothy Kelleher|
There weren’t a lot of pieces in the digital section where a consumer would have to actually use it to view and purchase items. The Practical Man website really stands out as both an aesthetically pleasing visual experience as well as an easy to navigate systems to spruik the wares across various devices.
Pinnacle winner: The Innovator animation by Buck
|Designer||Lucas Brooking, Josh Edwards, Mathijs Luijten, Colin Bigelow, Elijah Akouri, Gareth O’Brien, Matisse Gonzalez|
|Creative Director||Gareth O’Brien|
|Art Director||Lucas Brooking|
|Other||Audio House – Antfood
Executive Producer – Erica Ford
This is pretty good I guess, kind of hard for me to gauge, it looks quite Aardman-esque, which is never a bad thing!
Should have been a contender… 2016 Adelaide Cabaret Festival by Culdesac
|Creative Director||Marco Cicchianni|
|Art Director||James Parker|
|Other||Marco Cicchianni, Director
Ali McGregor, Artistic Director
Nicola Tate, Producer
I love a clever typographic solution, and this one is beautifully crafted as a moving brand expression of the festival itself. Everything about it is just right and it pulls it off without being overtly cliche as these things can sometimes descend into when they try too hard.
One of my favourite design pieces of the year.
Pinnacle winner: Pop Marble Run by Alt Group
|Designer||Dean Poole, Dean Murray, Aaron Edwards, Adam Ben-Dror, Clark Bardsley|
|Creative Director||Dean Poole|
|Other||SJD, Musical Composer
Well, this is different and quite interesting when you read up about what it actually is (I’d encourage you to look up more info on the web). This is the kind of work that expands the boundaries of what we define as ‘graphic design’ and I’m pleased it’s been awarded accordingly, of course it’s by Alt Group!
Should have been a contender…. Vic’s Meats Office Fitout by End of Work
|Designer||End of Work with Those Architects|
|Creative Director||End of Work|
There wasn’t a lot in the spatial category that really blew me away this year other than the obvious Pinnacle winner above. I did like this fitout for Vic’s Meats demonstrating a very ‘against expectations’ subtle and beautiful approach to their office graphics though.
No Pinnacle winner
This is a tough category to crack (let alone decipher what it really encompasses) Not too much that caught my eye other than the photography for the Synthia album cover and The Adelaide Cabaret Festival typography, both of which I have mentioned before.
DESIGN FOR GOOD
No Pinnacle Winner
These last two categories I really have travel getting my head around, I sort of get where they trying to come from with the ‘Design For Good’ category, but I just can’t help thinking that all design is produced with ‘good’ in mind – this category tries to judge a designs merit on its particular ‘social agenda’ – very hard to judge on just looking at it’s visual impression rather than it’s impact (and how do you gauge that anyway?)
Should have been a contender… Thankyou Track Your Impact by Yump
|Designer||Yuan Wang, Holly Bartholomeusz|
|Creative Director||Yuan Wang|
|Other||Simon East, Technical Director
Brian Truax, Digital Producer
Wei Lin, Developer
This isn’t any great design revelation, but I can appreciate its usefulness in being able to view where your donation goes and I can imagine it is also a useful as a fundraising device in that regard, it does what it does without bells and whistles.
No Pinnacle Winner
See above category for my opinions on this. I really don’t know the criteria this is judged on, so can’t offer any more comment than ‘I really don’t understand why the category is included’.
So there you have, as always, feel free to leave any comments on your own views of the awards and the winners, I’d love to hear them. Don’t forget to go and look at the full list of finalists at the AGDA Awards site.