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DEATH TO MEDIOCRITY: D&AD AWARDS SHOWCASE

Studio

Last week the prestigious D&AD Awards took over The Old Truman Brewery for its annual judging week, and the public was invited to view a showcase of the entries and attend seminars. Our Design Director Raj Phull went along for some inspiration.

Upon entering the vast East London venue, you were greeted with a wall of typographic ‘rallying cries’ – this year’s branding. The calls to action were spirited, passionate, judgmental, stimulating, and sometimes a bit intimidating. It instilled a sense of awe and anticipation – but how frightening it must have been for the entrants to be gazed upon by the most critical of beasts, the London design community!

With thousands of entries in dozens of categories, Raj focused on three areas: Branding, Crafts for Design, and of course Packaging. All too often we review other people’s designs through a beautifully rendered photograph, so seeing the work in the flesh, up close and personal was a revelation. Her top picks were projects that raised a smile, or a lustful glance: exquisite packaging for Fortnum & Mason, beautifully crafted branding for the restaurant Dishoom, and playful packaging for ‘Smart Heads’ showerheads

She also attended a seminar entitled “Insights: Packaging, Spatial and Products”. Part of this touched on designing with responsibility. This struck a chord, because we need to be aware of our work’s impact on the planet and its resources. Raj was particularly impressed with Clean the Ocean biodegradable cleaning agents, and Raw for the Oceans, where G Star Raw creates denim from recycled ocean plastic.

In the same week that the Apple Watch launched (and all ensuing hype), Raj couldn’t help but muse over this clashing of ethos between the seminar and the watch. Watches have always been about longevity, and passing down through the generations. Now we can buy a watch that’s likely to be obsolete within a year. It’s a total paradigm shift – but perhaps not necessarily a good one?