Saturday, 25 October 2014
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Creative Survey Supplement

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There’s a different feel to the 2010 Creative Survey. It is still about creativity in design, but this year we have brought
in the client voice to balance our soundings from the creative community.

And what a different voice it is. While creative peers consistently vote The Partners top of the charts, for example,
the clients surveyed for this poll by our sister title Pitch voted Seymour Powell to take the honours, with The Partners making no showing in the new listing (see page 30). It is an interesting ranking further down, too.

This by no means suggests that The Partners and other Creative Survey stalwarts omitted from the client chart have
lost their creativity. We would not expect in-house teams such as the hugely successful Apple Design Group to be in there anyway. It does imply, though, that while they have a high profile for great work among their peers, their visibility with clients across the board is less obvious. Food for thought.

It also confirms that creative award wins are only a part - albeit an important part - of the overall story. What is considered beautiful work within the design community isn’t necessarily picked up by clients, unless they are already working with the consultancy that is taking to the awards podium. Awards have considerable sway, though, in building reputation and in attracting the best designers to a consultancy’s team. They also afford the chance to celebrate success with that team and with clients involved in award-winning projects.

This is not the first time we have introduced a client’s view to the Creative Survey since we started the exercise in the early 1990s. For several years we ran a section within the supplement relating to the Design Effectiveness Awards, administered by the Design Business Association
and demanding considerable input from design clients in both the submission and judging. Indeed, the dildo-esque Design Effectiveness trophy was designed by Seymour Powell to honour the client/consultancy partnership, with each party taking half the award.

However, we decided against including the Design Effectiveness Awards last year on the grounds that they are not about creativity per se. The Pitch data, meanwhile, is purely about creativity, charting client perceptions as part of a bigger trawl on design among leading marketers.

Even within the traditional Creative Survey rankings you will notice a significant shift (see pages 14-15). These are still based on performance in the most respected creative awards aggregated over the past three years, but we have introduced two key digital awards schemes into our reckoning - the Webbies and the Bimas - to amazing effect. A significant number of interaction design specialists have entered the charts, rendering them more comprehensive than before and staking a new claim for interaction to be part of design rather than advertising.

Branding design, which previously held greatest sway in awards schemes, gets a boost this year. We have added the Benchmarks awards contenders into the UK awards charts, which previously only featured Design Week Awards and D&AD winners. We believe that branding programmes and campaigns demand as much creativity as a single piece of beautiful work - if not more - and that they are rightly represented in that listing.

One of the great things about the inclusion of the Pitch rankings is the prominence they give to product designers - so often the Cinderellas of our Creative Survey, given the limited number of awards open to them. Seymour Powell and Factory Design both merit recognition in the client survey.

Interiors groups are less fortunate. Neither the Design Week Awards nor D&AD have proved particularly fruitful for UK players in this sector in the past couple of years: Brazilian architect Isay Weinfield took top retail honours in the DW prize this year and isn’t listed in what is essentially a UK table. However, while architect Muma won a D&AD Yellow Pencil for the Medieval & Renaissance Galleries at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, others weren’t so fêted. WPP-owned Fitch makes it into both charts, but only retail rival 20/20 is recognised by Pitch clients.

We would like to think that this scenario will change as we come out of recession and that designers of all disciplines will once again demonstrate their talents through awards. We have been proactive in bringing more digital groups in, so what’s to stop us now addressing the
three-dimensional shortfall?

Lynda Relph-Knight
Editor, Design Week

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