Sunday, 23 November 2014
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Embracing interaction

Design Week Creative Survey has broadened its reach in awards involved with digital interaction and cross-platform branding. Lynda Relph-Knight argues that in an everevolving design landscape, it’s about time these disciplines were paid due attention

We are doing things differently this year, laying foundations for a more integrated future for the Design Week Creative Survey. The rankings are still based on consultancies’ success in creative awards of a recognised standard, whether international or UK-based, but we have broadened the scope of our trawl to take more account of digital design - surely from where some of the greatest creativity currently arises.

To this end, we have added the digital-based Webbysand Bimas to the portfolio of awards in our totals - an accumulation of three years of awards success. This process, which we began with a separate creative chart compiled for our Interaction Supplement in September, has had a significant impact on all awards tables, introducing new names to the rankings.

Some 13 new entrants to the charts owe their presence to interactive work. Guardian Media Group is perhaps surprisingly included for its website, experiential design specialist Imagination for its digital award wins and the team at Tate galleries for their interaction work. Even Apple Design Group owes a high proportion of its extra points this year to the coveted D&AD Black Pencil, awarded for its website.

Before the cries of ’unfair’ go up, remember that for years branding and packaging have been kings in the awards stakes, having a disproportionate number of prizes devoted to them. Interaction design hardly got a look in in most awards schemes and, when it did, was often mixed in with advertising rather than design. That is still the case, but we have been at pains to allocate points only for success in bona fide ’design’ categories in the appropriate awards.

Branding in the broadest sense has really come into its own this year. And to reflect the creativity it takes to achieve consistent quality throughout a full-blown programme or campaign

By the same token, integrated communications has gone some way towards entwining advertising and design across print and other media.

The classic case this year is the House of Cards campaign for homelessness charity Shelter, which has been cleaning up on both sides of the Atlantic.

asterminded by ad agency Leo Burnett, the campaign features considerable design input from Pentagram partner Domenic Lippa, and we have divvied up the honours accordingly, leaving the ad agency out of our listings.

Branding in the broadest sense has really come into its own this year. And to reflect the creativity it takes to achieve consistent quality throughout a full-blown programme or campaign, we have integrated the Benchmarks Awards that honour the best in branding into the UK charts, which also include Design Week and D&AD Awards.

In tough times it is notoriously hard to get good work past clients - or so some consultancies believe. However, it is not impossible and you don’t have to be big to achieve it, as groups like Manchester’s Mark Studio and Coy Communications and Leeds consultancy B&W Studio attest. But it’s great to see clients setting standards too, not just in commissioning great work, but also in producing it in-house.

With the number of in-house design teams represented in the survey year on year, we are beginning to paint a more inclusive picture of creativity in the UK. We just need to get a few more product and interiors groups into the equation for the circle to be complete. Perhaps next year.

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