Reaping the rewards

The Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards reward and promote work that is both impressive and commercially viable in the real world. Lynda Relph-Knight looks at who made the grade this year.

Though Wolff Olins tops this year’s effectiveness chart, Lucid is the real success story here. Having come from nowhere to take third place, the consultancy owes its position entirely to its work for the National Patient Safety Agency.

The Cleanyourhands campaign not only took the Internal Communications prize, but Lucid also went on to win the coveted Grand Prix. This is impressive going for a first-timer in the charts, and reinforces the importance of internal communications to the client – in this instance, former Homebase design head Colum Lowe – and as a valuable source of work for design consultancies.

This is not to detract from Wolff Olins’ prowess in achieving pole position. Consistent commitment to design effectiveness has paid off and it enters the top slot largely on the strength of category wins in previous years, particularly the 2004 International Export Award, supported by UK Trade & Investment. It ousts last year’s chart-topper Williams Murray Hamm – another effectiveness stalwart and last year’s Grand Prix winner with Clipper Teas.

This year it only notched up three points as a finalist in the big identities category, with design and implementation costs exceeding £100 000 for its work for West London business park Chiswick Park. The idea behind the bright visual branding and friendly tone of voice is that people enjoy working at Chiswick Park, which, in its first year of operation, became Britain’s best-performing property asset.

Wolff Olins’ positioning, with no 2005 wins, throws up the fickleness of the charts relating to the Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards. Only 14 of the 42 consultancies ranked in this year’s winners’ table – an accumulation of three years’ results – merited a place last year. And, of those, most are top-ranking branding groups – Coley Porter Bell, Pearlfisher, Elmwood and Lewis Moberly being the strongest supporters of the awards over time.

The great news is that these groups and several other design effectiveness awards champions tend to feature in the creative awards charts, proving that good design can excel all round.

Seymour Powell, this year’s winner of the DBA’s consumer product category, for its Tefal Aquaspeed steam iron, also won the prestigious International Export Award, jointly sponsored by UK Trade & Investment with the product. It is one of several product groups to make the grade this year, with Alloy, Kinneir Dufort and the collaborative team comprising Pearson Lloyd and Virgin Atlantic in-house design team also making the grade.

But where are the interiors consultancies – or, indeed, the opportunities for them to show their worth? With only one interiors category this year (Retail & Leisure), they don’t stand much chance of gaining points or achieving recognition.


DBA Design Effectiveness Awards

Grand Prix – 25

Category Win – 10

International Export Award – 10

Commended – 5

Finalist – 3


A = Interiors

B = Exhibitions

C = Branding/packaging

D = Print

E = Corporate identity

F = Product

G = Digital media

H = Other

Top 20 – DBA Effectiveness awards
Position Position Consultancy Total Disciplines
this year last year      
1 5 Wolff Olins 58 ACDEG
2 1 Williams Murray Hamm 57 CDE
3   Lucid 35 ADG
4 14 Seymour Powell 33 F
5= 2 Coley Porter Bell 28 CD
5= 16 Pearlfisher 28 C
7 8 Elmwood 26 CDEGH
8 3 Lewis Moberly 22 CDE
9 18 Start Creative 18 DEG
10=   Creative Leap 16 CE
10=   Syzygy 16 DG
10= 4 The Team 16 DEG
13   Aricot Vert 15 CE
14= 19= Alloy 13 FH
14= 12= Kinneir Dufort 13 CF
14= 17 Nucleus Design 13 EG
14=   Smallfry 13 CEF
18 7 Interbrand 12 CEH
19=   Applied Information Group 10 DEGH
19=   Blast Design 10 CDG
19=   Blue Marlin 10 CEFG
19=   Carter Wong Tomlin 10 CDEG
19=   City ID 10 H
19=   Creator 10 DE
19=   Design Q 10 A
19=   Enterprise IG 10 CE
19= 10 Felton Communication 10 BDE
19=   Fitch 10 ACEFG
19=   Flame Design 10 CEDG
19=   Front Page Design 10 CDEGH
19=   Hothouse 10 ACDFG
19=   Lacock Gullam 10 FH
19=   Lippa Pearce 10 CDE
19=   Lloyd Northover 10 CE
19=   MetaDesign 10 CDEGH
19=   Morey Smith Associates 10 A
19=   Pearson Lloyd 10 F
19=   Radley Yeldar 10 DEG
19=   Softroom 10 ABG
19=   Synergy 10 CDG
19=   The Chase 10 BCDEG
19=   Virgin Atlantic in-house team 10 AF

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