Beware – any design job is only as good as the client

I recently submitted two entries from my consultancy to the 2006 Design Week Awards, and I’ve just received the Design Week Awards book, which has incensed me on a number of levels.

My opinion of awards is that there is a cross section of ‘creative’ groups entering and an impartial judging panel. Looking at the Design Week Awards panel and the winners, it makes rather curious reading.

I work as a creative director for a design studio (out of London). We have major blue chip accounts, we have bags of ideas and strong creatives. What I was amazed to see was the usual small handful of so-called ‘fashionable’ studios on the winners’ rostrum again and many other smaller studios overlooked.

What really incensed me, though, was the fact that you have winners voted for by their own managing director. I’m sure you are aware of the Williams Murray Hamm entry winning ‘Own Brand Packaging’ by the head judge – Garrick Hamm!

I must make it clear that there are no sour grapes on my part, as our entries didn’t make the final cut – however, there is an almost identical entry to ours in your Direct Mail category. Typically, though, we don’t have London on our business address.

What is the value of the awards if you work out of the ‘trendy’ agency set? I hope for a response to this, as this is a frustration shared by others in the creative field who could clearly sit in this company.

Jon Stockwell, Creative director, Artisan, Stamford, PE9 1PG

All awards organisers know that by bringing in the best people to judge, you run the risk of having judges as winners. The key is to have a fair judging system, which we have, in that specialists compile the shortlists, but judges across all disciplines vote on who gets awards.

For the record, Garrick Hamm couldn’t attend the final day of judging. Also, the results over time show we have neither a London nor a UK bias – Ed.

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