Taking seed

Despite the cumulative nature of the Creative Survey, there have been big moves in this year’s charts.

<b>2000 <b>1999 <b>Consultancy <b>Points <b>Disciplines</b>
1 2 The Partners 218 DEG
2 1 Johnson Banks 208 D
3 10 Lewis Moberly 122 D
4 3 HGV 118 D
5 5 Lambie Nairn/ Tutssels 112 CDEGH
6 6 Wickens Tutt Southgate 110 CE
7 16= Apple Design Group 105 F
8 4 Interbrand Newell and Sorrell 99 ABCDEF
9 9 Pentagram 96 ABCDEFH
10 7 Turner Duckworth 91 CEG
11 8 Ideo Product Development 86 FG
12 11= CDT Design 80 BCDEGH
13 13 The Chase 78 BCDEG
14= 14 Trickett & Webb 70 D
14= 11= Design Acumen 70 F
16 24= Radley Yeldar 68 DG
17 21 Lippa Pearce 66 CDE
18 15 Wolff Olins 65 ACDEG
19 Deepend Design 58 G
20 22= Ben Kelly Design 56 AB
21 40= Met Studio Design 55 B
22= 16= Farrow Design 54 D
22= 16= Kinneir Dufort 54 F
24 16= Fitch 51 ABCDEFGH
25 22= Dyson appliances in-house 45 F
26 24= Roundel 42 CDEFG
27 26 Elmwood Design 41 CDEG
28 38= Kemistry 38 G
29= 29 BBC Resources 37 DGH
29= Browns 37 D
31= 28 Seymour Powell 35 F
31= 27 Thomas Heatherwick Studios 35 ABH
33 30= Blackburn’s 34 C
34 Frost Design 33 D
35 Tucker Clarke-Williams 32 DEG
36 Design Bridge 31 CE
37 40= Buschow Henley 30 AH
38 Una London 29 D
39= 44= Addison 28 DG
39= 30= Tom Hingston Studio 28 DH
39= 44= Sea 28 D
42 44= MetaDesign London 27 DEG
43= 32= Design House 26 ACDEG
43= 32= Imagination 26 ABCDEG
43= 32= Din Associates 26 ABCDEF
43= Tank Design 26 DH
47= Slaughter Hanson 25 GH
47= 38= Jaques Russell 25 D
49= Landor Associates 24 ACDE
49= 50= Stocks Austin Sice 24 DEG
49= NB:Studio 24 CDEG
49= 35 EH6 Design Consultants 24 CDE
49= 50= Glazer Design 24 E

Last week Design Week columnist Tim Rich argued in these pages that so-called “beauty parades” no longer have a place in the design industry. By that, he meant that awards based on the sheer “beauty” of visual work are outmoded, given the increasingly strategic role design consultancies at the top end of the tree are playing in projects and the belief that commercial effectiveness can be measured and compared from job to job.

Rich has a point, particularly about effectiveness. The success of the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards over the past ten or so years in convincing clients that design has a measurable value, that – if properly managed – it is an investment, not a cost, is impressive.

The Design Business Association has done sterling work in promoting this concept, but its success doesn’t debase the standing of awards for “creative excellence” – the phrase that links the awards schemes run by Design Week and British Design and Art Direction respectively. No designer worth his or her salt would hope to get away in a so-called “beauty parade” with work that doesn’t do the job, especially as the judges selected by those two organisations are more than capable of looking beneath the skin of a project to assess its real worth without needing to check out the client’s balance sheet.

In an ideal world, the very best work also puts in the very best financial performance, topping both creative and effectiveness charts – in the way Design Acumen’s airline seats for British Airways have, Lewis Moberly’s tights packaging for Boots the Chemists and just about anything from Apple Computer might be expected to do. Effective measures of the creative quality of strategic consultancy have yet to be established, but that will no doubt follow.

So, confident that awards are a valid way of measuring creativity in visual design, here is the third Design Week Creative Survey. Consultancies are ranked according to awards they have won over the past five years – which is why groups such as Thomas Heatherwick Studios still figure prominently, despite an absence from the awards over the past couple of years.

We have based our listings largely on data submitted by awards organisers and have verified wherever possible design group’s claims of wins and nominations. Points have been awarded for wins in various award schemes, as explained in the chart on page 20.

As before, we have produced two main listings: one focusing just on Design Week Awards and D&AD Awards, the other on cumulative wins, including these two schemes and a host of other international prizes. The reason for this is the high standing the former have within the UK design community.

TOP 50 – DW and D&AD awards

It was inevitable that things would change this year and that Johnson Banks would drop back to second place in the rankings, giving way to creative giant The Partners. After 17 years of solid award wins it is hardly surprising to see the London supergroup back on top. The challenge it faces now is to retain supremacy over the next couple of years, following its acquisition last month by US advertising and design conglomerate Young & Rubicam. It is, after all only ten points ahead of Johnson Banks, whereas the smaller group lead by 39 points in the 1999 listing.

The Partners owes its success to projects such as the Now Wash Your Hands calendar for Thristlington Cubicles and the Models 1 identity, both D&AD Awards silver winners. That it also won a Design Week Award for a poster – Emotions for the Museum of Emotions – hits Johnson Banks where it hurts, because it only managed nominations in its favoured category this year.

It has been a great year for Lewis Moberly, which has added 45 points to make third place. Once best known for packaging design, it is identity projects that have won top prizes this year, notably work for glass manufacturer Stuart Crystal, which won in both awards schemes.

It’s no surprise to see Radley Yeldar rising up the charts, given its prowess in annual reports. But what is surprising is that this year’s 27 point boost is due in part to a packaging win in the Design Week Awards, for its Down to Earth chutneys and pickles range. Like Lewis Moberly, it shows that it pays to diversify.

Exhibition design group Met Studio leaps up the charts from equal 40 last year to 21 in this year’s survey. This is on the strength of its work on the Wired Worlds digital show at The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, which won Best of Show in the Design Week Awards. We might look to that other Science Museum project, the stunning new Wellcome Wing in London to give a similar boost to exhibition designers in next year’s charts.

Apple Design Group continues to fly the flag for in-house design, shooting up the charts on the strength of its gold and silver wins at the D&AD Awards for the Apple Cinema Display and the iBook laptop computer respectively. Dyson Appliances and BBC Resources both stay in the chart this year.

No survey report is complete this year without a comment on the onslaught of digital media and its effect on more traditional design. Last year there were no pure digital media groups in this listing, only conglomerates such as Fitch and print-to-digital-media groups such as MetaDesign London. This year, Deepend Design has come storming into the Top 50 on the strength largely of successes in the Design Week Awards, with its websites for London furniture company Viaduct and entertainment group Cartoon Network. We can expect it to be joined by others in the field next year.

Other newcomers include Browns, born two years ago out of an Addison breakaway and now with a reputation for great literature design, including its award-winning Flowers book. Frost Design’s expertise in editorial design is finally paying off and Anglo-Dutch print design group Una makes a well-deserved appearance.

Design Bridge, Glasgow’s Tank Design, Slaughter Hanson, The Partners’ Y&R stablemate Landor Associates and NB:Studio all debut in the Top 50. But for many the most memorable new entry is Manchester group Tucker Clarke-Williams, whose Tom Jones promotion with its flying black lace knickers drew cheers at awards.

<b>2000 <b>1999 <b>Consultancy <b>Points <b>Disciplines</b>
1 2 The Partners 218 DEG
2 1 Johnson Banks 208 D
3 10 Lewis Moberly 122 D
4 3 HGV 118 D
5 5 Lambie Nairn/ Tutssels 112 CDEGH
6 6 Wickens Tutt Southgate 110 CE
7 16= Apple Design Group 105 F
8 4 Interbrand Newell and Sorrell 99 ABCDEF
9 9 Pentagram 96 ABCDEFH
10 7 Turner Duckworth 91 CEG
11 8 Ideo Product Development 86 FG
12 11= CDT Design 80 BCDEGH
13 13 The Chase 78 BCDEG
14= 14 Trickett & Webb 70 D
14= 11= Design Acumen 70 F
16 24= Radley Yeldar 68 DG
17 21 Lippa Pearce 66 CDE
18 15 Wolff Olins 65 ACDEG
19 Deepend Design 58 G
20 22= Ben Kelly Design 56 AB
21 40= Met Studio Design 55 B
22= 16= Farrow Design 54 D
22= 16= Kinneir Dufort 54 F
24 16= Fitch 51 ABCDEFGH
25 22= Dyson appliances in-house 45 F
26 24= Roundel 42 CDEFG
27 26 Elmwood Design 41 CDEG
28 38= Kemistry 38 G
29= 29 BBC Resources 37 DGH
29= Browns 37 D
31= 28 Seymour Powell 35 F
31= 27 Thomas Heatherwick Studios 35 ABH
33 30= Blackburn’s 34 C
34 Frost Design 33 D
35 Tucker Clarke-Williams 32 DEG
36 Design Bridge 31 CE
37 40= Buschow Henley 30 AH
38 Una London 29 D
39= 44= Addison 28 DG
39= 30= Tom Hingston Studio 28 DH
39= 44= Sea 28 D
42 44= MetaDesign London 27 DEG
43= 32= Design House 26 ACDEG
43= 32= Imagination 26 ABCDEG
43= 32= Din Associates 26 ABCDEF
43= Tank Design 26 DH
47= Slaughter Hanson 25 GH
47= 38= Jaques Russell 25 D
49= Landor Associates 24 ACDE
49= 50= Stocks Austin Sice 24 DEG
49= NB:Studio 24 CDEG
49= 35 EH6 Design Consultants 24 CDE
49= 50= Glazer Design 24 E

The points system

  • Design Week Awards: best of show – 25; category win – 10; highly commended – 6; commended – 5; finalist – 3
  • D&AD Awards: gold – 25; silver – 10; nomination or inclusion in The Book – 3
  • Design Effectiveness Awards: BT grand prix – 25; category win – 10; commended – 5; finalist – 3
  • New York Festivals, Clio Awards, New York Art Directors Club, AIGA, ID Annual Review, ID Interactive Media Review, IDSA/ IDEA Business Week Award, Bima, Bafta Interactive: best of show – 25; gold/ winner – 10; silver – 8; bronze/ distinction – 6; merit/ commended/ honourable mention – 5; nomination/ inbook/ finalist – 3
  • Brand Design Association Awards, International Brand Packaging Awards, Beverage Packaging Awards, Wine Packaging & Merchandising Awards, New York Type Directors Club, Mobius, Roses, New Media Age and NMA Effectiveness, G-Mark Good Design Award, Yell Awards, Creative Circle Awards, Starpack, Scottish Design Awards, Liverpool Design Awards, FX Awards, Promax Awards: best of show – 5; gold/ winner/ certificate – 3; silver/ commendation – 2; bronze/ finalist – 1
  • The rest (includes The Big Crit, Retail Week Awards, RedDot Award, Fab Awards, NBCA, Loerie, Cream Awards, Epica etc.): category win 1
  • Personal Awards: Royal Designer for Industry, CSD President’s Medal, D&AD President’s Award, and Duke of Edinburgh Awards – 10; student awards – 1

    Key:

    A = Interiors

    B = Exhibitions

    C = Branding/Packaging

    D = Print

    E = Corporate Identity

    F = Product

    G = Digital media

    H = Other

    TOP 50 – all awards

    International prizes tend to build reputations in the cumulative chart, with product design coming into its own. Global product network Ideo stays on top with a huge increase of 90 points over last year, while Fitch, with its considerable product expertise, particularly in the US, builds on last year’s points to stay second.

    Apple Design Group reaffirms its reputation, unprecedented for an in-house team, rising eight places with 108 extra points this year. How many more design triumphs can we expect from Jonathan Ive and his team?

    But the challenge has been issued to Apple this year by Philips Corporate Design. Coming in at equal 30, Stefan Marzano’s in-house team looks set to make a mark, promoting its work not just for its domestic appliances parent, but for automotive and other clients as well.

    Pentagram is another rising star, with its UK and particularly its US office coming into play. And then there’s the small, but perfectly formed Turner Duckworth: its London and San Francisco offices keep it in fifth place.

    But it isn’t just the international supergroups that make the grade. The Partners and Johnson Banks, which vie for position in the ranking for Design Week and D&AD Awards, put on a good show here. Both are patently keen on entering – and winning – awards.

    Packaging and branding groups Wickens Tutt Southgate, Blackburn’s, Pearlfisher, Leeds consultancy Elmwood and Design Bridge also make it into the top 20. This in part reflects the wealth of awards schemes covering the packaging and branding sector.

    The younger packaging and branding group Williams Murray Hamm makes an entrance at equal 50th. It is tipped to progress quickly up the charts now that the fruits of its labours over the past few years start to show.

    Meanwhile, Lewis Moberly, once the outright star of packaging and branding, has successfully diversified into pure identity projects. Though renowned for elegant pack design, it is identity work, notably for Stuart Crystal, that has helped to move it up to third slot.

    Deepend is again the highest newcomer specialising in digital design, coming in 18th on the strength not only of great work, but an aggressive attitude to entering awards. But Nykris Digital Design and Agency.com both make their debut in the Top 50. It won’t be long before others join, as they accumulate honours year-on-year.

    Interiors awards are thin on the ground – the standard hasn’t been great over recent years. Creative stalwart Ben Kelly Design is the only one to make it into the Top 50 this year, as much for exhibition work, such as the Glasgow’s Homes of the Future Expo, as for interiors.

    Last year, Din Associates appeared in 50th position, on the strength of work over five years for retail clients such as Nicole Farhi, French Connection and the Diana Princess of Wales visitors’ centre, but it hasn’t repeated that success.

    Architect Buschow Henley, retail and branding group Design House and Anglo-American interiors group Retail Planning Associates are bubbling under, appearing just outside this year’s Top 50. But we could clearly do with more stars in the interiors arena.

    <b>2000 <b>1999 <b>Consultancy <b>Points <b>Disciplines</b>
    1 1 Ideo Product Development 608 FG
    2 2 Fitch 528 ABCDEFGH
    3 4 Lewis Moberly 418 D
    4 3 The Partners 358 DEG
    5 5 Turner Duckworth 282 CEG
    6 6 Johnson Banks 264 D
    7 11 Pentagram 203 ABCDEFH
    8 7 Lambie Nairn/ Tutssels 186 CDEGH
    9= 10 Interbrand Newell and Sorrell 185 ABCDEF
    9= 8 Wickens Tutt Southgate 185 CE
    11 19 Apple Design Group 183 F
    12 9 Blackburn’s 175 C
    13 14 The Chase 155 BCDEG
    14 13 Frost Design 135 D
    15 12 HGV 126 D
    16 20= Pearlfisher 122 CE
    17 15 Elmwood Design 115 CDEG
    18 Deepend Design 102 G
    19 31= Design Bridge 100 CE
    20 18 Trickett & Webb 98 D
    21 17 CDT Design 94 BCDEGH
    22 16 Coley Porter Bell 91 CFG
    23 26 Lippa Pearce 88 CDE
    24 31= Radley Yeldar 81 DG
    25 E-fact 77 DEG
    26 22 Wolff Olins 75 ACDEG
    27 25 Tango Design 72 CDF
    28 20= Design Acumen 71 F
    29 29 Landor Associates 67 ACDE
    30= 23 Kinneir Dufort 63 F
    30= Philips Corporate Design 63 F
    32= 33 Ben Kelly Design 62 AB
    32= Met Studio Design 62 B
    34 Tucker Clarke-Williams 56 DEG
    35= 24 Dyson appliances in-house 55 F
    37= 27= Farrow Design 54 D
    37= 34 Pemberton & Whitefoord 54 CDEG
    39 Tank Design 53 DH
    40 Nykris Digital Design 48 G
    41= 49= Roundel 46 CDEFG
    41= 49= Kemistry 46 G
    43 38= Seymour Powell 44 F
    44 35 Therefore Design 41 F
    45= 44= Intro 40 DG
    45= 42 Brewer Riddiford 40 CD
    45= Browns 40 D
    45= Frogdesign 40 F
    49 46= EH6 Design Consultants 39 CDE
    50= 38= Graven Images 38 ABD
    50= Williams Murray Hamm 38 D
    50= 38= Siegel & Gale London 38 CDEGH
    50= Marsteller 38 BDE
    50= Agency.com 38 </td
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