Setting the standard

Consultancy newcomer Buddy triumphed at last night’s Design Week Benchmarks awards. The virtual start-up, founded by three friends, took the Best of Show for the design of The Cornish Mill and Bakehouse’s branding.

Land Securities took the Client of the Year award, a newly introduced category, while The Partners had a strong performance scooping three awards in total.

The Cornish Mill and Bakehouse was put forward for Best of Show having won the Food and Drink category. Buddy was rewarded for an identity that the judges felt was ‘crafted’ and ‘authentic’. Its typographic design replaced the ‘and’ in The Cornish Mill and Bakehouse name with the Cornish flag, which is positioned physically in the centre of the design like a plus sign.

Runners up in this category included Dylon International by Coley Porter Bell, Go Shop by GBH Design for Land Securities, and Radley Yeldar’s Understanding Slavery for the National Maritime Museum.

The inaugural Client of the Year award aims to celebrate important commissioners of design. Consultancies entering the Benchmarks were invited to nominate individual champions or client companies they believe to be a cut above the rest. Property developer Land Securities was the outright category winner among the four shortlisted by the judges. Land Securities had two projects shortlisted and was honoured for regularly commissioning award-winning work and upping its status within the creative community. Commendations go to two smaller businesses, Bewilderwood working with Purple Circle, and Rachel’s Organic with FBA.

Land Securities won the Property and Construction category with GBH Design as well, for its quirky Go Shop promotions for Cardinal Place, the retail development in London’s Victoria.

Three categories saw more than one winner this year. Sport, Leisure and Travel are thriving markets for design and honoured Boardman Bikes by Bonbon London, and The National Bingo Association by The Workroom.

Manufacturing also had joint winners: Eforia for Syngenta Crop Protection by Williams Murray Hamm, and Thrislington Cubicles by The Partners, which the judges felt were examples of effective functional – rather than notably visual – design.

The Financial Services award was made jointly to SAS for its identity design for City broker KBC Peel Hunt, and to The Partners for its work with London Victoria. The Partners, which dominated the shortlist by entering five projects, also went on to win the not-for-profit category for Dad Club.

Radley Yeldar’s Understanding Slavery initiative for the National Maritime Museum became this year’s winner in the Public Sector category. The bold logo uses initials to convey a sense of strength and resilience with the ‘S’ of ‘slavery’ resisting the pressure from the restricting ‘U’ of ‘understanding’, which also suggests the hull of a boat.

The Telecommunications category went to telecoms provider Go, Malta’s first and only quadruple play operator, with is vibrant orange logotype created by Turquoise Branding. The winner of the Toiletries and Cosmetics category hails from the organic sector – Pearlfisher’s design was deemed elegant and highly appropriate for Nude Skincare’s range of eco-friendly face and body products.

Life on Mars for BBC One by Red Bee Media took the award in the Media category, and the bright, image-led designs by Coley Porter Bell for Dylon won the Household Goods category. The oddly named Chocolate & Pickles boutique aimed at pregnant women by Randa Abu-Issa HMKM emerged as the winner in the Retailers section for its witty take on cravings.

Glenn Tutssel, executive creative director of The Brand Union, considered that, overall, the standard was very high. ‘The entrants are improving every year. When the Benchmarks first started there was a cusp of clients wanting to do bigger projects. Now clients are thinking more as the environment changes, strengthening their applications against all platforms,’ he said.

However, Tutssel was surprised at the lack of strength from some of the packaging entries, saying, ‘Only the ones that stood out were excellent, it was a bit like chalk and cheese.’

He also said some entries suffered from making dubious connections between media platforms, rather than establishing ‘a true 360° representation of a company’s work’.

The only category that failed to see a winner was Automotive. For the second year running it only yielded one project of note – the Vauxhall Corsa launch by Fitch Live made it on to the shortlist.

Lowdown on the Benchmarks

• Design Week’s Benchmarks awards are now in their third year

• This year’s awards were held at the Waldorf Hilton, Aldwych, London on Tuesday 27 November

• The awards showcase the essence of great branding projects, which have worked across three or more platforms – from print to digital media, merchandising and exhibitions

• There were 51 entries shortlisted and 17 winners across 15 categories

• For further details, visit

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