Hat-Trick repeats Best of Show act in DW Benchmark awards

Hat-Trick Design celebrated its second Best of Show win at the fourth annual Design Week Benchmarks awards last night.

The London design consultancy, which scooped Best of Show in 2005 for its comprehensive rebrand of the Natural History Museum, took the top accolade of 2008 for its Sumatran Orangutan Society identity programme, a project that earned creative credit earlier this year with a Design Week Award in the Poster category. The project also topped the Not-for-profit category.

The strength of the Sumatran Orangutan Society branding programme, according to Hat-Trick creative director Jim Sutherland, lies in its typographic approach. ‘With such a great name, that can be shortened to SOS, it was obvious that that was the route to take. The materials used are recycled, while the colours – orange and green – are representative of the orangutans and their habitat,’ he explains.

Hat-Trick also blew away other contenders in the Retail category to scoop the winning slot for branding Cardinal Place Café in London.

Red Bee Media cements its dominance in broadcast design this year, as Best of Show runner-up and winner of the Media category. Its extensive overhaul of UK channel Dave has already shown its worth, scooping this year’s Design Business Association’s Design Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix last month.

Client of the Year, a category established last year, went to Tate, for commissioning highly visible public sector brand campaigns for exhibitions Gustav Klimt by True North, and Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia/ The Moment Art Changed Forever by Rose, demonstrating how branding has been adopted by the arts world and how its role in this sector is just as relevant and effective as it is in fmcg.

Though it is honour indeed to get into the Benchmarks book, this year yielded fewer actual awards than last – nine winners across the Automotive, Food and Drink, Media, Not-for-profit, Public Sector, Retail, Leisure and Stakeholder Communications categories.

This year, however, Fitch made a breakthrough with the first-ever win for the Automotive category. Its impactful branding of Goodyear Dunlop’s fast-fit car centre HiQ, which saw visual language applied from the garage floor environment through to signage and van livery, resounded with the judges for creating a strong customer-led ethos.

Industry big gun Landor Associates won in the Food and Drink category, for consolidating the Traidcraft brand across a diverse range of products, as well as extending the number of applications of the brand, and hence its global reach.

In Professional Services, Elmwood emerged triumphant, for its branding work that refocused the British Chambers of Commerce from a visually conservative standpoint to one that conveys the growth that the organisation is striving for within the UK business community.

True North took the winning prize in the Public Sector category for creating the visual identity and supporting materials for Tate Liverpool’s Gustav Klimt exhibition, compounding the case for Tate’s Client of the Year win, while The Partners’ rebrand of Maybourne Hotel Group’s The Connaught as ‘home from home’ – taking the hotel’s hound crest as the basis for the brand language – proved strong enough to be a winner within the Sports and Leisure category.

Nokia’s N-series Spirit Guide, a communications programme crafted by FutureBrand and intended for the Telecommunications category, prompted the formation of a new Stakeholder Communications category. Judges hailed the programme, built around branding inspired by stakeholder experiences of the company, as ‘outstanding’ and ‘thought-provoking’.

Benchmarks best of Show history:

2008 – Sumatran Orangutan Society by Hat-Trick Design
2007 – Cornish Mill & Bakehouse by Buddy
2006 – Macmillan Cancer Support by Wolff Olins
2005 – Natural History Museum by Hat-Trick Design

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