It’s just a piece of paper, huh?

Two years ago Johnson Banks director Michael Johnson received a fax from the Art Directors Club of New York. It invited him to the annual awards’ presentation ceremony, where he received an international gold award for his Watch gallery catalogue.

And the same thing happened this year. Johnson received a fax inviting him to the ceremony. So he called the US and asked if he’d won silver or gold. “We can’t tell you that, but you’re definitely a medallist,” he was assured. He spent 1700 on a plane ticket and hotels and felt very excited.

A few days before departure, he mentioned all of this to a member of Design Week who had prior information about the winners. Unable to reveal any information, she prompted Johnson to call the club again. “This time they said I’d got a Distinctive Merit, which is only a piece of paper. Fuck that, I thought,” says Johnson, who cancelled his arrangements.

Perhaps the club just wanted to lure UK designers to the awards’ ceremony – it didn’t give any gold awards to the Brits (DW 2 June). “I think it’s very sneaky really,” comments a disgruntled Johnson.

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