We’ve had a mass of jaw-dropping entries into this year’s Create Awards, with many of them currently displayed around our office like a hoard of papery gems. The awards have been a long-standing aspect of what we do at desktop, with the hope to celebrate work that inspires, educates, intrigues and communicates.
The coveted Project of the Year award (its trophy designed as a one-of-a-kind each year) is chosen from the winners of all 12 categories, and stands out for its excellence across all judging criteria. Below, we take a look at the shortlisted work as we count down the days until the trophies are awarded this month, and ask you: Who do you think will take out this pinnacle award?
Emerging Talent: Our largest category by far, Emerging Talent always attracts the most diverse, exciting and surprising entries, and provides the biggest challenge for the judges. The shortlisted work gave an indicative cross-section of how Australian graduates are pushing boundaries and grasping professional capabilities early in their careers.
Identity: Identity and branding is perhaps seen to be the quintessential graphic design activity: the union of a logo and a typeface. But, as we all know, it is so much more than that, as this year’s entrants have shown so succinctly. There is research, consideration, rigorous purification and obsession behind this work that makes the end result – often so simple – valuable with relevance and meaning.
Illustration: Another wildly diverse category that shows the breadth and reach of the disciple. Illustration is both a tool, commissioned by clients who want something unique and tangible, as well as an art form — a personal mode of expression for the creator. It can comfort of confront traditional expectations, and weave a narrative with real heart. This year, the shortlisted entries represented a little bit of all of these.
Interactive: The Interactive category was one of the top 5 largest categories this year, featuring labour-intensive brilliance from around the world. From the playful to the immersive, each shortlisted entry indulges in a sensory experience that removes itself from the limitations of two-dimensions.
Motion: The largest if our digital categories, it’s fascinating to see the quality of work coming out of Australia and being commissioned from overseas. The spirit of experimentation is alive and well in a discipline that thrives on challenging the limits of its technology, as well as surprising and thrilling its audience.
Packaging: It is always fun watching the packaging entries arrive for judging. Apart from the print categories, nothing else gives you quite the same tangible, tactile seduction. This year, we were overrun with bottles – sophisticated labels for wine, cartons for six-packs – and some rolls of very special toilet paper.
Photography: Always a tough category to judge, this year, the judging panel looked at the skill and flourish of the entries, and asked the question: ‘If I, as a designer, needed some photography done, who would I ask?’ The shortlisted entrants represent the narrative, technical expression, production and beauty of the medium, rather than styling or props.
Print Commercial: This year, we saw a healthy amount of diversity in the Print Commercial category. Many projects celebrated the steadfastness, but increased speciality, of the discipline. Clients appeared more open to print that pushed traditional boundaries, which can now show Australia what the future of print could be: treasured, always fresh and engaging.
Print Creative: Print just keeps on going. This year, we saw a mix of entries that upheld the tradition of print, and others that saw it evolve into something complementary to, or celebratory of, digital. As print becomes more niche, we noticed some clients have become more open with their briefs, while some self-initiated projects have become more commercially viable. This blended the boundaries of Print categories somewhat, but meant some brave and unique work was awarded.
Signage & Display: Such a balance has to be achieved with signage – it has to facilitate ease of movement through clear instruction, it must inform and instill confidence in its reader, but it must also represent an idea visually, whether it be the brand or the atmosphere of its host. Signage is practical, but it must also be emotive, an belong in its intended space. That’s a lot to consider, and this year’s entrants certainly delivered.
Typography: Where typography demands precision and tradition, this category if full of entries that are breaking the rules. Letterforms are sliced up and rearranged, pushed and squeezed out of shape, or individually kerned until they fall off the grid, Away from the computer, typography is also peaking in its hand-lettered renaissance, despite the plethora of digital design an technology that dominates typography on screen.
Web: Websites exist to host content and experiences of all kinds, so it doesn’t make sense that the same templates are being used over and over. Yet as web becomes an integrated part of our daily lives, more and more, the experiences we have with it are more important than ever. This year’s Web entries have shown how custom sites and their designers are testing the paramaters set by the status quo, and creating meaningful moments online.
Who’s your pick for the top spot? Comment below, and we will give every reader who correctly picks the Project of the Year a copy of our brand new October issue, The Principle Principle! (Winners announced October 31st)
Tickets are on sale now for the Create Awards Night in Melbourne. Make sure you grab a spot before we fill up – it’s not long now!