Main, Parker take Black Pins, Special Group makes it a packaging trifecta and Clemenger BBDO cleans up digital design at Best Awards

DNA creative director Grenville Main and Formway Design Studio joint manager Kent Parker have been awarded the Black Pins as the Best Design Awards celebrated the cream of Kiwi design talent last Friday night.

Main, creative director and managing director of strategic design consultancy DNA, won the Black Pin for Outstanding Achievement. With more than 25 years in the design industry, the organisers Designers Institute of New Zealand say Main is a strong advocate for the importance of design in growing the New Zealand economy and has “quietly nurtured many of the top designers in the country”.

He and his team have worked with organisations including New Zealand Rugby, Telecom, BNZ, Powershop, ACC and Icebreaker.

“Companies applying design to best effect get to see the compelling benefits of bringing customers to life – and placing them at the centre of their thinking,” he said. “This leads to unlocking gains in how organisations transform customer experience – how they create products and serve customers – and what their strategies for growth and competitive differentiation look like”. 

The John Britten Black Pin for an individual who has made a major contribution to design nationally and internationally went to Parker, who the organisers say has determination and perserverance that has enabled Formway to achieve international recognition.

The awards recognise spatial, product, graphic and interactive design. This year, judges went through 778 entries to choose the top designs, announced at a dinner at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. 

“It’s heartening to see New Zealand designers pushing boundaries of innovation, inventiveness and originality in design, especially given that our budgets are often relatively limited. The ideas and their execution are truly world class, to bring the best results for businesses,” said Cathy Veninga, CEO of the Designer’s Institute of New Zealand.

The judges awarded two Purple Pins in the product discipline, for the Les Mills SmartStep, Designed by Christchurch studio 4ormfunction, and the Fisher and Paykel Simplus face mask.

DNA had nine finalists in the Best Awards across graphic, interactive and best effect categories. It won a Gold Pin for work with Rinnai in the Best Effect category and a silver for Powershop’s brand and recruitment website in the interactive category. 

Special Group’s design for All Good Organic’s Karma Cola, an organic and Fairtrade soft drink, earned Supreme Graphics awards, and its sister design for ‘Gingerella’ ginger ale was also a winner. It was the third year in a row that Special has won the top packaging award. 

With a mantra of ‘what goes around, comes around,’ the distinctive identity for Karma Cola, a Fairtrade and organic local cola, featured hand-crafted illustration by local artist Beck Wheeler. 

More than pretty packaging, the design identity expressed two clear business propositions: communicating the company’s organic and Fairtrade principles, while still conveying the right measure of fizzy drink messaging, so consumers are clear about what they’re about to consume.

The Graphics design judges, led by Peter Roband, applauded the project as “a compelling and witty way to tell a story with a great cause, demonstrating obvious craft and a strong singular idea that challenges a drinks segment dominated by the big players. It came together beautifully. It’s memorable, fresh, witty, and with an underlying good cause. What’s not to like about a project that delivers good Karma?”

In total Special was awarded one Purple, three Gold, three silver and five Bronze pins for clients Ecoya, New World, Karma Cola, Gingerella, Oyster Inn and OOB. 

The Interactive Purple Pin went to Flash, an online racing game for New Zealand Transport Agency designed by Clemenger BBDO and created by Resn.

Demonstrating the real life consequences of speeding to young Kiwi males is no easy feat. But Flash, an online racing game with a hard-hitting personal twist, did just that. 

Designed by Clemenger BBDO, the game is a thrilling first person perspective car race, but as the player progresses they are forced into an unavoidable crash, suddenly watching their life flash before their eyes, integrating photos of loved ones accessed via Facebook, to hit them with the consequences in a way that actually makes them think.

The 2013 Interactive Judges, led by convenor Che Tamahori, praised the project for its concept, deft execution and capacity to engage a difficult to reach audience with fantastic payoff.

“It hits the spot; an appropriate use of vernacular, cutting edge graphics and integration with social media. In addressing boy racers through a racing game, Flash cleverly targets a challenging audience. Front of mind was whether the entries will drive action or behavioural change. In the case of Flash, the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.”

Clemenger BBDO also won Gold for its ‘Wellington in a Pint’ campaign that identified, brewed and bottled the essence of the capital in beer. And Proximity Wellington also won a Bronze Pin for its ‘Fun Police’ launch campaign for Toyota 86.

The Best Effect Award was won by the Les Mills SmartBar, desiged by 4ormfunction.

The Best Effect Award judges, led by convenor Noel Brown, noted that this innovative redesign of traditional equipment had opened up revenue streams for the company, with increased usage in other exercise programmes and the Personal Training Industry and via its global patent, reinforcing Les Mills brand on an international level. 

Auckland University’s Sir Paul Reeves Building won the Spatial Purple Pin. It was developed by Jasmax.

James Harper, National President of the Design Institute of Australia and 2013 international spatial judge for this year’s awards said: “University projects often have ‘dream briefs’ with regard to budget, function and opportunity, but the solutions can all too often be uninspiring and disappointing.  Conversely, AUT was a celebration of great design from so many perspectives. The materials, planning, furniture, joinery, technology and signage were all beautifully considered and realised. Furthermore it worked well as an interior space not just an architectural space. 

All winners can be viewed at www.bestawards.co.nz.  

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