The 2018 Best Awards were, as always, a celebration of the immense talent in New Zealand’s design industry. The awards this year saw over 1200 entries from across New Zealand and Australia, with more than 1200 designers attending the awards on Saturday night to learn the winners from nine categories: Graphic, Interactive, Moving Image, Product, Public Good Award, Spatial, User Experience Award, Ngā Aho Award, which showcases multi-cultural design collaboration, and the Value of Design Award.
However, the night also saw attention being drawn to the issue of gender equality, following a protest of around 30 to 40 people outside the Viaduct Events Centre, where the awards took place. Protestors highlighted the number of men versus women who had won the prestigious Black Pin award (40 to 3), as well as the number of men versus women who had judged and convened the awards (46 men, 15 women). This was first highlighted by designer and typographer Catherine Griffiths prior to the event, who designed three protest posters based on these statistics.
During her opening speech at the awards, founder of Space Studio and Designers Institute president Vee Kessner acknowledged the protest and said the organisation welcomed a conversation being had around this subject and progressive change being made. Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, who was a special guest on the night, also made reference to it in her speech.
In response to the protests, chief executive of the Designers Institute of New Zealand Cathy Veninga has issued a statement saying the organisation will be holding three workshops about how it can best create change.
“There has been a conversation on social media and within the design community on the importance of diverse and inclusive representation in our industry. However, rather than conducting the conversation through the media, we will talk directly to our community. Therefore, the Designers Institute of New Zealand has invited the design community to come together for a conversation on how we effect change and move forward as a community,” Veninga says.
“We will be running three workshops, all facilitated by Trish Lui, from Catalyst Pacific. Workshop One will be held on October 9, from 7-9 pm at Warren and Mahoney Architects, 139 Pakenham Street West, Auckland. Workshop Two will be held on October 11, from 7-9 pm at City Gallery, Wellington. Workshop Three will be held on Wednesday, October 17 from 7-9 pm at Warren and Mahoney Architects, 254 Montreal Street, Christchurch. The institute extends a warm welcome to all who want to be part of the important conversation.”
Another focus of the Awards evening was the design industry’s value to the New Zealand economy. During the event, reference was made to a report done by PwC and commissioned by DesignCo last year, which found design contributed $10.1 billion to New Zealand’s economy in 2016. The research found that if design were treated as an individual industry, its contribution to the New Zealand economy would be larger than agriculture and on a par with retail trade ($10.6 billion), and food, beverage and tobacco product manufacturing.
Veninga said design has become integral to businesses across a wide variety of industries.
“In recent years, design has proven to be truly integrated in corporate businesses, government institutions and even infrastructure projects. The outstanding work that comes from these sectors will contribute greatly to the economy and further pave the way for a design-led future,” she said.
Here are the Supreme Winners below. For the full list of winners, head to the Best Awards site.
John Britten Black Pin – Rik Campbell (left) and Steve Le Marquand of Resn
The John Britten Black Pin celebrates an individual who has made a significant achievement in the field of design both nationally and internationally and demonstrated a combination of leadership, vision, creativity, skill, energy and discipline.
For the first time in the awards, the pin was awarded to two people instead of just one: Rik Campbell and Steve Le Marquand, the global managing director and executive creative director of creative digital agency Resn.
The reason? The judges said the duo are inseparable, as they are a united team with a very strong vision, with Le Marquand acting as a champion of simple-but-effective digital designs that achieve an emotional response, and Campbell acting as managing director (he was formerly the designer and art director for the company’s early work).
Since being established in 2004, the agency has collected numerous impressive accolades, including twice winning Awwwards Agency of the Year in 2017 & 2018, CSS Design Awards Agency of the Year, induction into the FWA Hall of Fame and inclusion on Advertising Age’s Production Company A-List.
Overall, Resn’s work has won more than 250 international awards, including Cannes Lions, Webby Awards, One Show, D&ADs and Best Design Awards, and its clients include Lexus, Adidas and Netflix.
In a press release titled ‘Digital misfits win John Britten Black Pin,’ the pair couldn’t resist ribbing each other over the win.
“I’m proud to share this prestigious award with my business partner and good mate, Steve, even though I did most of the work,” Campbell is quoted as saying.
In rebuttal, a Le Marquand spokeperson is quoted at a press conference as saying, “If you look closely, you’ll notice they put Steve’s name on the award first. I wonder why? ‘Cause it’s not in alphabetical order, Rik. We checked the alphabet. Twice.”
Interactive Purple Pin and Moving Image Purple Pin – Oat the Goat by Assembly and FCB New Zealand
Design director: Matt von Trott
Client: Ministry of Education
Oat the Goat is an interactive, animated storybook intended as a bullying prevention initiative by the Ministry of Education. The web-based story was created for children aged four to seven-years-old and aims to show the effect their actions can have in group situations, as well as encouraging parents to have a conversation with their children around this sensitive subject. The character was created using animated 3D characters.
Interactive judges said the project is a “masterfully crafted, immersive storytelling that tackles a difficult issue with grace.”
It pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved in a web browser,” they said.
User experience Purple Pin - Starship Animal Check Ups & Magical Forest by RUSH and Watermark
Creative director: Terry Williams-Willcock
Design Director: Stephen Horner
Each year, 34,000 children pass through the halls of Starship children’s emergency department, and the waiting room is where the patient journey begins for many of the children. The designers were asked to come up with a way to make the emergency department experience for children, their parents and the staff more pleasant, more calm and more accommodating, space and flow-wise.
The result is an interactive picture wall that comes to life with different animal nurse and doctor characters that take children through the check-up experience in a non-intimidating way. On the screens, lions teach kids to open their mouths wide, meerkats read their heart rate and blowfish advise on breathing rhythms. This is all controlled by sensors, machine learning and a computer vision-based tracking system.
Meanwhile, an interactive screen called ‘The Magic Forest’ shows virtual birds and flowers reacting to children’s movements, creating a calm, fun environment that kids can engage with while in the waiting room.
The judges said, “The team delivered a delightful experience that combined interactive technology and immersive design which had the user at the centre from start to finish.”
RUSH also scooped a Gold Pin for its work with the Z Energy Fastlane, which allows customers to drive into a Z Energy station, fuel up, and then drive away without an onsite payment needed, all via computer vision cameras that recognise car’s number plates and work with a complimentary app.
Graphics Purple Pin – There is no such thing as a New Zealand typeface by Alt Group and Klim Type Foundry
Creative directors: Dean Poole, Kris Sowersby
Design director: Janson Chau
Client: Klim Type Foundry
Is there such thing as a typographic accent? This is what New Zealand designer Kris Sowersby wanted to explore in his exhibition showcasing the typeface National, which has been adopted widely across New Zealand.
The exhibition looks at the 10-year period between the release of the typefaces National and National 2, and asks whether the letterforms have been integrated into our design culture during the decade when New Zealand as a nation was searching for a way to define its design language.
Judges said the exhibition won as it’s “a brilliant piece of work that creates a conversation about New Zealand identity and uses design in its broadest sense. The multidisciplinary approach made it stand out from the rest.”
Spatial Purple Pin - Waterview Connection by Warren and Mahoney Architects
Design director: Shannon Joe
Client: New Zealand Transport Agency
The Waterview Connection was dubbed a project of ‘national significance’ by the previous government, as it was conceptualised in order to improve Auckland’s transport network.
Warren & Mahoney helped design the tunnels, which opened up the Western Ring and airport routes with two 2.5 kilometre parallel tunnels, passing through some of Auckland’s most densely populated neighbourhoods.
However, as the largest infrastructure project undertaken in New Zealand to date, it was a mammoth project, with local views and ancestral ties to the land examined and community engagement prioritised.
The judges said the Waterview Connection Tunnel is an iconic local infrastructure project.
“Necessity has not stood in the way of exceptional design solution. It is a stunning, national project that sends a message to local government to do more of this work.”
Ngā Aho Award Purple Pin - Trails of Taonga by Clemenger BBDO Wellington
Creative director: Brigid Alkema
Design director: Mark Dalton
Client: Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children
In Māori culture, taonga are precious objects or heirlooms that are passed down from generation to generation. The design team at Clemenger BBDO Wellington wondered if it could create a new type of taonga that could carry the stories of children who’d been cared for and thank the carers for their kindness.
The design they’ve created shows tamariki (children) at the centre, protected and supported by layers of family, whānau and community and is based off what the kids felt was the right symbol to base the taonga on.
On social media, people can nominate others to receive the taonga by telling their story via a secure, open-access online form. A group of children read the stories and choose the people they think are most worthy of receiving the taonga. The taonga are kept by these people for a while, before being returned and passed-on to the next deserving person.
Each time the taonga are passed from hand-to-hand, their mana grows, and the five taonga leave trails of gratitude wherever they go across New Zealand, inspiring people to help the country’s most at-risk children.
The judges said of the design, “‘He tamaiti tu, he tamaiti ora,’ A child uplifted, is a child who will flourish. This project for the recently formed Ministry for Children, Oranga Tamariki, has designed a fresh approach to uplifting ‘at-risk’ children through fresh design. This was not just a design collaboration, it was a wide community collaboration asking everyone to step forward and help a child in need. The resultant series of exquisite taonga created by carvers and sculptors to recognise those who step forward and help, are leaving a trail of aroha through the many hands and hearts they touch.”
Public Good Award Purple Pin – NZ Police Family Harm App by Smudge
Creative directors: Reuben Bijl, Toby Vincent
A mobile app designed by Smudge for New Zealand Police helped tackle the single biggest social issue facing New Zealand today: domestic violence. Half of all violent crime in New Zealand is domestic violence related, while dealing with domestic violence related events accounts for 40 percent of frontline police time.
The app replaces a 13-page paper form that used to take offices a minimum of one hour to complete. In other words, with more than 121,000 episodes of family harm occurring in New Zealand each year, the app banished more than 1.5 million pages of paperwork overnight.
It also connects to the national intelligence database and gives frontline officers useful information, such as historical events at the same location, providing them with valuable background context.
Judges said, “This project demonstrated a strong design cycle with intensive user research and testing. Reducing the potential for harm to vulnerable citizens and streamlining processes at the same time is an absolute win-win technology for the community.”
Product Purple Pin – Tūroa Bathroom Collection by Methven Global Design & Innovation team
Design director: Andy Grigor
The Turoa shower system has been designed to adapt to people’s different habits, routines and changing needs, while combining this experience with sustainable water use. The result is a product using less water and manufactured from more sustainable materials than traditional methods with a clean, contemporary aesthetic.
From a very strong category of Gold Pin winning products, Turoa emerged as the judges’ 2018 top product pick.
The judges said, “That pure aesthetic, sensuous showering and cleansing experience, thoughtful application of high-grade materials with high quality finishes complements the sparing use of water and convinced the judges it deserved to be Best of the Best.”
Value of Design Award Purple Pin – Active Smart Built-In Refrigerator by Fisher & Paykel Appliances
Creative director/design director: Fisher & Paykel Appliances Design Team
There has been a trend for appliances to become more seamlessly integrated into the kitchen environment, but the options on the market are often very expensive. Fisher & Paykel came up with the Active Smart Built-In Refrigerator to meet customer needs and fill a gap in the market.
The judges said, “Fisher & Paykel Appliances have a very long history of design and have developed a robust, world class product development engine. This entry is an exemplar of the Value of Design, demonstrated across functional groups and requiring significant commitment from board level through to storefront.”
- This story was originally published on Idealog.