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Putting aside the business of creativity, strategy and effectiveness, international design competitions are kind of like Lotto Powerball. First and foremost, you’ve got to be in to win.

A lack of publicity might have been behind the small Kiwi showing at this year’s World Logo Design Annual (WOLDA) awards, which is only in its second year of being extended to entries beyond Europe.

According to Kiwi Fraser Gardyne, one of ten international judges for the awards, New Zealand designs numbered just a dozen of the competition’s 1100 entries. Despite the small showing, Gardyne believes Aotearoa’s entries “stacked up bloody well” against competition from 43 countries. The winner will be announced next month.

Luckily, like Powerball, design competitions roll around on a fairly regular basis. Entries are now open for the 2010 Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards , of which Gardyne is also a judge, closing on July 14 at 5pm sharp.

So what makes a logo stand out from the madding crowd?

“What I was looking for was a clear communication of the business or organisation the logo was representing,” explains Gardyne. “What I like to see are brands that don’t need an explanation, ones you can look at and say ‘that’s the field the brand is trying to communicate. If I can look at a brand from anywhere in the world and understand that then it’s doing its job, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Run out of Milan, WOLDA is endorsed by 100 design associations and schools across the globe including the Design Institute of New Zealand. But it’s not just about impressing those versed in the language of design.

To better judge the effectiveness of the logos, the WOLDA judging process takes a unique approach by attempting to reflect how a design is experienced out there in our communication- saturated world, says Gardyne. Rather than being solely decided upon by a collection of design gurus, the judging is a three-step process whereby the panel of international designers first whittle down a selection. The selected logos are then passed on to a group from consumer associations, the “buyers” of design, before the final selection is made by a selected group of consumers, the “end users” of the design.

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