Cowtown. Stampede City. Design capital of Canada?
Canada is bringing home three Design Lions from the 61st International Festival of Creativity and they’re going to Calgary with Wax, Trigger and Critical Mass, which were all announced as winners during the Wednesday night awards show in Cannes.
After Wax’s “Staple” annual report for the Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities won a Black Pencil at the D&AD in May, the question wasn’t “Would it win in Cannes?” but “What colour Lion would it be?” The answer is silver.
The annual report was put together with one staple through the middle of it, recreating for a moment the struggle to complete basic tasks—like reading a report—that people with disabilities face.
“It was a very simple piece,” said jury member and Juniper Park co-founder Barry Quinn. “It’s quiet when you first see it, but it did something only print could do… I think people loved the theatre of it. But it made people know what it’s like to deal with the challenges of having a disability… It wasn’t in any way overly sentimental. I’m really proud that was a Canadian entry.”
Matching the Wax accomplishment, Critical Mass Calgary is taking home a silver Lion for “Massey Lectures iPad App” for House of Anansi Press. The app delivers the collective works from the Massey Lectures—written work, event content and broadcast content—in a single digital entity.
“It was a very well-liked piece,” Quinn said. “It was the level of craft [jurors liked]. It was a very dense piece with a lot of information… executed at a very high level. Some of the jury members who do that kind of digital work talked about the kind of quiet confidence it had.”
Rounding out the Calgary sweep was Trigger Communications & Design’s 2012 annual report for the Calgary Zoo. Trigger used Instagram to create the annual report with photos of zoo visitors. The paperless report reinforced the zoo’s commitment to conservation.
“Annual reports are something designers typically do in elaborate print,” Quinn said. “[Trigger] found a way to do it on Instagram. It’s a completely new way to use that medium.
“When we started to really look at it, when you looked at each photo where they’re showing you the numbers, they didn’t do one visual trick more than once. Each piece was really quite well considered.”
The Design Grand Prix went to the Norwegian “Bergen International Festival Brand Campaign” from the agency Anti Bergen.
Music was the starting point for the new festival brand identity, with the agency coming up with a way to “bridge musical and visual language,” according to the entry submission. The “F” logo was created like a musical chord constructed of various notes so that it could “grow, subdivide and rhythmically repeat like musical units creating a beat or tempo.”
The versatility of the logo made it adaptable for multiple uses, from rain ponchos to an interactive digital music sequencer, and relatable for the new audiences the festival was trying to attract.
Jury president Ije Nwokorie, global CEO of Wolff Olins, said the Bergen identity perfectly represented a theme running through much of the gold Lion-winning work—the power of design to solve real problems.
“You will see on this list [of winners] pieces of work that have taken a really well-defined problem, identified a well-defined need, and come up with a really creative way of solving that problem,” he said. “A small design idea has amazing power to transform the experiences people have.”
The jury spoke at length about the importance of design thinkers looking for non-traditional solutions for their clients. There weren’t enough “screen-based” winners, said Adrian Burton of the U.K.’s Lambie-Nairn. “The pieces at the top [of the list], there’s a lot of paper there.”
Quinn echoed the need for designers to expand their pallets and pointed to the Grand Prix as an example.
“It is a traditional identity, but the way they did it was not traditional… and they broke a lot of rules.”
And Pum Lefebure of Washington D.C.’s Design Army said the best design work is often the quietest; work that may not shock anyone right away, but will stay with them for a long time. “Branding is the opposite to advertising because advertising will capture you in 10 seconds. Branding is something you have to live with [for] a very long time… It has to last 10 years, 15 years.”
Nwokorie agreed, saying that was the case with much of the work that won gold. “You love them more at the end of the day than at the beginning of the day, the way design does at its best. They start quietly and really grow on you.”
Want the latest news and winners from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity? Visit Marketing @ Cannes.