North of England Design Consultancy

By The Drum, Administrator

April 10, 2002 | 4 min read

'The king is dead, long live the king.' OK, the king's not dead, but he has decided to hang up his crown for a while after getting into bed with his sister.

Following a comprehensive victory at last year's Robert Horne Design Consultancy of the Year Awards, King Tucker Clarke-Williams experienced a turbulent reign culminating in a marriage to new media sibling Magneto.

The newly re-branded Magneto TCW has now chosen to exile itself from the competition court, relinquish its title and give someone else a chance to secure the hot seat.

As ever the rivalry was as intense as ever, with several young pretenders scaling the precipitous heights in the hope of knocking the more seasoned campaigners off the summit.

The competition commenced at the sublimely understated opulence of the new Heathcote's in Leeds. This, judging from the amount of liquid-related revenue that went the restaurant's way, seemed like a popular choice, as was the day's guest speaker, Michael Wolff, founder of design consultancy Wolff Olins.


Now in its fourth year, the Robert Horne North of England Design Consultancy of the Year Awards aim to acknowledge the champions of the regional industry and showcase the quality of the work they produce.

As some of you may be unfamiliar with the mechanisms that drive this particular awards juggernaut, at this stage it might be helpful to take a quick butcher's beneath the bonnet.

The competition is open to any design firm located north of the Midlands.

The creative pugilists must fight it out over three rounds - financial performance, creative work and peer poll standing - with the best overall performer emerging as the clear points winner.

To ensure that nobody punches below the belt, the judging is neutral with the agencies themselves compiling the information for the peer category and our old sparring partners at KPMG doing the fancy financial footwork.

A non-partisan creative appreciation is ensured by sending the work north for a panel of respected Scottish designers to cast their erudite eyes over.

Overall winner

We could try and create some dramatic effect, employ a few sentences as virtual drum rolls, build the tension etc.

But by the picture on the left you've probably guessed that Elmwood's overall performance across the criteria mentioned means it ascended to the winner's platform to score a belated title hat trick.

After last year the Elmwood team must feel as though they are back where they belong - sitting at the top of the table.

Second place, appropriately, goes to Elmwood's traditional challenger The Chase.

They both traded good-natured blows in the fight for supremacy with neither ever seeming to land a knockout punch.

However, it was Elmwood's day, due to the consistency of its performance, but The Chase ran it close and must be pleased with its showing, especially in the creative poll.

We would never have thought that third place would be taken by an agency that only put the key in the ignition half way through last year. But then again, this particular creative vehicle does have some rather good drivers.

Love Creative has got off to the sort of flying start that leaves the smell of burning rubber hanging in the air.

They've got national clients, a firm industry fan base, creative awards, a burgeoning head count and all within ten months of going into business.


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