Scottish Design Awards
A record number of companies submitted work for the Scottish Design Awards 2007 – with almost 150 different companies, entering 400 individual pieces of work to be judged by the high profile panel.
The number of entries led to a wide-range of nominations throughout the categories this year, with the Graphic Design judging panel for 2007 made up by: chairman Richard Village, founding director of Fortune Street; Andrew Capper, co-founder of Echo Brand Design; Emma Slater of Williams Murray Hamm; Neil Walker, managing creative partner at CDT Design; Tony Brook, founder of Spin; and Zlatko Haban of Imagination.
The judges spent a full day at the Crowne Plaza in February, surrounded by the submitted work... And they had a difficult job, with a great deal of debating and deliberating taking place.
Overall, it was agreed that standards were high. However, in the graphic design categories, there were a couple of low points for the judging panel.
They were particularly underwhelmed by both the Self Promotion and Digital Design categories, with no nominations in either field.
All in all though, there was a great deal of positives to take from the work, with categories like Annual Report; Print and Poster provoking a great deal of interest and debate.
The high number of entries, as well as the high quality of work entered, may be reflective of the Scottish design industry at present. Despite a great deal of change, Scotland’s design community has remained extremely busy producing a wide range of creative and effective work for its clients – both new and existing.
However, the awards also had their surprises, as an unprecedented step was taken by the judges.
This year, for the first time in the history of the Scottish Design Awards, the judges decided to present the Designer of the Year title to Navyblue’s Lynne Devine – also winner of the Emerging Designer of the Year title, beating stalwarts of the Scottish design industry, including Bill Gaughan of 999 Design; Mick Dean of Various; and David Huckell from Hookson; while Steve Foulds of Line was the first ever online designer to be nominated for the Designer of the Year prize.
Other top awards on the night went to Brian Copeland’s North&East for Bake Print, winning the Grand Prix Award, while Stand was presented the Chairman’s Award for its Gi work for UZ Events.
Other award-winners on the night were Third Eye Design, Elmwood, Various, 300Million, Navyblue, NORD, Teviot and Freight.
To see a full run-down of results, as well as images of all the winning work, visit The Drum’s website www.thedrum.com and click through the ‘Events’ link /public/publicevents.php
Lynne Devine; Designer of the Year
The Scottish Design Awards often raise a few eyebrows, but this year many were surprised by the judges’ decision to nominate the Emerging Designer of the Year as the overall Designer of the Year. However, few could argue with the decision after having delved into Lynne Devine’s portfolio.
How long have you been at Navyblue, and where did you join from?
I’ve been with Navyblue for 16 months now, having joined from Pointsize Associates in Glasgow at the end of January of last year. I graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 2002, and I’m 26.
What inspired you to become a designer?
I don’t really think I always knew I wanted to be a designer, and can’t attribute the career choice to one specific inspirational person or thing. I’ve always loved drawing and from an early age I wanted to study at the art school. As I got older I started to find that design let me articulate ideas in a way that simple observational drawing couldn’t. I became more interested in communication, typography and what made certain compositions and layouts work better than others.
Since Navyblue moved into new premises at the Corn Exchange, which also boasts the Corn Exchange Gallery space, has the creative team been given more opportunities to experiment with ideas?
I joined after the move to the Corn Exchange, so I’ve only known Navyblue as it is now, but there’s no doubt that the gallery space, and the building as a whole, affects how everyone works. You can’t fail to be impressed by the building when you first have a look around, but as a designer, to work in such a functional studio where there’s space to get away from your desk to help you think, or even just lay all your work out makes a difference.
Work of emerging artists is exhibited in the gallery, and as the artists in the gallery change, a different designer is assigned the task of designing the promotional items. When this sort of project lands on your desk, it’s a great opportunity to do something challenging and experimentation is positively encouraged... thus the use of cellair bags and industrial strapping in the brochure I designed for Kris Emmerson’s exhibition. There’s quite a bit of pressure because of the great work that’s been done for the Corn Exchange already, so there’s an expectation, but it’s pressure in a good way. It’s refreshing to have a client that encourages you to explore the project in your own way, and who is also design literate. Although, with this comes the challenge of doing something unique that works hard for the artist, without it becoming a self-indulgent exercise for you.
The judges were impressed by your portfolio, voting you as both Designer and Young Designer of the Year. The work was wide-ranging, with a number of interesting pieces. How much freedom were you given to develop these ideas?
Freedom comes in many forms for a designer, and within my folio there’s stuff where I’ve been at liberty to make decisions which shape almost every aspect of how the piece looks, feels and functions. There are also pieces of work upon which many restrictions have been placed, be it by the client, limitations on production, timescales or the big bad budget, but I suppose the challenge is in making it brilliant without excuses.
What, in your opinion, do you feel stood out most for the judges, looking at your work (and the winning work, in general)?
Perhaps the strength of the folio I submitted was that I’d made the most of the opportunities I’d been given. They’re not all ‘peachy’ little jobs, I think some of the best work was from the least likely candidates for award-winning work, so I suppose a bit of that attitude of trying to make everything as brilliant as it can be might have come across in the work too.
In terms of the winners in general, I’m not sure there were any trends in what was chosen, but the standard of entry must have been pretty high for multiple awards to be given out in the same categories.
Are there any individual pieces of design work, or designers, that you would cite as an influence on you, your career or your work?
I won’t try to dazzle by coming up with the most obscure people or pieces of work, but the things I return to again and again are: Josef Muller-Brockmann’s Zurich Tonhalle Concert poster 1954 & Der Film 1960, Graphic Thought Facility, Reid Miles, Peter Saville the list goes on... we all have our favourites.
What are you working on at the moment?
Just finished designing the Candidate City File for Glasgow’s bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Born and bred ‘weegie’, it’s obviously a project close to my heart, but it’s been great to work on such a prestigious job which so many people feel so passionately about.
What do you ultimately hope to achieve?
I’m not the type of person who can give a specific answer to that sort of question. We’ll see what happens.
What are your biggest gripes about the industry?
No one enjoys putting their heart and soul into a pitch to find out you didn’t have a hope in hell in winning in the first place.
Are women always given a fair chance in this industry?
I’ll burn my bra and say ‘not quite yet’.
What do you think of the Scottish Design scene at present?
I’m probably not the best person to ask about ‘the scene’. In terms of ‘social’ or ‘extra-curricular’ activity, I think the guys at Long Lunch are doing a great job in providing events where we can all go, be inspired and have a chat afterwards about design, just for the love of it. In terms of work, I tend to just try to get on with it without worrying about what everyone else is up to.
North & East, Grand Prix Winner, Bake Print
“Most designers have the capacity to produce really great work, but find they have to compromise daily on almost every idea they have. So when that one job, that dream project, comes along, you have to know when to go for it in a big way. This was my once in a lifetime job.”
Brian Copeland, the brains behind North&East – this year’s Scottish Design Awards Grand Prix winner – has been working in the Scottish design industry for over a decade.
He is quick, however, to acknowledge that a job like the one for Bake Print (the Grand Prix Award winning work) isn’t likely to fall on his lap again if he stays in the industry for another two decades.
“I’ve known one of the reps at Bake for a good number of years [Steve Thorburn]. When I started up for myself we had a chat about targeting designers and print buyers. Thankfully I managed to talk them out of a Christmas card on the grounds that it wouldn’t be an effective way of reaching their audience, and that a piece of work that lasted all year would be a better idea. So I guess I really wrote the brief myself... and got lucky that the client loved the idea and ran with it.”
Copeland’s first job, having graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in ’96, was freelancing with Paul Gray and Stuart Gilmour at (then) Tank in Glasgow, followed by a stint at Quorum’s (now Shandwick Design) short-lived Edinburgh office. When that closed in late ’97, he moved to BDG McColl, before a move to PRM which helped fuel Copeland’s online development and a move to Navyblue New Media in 2000.
In 2004 he left to go travelling across America. But 18 months back in Scotland, after a short stint at Rundeep, he decided to work for himself and North&East was born.
“Initially the company was meant to be a husband and wife thing [his wife was a graphic designer too], however let’s just say that didn’t prove to be a good idea after all. So it’s ended up being just me.”
As well as Bake Print, Copeland also works with a number of clients, including The National Galleries of Scotland, BL Developments, Nucleus Financial Group and Analogue Books. Yet, despite running his own business, Copeland is one of a small group of young designers that have pulled together to give something back to the industry that they are so passionate about: “I guess it would be fair to say I’m one of those uber-geek designers. I find it a wonderfully stimulating industry and influences can be wide-ranging. It was this love that drove me to start LongLunch with other like-minded souls, who I’m now glad to say are very good friends with a shared passion. I’ve also been lucky enough to be able to meet several of my design ‘heroes’ through the talks we put on, such as Peter Saville, Airside, Why Not Associates, Jonathan Ellery and the list goes on (22 at the last count).”
However, as well as the highs, this year has been tempered by a terrible low. In February, Copeland’s wife died suddenly.
Following a period of reflection – and a freelance contract at Whitespace to ‘take the pressure off’ – he looks to return to North&East fulltime in June: “Given the overwhelming changes in my personal life in the last 12 months, I’m just hoping that I can be lucky enough to keep working for myself. But, following Nicola’s death, it’s become clear that there’s more to life than design, so I’m going to follow my heart and move to London.
“I’ll still run North&East, and I still hope to work for all the Scottish clients who’ve been kind enough to give me work over the first 18 months. I’m also planning to start LongLunch in London, whether or not it’s called that, or simply has the same format, I don’t know yet, but from speaking to friends down south, they’re as starved of inspiration as we were five years ago in Scotland.”
Chairman’s Award: Stand, UZ Events
What was the brief you were given?
We had already produced the inaugural campaign for Gi 2006, where we had gone out and photographed Glasgow artist’s studios, then overprinted the Gi marque.
Francis McKee, the curator, and UZ, the event organisers, wanted to focus on the ‘international’ of Glasgow International for the 2007 campaign , whilst still retaining some visual relationship to the original.
How did you approach the task?
We had some really good meetings with Francis McKee and Christina Armstrong from UZ Events, coming up with concepts and approaches. We put a lot of ideas in front of them and they were very enthusiastic and involved in the process.
Our eventual idea was to take the Gi identity on a bit of a journey: Instead of overprinting the Gi marque, we had it routered through a sheet of coloured perspex. We used the perspex sheet as a sort of filter, holding it in front of the camera at a set distance for all of our shots.
Arts budgets being what they are, we attempted to represent ‘international’ in the most cost effective way possible. This involved a very random set of budget flights and hostels, and tearing through the streets of Pisa, Florence and Barcelona trying to find places that were indentifiable as ‘not Britain’, but not specifically landmarks of Italy or Spain or anywhere else – just places on the road – stations, pavements, signs street furniture etc.
We then replicated the technique back in Glasgow, so we had a balance of images from home and abroad. The image in the 60x40 poster was ultimately one we shot in Glasgow.
what was the final aim of the communication?
We wanted to make Glasgow International a highly recognisable event, and, through a series of images on posters and press ads, intimate that this was a festival of art and artists that had been brought together not only from Glasgow, but internationally.
What is your opinion of the Scottish Design scene at present?
There has always been something good about working in Scotland. It’s second nature to compare your situation to London, and you realise that here you have the potential to do a lot more, and put up with a lot less. I think people are cottoning on to that and want to live and work here. That’s a healthy situation but it’s going to bring a lot of change too.
There’s already a lot of interesting independent designers and creative folk thriving here, but you don’t hear too much about them – it tends to inevitably be the bigger companies who are recognised.
What you have to hope for is that the genuine talent stays around and generates a good culture whilst the more soulless contingent gets bored posturing and move on.