The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

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Are brands and agencies too risk averse to innovate in design?


By Natalie Mortimer, N/A

January 29, 2016 | 3 min read

The design industry is stuck in a rut and is falling in to the trap of “recycling ideas of the past”, according to Graham Shearsby, chief creative officer at Design Bridge, who said that both clients and agencies are guilty of not taking enough risks.

Speaking to The Drum ahead of The Drum’s 2016 Design Awards, Shearsby, who is sitting on the judging panel, bemoaned the lack of innovation across the board.

“It's still a very uncertain world out there - we live in strange times. History tells us that volatile periods can lead to great creative leaps in art, design and culture, but we do seem to be stuck in a rut of reverting to the comfort of nostalgia and the recycling of past ideas. To be honest, I have recently seen very little exciting innovation or ground breaking work in any category, so I am looking forward to being proved wrong by this year's awards entries.”

Touching on opportunities for design, Shearsby said they are “huge” and pointed to the fact that design is the UK’s fastest growing sector – worth £3.2bn per year to the economy – however it is disappearing rapidly from the national curriculum in the country.

“It's madness that we are not supporting and backing a proper creative education at grass-roots level,” he said. “We should be leading the world in investment in design. Great design can change lives and communities as well as transform businesses and public services. Having designers represented on the boards of the UK's leading companies would be a great start.”

Fellow judge Jonathon Ford, partner at Pearlfisher, called for a “death” in trends in the industry and asserted that he would like to see a rise of “mass original creators” as the borders between creativity and tech blur.

“I'd love to see the death of trends and the permanence of fluency after all that's the way we live our lives. I think old static models are out of the window now and truly original creativity should be the goal. So therefore, maybe this year (and this decade) the trend will be the rise of mass original creators as creativity, science and technology continue to fuse”.

Entries for The Drum Design Awards close on 12 February. For more information check out the website.


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