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The Drum Design Awards: British Design Fund's John Mathers pays tribute to Glenn Tutssel & talks chair award

Non-alcoholic spirit brand Senser has picked up the chair’s award at The Drum Design Awards, with chairman John Mathers, design director of the British Design Fund, praising the work as ‘beautiful’ while taking time to remember his friend Glenn Tutssel who helped launch the awards and sadly passed away last year.

Discussing the work he chose to recognise through his chair’s award, Mathers said of Senser: “When you look the package as a whole it really grabbed you. When you read the story on pack and you saw the care in the illustration and putting the whole thing together it worked brilliantly. That is what great design is all about: capturing your attention, making you smile, engaging with you and making you want to engage with whatever the designer is capturing.”

Despite judging work virtually, which meant the jury was unable to physically hold and feel the quality of the production of the entries, Mathers lauded Senser, describing the copywriting as ‘clever’ and the illustration as ‘beautiful’, especially the craft of the animals featured on the bottles.

“All three drinks are there to give you a sense of the emotions of drinking alcohol – with a story that goes alongside each animal captured on the bottles… It’s a great idea to use botanicals to capture emotions which is then beautifully crafted and it’s that combination of things that came together extremely well.”

Paying tribute to his late friend, Glenn Tutssel, another former juror on the awards who will be remembered this year as part of the ceremony, Mathers said he had been lucky to know and work with him.

“For me he encapsulated the quote 'It’s amazing how much you can get done when you don’t take the credit yourself'. Glenn epitomised what a creative director was, he was able to work with teams of people who would go away and craft the most amazing thing, not really realising that Glenn has set them off in the right direction. And he was just brilliant at that because for him it wasn’t about ego, it was about producing beautiful things and that is what drove him.”

Finally, offering some advice for designers attempting to continue to work during the Covid-19 crisis, Mathers was positive in his outlook: “One of the great things about designers and the design industry is that we have been taught over the years to be very flexible… embrace what is happening and think about how to do things differently.

"Don’t worry because things will come back in the short-medium times… we are going to depend on innovative and creative ideas to drive the economy forward and designers will be at the heart of that. We are in a good place.”

Check out more of the winners of this year’s The Drum Design awards in the results overview.

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