Last week, the ADC Gallery played host to a phenomenal level of talent and wisdom, as the Design and Motion juries of the ADC 95th Annual Awards met to select the very best work of the past year. And while we can’t quite share with you who will be bringing home a highly coveted ADC Cube from the awards galas this June, we can give you a little taste of the experiences of the various Jury members who studied, debated and eventually choose which entries will be immortalized in ADC history.
The first day was funny. In a way, it was like the first day of school. You wonder who you’re gonna know, or what it’s going to be like meeting new people, especially those you’ve heard of but hadn’t met. You’re kind of feeling out the situation and figuring out at which table you should be sitting. Literally. Just like school. But unlike school, but unlike in school, we’re generally NOT the cool kids, so we ended up sitting together pretty naturally. Especially when we got to go drinking later that night!
Most of us in the Motion group had met or already knew each other. Our degrees of separation were (if you looked at them on Linkedin) one. This made it easy to get comfortable with one another right away, which in turn made it easy for us to create an incredibly open atmosphere for cutting pieces that we didn’t like, lifting up ones that we did, and generally making fun of each other pretty much non-stop.
Lauren Indovina had us dying. Every time she opened her mouth it was some left-field statement that could have cut through any tough room. I kept wondering if she has an easier time with clients than me, as she’s amazingly talented but has this easy goofiness that’s very endearing. It helped us all bond quicker, we laughed a ton at all of her ridiculous statements.
We saw a lot of trends, but the biggest it seems, is that more traditional styles of animation and illustration have been coming forward in the past year. Tons of cel animation and illustration styles that made it tough to discern between each. That said, it was awesome on-the-job training to weed the good from the bad. It’s kind of funny that when you keep seeing the same thing over and over, you get really good really fast at deciding which is good and which is “less good”. The tougher thing is knowing which is a leader, and which is the derivative.
We didn’t argue a ton as the rounds went on, and we had a pretty easy time figuring out which were the top choices. We debated mostly on those which would get honorable mentions vs bronze, and whether or not we should shift an entry’s category.
The greatest — and scariest — part of all the judging was how incredible the student work was. We were universally blown away. The Design judges on the floor below us could hear us all laughing, yelling and just generally being loud; and it was all because of the student work. There were some that, had they been done by professional studios with megabucks behind them, we would have been just as amazed. The future is bright — and probably more expensive — as I’m sure these kids will get paid their worth. I know I’d do it!
“The greatest — and scariest —part of all the judging was how incredible the student work was. We were universally blown away.”
My one critique (not that you asked) is that the level of true, traditional design in motion work is pretty terrible. This is an industry-wide problem, and there’s only a handful of firms who handle typography and graphic design in the motion world with skill. They know who they are, so I’m not talking to them, but there were few who entered this competition where I could point at their type, logos, etc and say “yeah, now THAT feels like design”. I honestly hope this changes, it’s been a problem for years. This is not to take anything away from the absolute brilliance on display in this category.
Overall, what a fun time! Judging is exhausting, anyone who’s done it knows what I’m talking about. That said, it’s a true honor. I got to look through the past ADC Awards books and see some of the legendary names in them. George Lois, Massimo Vignelli, Lou Dorfsman, I mean the list goes on and on. There’s real history there, especially if you love design. So to know that I had a chance to put my name in a book that may help create the next legend is a real highlight for me. Thanks to everyone involved!
The ADC 95th Annual Awards Advertising and Digital judging takes place April 11–15, 2016.