As you read this in May, The One Show will be upon us. But as we were producing the issue, in late March and early April, the exhaustive process of judging was taking place, both for The One Show as well as One Show Design. One of the great things about award show judging is that it brings together the top creators in a given industry and puts them in a room together where they get to share opinions and creative philosophies and ultimately make group decisions. It's rare to have so many talented people in one place. For example, how often are you likely to get:

  • One of America's premier graphic designers;
  • Someone who has helped define the style of communication design in the British fashion/cosmetic industries;
  • Possibly the hottest designer in Canada these days

... All in one place? And in Brooklyn, no less?

But such was the case when Kit Hinrichs of Pentagram, Alan Aboud of Aboud Creative, and Rene Clement of Paprika came to Fast Ashleys Studio in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, to spend several days sorting through thousands of design entries. It's a tough job, but we knew there would be some occasional breaks along the way—and one.design decided to take advantage of this opportunity. During those in-between periods, the magazine corralled each of these stellar designers in order to explore their work, their ideas, and their core beliefs about good design. The results of those discussions, along with a generous sampling of the imagery produced by the three designers, can be found in the pages that follow.

The styles of Hinrichs, Aboud, and Paprika's Clement clearly differ, as you'll see. But there are some common elements that link their work—and good design in general. Clarity; simplicity; authenticity; and perhaps most important, the ability to use imagery to tell stories about a brand or product.

That's what these designers tend to strive for in their own work—and by the way, it's also what they look for when judging the work of others. "For me, the pieces in the show that stand out are the ones that are most simple, direct, with less frills," Clement said near the end of the judging.

Both Hinrichs and Aboud said that as they looked at the entries, they were struck by the quality of design coming from unexpected places. This year's design show "was much more international than most of the juries I've been on," Hinrichs said. "It was great to see things from Africa and India. And it wasn't just like—'Those are the hinterlands, maybe we should toss something to them.' The stuff coming from those areas is really good, and also fresh. I'm used to seeing variations of a theme when I travel around and look at design in the US and UK, but with places like Africa or Inida you're seeing a unique, indigenous design style starting to emerge—it's not all the way there yet, but it's developing nicely."

Aboud, meanwhile, was impressed by the breadth of work in the show. "What I liked is that we were judging everything from store interiors to billboards," he says. Some design shows, he said, are more focused on narrow categories, but he feels good design today has begun to move across categories, and award shows should reflect that. For example, he said, "I don't see a division between design and advertising. I happen to think if you're a creative, you're a creative."

As Hinrichs notes in the interview that follows, it really doesn't matter what discipline or category of brand communication you're working in, it all boils down to "a good idea, well executed, in the simplest form." If you can achieve that in your designs, Hinrichs says, you'll win your fair share of hardware.

Enjoy the issue.

- Warren Berger

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