Crossover hits were plentiful, while green themes dominated.

Environmentalism was big. Kids in cars were huge (literally: those kids were very large!). Posters from India were elegant. Japan earned major style points. And BBDO showed that a big classic US ad agency can design with the best of them. Those were a few of the noteworthy takeaways from this year’s One Show Design awards. To get an insider’s perspective on some of the show’s highlights, one talked to One Show Design judge Brian Collins of Collins: Design Research, who shared his thoughts on the following: The prevalence of “green” themes: “I don’t think any conversation about green can be overkill; as far as I’m concerned, the whole show could be green and it wouldn’t be overkill because the issue is that crucial. The amount of green thinking that was in the show should be celebrated, even if some of the solutions were conceptually fuzzy.”

Favorite work with an environmental theme: (Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai’s Gold-winning posters for WWF India, with the theme “ Plant more trees. Plant more lives.”) “It’s a really simple idea (using tree images to form the shapes of other living creatures such as a bird, elephant, jellyfish) but it was also absolutely beautiful.” Also, Jung von Matt in Stuttgart, which won Silver in collateral for the Forest Stewardship Council; the campaign used tree branches with pencils attached to created windblown drawings. “The images were amazing—just as abstract art, really eloquent. And when you know the story of how it’s made, then it really gets interesting. I think it also makes you feel more connected to the issue—we respond to things that are anthropomorphized and I think this brings the issue more into the human realm.”

Those big kids: (Ogilvy Frankfurt created images of oversized children sitting in cars as part of a Gold winning P.O.P./In-store campaign for Mattel’s Matchbox.) “What I love is, it takes you a beat or two to get it; you look at it and the images are beautiful—but you don’t really get what’s going on right away, which is kids driving grown up cars. The kid is the scale of an adult—and what’s really great is that the expressions of their faces are just flawless. Also the cars from the ’70s are great. The whole thing just sneaks up on you—you look at it, and then you look at it again as you realize what story’s being told. And also, Matchbox is different from Hot Wheels—it’s more about reality than fantasy, so from a brand position I think it’s really clever.”

On the endless acclaim for the iPhone: (This time, it was the Silver winning packaging that earned kudos for Apple.) “Apple’s package design tends to be mainly just a carrier for the product. It’s epic minimalism in that all it shows is the product, serving as a framework for Jonathan Ives remarkable product design—which speaks for itself. But you’ve also got to take into account it’s not just the graphics on the box—it’s how the box opens, and the whole experience from the minute you see it. People keep the boxes, because the whole protocol is so brilliantly designed. If you judge it as an experience, it definitely deserves the Pencil it got.”

On BBDO’s “Voyeur” and big agency design success in general: I saw a lot of good work at this show coming from ad agencies and I say, good for them—they’re recognizing the role that design thinking is playing in advertising and they’re really stepping up to the bar. The fact that BBDO won Best of Show—and deserved it—shows this. I think “Voyeur” (BBDO’s Best of Show winning campaign for HBO) was remarkable as a piece of communication. They took a building and made a unique experience out of it; they contextualized it in a way that could only be done in that location.”

On turning household packaged goods into something delightful: (Wink/Minneapolis’ Gold-winning packaging for Daub & Bauble soap.) “After so many years of grim, slick, industrial-looking products that we’ve had to use in our kitchens and our bathrooms from the major soap manufacturers, I think people are finally starting to realize that these products can look as if they were designed by human beings. These Daub & Bauble products look like they were done by someone who wanted to make my kitchen or bathroom look delightful, instead of being designed just for ‘shelf pop.’ Which by the way is a grotesque term—meaning I have to capture your attention in a fluorescent-lit supermarket aisle in three seconds, otherwise I have failed. The problem is, we live with products longer than three seconds. If we design them so that they’re screaming at us from the store shelf, well, they’ll still be screaming at us when we put them in our homes. No wonder we’ve had to keep this stuff under the sink—it’s not designed to be in our lives. I’m hoping that brands like P&G are paying attention to what these guys and Method are doing.”

Highlighters and other highlights: (Leo Burnett India’s Gold-winning posters for Luxor Highlighters used highlighting to tell a story within a story.) “It pays off the way a poster should—which is, it says something to me from across the street, then again from close up.” (Rediffusion DYR’s “Birds” posters for Amway India): “An exquisite piece of graphic design.” (AMV BBDO’s Silver-winning campaign for BBC 2): “This is one of the best on-air broadcast design identities I’ve seen. It’s analog, with very little digital effects work going on, so it seems timeless. Its thinking and imagination is what distinguished it.”

Finally, the Big Idea: “What’s interesting is that many of the design shows reward craft more. But the One Show is different in that it’s looking for the idea—something that has a story in it, and not just craft. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating craft, but this show celebrates the thinking as much as the craft.”

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