Being invited by the ADC 96th Annual Awards and go to Bermuda to judge the best creative work from around the world? Escape the Canadian winter and rub shoulders with the brightest stars in the industry? Where do I sign up?

When I was invited to sit on the Design jury, I was very honored. While tourists were lounging by the pool or on the pink sands of the Bermuda beaches, I was diving head first into my role as judge. I was on a mission and it was my goal to be as attentive, fair, and open-minded as I could. As a person who likes to be surprised by ideas I never would have thought of, I was amazed by the entries, and a little intimidated to find myself in the company of such creative leaders from the design world. It was a real privilege to get to know my fellow judges, who were all warm, charming, and great human beings.

While we all arrived with our own worldviews and cultural baggage, we quickly found ourselves on common ground and by ‘judgment day’ we rather easily agreed on the winning projects. For me, this proved that the quality of the work spoke for itself, and that the competition was organized in a way that made it possible for outstanding projects to stand out and be rewarded. As we often said when judging: trust the ADC system... and it worked!

Judging the entries, I was impressed with not only the level of creativity and innovation, but the designers’ willingness to push boundaries and introduce us to brands in a way that makes us want to let them into our lives, into our homes, and into our hearts. As the great Maya Angelou so eloquently put it: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And in today’s climate of globalization and social media, I believed that while context is important, we should not undervalue the power of design. I believe we should pay attention not only to what is being said, but how it is being said.

What stood out the most, especially when I returned home and was able to reflect on my experience, was the universal language of design. I was especially drawn to the minimalism and simplicity of certain projects, as for example the power of the New York Times covers and their ability to transcend borders.

Beyond the awards, ADC showed us once again just how omnipresent design is, and how it not only reflects the times we live in but helps shape them. In the current climate, design focuses even more than ever on emotion, meaning, sensation, and experience. This does not mean design is any less relevant, political, or controversial, simply that the message is broadcast in a di erent way. Maybe because as human beings, we are all looking for more humanity in our lives right now, aren’t we?


President / Co-Founder


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