Roanne Adams: Future Bright

By Brett McKenzie Posted on Jul 28, 2017

Continuing a tradition, a past Young Guns winner designs this year's brand identity.

Since its beginning in 1996, Young Guns has carried out its mission to elevate and celebrate the very best young professionals across a myriad of countries and creative disciplines. Numerous traditions have formed around Young Guns over the years, and one of the most popular of these has been the competition’s annual rebranding, including the development of a brand new Cube trophy, specific to that class of winners. Each year, this task falls upon a previous Young Guns winner; only a fellow Young Gun knows exactly what it takes to win, and how it feels to eventually do so.

For Young Guns 15, the honor of redesigning the award falls upon New York-based designer, creative director and Young Guns 9 winner Roanne Adams. Roanne founded her own design studio RoAndCo in 2006, and employs a team of spectacularly talented creatives to bring “thought, relevance and style to forward-thinking fashion, beauty, tech, and lifestyle brands.”

This time around, the forward-thinking brand is Young Guns, and Roanne sat down with us to share the story behind it all.

What was your starting off point for thinking about ideas for YG15? Walk us through the creative process. 

Very early on we felt inspired by the idea that receiving a Young Guns award is like receiving a symbolic forecast or fortune telling of what the future holds for the recipient...that by winning, the recipient’s career is set in motion and success will come their way.

From there we further considered themes of creative potential and manifestation. We agreed that everyone who applies to win needs to truly believe that they will. They need to put that positive energy into the universe to receive it back. We naturally coalesced around the images that represent both a crystal ball and Cube. Both shapes emerge from illuminated clouds of color, and look as though they are suspended in space and time. The overall identity combines contemporary and bold typography to balance out the colorful, ethereal look of the imagery to create a somewhat mysterious feeling.

Early concepts for Young Guns 15 branding

Not only does the branding for Young Guns change every year, so does the trophy, with each year’s class receiving their own unique Cube design. Although we are still early in the process, what can you tell us about your ideas for the YG15 Cube? 

In all other iterations of the identity leading up to the award ceremony, the crystal ball and the cube are portrayed separately, but in the final award they will come together as one. We envision the crystal ball suspended inside the semi transparent lucite cube and emanating a colorful aura from within.

We’re excited to be creating the first ever brightly colored Young Guns Cube award. We think it will be a beauty of strong materiality on the exterior and soft mysterious color and light on the inside. Hopefully it will become a beautiful reminder to each recipient that the future is bright.

Early rendering of YG15 Cube concept

You’re a Young Guns 9 winner from 2011 — the year of the black cube designed by YG5 winner Nessim Higson. What can you tell us about your own path to Young Guns success from back then?

Well, the journey was a bit of a challenge, to be honest. I actually applied twice and didn’t win the first time around, so I tried again and thankfully won right before turning 30. I learned that I needed to refine my portfolio presentation, let go of my ego and try again. Being humbled in your career is always a good thing!

"I learned that I needed to refine my portfolio presentation, let go of my ego and try again. Being humbled in your career is always a good thing!"

What made you decide to enter that first time?

I had won a student award at the ADC Annual Awards while I was attending Parsons, so winning Young Guns was always on my future agenda. I was pretty pleased to finally win!

What has being part of the Young Guns community meant for you since then?

It’s been great. I loved meeting all the other Young Guns and sharing the connection with other Young Guns from different years. I've actually had two Young Guns work for me in the past — Lotta Nieminen (YG8) and Ashley Jones (YG11). I also got to know Timothy Goodman (YG7) and Jessica Walsh (YG8) through ADC, the originators of Young Guns.. I was asked to contribute to their book, 40 Days of Dating ,and Jessica recently invited me to speak at one of her “Ladies Wine Design” dinners.  

What advice would you give to anyone looking to earn one of your “future bright” Cubes this year?

If you’ve already done the work and can show how incredibly talented and creative you are, just put a positive intention to win out into the universe... and believe that it will manifest. If not the first time around, hopefully (like me) the second!

The first deadline for Young Guns 15 entries is this Monday, July 31. Any submissions from August 1 to the final deadline of August 11 will be subject to a $35.00 USD late fee.


Photo of Roann Adams: The Great Discontent by James Chororos


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