Judging the 2010 I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review

Last week I had the pleasure of traveling out to Cincinnati Ohio to review over 350 submissions of the best graphic design created in 2009. The entries came from all over the globe and ranged from small direct mail pieces to motion graphics and large scale environmental signage programs.

Reviewing this many entries and seeking out the absolute best examples of design is a challenging process. Throughout the years, I.D.’s design review has chronicled the evolution of design, and the work included has come to represent the most avant garde style, materials, and subject matter relevant to that time period. Therefore, it was important to me to not only consider the superior visual beauty of a piece, but the environmental impact as well.

Over 2 days, I poured over the materials submitted often asking myself questions such as:

  • Why was this piece created?
  • Who will actually use this piece?
  • Is it clear and efficient?
  • Is it relevant and useful?Is it worth holding on to?
  • Will it end up in a landfill?
  • What materials where chosen for this project?
  • How do the materials chosen affect the life expectancy?

Evaluating artistic expression is a subjective process, but evaluating an effective communication tool is what separates art from design. This is the lens I truly hope I brought to the table. Now more than ever it’s incredibly crucial for business and the environment that the materials we create are relevant to the end-user and produced as sustainably as possible.

Certainly as designers have a lot further to go but recognizing pieces that are making steps in the right direction is the future of great design.

The final results will be posted online at I.D. Magazine this May.