Setting the Bar with Award-Winning Designs

One of the best parts of design annuals is the visual eye candy. Pages of striking award-winning designs do more than inspire, though. The creative work sets the bar for other artists to strive to achieve. After all, when it comes to developing a memorable promotion, clients want the best—not an imitation of something that has been designed better by someone else. Here are three award-winning designs from past HOW Promotion & Marketing Design competitions that have set the bar pretty high.

American Marketing Association Campaign from Ologie

American Marketing Association Campaign from Ologie

An old workbench, pencil sharpener and other details give the booth a vintage feel.

An old workbench, pencil sharpener and other details give the booth a vintage feel. It’s an award-winning design we’d sure love to visit.

The Best Trade Show Booth You’ve Ever Seen

When you think about heading to your typical industry trade show, the excitement is more likely to come from the potential networking opportunities and  stand-out speakers than the booths. In fact, most booths tend to be a self-congratulatory attempt at marketing instead of presenting value to the visitor. Not so with the American Marketing Association Campaign Columbus, OH–based design firm Ologie created. Here the emphasis was on the swag, which was impressive.

Here’s a bit more about the booth and the creative team’s inspiration:

‘If I’m sitting at a conference, what’s a booth I would want to go up to or hang out at?’ asked Kelly Ruoff, partner and managing creative director. The answer: Ditch the marketing collateral and hand out swag at a cool pop-up shop.

What to give the higher-education marketers at this conference? Pencils, notebooks, T-shirts, mugs, buttons and more seemed like a natural fit. All these freebies came in the agency’s brand color palette while lively copywriting made things fun and memorable. One T-shirt proclaimed, ‘Proud to have never left college.’ A calendar reads, ‘I consider August the beginning of the year.’

Handmade Self-Promotional Booklet by Miranda Means

Handmade Self-Promotional Booklet by Miranda Means

A Self-Promotion Puts Similar Attempts to Shame

When Miranda Means started showing off her Mississippi State University design portfolio, she wanted to craft something that would secure her a job in a less-than-stable market. This vintage suitcase-inspired portfolio book did the job … by getting Means a job as head graphic designer for Mississippi Tobacco Data, an organization dedicated to reducing youth smoking in the state.

Here’s a little more about the award-winning design project:

‘Photographing the select portfolio pieces at close, interesting angles in the suitcase gave them a sense of place without allowing the suitcase to overpower the work,’ Means says.

Means further expressed her love for old things by making a fabric-covered chipboard cover for the portfolio and wrapping it with a ribbon belly-band closed with a handmade fabric-and-button pin. (You’ll find a similar sensibility in the ceramic jewelry and hair accessories Means makes and sells in her online shop, The Open Suitcase.)

‘I’ve used this booklet as a leave-behind at interviews, and everyone has been very impressed with it,’ Means says. ‘People especially love the handmade touches such as the fabric flower pin. I feel this adds a very personal touch, a way I can leave behind a little piece of myself and a little piece of happiness everywhere I go.’

 Richmond Rising Mummies Invitation from WORK Labs

Richmond Rising Mummies Invitation from WORK Labs

The Dance Party Invitation Revolution

If your dance moves tend to look a little Dawn of the Dead, you may simply be busting a move at the wrong party. When The Mummies are hitting all the right notes, how could you not want to shake your groove thang? First thing first. You need an invite to get you in the mood. That’s exactly what WORK Labs created for the Richmond Rising Mummies event.

Here’s a little more about this award-winning design:

WORK Labs decided to print on 20 feet of ‘mummy wrap’ and mail it rolled in a small tube. Designer Puck Byrne says the biggest challenges of the project were time and budget. “But what project isn’t challenged by these things these days? Besides those, finding someplace to print a 20-foot long piece of cloth that’s only 3 inches tall wasn’t too easy, but we’ve got our sources,” he says.

The HOW judges were immediately delighted when they opened the tube. ‘There was a kind of “ah-ha” moment,’ judge Jessica Kuhn says, ‘when you realized this is the bandage of a mummy and also an invitation.’

The unusual format inspired other people, as well.  ‘A few partygoers actually wore the invitations,’ Byrne says. ‘Twenty feet of mummy wrap doesn’t really cover much of a body, but people were creative. One guy even used the invitation to make a tie.’

Think you have a project that puts these award-winning designs to shame? If so, we want to see it. Be sure to enter it in the 2014 HOW Promotion & Design Awards. The final deadline is today.

HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards