6 Design Experts on International Design Work

The HOW International Design Awards has been running annually for more than 15 years. That’s more than a decade and a half’s worth of esteemed judges reviewing your work, of myriad projects earning their creators coveted prizes, and of a wholehearted celebration of international design. Last year we saw entries from 33 countries, and we expect that list to grow this year as we reach our deadline for entries—save entry fees with our early-bird deadline August 13th! 🙂

The winning work over the years speaks for itself. But at HOW, we strive to talk about our winners as often and as much as we can, whether that happens in the magazine, on the blog or on social media. We give our winners well-deserved exposure both to celebrate their work and to help others learn from it and be inspired by it.

That’s why we get feedback from the judges on the Best of Show winner and Outstanding Achievement winners, and publish it in the magazine. That’s why we include details about every winning project in print. And that’s why we create posts like this, pointing out all the amazing things our winners have accomplished.

Here, we feature a selection of International Design Awards judges’ comments on Best of Show and Outstanding Achievement winners from over the years (2013 to present), alongside the work to which they’re referring. Past judges include Héctor Ayuso, Mikey Burton, Matteo Bologna, Jamey Wagner, Dana Arnett and Stüssy Tschudin, and the winning projects featured below range from book design for HarperCollins to family reunion invitations.

If you want a chance to know what this year’s judges—Mona Patel, Magnus Berg and Sagi Haviv—think about your work, be sure to enter the HOW International Design Awards by Sept. 23!

In the meantime, we hope you’re take away something of value from reading this, whether it’s something to keep in mind or watch for on your next project, something to strive for when you’re working to make a deadline and take things to a new level, or simply some inspiration to feed your creative soul.

6 Design Experts on 10 International Design Awards–Winning Projects


Mikey Burton on Newsweek Art Department’s Editorial Design

“The main thing that I love about this piece is it never breaks the 1965 character. … It’s hard enough to design a magazine from cover-to-cover in a week, but to make something as cool as this—even to the point of art directing the advertisers—is an amazing feat.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: Social media was abuzz with talk of Newsweek’s springtime 2012 issue that gave readers a taste of 1965 with its “Mad Men” theme.



Jamey Wagner on Hub Strategy’s Work for Chevys Fresh Mex

“The design is well-crafted and sophisticated with a clever blend of iconography, typography and color.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: The Chevys menu redesign was part of a larger brand refresh by Hub Strategy that included the Mexican restaurant chain’s website, advertising and even employee uniforms.


Mikey Burton on Target Corporation’s Work for AIGA Minnesota

“Lots of pieces I reviewed were very beautiful—some were technically amazing, some had giant budgets that allowed for the fantastic results, but one actually inspired me. This is one of those projects that made me want to stop judging and get back to work.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: The team at AIGA Minnesota wanted to re-establish their Design Camp as an event both students and professionals of any level could attend.


Dana Arnett on Wendy Fox‘s Olympics Project

“In our information-rich world, it’s rare and refreshing to see simple graphic design come to life in such a powerful way. Not only does this work demonstrate how design can transform information, the execution also charms the viewer with its simplicity and beauty. With these great design principles in play, it’s no wonder it works so masterfully across multiple mediums.”

Best of Show Winner: Wendy Fox’s Women’s Gold Medalists celebrates the physical diversity of elite female athletes and explores how we can provide more coverage and visibility for women in the Olympics and sports in general.


Héctor Ayuso on Headcase Design‘s book design for HarperCollins

“If you’ve never seen this movie, then this eye-catching collectable edition will get you to it. A magical piece for The Wizard of Oz lovers!”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: For the 75th anniversary of the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz, Headcase Design was charged with the creative direction of a deluxe commemorative book that not only covers the history and making of the fi lm, but also features undocumented material, including film cells of deleted scenes and trailers unseen since the 1930s.



Stüssy TschudinAyuso and Matteo Bologna on Design Ranch‘s Identity Design for Finefolk

“The details in the design and production of the book are conveying a personalized, handmade quality, while showcasing the product in a desirable fashion. The use of large type overlays, supported by excellent black-and-white photography, creates a wholesome story encouraging readers to find out more about this brand.”—Tschudin

“A very interesting way to present typography. The playful act between the letters is beautiful.” —Ayuso

“Simplicity and warmth make this identity a little jewel.” —Bologna

Outstanding Achievement Winner: When client Leslie Fraley approached Design Ranch with a concept to open a high-end, well-curated store highlighting independent New York City and European fashion designers, the design firm jumped at the chance to assist with the entire brand vision—from the space, to the name, to the brand look and language.


Tschudin on Leo Burnett Chicago‘s Identity for Embarc

“Clever logo design, combining the ‘E’ for Embarc with the ‘+’ for the combination of Learning and Preparing for the Future. The contemporary, bright color palette works well to engage a younger target audience. … The execution from brand to print to digital to physical stays true to the original logo design across the board.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner:  Embarc is a nonprofit program that provides community-driven, experience-based learning opportunities to low-income high school students, inspiring and preparing them for college and career success. Leo Burnett Chicago was asked to completely reimagine the Embarc brand identity to better reflect its mission and to help build momentum for the already rapidly growing program.


Tschudin on Siegel+Gale Identity for Shatterproof

“A simple, but strong color palette helps to reinforce this brand from the first piece. By ‘scratching’ out text elements in the logo as well as some key words in the text, it reinforces the message. While making it harder to read the individual words, it engages the reader to fully understand the meaning behind the campaign.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: After losing his 25-year-old son Brian to addiction, Gary Mendell created an organization called Brian’s Wish, which is committed to protecting children from addiction to drugs and alcohol, preventing future losses like his own and changing American attitudes about addiction. Siegel+Gale worked with Mendell to rename the organization as Shatterproof and to create a visual identity that embodies the mission.


Tschudin on TAXI Canada‘s Invitation Design for Smith Brothers & Sisters

“This high-end designed invitation package bridges the gap between the old family traditions and the current family gathering event in a beautiful and engaging fashion.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: To celebrate the 75th anniversary of his parents’ first meeting, a client asked TAXI Canada to create an invitation for the ultimate family reunion.


Tschudin on Leo Burnett Chicago‘s Packaging Design for Peace One Day

“While keeping elements such as the logo design more true to the peace-keeping missions throughout the world—by using stencil fonts and camouflage colors—the finished pieces feature gorgeous photography and a very clean design palette.”

Outstanding Achievement Winner: Many restaurateurs and advocates who join the Recipeace movement aren’t sure how to activate it on their own. To help them fulfill Recipeace’s mission of bringing conflicting people together over food, Leo Burnett created a Peace Kit that equips restaurateurs and Peace Meal hosts with everything they need to turn a normal meal into a Peace Meal.