Designers know that great creative projects come in all shapes and sizes. Not everyone can see the “wow” factor in a client brochure or a birth announcement, but artists of every discipline understand the beauty of the craft. They know better than anyone else that these works should be celebrated. Here at HOW, we also seek to give these understated projects a chance to shine before the audiences who most appreciate them. Enter the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards.
As HOW’s longest running competition, the Promotion & Marketing Design Awards focuses on the design pieces that are “engaging, memorable and effective at moving the viewer toward action.” That means everything from a striking brand identity (such as the one Might & Main, the 2013 best of show winner, created for Eventide Oyster Co.) to a holiday gift that promises your company is “the firm” to hire for an upcoming project is a potential winner.
So how exactly do you make a resume, pamphlet or pro-bono campaign into a memorable, engaging and overall show-stopping piece of art? You approach the subject matter as if it were the most interesting thing in the world—at least that’s what I’ve learned from interviewing some of last year’s best of show and outstanding achievement winners. All in all, heart goes a long way, and the proof is in the resulting projects.
Take, for instance, the KISS Poster Campaign, which secured an outstanding achievement honor in the 2013 awards. Far beyond what a typical poster might accomplish, the Zulu Alpha Kilo creative team incorporated interactive elements, such as face paint for dedicated fans who needed to reapply. In a couple of poster designs, the designers used Gene Simmons’ infamous tongue as a starting point for creative touches such as red ticket distributions.
In the Recipeace pro-bono project for Peace One Day, Leo Burnett Chicago brought to life a campaign about bringing people with opposing views together over a meal. The project compared food items to weapons of mass destruction, such as sardines to bullets or artichokes to grenades. In many cases, charities and nonprofit organizations get the shaft when it comes to design work due to dismal budgets. Leo Burnett ensured this important campaign was appealing and thought-provoking so that the call to action was hard hitting.
One of the HOW judges’ favorite self-promotion pieces was the Urban Bearkeeping Kit. Wholly different from the seriousness of the Recipeace campaign, this “thanks for hiring us” gift took silliness and fun to a new level. Carefully designed by Ultra Creative, the kit focused on preparing recipients for a pet bear they would be receiving at a later date. The multifaceted promotion included a “Meet Your Bear” welcome letter with bear photo and bio, as well as instructions, a multi-use whistle, a record keeping and poetry journal, a pillowcase, and seasonal food supplies. Creatively developed right down to the box, the gift was a unanimous hit.
So how often do a bearkeeping kit, a worldwide peace initiative and a restaurant identity share the design spotlight? At least once a year in the HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards. If you think your annual report is actual art, we want to see it. If your wedding invitation is as kick-ass as outstanding achievement award winner Julie & Travis’ bombastic take on a bomb shelter reception, it would be a disservice not to send it our way.