Promotion & Marketing Design Awards 2017: Designer Self-Promotions

The HOW Promotion & Marketing Design Awards is the only award that specifically recognizes the best promotional design. View the winners in the designer self-promotions category of the 2017 Awards below, and subscribe today so that you can go behind the scenes with the top winners as soon as the printed issues lands in your mailbox in September. 

Outstanding Achievement Winners in the Designer Self-Promos Category

Thoughtfully Considered Bitters Packaging

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client ThoughtMatter, New York City; | Creative Team Trenton Kenagy, creative director; Steve Baust, designer/illustrator; Emeka Patrick, copywriter; Whitney Burnett, producer | Printer Aldine | Details For their debut holiday gift, ThoughtMatter worked with Hudson Valley’s Field Apothecary to identify unexpected flavor profiles that were made into herbal, floral and curry bitters. The design team hand-illustrated herbs and created a palette to distinguish each flavor. The messaging reflects the craft of both the bitters and packaging. Letterpress highlights the tooth of the paper used for the bottle labels and box. Each set rests in a die-cut tray inside a shallow box with a sleeve. The goal was to create something that demonstrated ThoughtMatter’s packaging design capabilities and exemplified the ethos of the studio.

Make Your Mark: Epic Notebook

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm WPA Pinfold, Leeds, U.K.; | Creative Team Richard Hurst, Myles Pinfold, creative directors; Tom Walshaw, art director; John Atkin, Chris McMahon, designers | Client Epic | Details WPA Pinfold teamed up with print specialist Epic to design a notebook for the start of the 2017 financial year. The notebook showcases Epic’s specialist print techniques, as the monthly illustrations use foiling and HiLite (a digital varnish technique) to represent the themes for each season. Response from recipients has been fantastic, with many clients commenting on their style and practicality as well as the beautiful print illustrations for each month.

HOT & SPICY First Aid Kit

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client HAND Design Studio, Zagreb, Croatia; | Creative Team Vinko Pašalić, art director/designer/copywriter; Igor Sitar, photographer | Details This unusual first aid kit was designed for all fans of capsaicin and spices. The studio filled up a box with hedonistic handmade content: grissini with squid ink, chili and rosemary, biscuits with lemon grass, roasted almonds with spices, harissa mixture of chili and various spices. “We are not responsible for heart problems caused by sorrow after you eat the all content,” says Pašalić. “We will break your heart.”

Merit Winners in the Designer Self-Promos Category

1. Andy Stewart Design Identity

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Andy Stewart Design, Seattle; | Creative Team Andy Stewart, art director/designer/illustrator/photographer/copywriter | Details Stewart wanted his personal identity system to showcase his passion for ideas, his love of design and aesthetics, and his dedication to craft.

2. At Twenty-Five

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Hambly & Woolley, Toronto; | Creative Team Barb Woolley, Frances Chen, Dominic Ayre, art directors/designers; Tiffany Chan, Nik Firka, Bob Hambly, Sonja Kloss, Aaron Rinas, Andrew Ryther, Gord Woolley, designers; Brian Sano, Bob Hambly, photographers; Emma Hambly, copywriter; Sam Tsuda, digital retoucher; and various illustrators | Printer Somerset Graphics | Details In celebration of the studio’s 25th anniversary, the team interpreted the number 25 from many angles, including numerology, sports, music, design, typography, art and nature.

3. AUXILIARY Website

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client AUXILIARY Advertising & Design, Grand Rapids, MI; | Creative Team Tom Crimp, Zac Boswell, art directors; Ben Petersen, designer; Kate Lawrence, copywriter | Details By utilizing unconventional navigation, a site structure that encourages discovery through exploration, and just a touch of intentional ambiguity, AUXILIARY created a website that sets it apart from the pack.

4. Cast of Characters 2016

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Lesli Ink, Toronto; | Creative Team Lesli Ferguson, art director; Danny Wu, David Kim, Marissa Korda, Liam Lawlor, Danielle Sheahan, designers; Justin Reid, Philipp Schöfer, developers | Details Recipients of personalized wooden cards were directed to a website where they could enter their name to generate a customized story.

5. Design Week PDX 2016 Giveaways

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Figure 8 Creative, Portland, OR; | Creative Team Jackie Salway, art director; Ashley Pieren, Molly Kennedy Darling, Laura Williams, designers; Anne Guaspari, copywriter | Details Etched pint glasses, one-color coasters and custom playing cards showcased Figure 8 Creative’s take on memorable, stylish marketing at Portland’s Design Week 2016.

6. Don’t Be A Bot Promo

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client PS Design, Orange, CA; | Creative Team Petre Spassov, art director/designer/illustrator/photographer/copywriter | Printers Czar Press, Graham Enterprises | Details After a year rife with social unrest, PS Design set out to create something simple, fun and tactile that would be a delightful and welcome distraction. The concept for this promo is simple: Build a robot; don’t become one.

7. Elixir Strings Rebrand

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Juicebox Designs, Nashville; | Creative Team Jay Smith, art director/designer/illustrator | Details Juicebox Designs pitched a rebrand campaign that would elevate the Elixir Strings brand to an appropriate level for the quality of strings the company produces.

8. FUEL Business Card

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client FUEL, Hiawatha, IA; | Creative Team Bill Bollman, Pat Prior, Paige Winters, John Allen, Grant Cushman, designers | Printer Cedar Graphics Inc. | Details These hand-punched business cards communicate FUEL’s brand expression using unique printing and finishing techniques.

9. Happy Folly-Days Promotion

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client This Is Folly, Minneapolis; | Creative Team John Moes, art director/designer/illustrator; Holly Robbins, art director/designer/copywriter | Printer Smart Set | Details The Happy Folly-Days hat was shipped in reusable tubes wrapped in a whimsical stitch pattern with elements that animate as the tube spins—including a dog getting the best of a snowman, a count-down to 2017 and an alien invasion.

10. helium creative Holiday Card

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client helium creative, Fort Lauderdale, FL; | Creative Team Christopher Heller, Ryan Heller, art directors; Kelly Gedvilas, designer | Details This card promotes the firm’s nonprofit, helium inspires, which is dedicated to bringing art education back into classrooms, and it also introduces the helium inspires coin project—a project dedicated to showing how inspiration is contagious.

11. Holiday Card and Chocolate

award-winning self-promotion design


Designer/Client Meaghan A. Dee, Christiansburg, VA; | Details For the 2016 holiday season, Dee laser cut cards and chocolate packaging for friends, family and colleagues.

12. Holiday Free Of …

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Breon, Bellflower, CA; | Creative Team Breon Waters II, art director/designer/illustrator/copywriter; Tom Trinh, photographer | Printer Papermum Press | Details For this Christmas card themed around the 2016 [U.S.] election, Waters symbolically shows the country coming back together in a hopeful, yet fragile and uncertain way.

13. Hyperquake Poster Series

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Hyperquake, Cincinnati; | Creative Team Dustin Blankenship, Kaitlyn Eleniak, Sarah Faulkner, Andria Mierzwiak, Chris Mock, Emily Zalla, designers/printers | Details For this poster series, each member of the team committed to using certain papers and inks, but beyond those parameters, there were no limits. Results included a poster design built in Illustrator, another collaged from vintage textbooks and one drawn in Sharpie.

14. Jajo Website


Design Firm/Client Jajo Inc., Wichita, KA; | Creative Team Steve Randa, Shawn Stuckey, creative directors; Cole Winblad, art director/photographer; Andrew Stephens, designer/illustrator; Nicollette Engels, copywriter | Details The team at Jajo redesigned its website to capture the agency’s new vitality, landing on a homepage that sets the tone with a wall of color that ebbs and flows like a tide of creative energy.

15. Jovenville Oracle


Design Firm/Client Jovenville, Newport Beach, CA; | Creative Team Joven Orozco, Betty Ko, art directors; Andy Ruiz, designer | Details Jovenville created a branded tarot deck with cards such as “The King of Wands” (graphic designer), with all elements rooted in the concept that the “Oracle of Jovenville” could see into the future to predict the destiny of a client’s brand.

16. KETL Tea Co.

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Traina, San Diego; | Creative Team David Traina, Mark Gallo, art directors; Joe Ross, designer; Ed Garcia, photographer; Matt Bachmann, copywriter | Printers Blend, Clove St. Letterpress, Pad Printing Services Inc. | Details The KETL Tea Co. brand was created as a self-initiated promotional piece, designed and fulfilled in-house at Traina, and sent to clients as a gift.

17. LEAP Beer

Design Firm/Client Stebbings Partners, Attleboro Falls, MA; | Creative Team Dan Stebbings, designer; Terrence Joyce, copywriter | Details Personalized notes in bottles with custom packaging were hand-delivered to area microbreweries—describing and showcasing a shared love for beer, branding and how the two pair well.

18. MOD Self-Promo

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client MOD, Philadelphia; | Creative Team Nina Stanley, art director/copywriter; Donald Wilmer, art director/designer; John Stanley, Matt Dobbs, Meaghan O’Connor, copywriters | Printers E-pac Packaging Services Co. Ltd., Thread Monster Printing, Poppin | Details This self-promo piece from MOD—an agency dedicated to the power of raw emotion derived from beautifully crafted stories and compelling content—was designed to celebrate the agency’s design-forward ethos, storytelling aptitude and culture.

19. REACTOR Fortune Box

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client REACTOR Design Studio, Kansas City, MO; | Creative Team Chase Wilson, art director; Travis Stewart, designer/copywriter | Printer AC Printing | Details This fun piece served as an example of the types of products REACTOR delivers, as well as the emotional connection it incites for its clients’ customers.

20. Red Nose Cabernet

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Rocket Science Creative, Grand Rapids, MI; | Creative Team Mark Stegeman, art director/designer; Hannah Alspaugh, designer; Lisa Schrotenboer, Larry Young, copywriters | Details For the 2016 holiday season, Rocket Science wanted to thank its clients with the gift of a little holiday cheer.

21. Say No To Spec Buttons

award-winning self-promotion design

Design Firm/Client Zulu Alpha Kilo, Toronto; | Creative Team Zak Mroueh, creative director; Jamie Mageau, art director/designer; Shereen Mroueh, photographer; Kaidy Wong, copywriter; Greg Hepinstall, Brandon Dyson, Amanda Braun, Mac artists/digital imaging; Laura Dubcovsky, agency print producer; Crucial Pins, vendor | Details To further promote its stance on spec work, Zulu Alpha Kilo manipulated the logos of all the prominent advertising and design agencies in North America so that their brand name was turned into a variation of the word “no.”

22. Self-Promo Pin for Sam Stone

award-winning self-promotion design


Designer/Client Sam Stone, Litchfield Park, AZ; | Printers, | Details Stone designed and backed this pin with a business card (with the pin design as a watermark underneath the pin placement) so that the two pieces can function together and when separated.

23. Sterling Creativeworks Concept Brand Promo

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Sterling Creativeworks, Napa, CA; | Creative Team Cynthia Sterling, creative director/art director/designer/copywriter; Daniela Sbarbati, designer; Dave Stevenson, Raphael Montoliu, Sterling Creativeworks, Marta Sokolowska, illustration | Printer MCC Label | Details The agency developed this series of labels to expand client perception of what luxury wine packaging can look like when universal wine themes are reinterpreted in unexpected ways.

24. Sussner Design Co. Business Cards

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Sussner Design Company, Minneapolis; | Creative Team Derek Sussner, art director; Kyle Armstrong, designer | Details Extra details on Sussner Design Company’s redesigned business cards—like employee numbers and a “how we met” checkbox—make each card feel personal and visually arresting.

25. The Meld Deck – Playing Cards

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Words and Pictures, Park Ridge, NJ; | Creative Team Paul Gary, David Gisler, art directors; Emily Shields, art director/copywriter; Jen Mwangi, designer; Rhonda Smith, copywriter | Details The word “meld” is a card-playing term, but it also means “a merging of elements to take on a new blended form,” much like what words and pictures do when merged together. So it’s a fun, relevant gift that personifies what Words and Pictures does.

26. “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” Holiday Promotion

award-winning self-promotion design


Design Firm/Client Studio C, Creative Consultants, Hackensack, NJ; | Creative Team Carl Horosz, creative director; Megan Daley, art director/designer; Kate Levy, designer; Dave Redl, illustrator | Printers Scout Books, Packlane, Catalyst Print & Packaging | Details The concept “Eat, Drink & Be Merry” was both the credo and holiday wish, and each component of the motto became a custom notebook, visualized through typographic, patterned and illustrated executions.