Welcome to the 2014 Creative Review Annual, in association with Smoke & Mirrors. This is our showcase of the outstanding work in visual communications over the past 12 months as selected by our jury. Those projects deemed by our judges to be of special merit are recognised in our Best in Book section, available to view here, along with our Ad Agency of the Year, Designer of the Year and Client of the Year, selected by the CR editorial team. Thanks to all our sponsors, our judges and all of those who entered, as well as Heineken for supplying the beer for our launch party (cheers!) where all the winning work was on display via exhibition prints provided by the hub – a new service by pro photo lab theprintspace. Thanks also to Berry Place for our trophies.
Ad Agency of the Year: AMVBBDO
Does it still make any sense to talk of ‘digital’ in advertising as a separate medium or discipline? The work selected for this year’s Annual really brings home the fact that all advertising is now digital in some way. Ten years ago, so-called ‘traditional’ agencies were being warned that their days were numbered. These dinosaurs would soon be extinct, we were told, as a new breed of digital agency took over.
Well, our Agency of the Year for 2014 shows just how wrong this prediction turned out to be. Abbott Mead Vickers, as was, made its reputation with beautifully crafted print and TV campaigns for the likes of The Economist, Guinness and Volvo which relied on brilliant copywriting and art direction. But it has wholeheartedly embraced the potential of the new platforms available to agencies today.
The work from the agency featured in this year’s Annual includes a Twitter-based campaign for Snickers and Sainsbury’s brilliant crowdsourced Christmas in a Day documentary, as well as a very traditional commercial for dog food. So congratulations to AMVBBDO, proof that what matters are great ideas, brilliantly executed, using the most appropriate platform.
Designer of the Year: Matt Willey
Usually, this honour goes to a studio but this year we are giving it to an individual. The Creative Review blog can be a bit of a bearpit when it comes to commenting on new projects. But one piece of work this year received almost universal praise from our community: the beautifully crafted redesign of The Independent newspaper carried out by Matt Willey and the paper’s in-house team. In February 2012, Willey and Zoë Bather announced the closure of Studio8, the design firm they had set up six years earlier. Since then, Willey has operated alone, carving out a reputation as perhaps the leading editorial designer in the UK.
Alongside The Independent, this year has seen Willey produce outstanding work for the RIBA Journal and YCN’s YouCanNow magazine as well as the Tom Dixon book, Dixonary. And of course he continues to be part of the team behind the ever-stylish Port magazine, as well as lending his talents to various other titles. So we’d like to pay tribute to someone who is keeping print alive as a vibrant, beautiful medium with a great future and make Matt Willey our Designer of the Year.
Client of the Year: The National Film Board of Canada
Last year we chose Nike for this honour. This year, we want to celebrate an organisation that is far less commercial but we believe, shares Nike’s ability to commission brilliant creative work. The National Film Board of Canada has been a patron of great creative work for 70 years. But we want to highlight a newer area of its activities: NFB/Interactive. Described as “An evolving collection of innovative, interactive stories exploring the world – and our place in it – from uniquely Canadian points of view” it’s a collection of rich multimedia storytelling experiences commissioned by the organisation. Featured in the Annual are The Last Hunt, a beautiful story of familial relationships told using photography, sound, animation, illustration and text, and McLaren’s Workshop, a brilliant app celebrating the career of master animator Norman McLaren.
“The stories … are new, but share a lot in common with the work that came before: they present distinct voices, strong points of view, and unique perspectives. They also share the same ambition to provoke discussion, spur debate and challenge the way we think,” the Film Board says of this new initiative. “So let the conversation begin.” It is committed to commissioning and funding more such innovative projects in the future. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
Judges: Lesley Allan (client director, Radley Yelda); Garry Blackburn (creative partner, Rose); Sieun Cha (design lead, Method); Ben Christie (creative partner and founder Magpie Studio); Matt Gooden (executive creative director, Crispin Porter + Bogusky); Flo Heiss (founder and creative director, Studio Heiss); Caz Hildebrand (creative partner, Here); Louisa James (senior digital strategist, Jamie Oliver); David Kolbusz (deputy ECD, BBH); Marc Kremers (digital creative director, Future Corp); Jim Thornton (creative director, VCCP); Claire Warner (creative director, Browns); Patrick Burgoyne (editor, Creative Review) Mark Sinclair (deputy editor, Creative Review), Eliza Williams (senior writer, Creative Review).
Credits: Cover designed and built by Melvin Galapon, mynameismelvin.co.uk. Cover photography and video by Sam Hofman, samhofman.co.uk. Thanks to Robyn Duffy and the Centaur Events team. Annual trophies provided by Berry Place, berryplace.co.uk. Designed by StudioPensom, studiopensom.com.