The design world can be a splintered place sometimes but it tends to come together around the time the Design Museum announces its Designs of the Year nominations (admittedly either to praise the lucky few or bitch about the selection!). This year’s shortlists across architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphics, product and transport once again recognise some of the most interesting and exciting projects to have emerged over the past 12 months, and as ever competition will be fierce.
Rather than try to give you a run-down of all 76 nominees, which you can find over on the Design Museum site we decided to hone in on the graphics category and take a look at the runners and riders…
The thrill of these kinds of awards is that they flag up both work you are familiar with as well as things you hadn’t come across before, and because they are nominated by design industry professionals the quality and breadth is genuinely exciting. Of the work we know, it’s great to see Chris Ware’s extraordinary Building Stories nominated along with the M to M of M/M Paris (designed by Graphic Thought Facility and written by Emily King). Both Works That Work and The Gourmand, two of the independent publishing world’s brightest stars deserve their nods as do two museum identities; Marina Willer (who is speaking at our Here conference this year) for her Serpentine branding with Bryan Boylan and Experimental Jetset’s tremendous work for The Whitney.
It’s good to see recognition too for Shaolan Hsueh and Noma Bar’s Chineasy book which harnesses illustrations to teach readers Mandarin, an excellently practical use of graphic skills. Our very own director Alex Bec is among those who put names forward and one of his choices – Rami Niemi’s blisteringly good illustrations for the Art Directors’ Club Annual – deservedly makes the cut.
Elsewhere the graphics category recognises the issue of A Magazine Curated by Stephen Jones, dedicated to Anna Piaggi and the art of illustration and a type family designed of youngsters which was originally conceived at Hastings primary school Castledown.
The visual identities for the FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur- contemporary arts centre (by Jean-Marie Courant, Marie Proyart, Olivier Vadrot) and the Escuyer underwear brand (by Modern Practice) are both shortlisted, as is the graduation project of ECAL’s Thibault Brevet, who created a machine which creates people’s online submissions in the real world.
Last but not least, James Bridle’s Drone Shadows installations are rightly lauded, bringing us face-to-face with the issue of drone use by creating outlines of these machines on our streets.