Big Bold & Simple
28 March 2013
I’ve been really fortunate in the past to have judged many awards including D&AD, Design Week, Canadian Art directors, Scottish Design Awards and recently the Creative Review Annual – it is always an interesting experience. Don’t let anyone convince you that judging is easy – there’s a sea of work, it’s confusing and tiring on the eye. However my recent stint with CR got me thinking about some of the bleeding obvious things that we forget when presenting work.
I’m always shocked when I see presentation boards by well-known and experienced design individuals and companies that are confusing and fragmented – when the stories they are trying to tell are not clear. After all, when there’s so much on show, what stands out is the bold and simple – it makes you pick the work up instantly – and picking it up means it’s more likely to be selected by judges.
I’ve also been doing some lecturing and teaching on a couple of different design courses too, and to a certain extent I noticed the same thing – bold and confident always stands out. Often students start presenting their work to me by apologising for the work – they’ve only been working on it for a week etc. I know how tempting it is to do this from personal experience, but when on the receiving end I’ve always found it puts the audience on the back foot.
You’ve got to believe in the work you present - whether you are doing it in person or on boards for competitions. I’ve found that explaining the journey you’ve been on to produce the work - the story of how you got there – is a great way to engage with an audience and makes the presentation feel open and collaborative, a conversation not a lecture.
Last night I was at the Tom Gauld talk for the Typographic Circle, I thought his storytelling, presentation and work illustrated perfectly how powerful simplicity can be.