What makes a design a winner? Loeries judges want to green with envy

05 August 2018 - 00:00

"I look for work that makes my heart beat faster. That is always the first test, your instinctive emotional response. Work that moves you," says Bronwen Rautenbach, creative partner at Sunshinegun and one of the judges in the communication design category at the 2018 Loeries Awards, when asked what she looks for in a winning work.
"It's the work that elicits pangs of jealousy, the 'Man, why didn't I think of that?' response. The best work always brings a fresh concept and beautiful craft together beautifully. The best work inspires you, moves you [and] gets saved into the Instagram folder of the mind."
Fellow judge Sulet Jansen, senior art director at Metropolitan Republic, agrees. "[I look for] anything that breaks through the clutter and stands out ... If it gives me that 'I wish I'd thought of this' kind of feeling, it is normally a good sign."
For Carmen Kelly, interior designer at Georgette Black, it's "work that will surprise and delight me".
Vumile Mavumengwana, a judge and the creative director at VM DSGN, looks first for innovation - "fresh new thinking that breaks through the clutter and competition".
The Grand Prix in communication design at the 2017 Loeries went to Grid Worldwide Branding for its Meat Made Luxury campaign for Joburg restaurant Marble.
WATCH | Grid Worldwide Branding's Meat Made Luxury campaign videoOver the past few years the Loeries have evolved from only paying attention to advertising to also including design in subcategories such as architecture, clothing, furniture, fabric and wallpaper design. It's important that the Loeries reward design in the broadest sense, says Rautenbach.
"A lot of the most exciting and important work is happening in these broader disciplines. A building can tell a beautiful, meaningful brand story [and] play a defining role in culture, as can a piece of clothing or wallpaper," she says.
Anyone who thinks that SA creativity is nonexistent is wrong.
Rautenbach believes that African design is "toe-to-toe with the rest of the world", but rather than competing globally, our design is about "confidently defining our own vibrant, bold, gritty, voice".
Kelly feels that African-based design "is multilayered [and] textured, and has a depth of character unseen in the rest of the world".Both Kelly and Rautenbach believe the rest of the world is looking to Africa for inspiration.
Jansen thinks the standard of African design has grown in the past decade, saying: "As designers, we critique and often look at Africa as being on the back foot because we do not have the same infrastructures that First World countries have. Yet, these challenges help us to push our creativity."
Mavumengwana says: "Being authentic to ourselves and not looking outside for inspiration is the quintessential step in the right direction. It gives birth to an original home-grown aesthetic that proudly stands out from the rest of the world. We need to encourage this, be our own champions and continue to own our craft of visual storytelling."
• The winners of the 2018 Loeries Awards will be announced during ceremonies on Friday, August 17, and Satruday, August 18, in Durban.

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