As a design student, the SND competition both inspired and intimidated me. I was blown away by the amazing work in the field and took countless photos of designs to admire and be inspired by. I realized that there is always more to learn and more to be aware of in the field of design. There are new trends popping up constantly (caricatures, really?!) and trends I thought were new (infographics) are actually quite old and tired (I heard multiple judges say this).
I learned, like many others, that what I thought was wonderful, perhaps wasn’t innovative enough, comprehensive enough, consistent enough to deserve medals or awards of excellence. The standard of judging was high, and rightly so, because to judge among the best of the best, there should be something extraordinary for a publication to deserve a gold.
I also realized, that if you as a publication are good, you must keep pushing yourself to be better if you want to stand out. While I thought the Times of Oman was the end-all be-all many of the judges felt that it was tired and they were getting too comfortable in their own design. This blew me away.
Another thing I began to think about a good bit was how when commenting on a publication you cannot just take into consideration one illustration or a series of photographs or an amazing typographic hed, you must look at the whole publication and/or page and see if it tells a story. Does it translate? Do the text, images, spacing, graphic treatments make sense together? Does the design serve to enhance?
More than anything else I learned that I have much more to learn. Design is not simply having good taste, but being able to tell a story. It is by no means just placing objects on a page, but having a purpose behind every object you place. Design is not decoration, even if at times it is very pretty. (I also learned there really are a lot of pretty publications.)
While SND was not quite what I expected, I enjoyed it none-the-less, and truly felt that it helped me grow as a designer and helped to define my expectations of the field, as well as excite me for what’s being done right now in the world of design.
Now for the scavenger hunt:
2.) most compelling photo- This is a man on hospice, the article tells the stories of his last days and the dignity he and his hospice caretaker maintain. I thought the lighting was incredible and stalling.
3.) bad thinking: the interior of this story portrayed chefs seated at the last supper, the photos were incredible and beautiful and the art direction was quite daring. However this cover (and the judges agreed on this) did not translate as a bible. The font is hokey and doesn’t hold up to the weight inside the story.
7.) favorite magazine cover: while it’s simple, I really like this New York Times Magazine cover “Who Made That.” The little blurbs surrounding the stark yellow cover explain the who made that from the way date is played out to neon ink. Very effective and clear.