Tips from the Best of the Best in New Zealand Design

The DINZ Best Boutique Design Awards are held annually to showcase NZ and Australasia’s best design in various categories: Graphic, Interactive, Motion Image, Ngā Aho Cultural, Product, Public Good, Spatial, User Experience & Value of Design.

Speakers were 2017 Best winners Steve from McCarthy graphic design consultancy (Public Good award), Evzen from Studio Pacific Architecture (Ngā Aho award), Jonny from Assembly (Moving Image award), Arch & Toby from Inhouse graphic design consultant agency (Graphic award). They showcased incredibly genius designs, which won best of the Best Awards. Check out their winning designs linked by their names.

Here are some simple, yet profound design takeaways shared at the event.

1. “Always share your stupid ideas” – Steve from McCarthy.

Team Collaboration Image by McCarthy

In sharing far-fetched, incomplete ideas with a team, more creativity is sparked, breathing life into these tiny sparks of creativity which can then grow into incredible concepts. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, promotes this idea in his book, Creativity Inc, saying that he feels it is their job to protect new, seemingly silly ideas until they either grow into great stories or until it becomes clear it shouldn’t be pursued. 

2. “Gaining the confidence of the clients is crucial” – Toby from Inhouse.

Image by Inhouse

This is definitely a balancing act, since you don’t want to give away all your good ideas before clients agree to pay for services. Once they’ve signed on as a client, you still have to win them over to adopt your design. Gaining their trust ensures a positive client relationships, future recommendations from them, and securing amazing finished products for your client & the world to enjoy. 

3. “A quick way to win the client over is with 3D prototypes” – Evzen from Studio Pacific Architecture

Image of He Tohu Exhibition by Studio Pacific Architecture

Evzen & his Studio Pacific architecture team used small timber cube, about the size of a toaster, hollowed out to indicate the look to the client for the He Tohu Exhibition in Wellington. The magnificent completed design above was difficult to explain to the client in words, but instantly communicated with the 3-D visual. Designers are pros at envisaging new ideas, however, clients aren’t always able to do this. By giving them a scaled-down model of your ideas, you transform something unknown to the client to something they can feel confident about.

Christchurch Airport Regional Lounge with origami-inspired ceiling

Another example of this is a piece of origami pinned to a project board at Jasmax Architecture in Christchurch. This was used to convince the Christchurch Airport to move forward with the proposed ceiling design for the Christchurch Regional Terminal.

4. “Simplify communication by understanding the client” – Arch from Inhouse.

Image by Inhouse

Design is language to those who see it. Understanding your target audience & what language they speak helps you make smart design decisions to clarify the design. When designing the new Tokyo Dry brand, Inhouse considered a number of more complex names for the new brew by Steinlager, however, settled on the name Tokyo Dry as it quickly identified to the average kiwi that the beer was a Japanese styled lager. The less explanation a design needs, the more successful it will be.

5. “Your audience can smell a rat” –  Jonny from Assembly

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Image by Assembly

Be honest with your audience. Gen Y is immune to sneaky messaging, valuing honesty and trust from brands, according to Business News Daily. By clearly and simply communicating your pitch, you honour the intelligence of your viewers. In Assembly’s advert for Anchor milk, created in a New York street style targeted at a younger audience, a cow & footage of milk is portrayed early on to ensure the audience is aware of what is being marketed to them. While the short film is clever, it’s concise.


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