The Pentawards Festival took place this year at London’s Science Museum, and was a day packed with educational and inspiring talks, all ahead of the awards gala the following evening.
There was so much to take from the day. Four of the judges gave us an insight into why they’d chosen their winners, and Steven Bartlett was awe inspiring – both topics will get their own blog posts in the next few days. But here, for now, are five learnings that really stood out to us from the day.
1. For blind and partially sighted people walking into a shop is like fully sighted people walking into a shop where all the information has been removed from the packaging.
Mario Dughi, Digital Marketing & Design Director, and Sarah Waters, VP Global Media, of Unilever played a film where the RNIB had created that scenario. It was incredibly impactful, and as the pair shared details of a QR code they’ve created with partner Zappar that effectively solves the problem it was good to see so many in the audience taking notes.
As Waters concluded: “If you’ve made room for a QR code on your packaging you can now make it accessible – do it.”
2. AI is biased
Well yeah. It’s not actually that intelligent yet. But Jeremy White, Senior Innovation Editor at Wired, gave a striking example of just how bad it is.
An analysis earlier this year by Bloomberg of more than 5,000 images created with AI image generator Stable Diffusion,
Women made up a tiny fraction of the images generated for the keyword “judge” — about 3% — when in reality 34% of US judges are women.
The model generated images of people with darker skin tones 70% of the time for the keyword “fast-food worker,” even though 70% of fast-food workers in the US are white.
Approach with caution, folks.
3. The opportunity in gaming for brands is not in the game itself
According to Ben Thrasher, Strategy Director at Design Bridge, the best way to reach the 3.2bn gamers in the world is through the eco-system: the esports, social media and events that surround it.
4. We now live in a world where a guy can film himself skateboarding while slugging Ocean Spray, put it on TikTok to a Fleetwood Mac soundtrack, and have it quickly copied by Mick Fleetwood himself, and then Ocean spray sells out across the US.
Yep. In fact self-styled Dogg Face did it back in 2020, and Ocean Spray even bought him a truck to say thanks.
5. Now is better
For many people the highlight of the day was the talk by design legend Stefan Sagmeister on why now is better.
He pointed to evidence, from the anecdotal to the statistical, that many people do believe things are worse than they were, then moved on to explain why we tend to think that – shortening media cycles and our amygdalas pointing our brains to potential dangers – and then showed the facts: across any reasonable measure from child mortality to literacy to equality and so on the world is a far, far better place than it was 50 or 500 years ago.
It was brilliant, and concluded with a beautiful film he made over a weekend in New York City earlier this year. Everyone should take a few minutes to watch ‘The Happy Film’.