Many people pretend awards don’t matter to them, but there are few who don’t feel a slight pang of envy on seeing a rival scoop a gong they felt should’ve been theirs. And the business benefits of winning awards are well established – they help you keep your best staff, and many clients like the reassurance of picking an award-winning studio.
So, it was a packed hall at London’s Science Museum to hear four of the judges of this year’s Pentawards – John Glasgow, Founder, Vault49; Chloe Templeman, ECD at Big Fish, Robert Taylor, Director of Sustainability for UPM Raflatac, and Anita Kuit, Lead Branding & Packaging Designer at The Walt Disney Company - explain what made them choose the winners they did.
1. Close the gap between on screen visuals and reality
This advice really came through strongly in the session with the judges describing the thrill of the beautifully shot and edited visuals contrasting with the slight deflation of seeing it in real life.
They fully understood why entrants would want to show their work off and use all the technical skills at their disposal to do that, but next year’s entrants might want to learn from this and try to find that sweetspot – just enough for judges to want to view the physical product, but not so much that the viewing is a disappointment.
2. Make it fun
Judges look at a lot of entries. A lot. The ones that make them laugh, or smile at least, are going to stand out, and probably be appreciated. Our panel pointed to entries that had found a way, through copy, imagery, colour, whatever it was, to be fun.
3. Don’t use an illegible font
John Glasgow had a love-hate relationship with one entry. He loved how it looked but found it almost impossible to read the explanation of why it looked that way. Not because it was badly written, but because they‘d chosen an illegible font. He got through it and awarded the entry but not everyone would.
4. Land reason and emotion
Robert Taylor wanted facts. He liked entries that demonstrated effectiveness and provided sound references for him to verify information. Other judges talked of entries that had made them cry.
Every judge is different, and just as we appeal to the heads and the heart in our work so we should aim to do the same with our award entries.
5. Be nickable
At the judges’ meeting there are two or three samples of each entry product. You want to be the one that no one can find at the end of the session – the one that’s made its way into judges’ bags!
There are of course many more factors than these in winning a Pentaward, or indeed any creative award, but these were the key points that came through in what was an inspiring session, and we hope it’s given you one or two useful pointers – good luck in next year’s entries!