The award-winning honesty and simplicity of Design Bridge - #AnnualSpotlight

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For a company that never entered The Annual awards before, Design Bridge came in during 2020 to utterly surprise us all. Pretty much all of their entered projects were either shortlisted or awarded a prize, and that is by itself the strongest testimony of the marvellous simplicity and love for design that one can find at the agency.

Design Bridge is the second ranked Design Agency on Creativepool, and it doesn't take much to see why. The bold honesty and simplicity of their designs is blatantly evident, proudly showcasing some passion for the creative industry and branding that has few equals in the Creativepool community. We are quite excited to see what they are going to share this year, and incredibly honoured to welcome Design Bridge's Creative Director, Jess Marie, as one of our esteemed 2021 judges.

For this Annual Spotlight, we had a chat with Emma FollettChief Creative Officer, to discuss Design Bridge's award-winning entries and their overall experience with the Annual awards.

Annual 2021 is accepting standard submissions until 27th May. Enter now to grab your slice of creative immortality!


What feels unique about The Annual?

I love that The Annual gives individuals the opportunity to vote on their favourite work through the ‘People’s Choice’ judging feature, the inclusive nature of this is spot on. As creatives we are always intrigued to see new work, but it also gives us an opportunity to show our respect and love for the ideas that inspire us. 

How does it feel to have won the Creativepool Annual Awards?

We were over the moon! Two Creative Directors from our New York Studio, Jemma Campbell and Mike Perry, were on the Photography and Typography juries last year and both commented on the incredible breadth of work entered, so we’re very proud to have won through. 


Will you be entering again this year? If so, what are your hopes?

Of course! We’d love to see the work we enter do well, particularly across such diverse categories. 

We’re also delighted that Jess Marie, one of our fantastic CDs based in our New York studio, will be on the Annual jury this year; she can’t wait to see what amazing work has been produced over the past extraordinary year.


Can you tell us more about your winning submissions and what you think impressed the judges?

Last year we won a Silver award in the Packaging category for our Shangri-La Constellations Collections work, an engaging design with a lot of charm. Our creative idea challenged traditional mooncake packaging design by creating interactive Speciality packs that would capture the imagination of a younger generation, allowing them to explore and learn about the mythology and history of ancient Chinese astronomy in new ways. The cylindrical packaging doubled up as a ‘star-gazing scope’ where children can look through and see illuminated constellations, learning their names as they move from one constellation to the next.

Our limited edition Cadbury Dairy Milk ‘Wordless Bar’, created in collaboration with VCCP, won a Bronze in Packaging and I believe it was the beautiful, pared-back honesty and simplicity of the pack design, combined with the powerful underlying message to make a difference by ‘donating your words’, that resonated with the judges. For the first time ever, Cadbury removed the words from its iconic purple bars and 'donated' them to Age UK to help raise awareness and tackle loneliness amongst older people. Sometimes it’s what you don’t say that has the biggest impact.

We were also really proud to see our work for Callaly win a Bronze in the Packaging category. A highly innovative and disruptive brand, I believe its attitude and uniqueness in the category won through. This is a brand that does not conform!

We were honoured to be shortlisted in the Packaging and Branding categories for Yau (a Hong Kong beer brand crafted with storytelling, attitude and a distinct streetwise vernacular), K-Y (an empowering idea within the identity, playful tone of voice and pack design), Fortnum & Mason chocolates (indulgent, exquisitely illustrated chocolate boxes you just have to keep!) and lastly, Durex (packed full of positive attitudes towards sex and bespoke illustrations).


What advice would you share with other agencies and individuals looking to grab a prize?

Be bold. Big Ideas, powerful imagery and an engaging piece of storytelling will help you stand out against all of the great work you will sit alongside.

How do you feel Covid has impacted the creative landscape in 2020?

Covid has had a profound effect on all of our lives in so many different, and often devastating, ways. Overnight, it drastically changed the way we work with colleagues, collaborate with clients, and support each other. Yet in some ways it feels like we are all more closely connected than we have ever been. We have all adapted at speed and with agility, embracing technology like never before.

But it has also been extremely difficult. We have all felt detached and isolated, each of us stuck in a kind of Groundhog Day, and we cannot underestimate the impact on our mental health and wellbeing. It’s shown us at Design Bridge how vital our company culture is, and how important it is to reach out to each other, to have someone’s back.

Creatively, of course, it has been extremely challenging. The uncertainty has understandably had an impact on business, but throughout the pandemic we have continued to strive to do great work and make great ideas happen – from virtual photoshoots across countries and immersion days with clients over Zoom, to sharing creative inspiration and nourishing our minds. The resilience and drive demonstrated by the teams across all of our Studios to make sure our clients and our work haven’t been affected by these drastic circumstances has been nothing short of staggering. I can’t wait to see the amazing creative work achieved in 2020. The Annual will showcase, and celebrate, all that we have achieved, becoming a moment in time that in years we will all look back on and be proud of.


What are your hopes for 2021 and beyond?

We’ve all been on such a rollercoaster, and I am truly looking forward to forging a new way into the future. Taking the best of the past, collaborating with people in person again, going out into the world and being inspired by culture, whilst also taking on board the best of the present – from more flexible ways of working to more fluid and engaging ways of connecting with our clients. Stepping into each other’s living rooms has allowed us all to connect on a much more human level, and it’s opened up a lovely new way to work together.

What is your most exciting project in the next year? 

It’s very difficult to choose! We have such a diverse collection of great work about to launch across all of our studios, everything from a new global brand world and comms for Lipton, one of our longest-standing client partnerships, to a playful new visual identity for an iconic New York hot dog joint. And that’s what feels so exciting; the diversity, scale and purpose of the brands, bringing our ideas to life across every touchpoint and channel for the brand.


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