Kinsale Awards

Kinsale Awards

A couple of months ago, I was fortunate enough to be asked to join the design jury at this year’s Kinsale Shark awards. Last week saw them reach their climax.

It turned out to be one of the most informative, and inspirational weeks I’ve had. As well as a thoroughly beautiful location, it was brilliantly delivered.

The design jury consisted of myself, Kerry Roper from Anomaly in London and the wonderful Mel O’Rourke, Owner and Creative Director of CI Studios in Dublin. Rosie Arnold, Head of Art and Creative Partner at AMVBBDO was this years Jury Chairwoman and following her direction, judging began.

It turned out to be a relatively painless process, as the three of us tended to be of the same mind when it came to evaluating the work. There were one or two exceptions, which I won’t go into here, which created some good healthy debate. The beauty of a jury is that you all see different things in the work in front of you. We were all keen to consider every piece on its merits. After-all, agencies from near and far had spent a huge amount of time and effort (not to mention money) producing and entering work they were rightly proud of.

One thing we found disappointing, however, was the lack of entries in some categories, Art direction, Typography and Illustration in particular. Shame, as we all see incredible work every week that we wish we’d done.

At the end of the day we had awarded 2 golds.

The first went to Energy BBDO for an installation titled ‘Prescribed to Death’ from the US National Safety Council which was created to highlight the opioid prescription crisis sweeping America. Over 22,000 pills had the face of someone who had died from a prescribed opioid overdose carved into it. Beautiful, haunting and moving - it’s testament to the difference a brilliant idea beautifully executed can make. You can view it here.

The second went to The Line, London for GUCCI ‘Hallucinations’ in the Moving Image category. A truly beautiful experience. The illustration is gorgeous. You can literally freeze any fame at any time and see a true work of art. I’ve watched this dozens of times and am still finding lovely little touches time and time again. Put your headphones on when you watch it too. See it here.

There were a bunch of silvers and bronzes too. You can take a look at all the winners from the show here.

A couple of real stand out pieces to look out for:

  • The short film winner – Wren boys.
  • The Grand prix winner ‘Bloodnormal’
  • Trash isles for the Plastic Ocean foundation.

So the judging was great, but for me, the best was yet to come. During the rest of the week there were a series of talks and insights from fellow judges and guests that represent the pinnacle of our industry.

Notably John Pallant, who generously shared his techniques on encouraging creative thinking, Kes Gray on how he escaped the world of Advertising to pursue his dream of becoming a children’s book author, and his relentless almost debilitating passion for ideas. He had the audience laughing and crying with his readings of Nuddy Nedd and Mom and Dad Glue. Neil Dawson CD at Legus Delaney shared a thoroughly entertaining talk on the power of language.

And last but by no means least came the inspirational, funny, terrifyingly talented Mark Denton Esq - Leader of COY! Communications. One of the most awarded creatives in the world. When you see his work, listen to his philosophy and see the mind-blowing level of craft that goes into every single thing he does, you cannot fail to feel somewhat inadequate, but completely and totally inspired to make better stuff.

And to top it off, all of these incredible people are some of the nicest, most generous, honest and humble people you’ll meet. They’re just bloody good at what they do.

So, if you ever get the chance to visit the awards, or be fortunate enough to hear any of these people talk, or better still work with them, I urge you to do it. Because if you’re even slightly passionate about creative in any way. It will change you forever.