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It’s great to see visual language so rooted in India's culture: Mark Bonner, GBH

The jury for the 2015 Kyoorius Design Awards met in Gurgaon to judge the entries received from August 6 to 8. A total of 488 entries have been received this year across all categories

Shanta Saikia | Delhi | August 10, 2015


The jury for the 2015 Kyoorius Design Awards met in Gurgaon to review, discuss and elect the best of the best entries over three intensive days from August 6 to 8.

This year, the Kyoorius Design Awards received a total of 488 entries across all categories from independent studios, freelance designers, brand consultancies and agencies all over India, including Alok Nanda and Company, Codesign, Umbrella Design, NH1 Design, Locopopo, Kahani Designworks, Rocketscience Lab, FITCH, DDB Mudra, JWT, Ogilvy, Star TV, and many more.

Mark Bonner Mark Bonner

Led by Jury Foreman Mark Bonner, Founder/Co-Creative Director, GBH and President, D&AD, the jury panel included Emilia Bergmans - Founder, The Brewhouse; Gigi Lee - Executive Creative Director, Y&R Malaysia; Joshua Breidenbach - Founding Partner / Creative Director, Rice Creative; Rajesh Dahiya - Founding Director, Creative Lead, Designer, Codesign; Tim Greenhalgh - Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, FITCH; Shanoo Bhatia - Founder Director, Eureka Moment Design Company, Chairperson, National Design Committee  – Assocham ’10-’11 and President, Mumbai Chapter – Association of Designers of India. caught up with Jury Foreman Mark Bonner to know more about the entries received for the Kyoorius Design Awards this year. Excerpts:

What are your impressions about the entries judged for the Awards this year?

There is a very good standard of work here amongst the nominations for the Blue Elephants and the Baby Elephants. I think there is work in this show that would do well in any show anywhere in the world. And that’s the joy of being involved in judging a competition by this different creative community because you do find work that would work regardless of language and that connects and is memorable, and there are lots of examples of that here.

What has struck you most about the entries for the Awards this year?

There is inevitably some sense of looking to the West for inspiration and influence, but I also think there is a strong sense of a local visual language in the work. And that’s really enjoyable for me, coming from a creative agency from London, it’s really inspiring to see the visual language of a country coming through in the creative work. For me, seeing the hand-painted lettering on the trucks here, for example, when visual language is so rooted in the culture you can always be sure that there will be a generation of very talented creatives coming through. I think that will happen in India because they will have that visual language in their craft and in their blood and I think you can see a lot of exciting stuff in their work. There’s a lot to look forward to.

What are the key factors that you are looking for while judging the entries?

At the Kyoorius Awards we look for a very simple criteria comprising three things – an original idea, which is very hard to find and rare, but they do exist; excellence in execution, so we are looking for great craft in the illustration, in the photography, in the typography and all the decisions made; and work that is relevant. The very best work of Kyoorius ticks all three boxes – that’s our North Star, if you like.

It is often observed that when it comes to international awards, the local agencies try to mold their communication to fit into a more international format. Do you feel that somewhere the local and distinct flavour gets lost while doing that?

I think it’s true to say that there is a group of work here that perhaps is looking too closely at work from the West. There are 600 projects here, so it’s a big selection. I would say maybe there are 50 to 100 things you could criticise in that way, but I still think there are 200 which are standing on their own two feet and are about this creative community, about an authentic voice from here. That needs to be encouraged. I think the hour is to have a healthy disrespect for what’s gone before, but it’s ultimately about what e are going to do next.

What are the key trends that you foresee emerging in the field of design and art in the next five to ten years?

That’s really hard to answer. I think we will see the rise of digital, but I think we are going to see a desire for digital to become more human. I think once we are fully fluent in what’s possible, creative people will naturally want to bring it back to human qualities like emotion and humour, and I think things will become more friendly and less generic. I think we will see the rise of making things again as an antidote to technology – I think that is already happening. But good things never change, so hopefully wonderful ideas, the originality in things, the individual handwriting in terms of the wired artist – I think designers and advertising and digital creatives are artists in a way – I think that unique personality will continue to come through.

Ultimately what we do is about being memorable, we want to make things that people enjoy and share and they don’t forget – I don’t think that will ever change.

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