Tell us about the Spikes Awards.
Spikes Asia is part of the Cannes Lions umbrella of award shows, so it comes with a sizable hit of street cred… The Design Jury representation came from Australia, Japan, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
What was the judging process like?
It took place in a tiny conference room at the Mandarin Oriental in Singapore. The jury of 16 reviewed hundreds of pieces of work, debating sometimes for 13 hours per day! What was fascinating about the process was the need to make room for cultural considerations when judging. For instance, the poetic nature of the Japanese, where an ‘idea’ is more subtle, and the focus is on visual allure and design aesthetics first. This was quite a contrast to the American and sometimes Australian view of high concept, strong messaging that needs to make an instant impact.
Did this change your view on design?
The mix of cultures led to many discussions around fine art versus commercial art. Is there room in communications for interpretation and subtlety? If a play on emotions is often what drives people to act, can something more artful and emotionally arresting work harder than a strong concept and punchy headline?
What category inspired you most?
I was enamoured with the Product Design sub-category, “Well-being, Environmental Impact and Solution.” Meaning and Purpose are core pillars of Monogram’s way of delivering results, so this category sang out because it was so human-centred, so deeply meaningful by way of problem-solving issues. An example was around how to reduce malaria, where the entry was a mosquito repellent that attached to scooter tailpipes enabling everyone in the community to contribute to resolving the problem.
“The outtake was that design is more than just aesthetic. It’s a way of thinking that combines problem-solving with an elegance of execution. The balance of both done well is doubly potent; it solves actual problems and beautifies the environment for all who come in contact with it.”
What’s the biggest thing you’ll take from this experience?
A reminder of how important it is to uphold the value of smart, highly crafted creativity in all its forms. Not just for the creators, but for the client and the public. It was a nudge to continue to fight the good fight, to be brave even when it gets tough and fear creeps back in the decision-making process.