With Indi design team in a pre-production meeting for The POOL Show

I have had the good fortune to judge various awards around the world and also from different domains. I find design awards are distinct in the way entries are prepared. Let me explain this further. Some of the most popular awards are where advertising and communication agencies enter their work (in design categories); while they usually have projects with great big ideas, they are mostly very poor on execution. Most design companies have very well executed work, but are not always bang on ideas. Architectural entries usually have essays on the principal architect, and local materials – things that may not relate to the project entered. Film entries focus too much on production and leave the concept and idea explanation to the film itself. 

Then there is another issue. Many agencies enter the same work in multiple categories, which is great for the award organization. But they also enter the same explanation and write-up with all entries and leave the understanding of how the project fits into a category to the understanding of the judges. This doesn’t work. 

Award entries should be prepared by designers who have worked on the project; judges can see through the struggle a third person must have gone through to create a write-up for an entry. You end up with inappropriate and offending jargon. It would be best if designers could record a two-minute video on each entry, explaining the project and why it is a deserving entry. 

We were overwhelmed by the quality of entries for IBDA this year, and also by the number of entries. I am glad we have been able to attract great inspiring work from designers, who also presented their work very nicely. Seventy-three awards this year against 37 last year speaks volumes for the reputation these awards are gaining and also clearly indicates that the awards are making a difference to the winners. 

Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief

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