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A graphic design enterprise that runs a network of blogs, publishes books, organizes live events, and designs for clients. Run by Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit in Austin, TX.
design, layout, and production
UnderConsideration, LLC: Bryony Gomez-Palacio, Armin Vit
Breakers Slab by Kostic
Avenir Next by Linotype
After three years running the FPO Awards one of the most satisfying aspects of it is observing the pleasure of the judges as they pick up piece after piece to analyze, observe, and touch each one. The pleasure isn't so much that every single piece is great but that things are being made, created, finished, shipped, and used. So much of what we do and consume these days is digital that one full day that consists of being on your feet, craning your neck, and straining your eyes to look at analog objects feels like rest. At least from the ordinary.
Another vindication for the FPO Awards is the reassurance that print knowledge, not just print, is not dead. "Generally, I've noticed a strong lack of knowledge developing in the graphic design industry since the introduction of the digital process," expresses Art Chantry, "this collection of work seemed transitional—a halfway point being achieved between the digital removal of the printing process and the reintroduction of the wonders of printing into the design medium. It felt VERY good to see this work. It made me happy." If Art is happy we are happy.
Filtering through the 275 entries submitted this year yielded 111 winners — a percentage uptick in projects awarded compared to last year's 96 winners out of 278 entries. Unlike the past couple of years where general praise was given to the overall quality of entrants, two of this year's judges weren't fully impressed. Prolific silkscreener David Dodde described it as "homogenous" as if "the majority of work appeared to use source material found from the same blogs," and Pentagram partner DJ Stout was "underwhelmed for the most part by the lack of originality and distressed by the lack of conceptual thinking and just plain old-fashioned ideas." Harsh to hear but nothing like good criticism to spark designers to do better work, especially when projects do get the tough judges' seal of approval—DJ praised the winning work as "admirable" and David as "inspiring".
Admirable and inspiring are two words that come easily to mind with the Best of Show winner, the annual report for Adris group by Bruketa & Zinic printed by Cerovski LTD. (The same trio of client, design firm, and printer that took Best of Show last year). Using heat sensitive ink on the cover and inside pages to illustrate the concept of "In Good Hands" the report wasn't just an easy gimmick—the layout and typography were beautifully executed and a quote etched on the edges of the pages left everyone with mouth agape.
Two other projects that produced a similar reaction were the co-winners of the Radical Production Award: RoAndCo Studio's phosphorescent pink invitation for Honor foil stamped by Proof7 that was mesmerizing to see and the self-published book by Éditions Non Standard printed by LenoirSchuring that baffled with its intense page-count and rock-solid binding. The decision to go with co-winners was the result of a spirited discussion between judges of which piece was more radical.
Missing from last year's winners was a selection for the Sustainability Award that this year went to a small-run set of posters designed and printed by Interbrand New York for an internal speaker series—although it wasn't a massive project that would save gallons of ink or hundreds of thousands of pounds of paper it was a resourceful and clever solution.
As always, it is a pleasure for us to run this competition and see work literally coming in from around the world to surprise us and the judges with excellent design thinking and production skillfulness. Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to all who entered.
Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to all who entered.
Bryony Gomez-Palacio + Armin Vit