The Best in Design for 2018

Published: Sun 23 Sep 2018 11:32 AM
The Best in Design for 2018:
National Best Design Awards winners unveiled Saturday, September 22
From a story of a goat that combats real-world bullying, to an exhibition questioning New Zealand’s national typeface, to an ‘iconic’ piece of infrastructure, to a calming and interactive experience at Starship Children’s Hospital, the best in New Zealand design for 2018 has been revealed.
From 1,200 entries, one project by FCB and Assembly, a quirky video, Oat the Goat, showing young children how to identify and deal with bullies won over the judges and took out the coveted Purple Pin in both the Interactive and Moving Image categories. The winners were celebrated at a high profile awards ceremony at Viaduct Events Centre on Saturday September 22, 2018 attended by more than 1,200 designers and friends.
The biggest night of the Australasian design year, the Best Design Awards is organised by the Designers Institute of New Zealand and recognises the strongest work produced in nine categories: Graphic, Interactive, Moving Image, Product, Public Good Award, Spatial, User Experience Award, Ngā Aho Award, which showcases multi-cultural design collaboration, and the Value of Design Award.
CEO of the Designers Institute of New Zealand, Cathy Veninga says, “New Zealand designers continue to blow me away with the design quality and thinking behind the client work. Our business community should have nothing but pride about the work our design community achieves to help them do better business. Great design gives these businesses a market edge. It’s impressive to see outputs where there has clearly been deeper thinking and collaboration between design teams and clients. The world faces many issues and designers bring a focus that is transformational that can help solve key issues within our communities, demonstrating a greater emphasis on who we are solving issues for – humans.”
“In recent years, design has proven to be truly integrated in corporate businesses, government institutions and even infrastructure projects. The outstanding work that comes from these sectors will contribute greatly to the economy and further pave the way for a design-led future,” she said.
Interactive Purple Pin AND Moving Image Purple Pin – Oat the Goat by Assembly and FCB New Zealand
Design Director: Matt von Trott; Client: Ministry of Education
'Oat the Goat' is an interactive, animated storybook launched as a bullying prevention initiative by New Zealand's Ministry of Education. The web-based story was created with 4-7 year old children in mind… the goal being to introduce them to the effect their actions can have in group situations, and to encourage parents to engage with their children and open a conversation about what 'Oat' is experiencing during his big adventure.
Oat the Goat is designed and crafted using animated 3D characters. It is available on mobile and desktop, and has full bilingual support for Māori and English.
Interactive judges said the project is a “masterfully crafted, immersive storytelling that tackles a difficult issue with grace.”
The Moving Image judges thought it was a beautifully realised animated storybook. “It pushes the boundaries of what can be achieved in a web browser,” they said.
Spatial Purple Pin - Waterview Connection by Warren and Mahoney Architects
Design Director: Shannon Joe; Client: New Zealand Transport Agency
Dubbed a project of “national significance” by our government, the NZ Transport Agency’s Waterview Connection was conceptualised to improve Auckland’s transport network.
Opening up the Western Ring and airport routes with two, 2.5-kilometre parallel tunnels, it provides a safer, less-congested and more time-efficient alternative to complex drives around suburbia. Passing through some of Auckland’s most densely populated neighbourhoods, there was no doubt that the Connection was needed – but as the largest infrastructure project undertaken in the country to date, local views and ancestral Māori ties to land were of paramount concern.
Waterview Connection was originally an urban infrastructure project with transport-related goals. Through community engagement, research and consultation with Māori, we have seized the opportunity to discover, preserve and enhance our communities and environment at the same time.
The judges said the Waterview Connection Tunnel is an iconic local infrastructure project. “Necessity has not stood in the way of exceptional design solution. It is a stunning, national project that sends a message to local government to do more of this work.”
Nga Aho Award Purple Pin - Trails of Taonga by Clemenger BBDO Wellington
Creative Director: Brigid Alkema; Design Director: Mark Dalton; Client: Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children
In Māori culture, taonga are precious objects – heirlooms passed-down between generations. Although beautiful, the real value of taonga lies in their meaning, and the stories they carry with them.
The design team wondered if it would be possible to create new taonga that could be imbued with the stories of the care-experienced children. These taonga would become powerful tactile and visual symbols. Objects that convey the deep gratitude these children feel towards those who helped them – thanking them for their kindness. For noticing.
The design features tamariki at the centre, protected and supported by layers of family, whānau and community. It's strong and youthful, standing tall and proud. The kids felt like it was the right symbol to base our taonga on. They found sculptors and carvers with the mana to bring this tohu to life in their own medium.
Now, on social media people can nominate others to receive the taonga, by telling their story via a secure, open-access online form. A group of care-experienced children read the stories and choose the people they think are most worthy of receiving the taonga. The taonga are kept by these people for a while, before being returned and passed-on to the next deserving person.
Each time the taonga are passed from hand-to-hand, their mana grows. Five taonga leave trails of gratitude wherever they go across New Zealand, inspiring people to help our most at-risk children.
The judges said “’He tamaiti tu, he tamaiti ora,’ A child uplifted, is a child who will flourish. This project for the recently formed Ministry for Children, Oranga Tamariki, has designed a fresh approach to uplifting ‘at-risk’ children through fresh design. This was not just design collaboration, it was a wide community collaboration asking everyone to step forward and help a child in need. The resultant series of exquisite taonga created by carvers and sculptors to recognise those who step forward and help, are leaving a trail of aroha through the many hands and hearts they touch.”
Product Purple Pin – Tūroa Bathroom Collection by Methven Global Design & Innovation team
Design Director: Andy Grigor
The Tūroa shower system was designed to cater to people’s different habits, routines and changing needs while combining this experience with sustainable water use and manufacturing processes.
Cleverly hidden channels create spirals of water, precisely released through individual nozzles. The intuitive control allows the user to transition seamlessly from a firm, invigorating spray to a gentle, enveloping warmth and everything in between.
The entire Tūroa bathroom collection is crafted from high-grade stainless steel, which is both beautiful, durable and lends itself to flexible manufacturing processes. Utilising this material is Methven’s inaugural step towards a circular economy. It enables alternative finishes other than chrome and future reuse and reconditioning.
The design result is a product using less water and manufactured from more sustainable materials than traditional methods. It combines considered technology and sustainable principles with a clean, contemporary aesthetic resulting in a product that’s better for you and the environment.
From a very strong field of Gold Pin winning products Turoa emerged as the judges’ 2018 top product pick. Judges said, “That pure aesthetic, sensuous showering and cleansing experience, thoughtful application of high-grade materials with high quality finishes complements the sparing use of water and convinced the judges it deserved to be Best of the Best.”
Value of Design Award Purple Pin – Active Smart Built-In Refrigerator by Fisher & Paykel Appliances
Creative Director/Design Director: Fisher & Paykel Appliances Design Team
There has been a moving trend over time for appliances to become more integrated into the kitchen environment. To integrate refrigeration seamlessly required specific knowledge or a very expensive refrigerator.
Fisher & Paykel identified a gap in the market where no one was operating: an easy to install family sized refrigerator, offered at more viable price point than the competition.
Following extensive customer research, the team designed the Built-in refrigerator to meet the customer needs and fill the gap in the market. The design and development of the Active Smart Built-In Refrigerator has been an important step in evolving Fisher & Paykel’s internal capability and the external perception of who they are as an appliance brand.
They have taken a design led, disruptive and innovative approach to changing the market.
Judges said, “Fisher & Paykel Appliances have a very long history of design and have developed a robust, world class product development engine. This entry is an exemplar of the Value of Design, demonstrated across functional groups and requiring significant commitment from board level through to storefront.”
Graphics Purple Pin – There is no such thing as a New Zealand typeface by Alt Group and Klim Type Foundry
Creative Directors: Dean Poole, Kris Sowersby; Design Director: Janson Chau; Client: Klim Type Foundry
Is there such a thing as a typographic accent? This is the question posed by internationally renowned New Zealand designer, Kris Sowersby, in his exhibition showcasing his typeface National, adopted widely across New Zealand.
The exhibition explores the 10-year time period between the release of typefaces National and National 2, and questions whether the unique 31,744 letterforms have integrated into our physical and digital design culture during the decade our nation was searching for a way to define our design language.
National 2 is showcased as a set of sixteen posters that display the entire character set in its original width over eight weights and italics, allowing the audience to see the entirety of the typeface as individual units. The poster’s opposite side features an interview with Kris Sowersby exploring the relationship between type and identity. A series of low plinths allow the audience to view the entire set and experience the atmosphere created by width and weight combinations. The surrounding walls feature large-format photography of signposts in the landscape.
The exhibition title is rendered large across the gallery walls. The sixteen portraits, hung in a sequence, trace a visual journey – from the Valley of Darkness, up Mt Inaccessible to Farewell Spit – through matching contours and shared horizons. The landscapes, tonally gothic and melancholic, point back to the original intention of exploring national identity. Collectively they strike out the title, casting the statement as a proposition.
Judges said the exhibition is “a brilliant piece of work that creates a conversation about New Zealand identity and uses design in its broadest sense. The multidisciplinary approach made it stand out from the rest.”
User experience Purple Pin - Starship Animal Check Ups & Magical Forest by RUSH Digital and Watermark Creative
Creative Director: Terry Williams-Willcock; Design Director: Stephen Horner
Every year 34,000 children come to the Starship children’s emergency department. The assessment area and waiting room is where the patient journey starts for many of these children. The designers were tasked with creating new ways to enhance the emergency department experience for children, parents and the staff. The expectation was to calm children and prepare them for treatment while creating a more accommodating space for patient comfort and flow.
‘The Starship Animal Check-ups’ space is a picture wall, like one you might have in your home, but this one comes to life with different animal nurse/doctor characters to take children through check-up experiences. The characters familiarise the children and parents with the processes they will soon undertake with the clinical team. The interactive animal characters, such as lions, teach children to open their mouths wide, meerkats read your heart rate and blowfish help to coach different breathing rhythms. All experiences are controlled by proprietary sensors and interactive computer vision-based tracking system.
‘The Magic Forest’ is a window to an enchanting, tranquil world creating a calming space to relax and enjoy quiet time. The calmer you are the more the environment rewards you. In this space, virtual birds and flowers react to the child’s movements; move slowly to see flowers blossom and birds pollinate them, move too quickly and they will be scared off. A human-centred design approach was used to empathise. This involved behaviour observation of the space, talking to play specialist and nurses, and understanding the different coping strategies that reduce anxiety in order to create a calm, fun environment.
The judges said, “The team delivered a delightful experience that combined interactive technology and immersive design which had the user at the centre from start to finish.”
Public Good Award Purple Pin – NZ Police Family Harm App by Smudge
Creative Directors: Reuben Bijl, Toby Vincent
Family Harm is a mobile app Smudge designed with New Zealand Police, to help tackle the single biggest social issue facing New Zealand today. Domestic violence contributes to approximately half of all violent crime in New Zealand and accounts for over 40% of frontline police time.
This app, launched in May 2018, replaces a 13-page paper form that took officers a minimum of one hour to complete. With over 121,000 episodes of family harm occurring in New Zealand each year, the app effectively banished more than 1.5 million pages of paperwork overnight.
With the Family Harm app, officers arriving at the scene are far more prepared than before. The app is directly connected to the national intelligence database. This gives frontline officers useful information such as historical episodes at the same location, providing them with valuable context in what is often an ongoing chain of events.
Supervising officers away from the scene also receive information in real-time, so they can contribute to the situation as it unfolds. Police describe having this additional context as an "eyes wide open" approach that is paying huge dividends.
Judges said, “This project demonstrated a strong design cycle with intensive user research and testing. Reducing the potential for harm to vulnerable citizens and streamlining processes at the same time is an absolute win-win technology for the community.”
John Britten Black Pin
The John Britten Black Pin celebrates an individual who has made a significant achievement in the field of design both nationally and internationally and demonstrated a combination of leadership, vision, creativity, skill, energy and discipline.
This year, in an unprecedented move, the Designers Institute is pleased to announce that the John Britten Black Pin is being awarded to an amazing duo: Rik Campbell and Steve le Marquand, the global managing director and Executive Creative director respectively of Resn. The Black Pin is going to the duo because they are inseparable – they’re a cohesive, united team with a very strong vision.
Steve Le Marquand is Resn’s co-founder and Executive Creative Director. He is a champion of simple, but highly effective, digital interactivity that achieves an emotional response. Rik Campbell is the Global Managing Director and co-parent of the love child known as Resn. He was the designer and art director for much of Resn’s early work, but the exhilaration of this highly creative role became too much and he accepted the promotion he gave himself to become Managing Director.
Resn has received numerous international accolades, including twice winning Awwwards Agency of the Year in 2017 & 2018, CSS Design Awards Agency of the Year, induction into the FWA Hall of Fame and inclusion on Advertising Age’s Production Company A-List. Resn’s work has won more than 250 international awards, including Cannes Lions, Webby Awards, One Show, D and Best Design Awards.
The Best Design Awards were established in 1988 and have been held annually since 1996. All winners can be viewed online at

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