Top Cannes contenders: Design

With an extended deadline, strategy continues to count down the campaigns most likely to win big at this year's festival.

Good news creatives. Cannes has extended its entry deadline until April 11. As we count down the days to the Cannes Lions, strategy is rounding out the most likely contenders for each category, tapping the top folks in the industry to help us narrow down the list. This week, we’re taking a gander in the Design category. Check back regularly until the deadline to see which campaigns have the best shot in Cannes.

Campaign: Corporate office rebrand, ING
Brand: ING/Tangerine
Agency: Concrete Design

Chosen by: Hunter Tura, president and CEO, Bruce Mau Design

I think Concrete Design’s interiors for ING/Tangerine would be a strong contender this year. I really like the way the new name and identity refer to the older ING, while maintaining the signature orange colour.  In terms of the interiors, I think the Concrete proposal is very vibrant and dynamic, while at the same time remaining relevant through an approach to content-driven environmental graphics.

Campaign: Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities annual report
Brand: Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities
Agency: Wax Creative

Chosen by: Dave Watson, CD design, North America, Taxi

In the last 12 months, I have started to see a trend in design – authenticity. Brands have started trading in high-production values for smarter, more cost-effective solutions. A great example of this is an annual report created by Wax Creative for the Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities (CSPB). The CSPB provides essential services for those who suffer from serious disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Over the last few years, the organization suffered through massive cuts to its funding. With this in mind, the CSPB asked Wax to use the annual report as a vehicle for fundraising.

Wax took the extremely simple insight of “living with a disability is difficult” and used it to create a lo-fi, high concept annual report that is both smart and emotive. The entire annual report is a representation of that insight. A single staple sits in the middle of the cover acting both as a low-cost binding system, as well as a constant annoyance. Each page is hard to turn, each paragraph hard to read and each visual difficult to look at. A simple message combined with a smart solution is something that should resonate with judges at Cannes.

Campaign: 123w logo
Brand: 123w
Agency: 123w

Chosen by: Lara Palmer, CD, Lara Palmer Design

Last year when I judged Design at Cannes we were looking for surprises and design solutions we hadn’t seen before. As our chair, Mary Lewis said, “Originality with relevance, clarity and immediacy done with a light touch.”

When I first saw the logo and identity application for Vancouver’s newest agency 123w, it fit with what Lewis was looking for. It was surprising, original and just plain smart. I know the agency is named for Vancouver’s longitude (west 123 degrees), and founded on the philosophy that really powerful strategy can be articulated simply and the best ways to work are also the simplest.

The logo exemplifies this philosophy. The word mark can read frontwards and backwards, and also works side by side as a reflection. The business card application on one side reads “123w is an idea and design collective for modern thinking companies.” It demonstrates in design what the words say. This piece could be entered into a variety of Design categories at Cannes: Small scale logo and visual identity, self promo or typography.

Product: Ovo T-Shirt giveaway
Brand: Drake, The Raptors

Chosen by: Michelle Donnelly, VP, CD, brand & 360 experience, Jackman Reinvention

I wanted to highlight and celebrate this type of transformation, but there is no relatable category at Cannes. So, I chose the category A06 Promotional Items, which includes guerrilla marketing, to cheat my way into talking about a really cool Canadian reinvention in progress.

It started with Tim Leiweke’s fall 2013 announcement that named Drake as global ambassador for the Raptors. This press conference acted as a powerful, yet simple “launch,” and kicked off Drake’s press-worthy, court-side appearances, and of course, the Raptors Ovo T-shirt giveaway (which technically can be entered at Cannes).

It feels real. Growing up here, Drake obviously has an authentic connection to Toronto. It is spot-on and on-brand. The NBA is immersed in hip hop culture. It creates a ton of buzz without the effort, complexity and polarizing potential of a full rebrand. It makes the Raps relevant outside their core sports fan demographic. The resulting side effect is Toronto as a whole feels just a little bit cooler. And finally, it draws some attention away from Rob Ford.

Did we miss a top Design contender? Weigh in below. 

Check out the contenders in the CyberDirectRadioInnovationCreative EffectivenessFilm CraftPromo & ActivationPR, Mobile and Film categories.