When Kathy emailed a group of alum judges and asked if they wanted to participate again for the Creativity Awards 2016, I agreed without hesitation.
It’s always intense to sift through hundreds to thousands of design entries, but the experience of it all is so worth the long hours.
Typical days of judging include eating breakfast and heading over to our dedicated conference room around 8:30am. We review and score entries until noon, briefly socialize for lunch, check emails, and go back to scoring entries until around 5 or 6pm. We head to our rooms to freshen up, then head back to the lobby of our hotel 30 minutes later to meet up with the group and head out to dinner. Dinners are always special to me, since we get to unwind and bond individually.
This schedule lasts for about three days straight. At the end, we bring our favorites to the Best of Show discussions. It’s tiring, but I absolutely love it.
There are judges from all over the world participating in this competition. I get exposed to different cultures and viewpoints on important (and not so important) issues. To me, this is the foundation of ending hate in the world. Learn about differences in culture and viewpoints, be open to listening, and ask questions about what you don’t understand. This year, there were judges from Budapest, Mexico City, Sydney, as well as San Francisco.
Big Brands & Small Players
The varying type of entries is great. Judging small, independent designers to large international brands like the Emmy’s, Home Depot, Thyssenkrup, The History Channel, and the list goes on. It’s interesting to see the trends of design overall, and the cultural nuances of design and branding for different countries.
Three students were honored with the opportunity to be a part of the judging. They shadowed us, asked questions, helped judges score entries, and showed us their portfolios. It’s a valuable experience for the students to be a part of it all. Truthfully, the judges find having students there just as valuable. Their work is creative and untouched by peer opinions, client needs, budgets. Their design style shines through their work, and I like making mental predications of how their work would fit into the industry.
Elements of Design
What I find most fascinating about this whole experience is the underlying knowledge of the judging committee as a whole. Often times and overall, the judges agree on which entries in the competition are successful. In other words, the core principles on what makes design and branding for each one of us is exactly the same. This blows my mind. We all come from different backgrounds, upbringing, education systems, and career paths. Yet when we come together, we all have the same core beliefs and teachings on design.
As always, I had a great experience judging the Creativity Awards. Looking forward to being a part of it again at some point soon, and seeing my Kentucky (and international) friends again.